The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 1 “No Sanctuary” Review

The Walking Dead
© AMC Studios

Season 5 of The Walking Dead is here!  Not only is it here, but the first episode, No Sanctuary, earned it’s spot as the most watched episode the series has seen, thus far.

No Sanctuary was a fantastic way to start out season 5, and serves as a very firm reminder that zombies are not always the worst enemy in this walker-filled world.  Picking up shortly after the ending events of season 4, No Sanctuary starts off with the group still in the train car, armed with makeshift weapons, awaiting the moment the fine folks from Terminus decide to open up the train door.  Things, as expected, go awry and part of the group ends up bound and damn near death via baseball bat to the head and knife to the throat.  As luck would have it, a propane tank explosion interrupts the executions and the small crew manages to get away.  In a parallel time frame, the show skips to a scene where Carol, Tyrese, and Judith (still hate that name) happen to stumble across a Terminus crew member, and from there we learn that Carol marched on over to Terminus and blew it all to hell.  We get to see more of the badass side of Carol that was exposed to us last season, which is brilliant.  Carol’s character development and transformation, in my opinion, is easily the most well done of the cast.  She went from a quiet, reserved, battered and bruised character in season 1 to one of the biggest assets of the group.  No Sanctuary also gives us a taste of Tyrese’s relentless side.  The guy from Terminus that Carol and Tyrese found, they chose to tie up and hold prisoner in a nearby shack.  He manages to break free (could’ve called that) and he orders Tyrese to go outside, unarmed, to fend off a group of walkers.  His leverage? He had Judith’s head in his hands, threatening to snap her neck if Tyrese didn’t choose to basically walk into his death.  Fueled by anger, Tyrese manages to slaughter the walkers with his bear hands, and beat the Terminus dude to death.  Rick and his small, separated group manage to make their way back to the train car following some awesome kills and an extreme display of badassery.  After freeing the rest of the gang, they managed to escape the grounds of Terminus, and the episode wraps up with them regrouping with Carol, Tyrese, and Judith in a very powerful, emotional scene. There are some small scenes thrown into the mix that try to delve into how Terminus became what it is, such as a confrontation between Carol and an older female member of Terminus and the ending scene that left us with more questions than answers.  Although the episode was near perfect, my favorite scene was actually after the credits and after the preview for the next episode when we see a masked survivor stumble across a Terminus sign that Rick had marked, saying “No Sanctuary.” And who do you think that guy was? Emilio Estevez, the Mighty Ducks man, I swear to God.  No, seriously, the masked man recognizes the markings on the sign, because it’s Morgan! Yes, Morgan, the first survivor that Rick met when he awoke from his coma.  I’m extremely excited to see his involvement in this season, mostly because I have no idea if he will be an asset or an enemy.

Kills, emotion, and anger are all greatly displayed in this episode.  There aren’t any memorable kills besides the opening trough scene, but there were a few scenes where the tables turned and I was going nuts with excitement.  The emotion that we saw in the ending scene where the gang gets back together was one of the most powerful scenes of the series, leading to some feely-goods and some happies.  Yep, I just went there.  And the anger that was displayed by Tyrese and Rick alone was enough to carry all the emotion for the entire episode.  There are some really great performances in this episode from Carol, Tyrese, Rick, and the guy who appears to run the show with Terminus.  There are a bulk of elements in this episode that easily make it one of the top episodes of the series.

No Sanctuary is exactly what The Walking Dead is supposed to be.  There isn’t a dull moment in the episode, and it is easily one of the most powerful episodes of the series.  There are plenty of gruesome kills that can serve as simply cringeworthy or exciting from momentum.  The episode leaves you begging for more, and already set the tone that this season is going to be possibly the best the show has seen.  All of our favorite characters are back, and badass-er than ever.  No Sanctuary is just simply incredible.  The only reason you should be reading this ‘BRO Review’ is if you haven’t seen the episode yet, and if you’re even still reading at this point, you need to go watch it right now before social media ruins it for you!