Books, Movies, and Shows, Recaps

Recap – The Walking Dead: No Sanctuary

Screenshot of TWD Season 5 Episode 1
Screenshot of TWD Season 5 Episode 1

Hello! As I promised over at Legend Zero, I will be recapping episodes of The Walking Dead season 5, and here’s the first. I’ve never done an episode recap before, so if it sucks, I can promise it will only improve.

So last night was the much awaited premiere of The Walking Dead, season 5, and it definitely lived up to the actors’ hype. Needless to say, SPOILERS to follow! If you haven’t seen it, stop here.

Episode one of season five, No Sanctuary, starts with a flashback that sheds some light on what messed up the Terminus residents to the breaking point. We see Gareth and another resident trapped inside a train cart, reminiscent of how we left Rick and company in the previous season’s finale. It seems as if someone has attacked their camp, having followed the signs that were originally meant to really offer sanctuary.

In the present time, Rick and the others prepare to ambush the Terminus residents when they come to take them. Via voice-overs we find out what happened when the Washington group and Glenn got to Terminus, and Daryl recalls what happened to Beth. They make weapons out of anything they have – belts, buttons, splinters of wood – but their plan backfires when they are surprised with a smoke grenade that knocks them out. Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and Bob are taken into a warehouse-like area where they butcher the bodies, and are lined up with people from another cart to be killed in front of a trough. The first few are killed with the swing of a bat and slice of the throat. Here’s where the episode starts to get to my nerves. Just as they’re about to swing at Glenn, Gareth shows up, asking questions that interrupts the killing.

Bob gets his attention and manages to speak, but isn’t able to convince Gareth to attempt compromise. Gareth shifts his attention to Rick, interrogating him about the contents of the bag they were seen with in the woods, but not when they entered Terminus. A tense exchange later, in which Bob is almost killed, Rick reveals that it’s filled with weapons, which he’ll use to kill Gareth. After the conversation, Glenn is yet again nearly knocked by the fatal bat, when gunshots and an explosion distract them, momentarily saving Rick and the others.

Cut to Carol, Tyreese, and Judith, who are walking in the woods in the aftermath of the last season’s events. Carol mentions not staying even after they find Terminus, and the conversation is cut short by the appearance of a zombie and the proceeding horde. They hide in the woods, and it seems the horde might overtake them, when gunshots sound off in the distance, distracting the walkers and saving the small group for the time being. They decide to continue to Terminus, despite the possible danger. On their way, they stumble upon a cabin and worker from Terminus, overhearing him mention Michonne and Carl. Baseball cap – which is what I’ve chosen to call the guy from Terminus – tries to talk them out of hurting him by lying, but Carol will not have it, convinced he’s the enemy. Carol heads out, with explosives that Baseball cap was preparing to set off to distract the walkers, to rescue the others in Terminus.

In the cabin, Baseball cap tries to psych Tyreese out by talking about killing or being killed, and that Tyreese will be killed because he’s a “good guy” and saves babies.

Carol covers herself in walker blood and guts to make her way towards Terminus, and begins to shoot at the walkers/people at the fence after seeing that they’ve captured Rick. She hits a tank and sets off one of the fireworks/explosives she stole, causing the explosion that momentarily saved Rick and the others. While she’s wrecking ish left and right, the others attempt to find the train cart (while also lending their special brand of chaos into the mix), determined to kill whoever gets in the way, and rescue the rest of the group, maneuvering through the warzone that is now Terminus. Terminus gets overrun by walkers, giving them the perfect cover to manage their escape.

Carol continues to make her way through Terminus, eventually running into Mary. The confrontation leads to some more explanation about Terminus’ past. She explains that they really had offered sanctuary at first, up until some people showed up and overran them, taking Terminus and raping their residents constantly. She utters a chilling phrase – you are either butcher or cattle. Carol interrogates Mary about Rick and company’s whereabouts. When Mary won’t talk, she shoots her in the leg, eventually letting in some walkers to eat Mary while she walks away safely, still shrouded in walker guts.

