After far too long of a wait, The Walking Dead is back. This is normally where we would make a joke about how the show just won’t die, but we won’t do that. After a wonderful season 4, there is new hope for the show. The premiere of season 5, “No Sanctuary,” confirms that hope.
We begin where we left off, our group is locked in the rail car. We go back to a flashback and see that at one point, another group was locked in that rail car. That group was the current leaders of Terminus. Back to the here and now time, some members of the group are taken. Rick, Bob, Glenn, and Daryl join some other Terminus prisoners at a butcher shop. The rumors and speculations were correct, they are the ones to be butchered meaning that the residents of Terminus eat people. Not in a Soylent Green way either. They are straight up snacking on people. The four others are slaughtered, but right before Glenn gets an aluminum bat to the back of the head (just does not have the same sound of a wooden bat, but I am a purist), there is a giant explosion.
The explosion was caused by Carol. Tyreese, Carol, and Baby Judith have not quite made it to Terminus. On the way there, they encounter one of the residents of Terminus (got to be a better way to say this…Termites? Terminators? Termin-eaters?) setting up fireworks to lure the walkers away. (I am going to go with just calling them Terminus with the plural being Termini.) Carol and Tyreese take this guy hostage. Carol then grabs the nearest Walker face she can find and wears it Hannibal Lecter-style and walks to Terminus. Once there, she shoots a large propane tank and then shoots a bottle rocket at it, causing a giant explosion.
Back at Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, Garreth hears the noise and runs out with some other Termini to see what is going on, leaving the two butchers to continue the meal prep. Rick has other plans and kills these two but he does not finish them off and ensures that they will turn. The four then go and rescue those still locked in the rail car as the Walkers overrun Terminus and begin to eat the Termini. (I would imagine that a human that has been eating human will taste extra human-y to the Walkers.)
In Terminus, Carol stumbles on the “We First, Always” room. This is the room with names scrawled on the floor and the entire Yankee Candle product line burning bright. There she runs into Mary and we get a bit more of the Terminus back story. At one point, it was sanctuary for all. Until bad people came who did the things that bad people do, locking up the Termini and forcing the ‘good’ people of Terminus to change.
The episode ends with Rick and Carl reuniting with Judith, Tyreese being brought back together with his sister, and Daryl hoping that Beth is there. The group then proceeds to once again walk en masse looking for something. The group comes across a sign for Terminus and Rick defaces it and writes a “No” above “Sanctuary” which both warns people away and provides the title for this episode.
A big theme in this episode was the statement “You are either the butcher or the cattle.” As the remaining humans attempt to rebuild society, this idea that will distort what it takes to form a society. A ‘Kill or be killed’ philosophy works in movies or in The Hunger Games (which I have just been informed is a movie and not real) but in real life. This would not be something that a sustainable society could be based on. Add in the “We First” that we saw painted on the walls, it does not bode well for the future of mankind. It seems that the majority of people that our group has run across (Woodbury, the bikers, Terminus, even Herschel at first) have this mindset. When it all comes down to it, humanity is stripped of what gives us our humanity.
There is a post credits scene this week that I almost missed in my haste to avoid Talking Dead that I do not want to ruin for anyone. The payoff and the return of this character gives me hope for humanity this season. OK, I will ruin it. It was Morgan. Last we saw him, he was hanging onto his last thread of sanity and Rick, Carl, and Michonne had left him to his own devices. If he can come back from where he was, there is hope for us all.