I have been an avid fan of TWD since its inception as a TV series. I will admit to not having read the comic books but I do keep up with its progress. TWD is certainly not for the faint hearted, and I am not talking about the zombies, the gore or the physical abuse. I am talking about the drama and suspense. Fan favorite characters do get killed and the audience is frequently left in the dark about pertinent developments. Knowing that the journey the characters still have to go if the comic books are anything to go by I wonder if the title The Walking Dead isn’t a pun on Rick and his gang. The Season 5 première dots every I and crosses every T when it comes to answering fan questions surrounding who the people of Terminus are, even if the episode doesn’t linger around those revelations. One thing the shows creators are not afraid to provide is closure. If you don’t want to read the spoilery summary of the episode then I suggests you stay calm and just look at the flowers.
In a flashback, Gareth (Andrew J. West), his brother Alex (Tate Ellington), and several Terminus residents are locked in a train car after being attacked by unknown visitors. Alex regrets putting up the signs that lead to Terminus, while Gareth retorts that they were only being humans. Alex then asks him, “What are we now?”
In the present, the group of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) shares stories of what previously happened while brandishing makeshift weapons, as they plan to ambush their captors. However, the Terminus guards throw tear gas into the box car, which incapacitates them. They bring Rick, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) into a butchering room to face a trough alongside several other captives, including Sam (Robin Lord Taylor), a survivor Rick previously encountered. They realize that the Terminus residents have resorted to cannibalism to survive. The butchers execute Sam and the other prisoners, although Glenn narrowly averts death when Gareth shows up to discuss mundane operations with the men, and interrogates Rick about the bag of weapons he buried in the woods. As the men prepare to kill Glenn, gunfire erupts outside followed by an explosion.
On the train tracks, Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), who is carrying Rick’s baby daughter Judith, observe a herd of walkers heading toward Terminus. The two encounter Martin (Chris Coy), a Terminus resident living in a cabin, and overhear him say that Michonne and Carl are held captive. The two take him captive, with Tyreese watching him and Judith while Carol heads to Terminus to rescue the group. Martin verbally baits Tyreese, while Carol smears herself with walker gore as she approaches Terminus alongside the herd. She fires on a propane tank, triggering the aforementioned explosion, setting parts of Terminus ablaze as the herd attacks. Rick takes advantage of the chaos and kills the butchers. They arm themselves and attack several Terminus inhabitants. Carol, who had entered through the herd, finds Rick’s watch and Daryl’s crossbow, and encounters Mary (Denise Crosby). She tells Carol that Terminus was originally a sanctuary, but marauders invaded and raped and killed several inhabitants until they took the place back and became the “butchers” instead of the “cattle.” Carol shoots Mary in the leg and leaves her to be eaten by walkers.
At the cabin, which is surrounded by walkers, Martin seizes Judith and forces Tyreese to go outside, threatening to break Judith’s neck if he doesn’t. After killing the walkers, Tyreese assaults Martin and reluctantly beats him to death. In the train car, the survivors induce Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to tell them what the cure is. He tells them he was working on the Human Genome project and that he believes they can “fight fire with fire” and end the zombie apocalypse if he can get to Washington, D.C. Rick and his group release them from the train car, and they fight their way out of Terminus and into the woods; Gareth, who is leading some of his men out, is shot by Rick in the shoulder. Rick digs up the bag of weapons and wants to return to Terminus to kill the remaining inhabitants, but his plan is overwhelmingly voted down. Carol suddenly appears, and she leads them to Tyreese and Judith. Sasha, Rick and Carl have an emotional reunion with their loved ones. The group decides to leave, with Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) intending to take Eugene to Washington. As they follow the tracks, Rick uses dirt to change a Terminus sign so that it reads “No Sanctuary”.
In another flashback, the Terminus inhabitants continue to be assaulted, while Gareth telling his group that they need to become “the butcher.”
In a post-credits scene set some time in the future, a masked man approaches the “No Sanctuary” sign. Turning and removing his mask, he reveals himself to be Morgan Jones (Lennie James). He steps off the tracks and looks at a symbol carved into a tree (an X inside a circle), and heads further into the woods.
This episode is pretty strange when it comes to TWD. It is almost perfect, I didn’t like the assault on the prison last season. It ended all too conveniently. The breakout from Terminus did have some superficial similarities but the punchline was much stronger. I believed in Carol’s efforts to bust out Rick and the gang, and I really believed the people from Terminus were the cannibalistic serial killers depicted, not just a madman with a tank who is just there because he is there. If there is one gripe I must mention then it is Tyreese, I couldn’t believe he allowed Martin to even get close to Judith. Though Tyreese managed to turn the tables on him the scene lacked that edge you feel when Rick slits the throat of his wannabe killers with the vigour to match. Some say Terminus was a dead end for TWD. Well it is, but now the series can move on with a new sense of direction that it simply didn’t have at the prison. With most storylines closed we are down with a few such as the disappearance of Beth and the return of Morgan Jones. They are just enough the keep season 5 going while more character development takes place. No Sanctuary will be remembered for its extreme violence, gore and brilliant special effects but I will remember the continuity with the season 4 finale, together they bring closure.
Score; 9.2 / 10. One of the best episodes of TWD, absolutely unforgiving…………..
This was The Walking Dead S5Ep1 No Sanctuary Review, I hope you enjoyed reading my commentary.