Evan Slead ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
One of the most anticipated TV season premieres went to AMC’s The Walking Dead. Season five alive (or technically dead)! Last season left viewers with the nail biting cliff hanger of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang finding sanctuary in Terminus. However, this sanctuary seemed to have a dark secret that snagged the group into a cannibalistic camp. Meanwhile, Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) continued their search for the rest of the group while protecting baby Judith. With the truth of the cannibalistic ways of Terminus coming into light for the group, they are hauled into a train car to wait for their demise.
The premiere episode, “No Sanctuary”, kicked things off with some good old fashioned blood and violence. Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), along with a few other captives, are hauled into the warehouse where the people of Terminus cut up bodies for better storage usage. Leaning them over a feeding trough, the captives throats are slit to let the blood spill out. Viewers are forced to watch the blade get closer and closer to the main characters with no means of escape in sight. Thankfully, an explosion and spray of gunfire distracts the Terminus baddies from finishing the bloodletting.
The wonderful skill that The Walking Dead possesses is prevalent in not only this opening scene, but also the series in general. The show always takes its time to dole out information to viewers with a focus on growing the characters. This can sometimes make the episodes feel long and plotting, but in the long run, it subconsciously builds a strong bond to the characters on the screen. This opening scene throws the viewer right into the thick of turmoil which causes immediate tension. How will they get away? How did it get this bad? Since the show takes its time to build, when they have episodes with non stop action and tension it feels completely earned.
The episode switches between Rick, Daryl, Bob and Glenn trying to find the source of the explosion, and to Carol creating the explosion. Last season Rick banished Carol from the group due to her harsh judgments on how to keep the group safe from the virus. Carol has had to grow as a character and so has Rick, making the decision at the finale last season to bite a mans neck off. Rick seems to understand the need for dire decisions so the return of Carol at this moment truly is explosive in every way.
With so much tension running through the entirety of the premiere, its a breath of fresh air to know that Carol is running the show on their escape. Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Sgt. Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Dr. Porter (Josh McDermitt), Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Tara (Alanna Masterson) are still captive in the train car when Sasha requests an explanation on the cure for the virus that Dr. Porter apparently has in his head. He is the only hope for any source of cure for the zombie outbreak and it was intriguing to hear that this season will expand more on his role. It seems that his plan is to fight the virus with the same virus. Fire with fire.
In a well earned and played moment for the show, Carol is reunited with the group, but most importantly, Daryl. Their embrace is one that seems needed for ages and brings a warmth back to the atmosphere of the episode. Rick and Carl reuniting with Judith, as well as Sasha and Tyreese embracing were all moments that cut the tension after the escape. Viewers are shown flashes of the Terminus group before their cannibal ways. It seems they were attacked by violent rapists which forced them to become the group that they are. Carol encounters a woman at one point that begs for her to understand that they made the choice that was needed. This was a particularly interesting point seeing as Carol’s actions last season caused her to be thrown away by Rick. She was not suggesting cannibalism, however her response to Rick’s judgment was not dissimilar to this woman’s. Again, The Walking Dead manages to come back with full, bloody force to throw more questions in viewers laps. Until next week, watch out for those walkers.
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.