“They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out….they’re screwin’ with the wrong people.”
The Walking Dead made its long awaited return this week, and it did so with a zombie filled explosive bang. No Sanctuary kicked off season 5 of everyone’s favourite post apocalyptic zombie drama by picking up where we left off last season, as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang prepare to fight and fulfil Rick’s rather big headed (and censored from the comic version) claim that the people of Terminus are “screwin’ with the wrong people”.
The Walking Dead isn’t a show know for its fast pacing, but thankfully with No Sanctuary the events ramped up extremely quickly, and didn’t let up for the duration. With the show’s history of shifting the characters from sanctuary to sanctuary, with long stints in each safe haven dragging for episodes (I’m looking at you Hershel’s Farm), there was a concern that our heroes fight back could be played out over a number of episodes, by which time it could lose momentum, as has happened in the past. These fears were thankfully allayed within the first 5 minutes.
With Rick, Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) tied up and on their knees awaiting their slaughter, it seemed for a moment that we could be opening with one heck of a shock. However, Carol (Melissa McBride) was hatching a plan to take Terminus down that would set in motion one of the most intense, action packed and ultimately feel good episodes of The Walking Dead in quite some time. And “feel good” is not really a phrase generally associated with the show whatsoever!
Seemingly as a nod to The Walking Dead’s literary form, and to one of its most iconic moments and characters, the gang’s would be killer wielded a baseball bat much like Negan of the comics, and said baseball bat came dangerously close to making an acquaintance with one of our heroes. Some have speculated that a slick haired shadowy figure seen in a flashback at the end of the episode may have in fact been a tease for this classic character, but The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has shot these rumours down.
With long separated characters reunited, fast paced action scenes, and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) getting his mojo back, there were fan pleasing moments a plenty. As well as this, we get zombies, and lots of them. Possibly more than have been seen on the show for a quite some time, with human threats having taken centre stage. This leads to plenty of brutal zombie and human deaths which The Walking Dead does so effectively.
The episode once again highlighted the importance of Carol to the show, and just how well the writers have done to develop her character, and how brilliant of an actress Melissa McBride has proven to be. Who would of envisaged Carol not just stealing the show, but as a key component to its successes back in season 1, when she portrayed a down trodden housewife. Alongside Daryl and Rick, she is now for me one third of the show’s strongest character offerings (with Glenn and Maggie coming a close second).
Perhaps the biggest take away of the episode is simply seeing that the characters are on the move again at the conclusion, and I for one am excited to see where they head next. With Beth’s (Emily Kinney) disappearance still to be resolved, and Morgan(!) (Lennie James) seemingly hot on Rick and company’s trail, there is plenty to look forward to in the coming episodes, while still leaving the overall arc of the season left to unravel and become clear.
If the pace and momentum of No Sanctuary can be kept moving forward, season 5 could be the best we have seen of The Walking Dead to date. Pacing has been an issue for the show in the past however, so time will tell how the season fares, but there’s plenty to look forward to, and one things for sure – Rick wasn’t lying when he said “they’re screwin’ with the wrong people”.
Rick’s prophecy was revealed to be true in the all action No Sanctuary. This was The Walking Dead at its finest – hard-hitting, fan pleasing and pulsating throughout.
Rating (out of 5):