Monday, October 13, 2014

The Walking Dead, Season Five, Episode One: No Sanctuary

The season opens with appears to be the people from Terminus all locked up.  They lament bringing Rick a group to Terminus and say that they never should have put up the signs.

It then shifts to the group talking about its various members, as Rick works to make a weapon out of his belt and the other members make weapons out of what they have available.  Rick tells everyone to go for the eyes first and then their throats.  Rick et al are suddenly ordered to put their backs to the walls and so the group prepares to fight but are surprised when the roof of the train car is opened up and gas is dropped in instead.

In a blur, we see Rick being hogtied and a similarly tied up Darryl brought in to sit next to him.  They are quickly joined by several other men, as in the background another man sharpness his knives.  Clearly they are being prepared for the slaughter. Rick et al watch as the man who is not part of their group is bashed over the head by a baseball bat and then had his throat is slit.  The people from Terminus move down the line killing two more men.  Rick manages to pull out some kind of shiv as yet another man is killed.  Glenn is next in line but they pause when Alex enters the room demanding an accounting of the shells that were used.  Bob takes this opportunity to say that the group has someone who knows how to stop the zombie apocalypse and that they just have to get him to Washington.  Alex is not convinced and tells Bob that they cannot go back.  Alex removes Rick's gag to ask about the bag he buried in the woods.  Rick doesn't answer, so Alex asks again, this time holding Bob and a spike. Rick offers to take Alex out there and reveals that there are guns hidden in the bag. Rick does however promise to kill Alex with a machete with a red handle. Alex steps back and informs the butchers that they have two hours to finish the slaughter.

Tyreese and Carol continue to follow the railroad track to Terminus.  She vows to see Tyreese and Judith safe before leaving.  When a walker appears, Tyreese simply says that he cannot and takes Judith, as Carol kills the walker.  When Carol looks up, she sees a horde of walkers headed right for them and so she and Tyreese head into the bushes to hide. When Carol and Tyreese start to stand to leave the area, gunshots go off. Attracted by the noise, the walker horde follows the sound of the gunshots, as Carol and Tyreese look on from the bushes.

Once the herd is gone, Carol and Tyreese climb out of the woods and speculate about Terminus being attacked.  Tyreese begins to question if they should keep heading to Terminus but Carol is determined that they get answers.

Martin is outside of a rickety cabin and communicating with CB radio to someone from Terminus.  Carol sneaks up behind him and places a gun to his head. Martin is quick to tell them that they have a place where everyone is welcome but Carol and Tyreese don't buy his story.  Martin then says that Rick et al attacked and they were only protecting themselves but of course, Carol and Tyreese don't believe that story either. Martin warns that they need to set up their charges to confuse the walkers and argues that this is a good thing for Carol and Tyreese as well. Carol however believes that the walkers will work to their benefit, even as Martin warns that Terminus is a compound.

Carol heads into the woods and covers herself in walker blood after leaving Judith with Tyreese.  In the cabin, Martin asks about Judith and then goes on to add that he doesn't have friends, just assholes he stays alive with. Martin talks a little about the life he used to live and adds that horrible shit just stacks up day after day.  Tyreese answers that he hasn't gotten used to any of this. Martin suggests that Tyreese is a good guy who hasn't had to get his hands dirty and that this is why Tyreese and Judith are going to die today.  Martin advises Tyreese to get in the car and go away.

Carol now covered in zombie blood makes her way through the forest towards Terminus. She makes her way to the fence to a hog tied Rick being dragged away.  Inside the compound, people are panicking as the horde makes its way over.  Carol shoots off a fire cracker into the compound and makes a hasty retreat.  Now the residents of terminus have a horde and a fire to deal with.

Back at the cabin, Martin speculates that maybe Carol just died in the explosion.  Tyreese makes it clear that no one has to die today but Martin replies that if Tyreese believes that then it will definitely be Tyreese and Judith.

Alex goes out to check on the noise and Rick continues to work on his bindings.  Outside the building, things get more hectic as zombies begin pouring in. Carol makes her way into the compound with a gun at her side still pretending to be a walker.

As the people from Terminus argue about what to do, a now free Rick kills the two butchers quickly frees the others. Inside the freight train Maggie, Abraham, Michonne and Carl are worried about all of the noise they are hearing.  Of course, Carl is confidant that his father will save them all.When Michonne manages to catch a glimpse outside she sees the walker.

Carol continues to move with the zombies as shots ring out in the background.  Carol sneaks into a corner and takes out one of the Terminus shooters.  Inside the meat factory, Daryl moves to take out the brain of a Terminus resident but Rick order Darryl to let him turn.  Human carcasses hang from the walls in one of the most macabre scenes I have ever watched. Rick then orders every Terminus resident killed, as they head outside to try and free the others.

