WARNING: FULL SPOILERS
There is no stopping The Walking Dead. It’s viewership in the U.S for the premiere of season 5 reached 22.5million, that’s quite a herd of followers for Robert Kirkman’s walker infested creation. That popularity has radiated its way across the Atlantic as millions of UK viewers tuned in for ‘No Sanctuary’ last week. So with such a huge audience anticipating its autumn return, did the show deliver?
This answer to this is undoubtedly yes. The episode tied up a lot of loose ends left over from the terminus story arc and reunited the group (bar Beth) in an emotionally fitting set of circumstances. This isn’t to say that this episode was without flaws or missed opportunities though, as I think terminus could have really shaken things up in a variety of ways.
Firstly, at the beginning, it was a little convenient for all of the unknown prisoners to be gutted like animals up until the point of Glenn. Whilst this was tense, we knew that there was no way Glenn was going to be killed off so soon into the episode or season. Had this been one of the newer characters then there is a chance it would have been more convincing as a threat. Also, it was disappointing that the group didn’t escape with at least one new character. I thought this was the perfect opportunity for some new blood, even if the group is on the larger side at the moment. The only other element that came across as a little cheesy was the line about being the ‘cattle or the butcher’, it didn’t need repeating in the flashback as the metaphor was clearly displayed from the occupiers of terminus.
Aside from these minor points, the remainder of the episode was fantastic. Carol setting off that huge propane tank, Tyreese hulking out & destroying the walkers outside the cabin and a series of characters being reunited right at the end were all brilliant parts of ‘No Sanctuary’. Rick & Carl finding out Judith was still alive was a particularly heart-warming moment amongst a lot of chaos in the series, likewise (or for some even more so) with Carol & Daryl.
Carol needs a particular mention here as her character has truly transformed the more the show has progressed. Going from a beaten, unconfident and hushed mother to an absolute warrior capable of fierce decision making for the greater good, she’s earned the respect of the characters around her as well as the audience.
On a final point, notice how nobody asked about the girls? It’s a dark story to go over so it may be address in tonight’s episode but I felt it was convenient that nobody immediately asked about the whereabouts of the children, only Beth.
Oh and one the very last bit – some of you may have missed the post-credits scene so I’m not going to mention it here for your benefit but you should really Check it out on YouTube or if you recorded it then wait for the final few moments, it’s a nice little hint to what’s ahead.