For being a show about the horrors of being neither one thing nor the either— neither dead nor alive, neither humane nor inhumane, neither a child nor an adult, etc., Walking Dead’s season 5 premiere has ventured into realm of absolute truth. In “No Sanctuary,” the characters learn the Terminus motto: “Either you’re the butcher or the cattle.” Perhaps the world is now exclusively made of predators and prey, making it almost impossible for our likeable characters to have a morale compass worth indulging.
As we know from the end of last season, Terminus was a bust. Instead of being an all-inclusive cruise with shuffleboard, a zany cruise director, and an all-you-can-eat buffet, it turns out it to be Hannibal Lector ‘s idea of a fun vacay. Glad there’s a good refund policy.
So during this first episode we see both separated groups (Rick and gang in Terminus and Carol and Tyrese in abandoned shack) unknowingly work with each other to terrorize Terminus and reunite the Rickatorship. Carol and Tyrese with wittle Baby Judith try to come up with a plan to reunite the group. Carol takes it upon herself to take everyone in Terminus out—distracting the lot with firework explosions and zany zombie mayhem. Tyrese decides to stay home and take care of the kid, what a modern day love story.
Inside Terminus, the group struggles to shank their way out of this popsicle stand. With the butchers (sounds like a great name for a band: The Butchers) about to kill Rick, Darryl, Alcoholic dude who I forget his name, and Glen, the group’s escape plan seems unlikely. Comically, Glen gets almost decapitated 3 times, but finally, a loud boom (Go Carol!) distracts the beheading of one my fav characters.
Characters both inside and outside Terminus question the new meaning of morality. Tyrese ultimately makes a decision to break his “no killing vow” (kind of sounds like me when I vow no more carbs, but you know, how can you not carb? I get you Tyrese). Rick also decides eff these people… I’m going to go Rambo on them, and let them turn into zombies.
Rick becomes a butcher in order to avoid slaughter. In fact, before seeing Carol (who constantly kicks ass this episode), Rick wants to go back finish off all the cannibals at Terminus (to Glenn’s chagrin). So what’s the difference between what those in Terminus did to Rick’s group in order to survive and what Rick would do to survive? Is the grey moral ground gone in season 5?
This episode of Walking Dead is setting a really dark precedent for the rest of the season. I predict we’ll see our beloved characters lose more of their humanity in an effort to avoid literally and figuratively being cattle. No more “no kill vows”, no more gardening, no more Winnebago golf. The stakes have changed for the group, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
PS- Where’s Beth?!