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

The-Walking-Dead-Season-5- Episode 1 Full Episode

The Walking Dead is back with a vengeance! The outstanding fifth season premiere delivers on all fronts: the fate of the Terminus prisoners comes to a head, the butchers become the slaughtered and a heart warming reunion caps off the episode.

Watch the full episode of The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 01 at AMC.com (No sign in required).

Continue reading for a spoiler filled recap and reaction to The Walking Dead Season 5 Premiere entitled “No Sanctuary”.

No Sanctuary

One of the best things about the premiere is how polished everything is. If the premiere is a good indication, after four seasons the show has ironed out the problematic elements that have mired it in the past. A valid critique is the slow burn of the earlier part of previous seasons. Instead of dragging on the Terminus story line for a few more episodes, it gets resolved in a quick and satisfying manner.

While the tone of the series has been consistent, last season’s episode format was not. On one hand there is a well-founded argument that the fragmented character centric approach to the second half of season four is its strength but at the same time a more cohesive, streamlined approach to the storytelling is the right direction moving forward. Characters have evolved and become stronger as individuals, now they are ready to face bigger, deadlier threats together as a group.

The Butcher Or The Cattle

Maybe because it’s been a long time since The Walking Dead aired a new episode but the opening slaughter-fest is as suspenseful and horrific of a scene in recent memory. Sure, the Governor mowed down his own people in a maniacal rage; however, this was disturbing on a different level. A part of it is because it’s just another day on the job for these butchers, they see Rick’s gang not as fellow human beings but as meat. It’s an execution disassembly line where the butchers don’t even have to mop up the blood because it all goes neatly down the trough’s drain. How very convenient!

The “Hunt or be Hunted” thematic tagline of the season is present in almost every scene including Tyreese’s. Tyreese’s state of mind is reminiscent of Rick at the beginning of season four when he traded in his gun for a farmer’s hoe. It’s understandable after everything Tyreese has experienced to be reluctant to kill again, yet it’s that very thinking that could get himself and Judith killed. If this was a previous season, this could have been a character arc for Tyreese to get back to beast mode, thankfully the writers have quickly resolved it. Tyreese’s back story before the apocalypse is shrouded in mystery, he could have been a football player or perhaps a MMA fighter by the look of that ferocious double leg take down and face pounding.

carol-and-tyreese-with-baby-judith-the-walking-dead-season-5-episode 1 full video

It’s Not Over Till They’re All Dead

Among so many memorable moments, Carol stole the episode. Her Rambo-like badassery is on full display here and to think she could have been killed off a couple of season ago and most fans wouldn’t have cared. Carol is the female character that the writers intended Andrea to be. She’s become a sniper, she thinks fast on her feet and is a good bullsh*t detector by dismissing all the lies the prisoner told her.

Fans who predicted that Carol would come in guns blazing to the save the Terminus prisoners are on the money. More importantly though, Carol is brought back into the fold and in a swift act of heroism she’s also back in Rick’s good graces. It’s been a long time since she was banished, making her reunion with Daryl very touching.

Reuniting with an alive and well baby Judith isn’t likely going to soften Rick’s ‘kill or be killed’ position. In a post apocalyptic zombie world, unless you’re an apex predator, you’re part of the food chain. Like Rick, that’s a harsh lesson the Terminus people have learned for themselves.

The opening flashback is a little perplexing at first but it made more sense after Mary’s (the lady that Carol shot in the leg) speech. “Hunt or be Hunted” is a cause and effect repeating cycle. The Terminites were originally good people but have become what their captors turned them into. This is literally shown when the crazy bearded guy that Rick let out of the holding container turns out to be the same guy who beat on Gareth and took the girl away in the final flashback.

“No Sanctuary” comes out of the opening gate strong and swinging. There’s a great mix of action, genuine suspense and storyline resolution. Most of all, the premiere felt incredibly satisfying and leaves me excited for the next episode.

What do you like about the season premiere and is there anything that disappointed you?  Are you happy the Terminus storyline got wrapped up quickly or did you want to learn more about them? Where’s Beth and are you excited for the return of Morgan?

More Posts You Might Like:

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 16 “A”, Season Finale Review

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 15 “Us” Review

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 14 “The Grove” Review

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on October 13, 2014, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Couldn’t agree more with what you said here. I gave this episode a solid ‘A’ in my review (I am starting reviews new this season!). I really can’t think of anything that left me sour. Well, except that Carol’s firecracker shot was a little too unbelievably accurate 🙂

    Morgan’s appearance adds a very interesting twist into all of this. I wonder what brought him out of his apartment and seeking out other people. Also, judging from the trailers, I don’t think we have seen the last of Gareth.

    • Great to see you’re covering the show as well, looking forward to reading your review! And I can’t say this enough, I totally appreciate your support for my posts too! 🙂

      Yeah, Carol didn’t even aim with the firecracker shot haha. I also noticed that she had time to wash the blood off her face between escaping Terminus and reuniting with Daryl. One thing I’ll have to go back and watch is if Michonne got back her katana?

