FINALLY. After MONTHS and MONTHS of waiting we are back. Season 5 is here and it starts with a BANG. And a BOOM. And a THWACK. Episode 1 was GNARLY. Let’s get to it.

The show starts with one word: THEN. We see Gareth and his people, held captive. “We brought them here” his friend says as we here screams outside.

NOW. Rick and his team are weaponizing. They’re taking everything they can find and making shivs, spiked knuckles, garrotes, everything. Then they wait for the doors to open… only they don’t attack through the doors. They drop a smoke bomb through the ceiling. I feel like Abraham or Rick should have seen that coming.

Rick, Glenn, Bob, and Daryl are dragged into a room with four other men. They’re made to kneel bound and gagged over a large steel trough. A man in the corner is cutting apart a human body with a buzz saw. After the men are in place over the trough, he picks up an aluminum bat while his partner sharpens his knives. It works like this: Bat to the back of the head, then they slit your throat and you bleed out into the trough. IT. IS. BRUTAL.

Guy #1. Guy #2. Guy #3. Rick readies his wooden shiv. Guy #4. Then they get to Glenn. If you’ve read the comic you are holding your breath at this point. The guy winds up aaand Gareth comes in. He’s asking for a shell count from the butchers and taking count of the guys being killed. Bob get his attention and tries to talk him out of it. It doesn’t work.

Gareth talks to Rick next. He wants to know what he buried in the woods (his spotters saw him). After threatening Bob, Rick tells him. Guns. AK-47. 44 Magnum. Automatic weapons. Night scope. Compound bow. And a machete with a red handle. “That’s what I’m going to use to kill you.”

Gareth gags Rick and tells the guys to finish. The butcher winds up to take out Glenn again aaaand explosions outside. CREDITS.

We jump to Tyreese, Carol, and Little Ass Kicker. We see that Tyreese is troubled by what they’ve been through, going so far as to ask Carol to take care of a walker they stumble across. Avoiding a herd, they come across a scout of the Terminus gang. He’s radioing back to base about Carl and Michonne. Sucks for him that they hear it.

They take him captive in a shed. He tells them it was all self defense. He was about to set off fireworks to draw the herd away from Terminus. Carol doesn’t want that to happen. She wants the distraction. She leaves Tyreese with Judith and their captive and makes a gut poncho to blend in with the herd.

The captive tries to talk his way out with Tyreese. “You’re a good guy. That’s why you’re gonna die today. The baby’s gonna die.” He tells him to take the car and go.

Carol makes her way to Terminus. She sees them dragging Rick and co into the kill room. She targets the giant propane tank by the fence. Shoots a couple holes in it and then uses the fireworks to blow it to smithereens as the herd approaches. Flaming zombies swarm the compound and Carol sneaks in.

Tyreese sees the explosion through his window. Once again his captive tries to convince him that if he’s unwilling to kill, then he will be the one killed.

Gareth leaves the butcher with the bat and his throat slitter. Throat slitter wants to go help, butcher wants to do their job. As they argue, Rick cuts his bonds and kills them both. Bob, Glenn, Rick, and Daryl grab weapons and escape.

Back in the shipping container, Eugene is trying to rig an explosive from the smoke bomb to blow the door as zombies surround it.

In the kill room, Bob is about to stab the brain of one of the butchers. Rick stops him. “Let them turn.” They move into the next room–basically a meat locker full of human body parts. Rick tells them “you cross any of these people, you kill them. Don’t hesitate.”

Walkers have surrounded a container, someone is yelling inside. When Rick suggests slipping by Glenn tells him that they have to help. It’s who they are. He opens the door and a bearded man with a tattoo comes running out. He grabs Glenn, then Rick. “WE’RE THE SAME!” he yells laughing. Rick shoves him off and a walker gets him.

Carol finds the supply room. She finds Daryl’s crossbow and Rick’s watch that he gave to Sam in season 4.

