HomeTelevisionTV Recap: The Walking Dead, 'No Sanctuary' (Season 5 Premiere)

TV Recap: The Walking Dead, ‘No Sanctuary’ (Season 5 Premiere)

The Walking Dead Season 5 poster.

Plot: Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group are now prisoners to the ruthless residents of Terminus. Will they be able to escape before Gareth (Andrew J. West) finishes them off? Not if Carol (Melissa McBride) has anything to do with it.


Talk about starting a new season off in a big way. When Season 4 ended last year, fans were left salivating for more. It was absolute torture hearing Rick say, “They’re screwing with the wrong people” and get zero immediate follow up. In an extremely wise move, Season 5 opened up in a manner different than last. There is no typical time jump and a recap of where our characters are. “No Sanctuary” began right after Rick made that outstanding statement ripped right from the comics (minus profanity). The team is turning everything they can into a weapon with the intent to fight themselves out. The subsequent firefight was easily one of the most intense and well produced events of this entire series. It started this new season on an incredibly high note and I need to get a shovel to dig my jaw out of the Earth’s mantle. Also, where are my eyes? They bulged out too far and now they’re gone.

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Carol. Talk about a radical change. Remember when she was that timid wife who was scared of her husband? Of course she abandoned that image long ago, but “No Sanctuary” officially introduced us to a new type of Carol I lovingly call “Carol Rambo.” This woman is a killing machine. Shooting a propane tank and launching a rocket to blow it up, gunning down several people to reach her friends, and letting walkers have their own feast were her big feats of the night, She even left Mary (Denise Crosby) to the literal slaughter. It took brutal to an entirely new level. But while Carol was obviously happy to save all of her friends, you could just tell that this was really mentally harming her. I wouldn’t be surprised if this subsequent season has her suffering some mental damage after seeing all of this shit. Then again, this might not happen at all because Carol is basically a Terminator now.

We learned a lot about Terminus in this episode too, including the confirmation that they are cannibals. That butcher room was something straight out of Saw and it fit this nightmarish hell hole perfectly. When Rick, Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Glenn (Steven Yeun) were brought into that room, I got chills. The mechanical nature and fluidity of these butchers was terrifying. Bringing Hippy Sam (Robin Lord Taylor – Penguin from Gotham) back for one final scene was an excellent call back to last season. The smartest decision regarding Terminus though was letting us learn more about Gareth in flashbacks. As it turns out, Gareth was just like Rick and his group: a prisoner from when Terminus was attacked before. But Gareth went a different way to get revenge.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

This lack of humanity was a big theme throughout the night. Clearly Gareth has given up what it means to be a good person, but Rick and his group still maintain it. Glenn even directly references this when the butcher room group questions if they should save an unknown person by saying, “We have to. We’re still that type of people.” They’re still the good ones who prefer to save others who don’t deserve to die. Tyreese maintained this for a while because Martin (Chris Coy) didn’t give a reason for death until he put his hands on Judith. Then it was all fair game. And though we don’t actually see Martin’s fully dead body, I can’t imagine anyone surviving that repeated beating by Tyreese. Especially a flapping two dimensional mouthpiece like Martin. As for once the group escaped, it’s telling that Rick is the only one who really wants to finish Terminus off for good. Rick has been crazy before for the wrong reasons, but I think we can all agree that the Terminus residents deserve to die for good. Their continued survival is bad for the group so it’s highly likely that our protagonists humanity will backfire in a big way. Gareth is clearly still alive too and you know he won’t let them go easily.

How this episode was produced is definitely worth noting. When we’re witnessing our heroes inside the butcher room, time basically slowed down with the idea that one of them will die. Watching those poor humans get killed one by one was absolutely painful. Once Carol blows up fences and Terminus falls apart, the special effects were really on point and the action was beautifully shot. I also loved how the episode opened with the butcher room, and then jumped to what Carol and Tyreese were doing during Rick’s arrival. It allowed us to learn about their separate journey while jumping right into the action once that is done. Those handmade weapons were outstanding too. Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) double edged sword with wooden blades and Rosita’s (Christian Serratos) “Wolverine” claws were my favorite. The return of the “walker guts” disguise was also cool.

Carol and Tyreese on The Walking Dead.

As if viewers weren’t already losing their minds from the crazy attack and the wonderfully emotional reunion for the group (Daryl hugging Carol definitely made several fans cry I’m sure), “No Sanctuary” finished off with a post-credits scene of Morgan (Lennie James) finding the Terminus sign that Rick altered in the end. He has no lines, but it’s clear that Morgan has completely repaired himself from his terrible slump we saw in Season 3’s “Clear” and that he was going to Terminus. The time gap between Rick’s sign fixing and Morgan’s discovery is unknown, but I’m sure everyone is excited to have Morgan back. Actually, I’m sure everyone is excited with how “No Sanctuary” began this season. This premiere was absolutely fantastic and I’m ready for more.

Rating: 9.5/10


Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.




  1. It’s funny to see TV shows start using post credit scenes. I wonder though if this would have been better as a finale of last season. I doubt Martin is dead…no corpse, no death. I’m not too sure we needed the flashbacks for Gareth. We didn’t really need that for the Governor (whom in the show seemed to once be an ordinary guy). I would have liked for them to pick up at least one new character (another captive) from Terminus. Those four red shirts must have come from another freight car.

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