      Morgan looked badass in that mask. He also looked pretty clear headed compared to the last time we saw him. I haven’t seen the trailers, though I remember hearing Gareth will be a reoccurring character this season.

      • I don’t believe she has her katana. Didn’t see Carol pick it up or have it later. And yeah, Morgan’s mask. What’s up with that??? I didn’t even look like a gas mask, it was like an elevation training mask for runners. Hmmmm. Hopefully he lasts a while this season. I was just telling a friend we should brace for lots of losses from the group since they were all able to make it out of Terminus alive.

        • I think Michonne will have to get her katana back somehow. I only remember Carol picking up Daryl’s bow and I think Hershel/Glenn’s watch. I’m excited about Morgan’s return and I also hope he sticks around for a while. I believe, except for the two girls, there hasn’t been a major death in a while since Hershel, I also think there will be some losses from the group this season. Judging by the preview, they are adding a new character next episode.

          If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind checking your blog for my previous comments that might have accidently went to spam and then unspam it? I’ve been trying to figure out why my comments on other WordPress blogs for the last couple of weeks aren’t showing up. My guess is that the filtering system needs to learn that my comments aren’t spam lol. I believe I last commented on your TV to Movie Actors post a week ago.

  2. I found the S5 premiere to be rushed, for a lack of a better word. The entirety of S4 was building up to Terminus, at the climax painting it as the Biggest Bad Rick and co. would have to face. And in S5, it gets bulldozed through in a single episode.

    • That’s a good point about the long build up to Terminus and I can understand the fast pace didn’t work for everyone. What’s interesting is that we might got more stuff with the Terminus people and S5 will follow the comics more.

  3. I enjoyed it, though I have an issue with some of the pacing. While I enjoyed the action and smaller character moments where we’re reminded that Rick and company are more human- or convincing themselves that they are- than the others, my only gripe is very minor: I feel that the reunion AND destruction of Terminus came too soon for just a single episode, particularly with how Season 4 built up to Terminus. It could have spread over two episodes, but that’s a very minor issue. Also, given how much of a survival instinct these people I have, I never felt they were in any real danger at all, despite the false scares. Nothing that took away from my enjoyment of the premiere. Hoping that since we got a little insight on Terminus that we eventually come back to it. I am glad Morgan reappeared, given how he does stick around with Rick’s group in the comic as well.

    • A two parter could have worked too, it would have allowed more time for the flashbacks to get fleshed out and give more scenes to Gareth and co. That’s a good point about the Season 4 build up to Terminus. I didn’t think any of the regular characters would die either but the scenes still worked for me. I almost missed the post credit scene with Morgan because I tend to stop watching when they show the next week’s preview. Can’t wait to see how he joins the group and how closely they’ll follow the comics.

  4. Hey bud, great to have your weekly Walking Dead recap again 🙂 I find the season premiere satisfying with great twist and awesome writing. I mean how badass was Carol?! I also agree that it’s good the Terminus storyline got wrapped up quickly. I don’t want more characters on this show. However, I am still curious are/were the Terminites cannibals?

    • Hey there, great to get your thoughts on the premiere! Wasn’t it great? 🙂 I’ve been having writers blocks so it’s nice to able to post something again lol. Carol owned every scene she was in, she’s making all the right decisions and can take care of herself & others. That’s right, the Terminites were luring people and then eating them hehe.

  5. Excellent premiere and a great recap! I was happy they resolved the “stuck in Terminus” thing so quickly. Multiple episodes of “we’re stuck in a box car” would have gotten boring fast. The sequence with Rick, Daryl, and Glenn was beyond gruesome and, even though you knew they’d survive, fairly suspenseful.
    Carol rocked in this episode and it’s refreshing to see a woman be the one to kick-ass and come to the rescue of the gang. After this episode I started to think the pairing of Carol and Tyreese is a good one. They were able to get past Carol’s admission of killing the sick people and Carol is able to deal with Tyreese’s reluctance to kill in a non-judgmental way while at the same time telling him he has to move on. He’s clearly a dude who can do what it takes to survive but he’s bothered by the guilt that comes with it.
    The reunions at the end were just right and, after the brutality of the episode, a light way to end things. Will be interested to see what they do with Morgan. Hopefully he’ll be around for at least a few episodes. Not sure I miss Beth, her character wasn’t the best developed last season, but do want to know where she is.
    While I don’t expect the pace of the next few episodes to be the same, this one was spot on in my opinion. Hopefully future episodes are as well put together as this one.

    • I personally liked how the Terminus got resolved too, this was a big action packed confrontation that felt satisfying to me. Those that were stuck in the box didn’t get much to do and like you said a few more episodes of that would get boring. The trough slaughter scene was intense even though I didn’t think any of our regular characters would die either.

