AMC’s The Walking Dead returns in an electrifying season premiere


The Walking Dead opened with a bang in “No Sanctuary,” the action-packed and exciting premiere of the fifth season. The show picks up right where it left off at the end of season four, with Rick and the other group members stuck in a train car at Terminus, the supposed sanctuary which instead was a headquarters for thieving cannibals.

Right at the start of the episode, we’re treated to a tense and suspenseful scene where Rick, Daryl, Glenn and a few less-important, expendable characters are taken by the Terminians to a trough, where their necks are sliced open one by one. Just before the knife makes its way to the first of our heroes’ necks, however, Terminus is rocked by a large explosion, caused by Carol and Tyreese, who have managed to track down the other main characters. This explosion gives Rick the perfect opportunity to escape, and from there, the show continues on a wild, non-stop thrill ride, filled with plenty of gore, guns and zombies.

Carol goes on a large killing spree this episode and camouflages herself in a pack of zombies, which underlines her transformation from the fearful weakling she was in the beginning of the series to the killer who does what she needs to survive. Throughout the episode though, there is a theme of remaining moral even in their post-apocalyptic world, as Rick and his group face darker, more jaded versions of themselves. Tyreese struggles with his conscience and is unwilling to kill at the beginning of the episode, and Rick, Daryl and Glenn risk their lives to rescue a complete stranger. We even learn through a series of short flashbacks how the people of Terminus transformed from humane peacekeepers into the immoral cannibals we see now. With all this in mind, it seems probable that this season will push the limits of the characters and see how far they will be willing to go to survive.

Admittedly, the show has had pacing problems in the past, such as the entire second season being spent on a quiet farm or the relatively slow second half of season four. Because of this, I was expecting the show to take a few episodes to have Rick and his pals escape, if not the first half of the season. My expectations were happily proven wrong, though, as the Terminus storyline was wrapped up by the end of the episode. However, I’m certain that the cannibals will turn up again later in the season, given the flashbacks telling their story and the fact that their leader was merely wounded instead of killed.

“No Sanctuary,” filled with intense moments of dread and suspense, promises an exciting season to come, one that moves quickly and isn’t afraid to wrap up plot points and continue on to the next challenge for the characters. Hopefully the next episode, “Strangers,” which will air on AMC at 9 p.m. Oct. 19, will be able to live up to the expectations set by the premiere and capitalize on the momentum gained by this strong start.