THE WALKING DEAD Season 5, Episode 1 Recap ‘No Sanctuary’

‘The Walking Dead’ premiers its fifth season with a particularly gruesome episode Sunday night.

Last season witness a virus outbreak that led to Carol (McBride) trying to clean house by killing the initial virus carriers — including Tyreese’s (Coleman) girlfriend — which lead to Rick (Lincoln) banishing her. The Governor breached the prison and decapitated Hershel (Scott Wilson) before the kindly farmer’s stricken daughters Beth (Emily Kinney) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) — but Michonne (Danai Guirira) used her katana through his chest and nixed that big bad for good. But with the prison fences destroyed, our group of survivors scattered to the wind, resulting in:

  • Carol (who, met up with Tyreese, baby Judith, and sisters Lizzie and Mika) shooting Lizzie pointblank after the troubled child — who had been showing psychotic tendencies all season — killed her own sister in an attempt to turn her into a walker.
  • Rick (who’d escaped with Carl and met up with Michonne on the road) taking a page from the zombie playbook and actually tearing a man’s throat out with his teeth when a gang of really awful roadies tried to sexually assault Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne was there to the rescue.
  • Beth getting kidnapped by someone in a truck with a cross in the rear windshield after she and Daryl (Norman Reedus) were attacked by walkers while taking cover in a funeral home — which smacked suspiciously of a trap.

What follows is a story that presented with the true colors of the people of Terminus with the hopeful prospect of a cure in Washington, D.C., the fate of the group’s lost comrades, as well as new faces, and new challenges in keeping the group together and staying alive. Stories will break apart and some twists and turns on the latter part. The characters will find love and hate. Peace and war. And, in the quest to find a permanent, safe place to call home, one question will haunt them.

The Walking Dead‘s fifth season, “No Sanctuary,” refers to Terminus, the sanctuary turned nightmare where the survivors found themselves held captive at the end of season four. What to expect at the Terminus? The not-so-friendly inhabitants, place with brutal executions and cannibalism, it’s obviously understandable that the safe haven Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and company fought so hard to arrive at is, in reality is a nightmare, worse than the Governor’s territory. At the end of the episode, the term “no sanctuary” becomes a sort of affirmation, a renouncing of the idea of living in a zombie land.

Of course, our survivor’s escape was only allowed through the sense of forgiveness and faith that Rick has defended hard for the past four seasons, as its revealed that Carol (Melissa McBride) planned the entire breakout. The action she enacts is the sort of gonzo act of atonement the series has become known for, but it’s also a testament of the stronger heart she has become. The episode belongs totally to McBride, who shows Carol’s skilled, ruthless mind for strategy and survival while also suggesting the still toiling, unfeeling killer that put her in a bad spot with Tyreese and the group in the first place.

As Rick and the others are laying waste to Terminus, Coleman’s Tyreese finds himself in the middle of one of the show’s familiar two-handers with a Terminus crew. Tyreese is given a challenge to see how far his empathy and trust in others will go, one that ends in a fatal, bloody beating. For Coleman’s gentle giant, there’s no more hiding away from or excusing the savage desperation and cruelness on earth, or the dead-eyed hunger of the zombies, in this new world.

To put it another way, there’s no sanctuary left for anyone.