Carol now deeply inside the compound finds a room filled with watches and clothing of the people the Terminus residents have eaten.  She picks up Rick's watch and Darryl's crossbow and keeps moving. Rick manages to disarm one of the Terminus residents and starts shooting.

Carol has made her way into and auditorium like area that is filled with candles.  A woman orders Carol to drop her weapons and turn around. Instead of dropping her weapon, Carol turns and fires and a brief fight quickly ensues before Carol gets the upper hand. The woman explains that Terminus used to be a sanctuary before people came and took this place.  The woman explains that people came and raped and killed and they had to fight to get Terminus back.  Carol asks about the group and when the woman does not answer, Carol shoots her. The woman tells Carol that she could have been one of them but Carol is not impressed.  Instead of killing the woman as she requests, Carol opens the door and lets the zombies in as the woman screams.

Tyreese watches as zombies begin to surround the cabin.  When he turns around, Martin has his hands on a crying Judith.  Martin orders Tyreese to put his weapons on the ground and when Tyreese complies, Martin demands that Tyreese go outside.  The zombies rage against the cabin door and Martin points out that with just one twist, Judith will be dead.  Tyreese opens the door and heads outside and Martin picks up the radio to try and communicate with Terminus.  Suddenly, everything goes quiet and Tyreese charges through the door and body slams Martin to the ground. Even as Tyreese strikes Martin, he keeps screaming that he won't.

Abraham continues working on getting the door open as everyone else gets their makeshift weapons ready.  Sasha asks Eugene about the cure and he says that it is classified.  Abraham tells Sasha to leave Eugene be.  Eugene arrogantly announces that even if he provided step by step instructions that the cure would still die with him. Sasha asks again and Rosita tells Sahsa that she doesn't need to know. Eugene says that he was part of a team at the human genome project and plans to fight fire with fire.

Rick opens the door the the trailer and the group comes pouring out in the middle of the gun fight and zombie fight. When Terminus residents come out, Rick shoots them.  The group makes it over the fence of Terminus and makes their way to their buried weapons.  The group wants to leave but Rick declares that the Terminus residents don't get to live. Carol slowly makes her way over to the group and when he sees her, Darryl rushes over and embraces her.  Rick makes his way over and asks Carol if she helped and when Carol nods yes, she and Rick embrace. Carol tells the group that they have to come with her and they head back to the cabin.  Rick runs when he sees Tyreese standing there holding Judith. Sasha and Tyreese embrace and Rick and Carl hold Judith with awe and the others watch.

Later, Carol asks what happened and Tyreese explains that he did what he had to when Martin had his hands around Judith's neck.  Rick tells the group that they need to move on while in the corner, Abraham tells Rosita of his plans to talk to Rick later.  The group moves down the railroad tracks and Rick pauses long enough to scratch out the Terminus sign.

Back at Terminus, we see a new group in the cattle car and one of the women is dragged out screaming.

On the road a man walks along the tracks and when he takes off his mask, we see that it's Morgan Jones.

After watching this, I again found myself asking why these people are following Rick Grimes when they should be following Carol.  In this episode we not only saw the ruthless side of Carol that we had been introduced to last season but the cunning side.  Carol used all the skill available to free the group.  While I loved everything that Carol did it pissed me off that this was used by Rick as a form of redemption.  When he is an agreement with who she kills and why, she is deemed acceptable. It leads me to believe that the reason for Carol's expulsion from the group is not because as Rick suggested that he could not trust her but that she dared to act autonomously to save the group.

I must admit to being perturbed by seeing Tyreese deflect to Carol throughout most of the episode.  I understand that he is traumatized and while from the perspective of gender this was absolutely subversive, the racial implications were problematic.  I believe that this situation would never have occurred with any of the White male characters.  In the end, Tyreese did what he had to do to save Judith but it's also worth noting, that unlike farmer Rick he didn't get a time out to deal with whatever was plaguing him.

I was glad to see that Sasha is the one who questioned Eugene.  Unlike Abraham who sees himself as a person of authority, Sasha is not inclined to blindly believe. Clearly the answer that Eugene gave made little sense and readers of the comics know exactly why.

At the end of the episode we saw that Morgan Johnson has finally left Cynthiana and is now following the train tracks.  While I am excited to see another character of colour I am concerned that by the fact that the last time Morgan made an appearance, it served solely for Rick to work out his angst and his guilt.  Morgan however was left with no closure and appeared to continue with his Sisyphean task of protecting the town from walkers. I hope that they build his character into something this time.

Speaking of characters of colour, am I the only one who was relieved to see that all of the POC made it out of the season opener?  I know that there were indications in clips that Glenn might die but personally I thought that Bob or Sasha would be the ones to go.  The Walking Dead has a history of making people of colour disposable at this point I am surprised that both Bob and Sasha are still around.  Let's see if they make it to the end of the season.