No Sanctuary: The Walking Dead Returns and It’s Bloody Awesome (S5E1 Recap)

DEAD IS BACK!!!! Season 5 kicked off in style last night and almost immediately answered most of those burning questions we were demanding after last spring.

DEAD IS BACK!!! Season Five kicked off in style last night and almost immediately answered most of those burning questions we were demanding after last spring’s cliffhanger finale. Please stop reading now if you have yet to watch last night’s episode. This recap will discuss details of last night’s première, “No Sanctuary”. Proceed at will.

We’ve spent months speculating, and now we finally have our answers. Most of them, anyway. The biggest question that’s plagued Showrunner, Scott Gimple since that finale…are Grillmaster Mary and the rest of the Terminites making short ribs out of survivors looking for sanctuary? It seems decidedly so. Could Tyrese, Carol and baby Judith have arrived ahead of Rick & Co. and already be locked away in one of the other train cars? Nope, they are just behind Rick’s group and arrive just in time for some fireworks. How long will it take for the Terminites to learn that they are screwing with the wrong people? Not long at all thanks in large part to episode MVP, Carol “Warrior Queen” Peletier. As for those asking “Where’s Beth?” Try again later, good people. Read on for the episode breakdown.


The action picks up exactly where we were left after Rick & Co. were herded into that train car. The team wastes no time in going to work, creating makeshift weapons out of everything they can get their hands on (sharpened belt buckles, shards of wood, bent earrings and zippers). Any and everything becomes a weapon). Sasha finally asks about her missing brother. Daryl updates Maggie on her sister’s disappearance, asserting “she’s alive.” Their captors approach the train car, and Rick tells his group to “go for their eyes and their throats. They are locked and loaded, ready for whatever happens next. Except, of course, for the canister of tear gas that the Terminites toss inside, leaving everyone too stunned to use any of their homemade weaponry.

Human Cattle to the Slaughter

Glenn, Daryl, Rick, and Bob end up kneeling beside a metal troughs with another four men from a different train car. The first four men are taken out immediately with a bat to the head and slash of the throat. Tension rises and my heart was in my throat as each man fell, and the butcher drew closer to Glen. If this show has taught us anything, anyone can die. The bat is in mid-swing and aimed at Glen’s head, when Garrett comes in doing inventory on the number of shots fired while capturing Rick’s group. Bob pleads with Garrett and tries to tell him about Washington and a possible cure. “We can put the world back to how it was.” Bob tries to tell him, but for Garrett there is no going back. I guess murder and cannibalism would put you in that frame of mind.

Yes, the Terminites had an earlier trauma that brought them to these circumstances, but no worse than anything we’ve seen our group go through over the past few years.

Yes, Rick ripped a man’s throat out with his bare teeth, but in a moment of do or die survival and his son’s near rape happening just a few feet away from him.

Garrett’s too far gone, though.

“You can’t go back, Bob.” He’s more interested in what was in the bag that Rick hid in the woods. He threatens to kill Bob right then and there if Rick doesn’t tell him what he wants to know.

Disclaimer: Wrong or right, I was watching all of this that first time around thinking how impossibly long Garrett’s lashes were. I know!!! Lusting after the sociopath is not a good thing. It was a momentary lapse, and I pulled myself back quickly enough with the reminder that Garrett is a “meat” eater.

Rick is unflinching during all of this. Why? Because he’s not showing weakness to this guy and he’s not giving up just yet. Even with four dead bodies just a few feet away and his hands tied behind his back. What exactly could our fearless leader have up his sleeve this time? Well, he’s got a shard of wood hidden. You immediately wonder if Rick’s going to take a chance and somehow maneuver into position where he can stab one of the three Terminites.

He tells Garrett exactly what he has buried in that bag and promises to kill him with it. Then we’re back to the bat at mid-swing behind Glen’s head and then came the patter of firearms in the distance and an immense BOOM. Could rescue be at hand and if so who could be knocking at Terminus’ gates?!?!


Carol, Tyrese, and Judith are close enough to their supposed sanctuary to hear all the gunfire when the Terminites initially capture Rick & Co. The Terminites had a pretty good system in place. Lure and capture their prey. Have others on the outer perimeter who can set off fireworks to distract any walkers in the area that might be attracted to the sounds of gunfire in Terminus. Carol and Tyrese walk upon one of the Terminites, Martin, while he’s communicating on the walkie talkie, “Alex didn’t get it, see. I knew the chick with a sword was bad news. Bitch looked like a weapon within a weapon” and he lays claim to Carl’s hat. Carol doesn’t like the sound of that. She and Tyrese turn the tables and capture Martin. Carol ends up leaving Tyrese at the cabin to babysit while she takes care of business because…he just can’t. He can’t kill walkers, and he’s not sure that he can kill people. Bad or not. Weak and possibly worse than what we saw in Meka last season.

I’m a little confused about his complete inaction on all sides. I get that he hasn’t come to the point where he can take a human life yet, but since when can’t he at least defend against a walker. Earlier, we saw him and Carol still on the tracks when they came across a walker. When Carol went to take the baby, he motioned for her to dispatch the staggering dead man. Now, he’s left at the cabin alone with baby Judith and Martin, who should’ve been gagged because the man never shut up. Martin sees how weak Tyrese is and picks and pokes, telling the big man that he should just take the baby and get gone.