A kill squad comes through taking out walkers. Rick lets them pass by they kills the last one, takes his gun, and kills the others. Rambo Grimes. Cut off by the herd, they double back through the compound.

Carol finds the memorial room. Mary gets the drop on her while walkers approach the door. Carol spins and fires on Mary, who drops her gun. Carol interrogates Mary (or tries), shooting her in the leg. Mary tells her how they were attacked and raped but they won. She then leaves her to die as she lets the walkers into the room.

Back with Tyreese, his prisoner manages to take Judith hostage, and he forces Tyreese outside with a zombie horde. Unfortunately for him, this is kind of Tyreese’s forte. He takes them all out, bursts back through the door, and tackles the Termite with full prejudice. He proceeds to beat the stuffing out of him as we see the wrecked zombies outside.

In the shipping container, Sasha is grilling Eugene about what he knows. He tells them that he was a part of a weapons program that would find targeted pathogens with targeted pathogens. He says he can make a disease that will kill the dead but not the living.

Rick throws open the door (it’s like a war zone) and everyone escapes over the fence. They go back to their buried weapons to re-equip. Rick wants to go back to take out the Termites but cooler, and more compassionate heads (Abraham, Glenn, Maggie, Rosita) prevail. Just then, Carol returns. CUE THE WATERWORKS!

Daryl runs for Carol and gives her a good long hug (what no kiss?!)? Rick follows suit (“Did you do that?”) and Carol tells him “You need to come with me.” The reunited group heads for Tyreese and Judith. CUE THE WATERWORKS AGAIN!

Rick gets Lil Asskicker back! The gratitude in his eyes and the way he grasps Tyreese’s shoulder is pretty touching. They hit the road, Rick changes one of the Terminus signs to “NO SANCTUARY.”

Title card: THEN
We flash back to Gareth once again. The door to the container is ripped open and a woman is pulled out screaming. When Gareth tries to fight back, a large man with tattoos on his face (the wild man from the container earlier—NOT Negan, sorry gang) reminds him that they’re the ones in power. “We’re gonna take it back,” Gareth says. “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.”

BOOM! END! That’s an action and emotion packed episode!

PSYCH! There’s a post-credits scene! A mysterious figure follows the train tracks. He stops at Rick’s modified sign. He turns and pulls his mask off and it’s… MORGAN!!! He turns into the woods and follows the circles X’s carved into the trees. Who’s marking the path?

Hit us with your comments below! Our favorite comment (as judged by myself, Lizzy, and Little Rooster) will win the shirt of their choice! Please note that we’re upgrading the comment system, so hopefully it will work ok…

COMMENT WINNER

We don’t normally enjoy long responses. We’re lazy. But when someone puts this much effort into really understanding the characters, and does a pretty good job of it, it needs to be rewarded. Even if we don’t necessarily agree that Rick and Gareth are THAT similar.

Congrats, JW Coombs! Next time put some more paragraph breaks in there! My eyes are bleeding!