      I wonder if the current Rick would agree with Carol’s decision to kill the sick people now? Rick is a lot more proactive and vengeful nowadays, escaping with their lives wasn’t enough for him until the group talked him down. The great thing about Carol is that it felt earned. If she became a badass over night it would have been a cheat but it felt right here. Tyreese was conflicted but he worked through it. He was saying “I’m not gonna kill you” while punching a guy to death with his bare knuckles heheh.

      One thing that helped give the reunion an uplifting feeling is that no one died. That was a good note to end on with all the gang back together … except for Beth. Morgan’s been in only a couple of episodes but both were terrific. The actor is really great too, I hope they have big plans for him.

      An excellent start to the season. The pace will slow down from here and that’s okay with me as long as the story and characters keep evolving.

  6. It was a solid season-opener. Now, only time will tell if it goes downhill from here. I sure as hell hope not. Good review.

  7. A fantastic start to the season. Looking forward to whatever comes next

  8. I haven’t seen a single episode so I can’t comment, but my colleague couldn’t shut up about it. He absolutely LOVED the season premiere!

    • Horror is not your cup of tea, eh. If I ever catch up on Black Sails, we’ll have a TV show to chat about. 🙂 Your colleague is not alone, I heard this episode broke a ratings records … like 17 million viewers!

  9. The attack on Terminus was thrilling, the bits with Tyrese were interesting and reunions were very sweet to see after all the time away for both us and the parties involved. Great premiere and review!

    I must agree with Gene though… Carol’s aim with the fireworks was a bit too accurate! But it sure made for a great scene.

    • One of the best bits with Tyreese is that Terminus guy threatening to snap Judith’s neck … great scene. And I also thought the reunions were cool, it’s been so long since they’ve been together.

      Come to think of it, Carol meeting that Terminus guy with the fireworks saved Glenn/Rick’s life in a way.The aiming was too accurate for sure, kinda laughable lol. Glad to hear you liked the premiere, let’s see if the show can keep it up.

  10. wow! what a great return to form for this show. I felt that the second half of last season was good because it gave us much more insight into the characters, but it moved too slowly and the fact that they tied this all up in one very cool episode was great.

    Can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us!

    Excellent recap!

    • I totally agree, the character development in the second half of last season was good and it’ll probably continue to pay off down the line … Carol is a great example of that already. I think that resolving the Terminus story in this episode means that the writers have bigger and exciting things planned for this season. 🙂

      Great to hear you enjoyed the season opener, looking forward to your thoughts on the upcoming episodes too! Thanks Rob!

  11. Hey dude, great review yo, all of your thoughts are on the money. I REALLY loved this episode, like you said it got straight to the point, had no slow moments like last season and there was a good few moments of creepiness and badassery going on. What stood out to me was the awesomeness of Carol, my god, she is the coolest person on TV right now. I can’t believe how awesome she is right now, drifting into a group of zombies, taking out the humans and zombies with ease and leaving that one woman to get eaten by the zombies after she injured her (total badass moment). I love the woman, and I was SO happy that her and Daryl got reunited, honestly it sounds lame, but it was a beautiful moment that made me smile so much! Best reunion ever! Oh, and Tyrese damn! I thought that guy was doomed when he was forced outside by that dude who was gonna squish Judith’s head in, but man he hulked-out (off-screen) and I was like “Shit! How he do that?” I wanna see the carnage! No fair!” Also I liked seeing Rick and co. head out on their miniature unit of badassness, escaping their captors, taking on zombies and eventually escaping too.

    Once again apologizes for the long comment lol.

    • Hey man! It’s awesome to hear your thoughts on the episode. All your points are spot on and I have lots to say in return. In some ways, this felt like a season finale with all the action and wrapping up the central story line. Of course it also sets in motion events this season. It’s good to see the crew back on the road and whatever danger awaits them.

      Carol had so many stand out moments. I loved how after she left that lady on the ground, she opened the door and the walkers went past her. She’s untouchable and that perfect, unaimed firecracker shot pretty much meant it’ll all work out for our gang from then on in the premiere. The reunion with Daryl was spine tingling good haha. On a show that gets some slack for its unconvincing characters, those two are well developed and most popular right now.

      Haha, yeah Tyreese totally hulked out! Don’t get that man angry, whatever you do. 🙂 I read some comments somewhere that said the dude that was about to squish Judith might have been left alive by Tyreese since his death wasn’t shown. Mmm, it’s possible but Tyreese needed to do it and it’s a great character moment for him.

      So many great things in this premiere, I didn’t get to cover them all. Appreciate your comments!

  12. I don’t think the writers even know the background of Tyrese haha. It would be sick if he was an MMA fighter though. Despite not getting much attention, he is one of my favorite characters just because of his power. And the actor behind him is also quite good at showing emotions without speaking much…

    • Sometimes this show feels like the writers are making it up as they go along don’t they lol? 😉 I feel pretty hopeful about this season and that the writers have a solid game plan. The actor playing Tyreese is great and like you said he can express himself without words. I also like how he can show vulnerability or a gentler side, pretty cool considering how much of a beast he is! That image of him holding a tiny baby …

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