The Walking Dead Review: Carol Goes Rambo In “No Santuary” (Spoilers)
The Walking Dead’s season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary”, wasted no time getting to the action during its first hour back. Picking up immediately where season 4 ended (our heroes being held prisoner in a train cart courtesy the facade which was Terminus), we see Rick and friends sharpening anything they can get their hands on, preparing for yet another battle in the name of survival. While the idea was an admirable one, the hipster cannibals of Terminus obviously had a system in place when it came to the capturing and eating of people and with a quick gas grenade and a kick to the face, the short lived coup was thwarted.
What comes after, is where this series really takes a hard turn. The Walking Dead has always been about analyzing the deterioration of humanity as much as it’s been about battling zombies, and the “big reveal” of how the people of Terminus come to ensure survival, is definitely the most twisted approach yet. After being gassed – Rick, Daryl, Glen and Bob along with a few randoms are dragged into a building where they are hogtied over a trough.
“Ever wondered where your bacon came from? If you have, “No Sanctuary” gives you a crash course free of charge.” In what was the most suspenseful set piece of the episode, we witnessed the butchers of Terminus indifferently begin to “humanely” bludgeon and bleed their victims like cattle, impassively going down the line like a Nazi firing squad in a concentration camp. Fortunately, no one we care about is butchered but the fake-outs were still effectively heart wrenching, especially in the moments where Glen and Bob were staring death in the eye.
Enter Carol, the warrior woman of the apocalypse. If you look back in the series, Carol is probably the only other character besides Rick and Carl, that has lost as much as they have. In season 1, she loses her husband (granted he was an abusive piece of shit). Season 2 sees her lose her daughter Sophia and by season three she’s teaching the children of the prison how to kill and doing some human killing of her own in order to preemptively protect the rest of her camp.
By season 4, Carol is a world weary warrior who has come to understand the laws of survival, so much so that she is even able to kill a child out of necessity. So when she and Tyreese capture a member of Terminus, and realize that at least Michonne and Carl are being held there she goes full Commando and single-handedly infiltrates and obliterates the infrastructure of Terminus like a ghost in the machine.
This premiere was great because it got straight to the point of things, and though TWD has its high points it is also notorious for being a bit too drawn out when it comes to some of its arcs (the farm and the showdown with the Governor comes to mind). This premiere episode quickly dispensed with the Terminus arc, or at least the physical location, and allowed our heroes to regroup through one of the series’ more satisfying action/escape set-pieces. That being said, Rick is definitely on the edge. He isn’t Shane or Governor crazy but we definitely see him becoming more detached, slowly but surely losing all empathy.
“Kill anyone you come across. They won’t hesitate to kill you” is the sentence Rick tells the group once they’re free. “Farmer Rick” is definitely out the picture. I mean we knew that once he bit a guy’s throat off, but almost being eaten seems to be the last nail in the coffin for his efforts for diplomacy. Rick has seen a lot since coming out of his coma 5 seasons ago, and it is going to be interesting to follow the direction his psyche is heading now. Wrapping up the episode were some necessary reunions, which were all welcomed. Carol and Daryl got to hug it out. Tyreese and Sasha reunite, and of course – Rick, Carl and Judith are back together.
All in all, “No Sanctuary” was a strong, adrenaline filled start to season 5 of everyone’s fav Zombie Apocalypse series, and it looks like the suspense and action isn’t going to let up anytime soon.
“We see you Morgan! Hopefully you don’t go all cray cray on Rick this time when you see him because your shit’s together”.