Review: Walking Dead Season Premiere

Review: Walking Dead Season Premiere

Walking_Dead_Season_5_PosterThe Walking Dead

Season 5, Episode 1

“No Sanctuary”

Rating: A+

The Walking Dead exploded on screens last night for it’s fifth season premiere, and with it came more brutality than television sees this side of HBO. Hell, even Game Of Thrones, which has some pretty brutal scenes, has no comparison with the zombie plagued world of The Walking Dead, which is surprising considering one is HBO and one is network cable. That, however, is a an entirely different article.

The Walking Dead has never shown its characters any kindnesses. From the television series, to the video game, to the comics—the characters that inhabit Robert Kirkman’s world have to deal with the worst circumstances imaginable. No one is safe, and characters loved and despised alike meet their end with frequency, be it from zombie related catastrophes or human ones.

That’s been the message. So much so that it’s flat out the catch phrase for one of The Walking Dead’s seasons; ‘Fight The Dead, Fear The Living’. Humans are worse than the monsters that killed off most of them. We left our survivor group after they had been captured by a supposed peaceful community. That’s where we find them, preparing to bring down hell on their captors, but are instead greeted by tear gas and separated. Rick, Daryl, Glen, Bob, and a few red-shirts find themselves on their knees as men in butcher aprons sharpen bats. Terminus, the survivor’s paradise they were hoping for, is a butcher’s colony.

I need to break for a minute and talk about this. There is no limits to the depths of depravity that humankind will go to. At this point in our survivor’s lives, food as a whole is scarce. Walkers have eaten all the herds, so hunting is difficult, and all the meat that existed on shelves was eaten or spoiled long long ago. The people in this small colony have turned to cannibalism instead of farming in order to get the nutrition they need. It goes in line with the show’s themes of the dead being terrible, but humankind being a thousand times worse. One of the citizens of Terminus tells a story about the signs that lead survivors here once being real, but that a group came in and raped, killed, and butchered most of the sanctuary’s citizens, until they finally fought and took it back. “But we heard the message,” she said, “You’re the butcher or you’re the cattle.”

Enter Carol, who saves the day using explosions and zombies. Carol is a very interesting character, and for anyone who challenges the character development on The Walking Dead, fans need only to point to Carol as an example of exemplary characterization. When we met her, she was battered and abused, a victim of her husband Ed’s temper and general terribleness. After his death, Carol’s subdued attitude changed, and she started becoming something more. After Sophia’s loss and subsequent death, she became hard, and her willingness to protect the family unit she has creates knows no bounds. We’ve seen her do the unthinkable to protect the group as a whole, and she makes a triumphant return to Rick’s good graces in the season 5 premiere.

As Carol is making her grand entrance into Terminus, Tyrese and baby Judith are out at a guard post in the woods, where they have taken one of the guards hostage. As Tyrese watches the walkers amble past, the guard runs across the cabin and, in a move I can honestly say I didn’t see coming but probably should have, threatens to kill the baby, his giant hands around her neck. It’s not the first time TWD has used baby Judith for a shock, but it’s the first time we’ve actually seen the baby be in danger and not just had tragedy implicit in a bloody car seat. Tyrese saves her, of course, and we as the audience don’t feel even a little bad reveling in his brutality because what kind of evil bastard threatens a baby.

One of the things I’ve always love/hated about The Walking Dead is it’s tendency to go off from the comics. The characters are the same, but many story arcs are either tamer, or more boring in the show. Take the Governor, the closest thing to a Big Bad this show has ever had. In the comics, he is roughly 10,000 times more deplorable and inhuman, and that is saying something, because in the show he is pretty awful. Every now and then, though, the show will take a page out of the comics, and the additions of Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita to the survivor roster definitely bodes well for comic fans, and gives the show a direction to go in so it doesn’t spin it’s wheels.

By the end, our group has fought it’s way out of what remains of Terminus, and seemingly dispatched all of the butchers within. Reunions abound as Carol leads Rick and the others to where baby Judith and Tyrese are waiting. These human moments, where there is a relative calm to the everlasting storm, are what these people strive and survive for. The love of family and friends has always been an overlying theme of this show, but it gets lost in the blood and horror of the world, and that’s the point. I may be pointing out the obvious here, but it mirrors real life, albeit in an extreme way. Those small moments are what makes the horrors of the world worth it. I’m just thankful our horrors are a little less extreme than Zombie Apocalypse.

Stuff And Things

(ha, I didn’t realize how relevant that was going to be)

  • For some reasons someone started to cut onions in my kitchen around the time Rick and Carl find out Judith is alive.
  • Tyrese constantly looks like he’s going to cry, but that may be just me.
  • Morgan is back, and not seeming nearly as crazy as he did last time we saw him.
  • The fifth season of The Walking Dead is shaping up to be one of it’s best yet. If they keep going on the path they are on, following Eugene and Abraham and Rosita to Washington D.C., there should be some very nifty twists and turns to come
  • The brutality of this show has, for the most part, replaced the horror. The tension is always from wondering if another survivor will kill a character we love, but whenever the walkers show up it’s more of a nifty sequence of slaughter. Our survivors are professionals at this point, dying from a walker bite is amateur hour.
  • Nothing on Beth but a passing mention from Daryl as to what happened to her, but I expect them to deal with that question soon enough
Categories: Entertainment