WARNING: Contains Some Spoilers
Often, whenever I talk about TV shows with someone and I mention AMC’s The Walking Dead, the first thing they’ll say is “Oh, that show about zombies?” The problem with this response is that there is much more to this show than just “zombies.” I do acknowledge the fact that The Walking Dead has to do with the zombie apocalypse, but for those of you that thought this show was simply about a group of humans fighting the undead, then the season 5 premiere will show you how the recurring theme of the human condition and family plays an integral part in the unfolding of the series.
For fans, such as myself, who have been keeping up with the show, the season finale of the fourth season ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger. Rick Grimes and his remaining friends found themselves confined in a place known as Terminus, which they were made to believe was a sanctuary by signs and radio recordings, but in fact was a trap for any other human survivors to stumble upon and meet an unfortunate fate at the hands of the people in charge of Terminus.
The season 5 premiere kicks off a couple of days after the ending of the season 4 finale, where we were left with Rick, Carl, Michonne and Daryl being reunited with their other friends in captivity and Rick ending the show with the phrase, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”
The beginning of season 5 shows Rick and his friends eagerly preparing for an escape from Terminus. However, their plans are ultimately foiled, as their captors are smarter than the group anticipated. The show then takes a grisly turn when we are shown how the people of Terminus butcher their captives and do so in such a methodical fashion (think farm slaughter house).
In the midst of this, the episode shifts to past events concerning the leader of Terminus, Gareth. In these sequences, we are shown how Gareth, his mother and a few of the other survivors from Terminus were in a similar situation as Rick and his friends find themselves in now, except much more evil and disgusting. These sequences made me feel quite uneasy, but they also let me understand why Gareth and the rest of the people of Terminus are the way they are now. They had originally let all survivors into Terminus, but the very people they let in turned on them and did horrible things to them. The atrocities they faced were enough to make them snap and turn into what they are now.
We also see a change in tone when we are able to see Carol and Tyreese with Rick’s baby. They have gone through a lot on their own and even though there is a certain uneasiness between Carol and Tyreese (explained in previous episodes), they still manage to stick together and take care of the baby. Further into the show, they learn that Rick and the others are being held at Terminus, they find this out when they sneak up on one of the Terminus scouts communicating with the people on the inside. With this information, Carol decides to invade Terminus, tactically using the sheer number of zombies nearby to her advantage.
At the risk of sidetracking here, I must say that Carol had become one of the strongest female characters in the show, her fearless acts of heroism throughout this episode merit her the right to be called a badass. Tyreese also deserves praise after he faced a dangerous situation. He was left alone with the baby and the scout that they encountered, but against all odds he comes out on top, literally.
In the most heated moments of the show, Rick’s group, with the major help of Carol, manage to set Terminus aflame and fight through their captors off, as well as the zombies that are ravaging the false sanctuary. For those looking to see some good-old fashion zombie slaying action, these instances will not disappoint you.
As the battle begins to escalate, the group takes the opportunity to escape. Once they are away from harm, two of the show’s most emotional reunions take place, reunions that all fans were dying to see for quite sometime now. We are also given a glimpse of a familiar face trailing the group, fans will be excited seeing him again. I actually wanted him to play a bigger role in the show, so I am glad the creators have decided to add him back into the mix.
Over all, I must agree with many other critics saying that this is the best season premiere the show has seen so far. The crew of The Walking Dead are not playing around, and this first episode definitely set the tone for the rest of the season. I expect great things out of season 5 and am going to stay tuned for this upcoming Sunday.
Get ready for another round of nail-biting and hair-pulling, not for the show, I mean for the time we have to wait until the next episode airs.