Back in the cabin, walkers are approaching, and as Tyreese looks out the window for them, Baseball cap threatens to snap Judith’s neck in order to get Tyreese to leave the cabin into the group of walkers. He’s grabbed by one of the walkers, and seems to be overtaken. Almost immediately after, Baseball cap tries to contact Terminus, but no one responds. When it gets quiet outside, Baseball cap is clearly freaked out, until Tyreese busts through the door, very much alive, and begins to repeatedly bash his fist into Baseball cap. Tyreese doesn’t want to kill, but he knows he has to, so he does.

At Terminus, the group still in the train is preparing to leave as soon as they’re saved by Rick. As they prepare, Sasha asks Eugene about the cure, but he’s evasive. If you read the comic book, you’ll know why. He gives the a schpeel about a human genome project, working on bio-weapons to fight bio-weapons. BY resetting something in Washington, it would eliminate the walkers. It’s a pretty vague explanation, but everyone in the cart seems to buy it. Before anyone can continue, Rick arrives and lets them out. They fight through the walkers and eventually make their way out, climbing over the fence right after getting Gareth in the leg amid the escape.

Everyone makes it out alive, and Rick leads them to the stashed weapons, where he declares that they should return to finish off the Terminus residents. They argue, saying to count the victory and run, but Rick refuses, until, in the background, we see Carol! Daryl’s the first to notice, and what follows is quite possibly the most heart-wrenching moment of the show (second only to Daryl killing Merle). He runs to her and hugs her, practically crying, lying his head on her shoulder in what must be a mixture of relief and fear. That is, by far, my favorite Daryl moment. Beautifully written and executed. Seriously. When Rick sees her, he greets her in much the same manner, realizing she’s responsible for the escape, and she’s instantly welcomed back into the group.

She wastes no time in leading them to the cabin and Tyreese, who seemed about to leave with Judith. What follows is yet another lovely reunion where Rick finally, FINALLY, finds out that Judith is alive. It’s a beautiful, poignant way to end an action-packed sequence of war. It’s a relief, not only for them, but for us as viewers, that they finally get a break, a reprieve, a breath of relief. The episode could have ended there, but they also give a nod to Lizzy and Mika, when Carol declares that the fire is still burning.

They head out – marking one of the signs as NO SANCTUARY on the way.

BONUS: Stay for post credits! We see a fan favorite return: Morgan. He sees the sign that Rick has altered, and sets out in the same direction they did.

Conclusion: HOLY AWESOME! I haven’t experienced that kind of emotional roller coaster in a while. This episode of The Walking Dead most definitely lived up to the hype from the actors. It was the single best episode to date, packing action and emotion into the perfect sequence of events. I can’t stress enough how amazing this episode was, and can’t wait until next Sunday. So. Excited. Now all I need to know is what the hell happened to Beth, and when are we getting that Beth/Daryl reunion? GAH!

Let me know what you thought of the episode in the comments! What do you want to see the most this season?

‘Til next time!

As always, think happy thoughts! (Carol kicking ass and taking names, Daryl being adorably sweet.)

Image Credit: Found via Google search:


2 thoughts on “Recap – The Walking Dead: No Sanctuary”

  1. I guess what I want most, as morbid as this sounds, is some sort of loss for the group. Maybe not Lori level of loss, but something, particularly given the changes between the comic and show. Consider- by the end of the episode, everyone has been reunited with no losses whatsoever. Maybe it’s because they are the main characters or because I never felt they were in real danger, but I think they need some sort of setback. I did enjoy the premiere. It was very fast paced, but my only gripe is that I feel the destruction of Terminus AND reunion happened a bit too fast. At the very least, it could have spread over two episodes, given how Season 4 built up to Terminus.


    1. I get what you mean, but I am glad the reunion happened when it did. I think they teased all of them converging at Terminus for way too long last season. It makes me apprehensive, though, because the writers for TWD are some sadistic individuals who hardly, if ever, give the group a break. Seeing their happiness now feels a lot like a setup for something supremely tragic this season. My money is on Glenn getting taken out, and possibly one other character, though I’m not sure who.


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