jwcoombs on October 13, 2014 at 7:27 am said:
Ok. So the premier was awesome. Although; I felt like it didn’t live up to all the hype, albeit only slightly. But a lot of that could be because I follow the spoilers so avidly and comprehensively. But it was still amazing!
A few things; loved the discover that Gareth and Alex are brothers and sons of Mary. Also, it was chilling to see Alex, Gareth’s own brother, on the butcher table as the first lamb to the slaughter for that day. That sums up what kind of people they are; the kind of people who fight and kill to take back their home, under the pretense of protecting their family; then they take the vow of “we first always” and proceed to trust no one; and use new comers as a source of food and all types of supplies(sure beats scavenging); but these same people, who claim to be so dedicated to protecting their people above all else; callously and coldly kill their own brother(just to take away Rick’s leverage) and then they cut him up and eat him. What does that say about someone; if even after being family, and surviving the ZA together, fighting of enemies, protecting each other, at the end of the day you kill your own brother and process him with the rest of the cattle? That’s not ruthless, that’s completely foul, unadulterated evil. That’s they type of sickness that can’t be treated; an affliction. You would think; after seeing the candle-room that they would bury, mourn, remember, and cherish their lost loved ones.
Also, it was pretty crazy to find out that Tattoo-Face was the original assailant who took Terminus from the Termites when it was still a sanctuary. Even more disturbing; is the fact that they didn’t eat him; they imprisoned him for all this time; giving him just enough to stay alive and most likely torturing him, making him watch all his buddies that helped him rape and kill get taken out and eaten one by one. Keeping him alive so he can watch all his friends die ugly and have to live with it. Apparently all that time and trauma caused him to finally slip his tether, because he certainly wasn’t sane when he came out. You would think he would have came out seeking vengeance; but apparently they succeeded in breaking him a while ago. I wonder if by saying-”We’re the same” he was insinuating he wanted to join the Termites? I guess we’ll never know.
Also, it’s conflicting when you really think about it. Because how different is Gareth from Rick really? Not much at all. He did what he did, sacrificed his soul and innocence, for the sake of preserving his people, their lives and humanity. He’s doing exactly what Rick would do, and has done over and over again. He’s been forced into a corner, with very few harrowing decisions to be made; and he rose to the occasion and made those decisions, no matter how terrible. In my eyes, that makes him a good leader and a good man. He protected his family at all costs; sometimes that means doing unforgivable, dark things. But in this world, being strong, and protecting your people isn’t always “heroic” in the way we think. Sometimes the only way to win is to become what you despise. Now, I agree that the cannibalism is unforgivable; but think about it. I imagine at first, it was nothing but an act of sheer vengeance. It was torture; a sentence handed down by Gareth after passing judgement on the men who raided his home and raped his mother. He felt that death, or exile, or even being damned to wander the earth as a corpse wasn’t a equal and proper punishment for the evil they’d done. So he developed another punishment; what would be more terrifying then watching your friends be maimed, mutilated and eaten; all the while knowing it will be your fate as well. I bet Gareth made him eat his own people if he wanted to live. At first it was just a punishment. But as you know; once you do things and go places, you change forever, there is no coming back; and Gareth was no longer the same man he was before Terminus was taken from them; as much as he’d like to be; that man is dead and gone. He delved deeper into dark and demented recesses of his mind. I’d imagine; after taking back Terminus; they found that the bandits depleted most all of their supplies, killed many of their people, and attracted a large amount of dead attention with their actions. So, even though they’ve taken back their home; they are prisoners in it; and they have no supplies, no food, water, weapons or ammo. They were all injured, weak, shaken, distraught, broken, they couldn’t risk going on a run especially with all the dead in the area. So; Gareth did the only thing he could; he explained to his people that they would have to eat their once-captors and once they’ve healed and regained their strength they would be able to deal with the problems and clean the place up. After that, it just became easy. It was hard at first; but the people easily acclimated, espeically because that first taste was that of their enemies so it felt like vengeance, sweet restitution, it felt…good. So, after that it became a simple dispassionate act; just like eating anything else. Then, they made the vow to never offer sanctuary to anyone again; this was their home and theirs alone. Now that they had a taste for human flesh they figure; wouldn’t it be so much easier to keep the signs up, continue to lure people, but be ready for them. Then when the arrive, we imprison them, take all their clothes, belongings, vehicles and supplies, and then kill and eat them as needed. Pretty smart if you think about it; it means no more scavenging; you let your victims do the work for you, and hand deliver their supplies to you at the door. So not only would this increase their strength and safety; but it would give them a sustainable survival advantage that would enable them to outlast many others. Gareth and Rick are very similar; I believe Rick could have wound up the same way; it’s just they received different pushes in different directions. Had Rick been pushed similarly, he may have made the same choices.