Carol goes all Rambo and Warrior Queen with that bag of fireworks and weapons in hand. It’s a throwback to “GUTS” (S1, E2) when Carol, covers herself from head to toe in mud and zombie guts. She fires off a shot at the huge gas tank just inside Terminus’ gates and then sends fireworks flying in that direction. There goes the BOOM. She joins the zombie herd already headed for the now destroyed gates. Garrett heads out to see what’s happening and leaves Rick, and the others still bound and gagged. The two remaining Terminites want no parts of whatever’s going on outside; they’re in charge of handling “the meat” not security. Rick gets loose and takes them out easily enough. They get a better look at Terminus’ slaughterhouse, and Rick tells his people not to hesitate if they come across any of their captors because the Terminites surely won’t.

Rick and Co make their way back to Train Car A, while elsewhere in the compound, Carol takes her own tour of Terminus. She finds piles of watches, clothing, teddy bears and other belongings from the Terminites previous victims. She finds stacks of weaponry and among them a very familiar looking compound bow. I was more than a little disappointed that she didn’t wade through a bit more until she found Michonne’s Kitana, too. She runs into Grillmaster Mary in that strange altar room that Rick and the others found last season with the candles and “We First Always” messages tagged on the walls. The two have a knockdown drag out fight. Tasha Yar is pretty tough, but she’s no match for the Warrior Queen.

Grillmaster Mary tells Carol that she’s strong and would’ve fit in perfectly with the Terminites. “Listen to what the world is trying to tell ,” Mary tells her that the signs were true initially, but they attracted killers and rapists who made the Terminites see that in this new world there are only “Cattle” and “Butchers.” Carol refuses this twisted logic. This group could’ve done with a moral compass like Hershel or Dale to keep them on the straight and narrow and not all the way sociopathic. Instead of killing the other woman outright, Carol leaves her bleeding on the floor as a group of walkers push their way inside, past Carol, who apparently still reeks of walker guts.

HIM: You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry! US: Oh, yes we would!!

Can pacifists survive in a zombie apocalypse? It’s not looking so good for Tyrese or baby Judith when Martin manages to get the upper hand. The Terminite threatens to snap the baby’s neck if Tyrese doesn’t lower his weapon and go outside with the walkers waiting to feast on him. Tyrese goes peacefully, much the anger of everyone on my Twitter feed. Thankfully, survival instinct kicks in and Tyrese goes into his Hulk!Smash mode. He really should keep it there. He kills the walkers and crashes back inside the cabin and attacks Martin, who is trying to reach his friends back at Terminus. “I won’t! I won’t!” Tyrese chants as he proceeds to beat Martin to death. And all was right for the Twittersphere again.

Rick and Co rescue the others from the train car and make a beeline for the fence, fighting every step of the way with makeshift weapons or guns taken from fallen Terminites. Rick gets in a shot at Garrett on the rooftop, and it looks like the other man got hit, but I don’t think that’s the last we’ll see of that long-lashed, cannibal. They get away and make it back to the stash of weapons that Rick hid. He wants to go back and finish off the Terminites, possibly still gun-shy after everything that happened with the Governor. Everyone else reasons that there’s no need. The gates are down and those who survive will run or die.

Putting the Band Back Together

Then comes one of the best moments of the past two seasons entirely. Besides, Carol kicking all asses and taking names. There’s nothing like the sight of Carol suddenly appearing and being reunited with her group, her family. Daryl reaches her first and hugs her. Rick is next and apparently whatever came before is forgiven and forgotten. He’s actually proud, “Was that you back that?” Yes, Rick. She saved the day this time. Not quite biting someone’s throat out, but just as outstanding. Smiling, Carol tells her old friends to follow her, and FINALLY Judith is reunited with her father and brother. Sasha is back with the brother she barely seemed to think about during the later half of season 4. That doesn’t matter though. All that matters is that the band is back together again. Except Beth and hopefully, she returns to the fold at least by the time the mid-season finale comes around. Rosita looks to Abraham, but he says he’ll talk to Rick later. Likely to make the same proposition that he’s made to everyone they cross paths with, “come to Washington if you want to live.”

For now, they’re together again and on the road. Rick covers up one of the Terminus signs warning anyone else who might be lured in. “No Sanctuary.” This comes back around again in that fantastic teaser that’s just the cherry on an incredible première. We see a figure on the tracks reading the sign. The figure is covered from head to toe. He turns around and takes off his mask, and it’s JASON VO…..wrong show. No, it’s fan favorite, Morgan. He’s looking sane and whole. Much better than the last time we saw him in Season 3’s “Clear.”

And so with that we are back!! How fantastic does that feel? What was your favorite moment or line from the night? How great is it to see Morgan finally back? Who were you expecting to see behind that mask? Where’s Beth???

Other Tidbits:

Did you realize that the blond guy the Terminites slaughtered first was Robin Lord Taylor, Gotham’s own Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot. Rick initially met this character, Sam, in “Indifference” (S4, E4). It’s the same episode that Rick kicked Carol out of the group, so full circle in more ways than one.

Glenn & that first group of Terminus arrivals did not eat the meat. *sighreliefsigh*. The Terminites didn’t bother feeding them after Abraham made it more than clear that they were Washington-bound and not sticking around.

Before she was Walker bait, Grillmaster Mary was the mother to Gareth and Alex (Dead dude who had Hershel’s watch).

Check out some of my favorite tweets from last night and then hit the comments section with your thoughts on season 5’s premiere.

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