We’re friends of the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat. (The Walking Dead 5.01, “No Sanctuary”)

keysmash television recap the walking dead season 5 episode 1 no sanctuary headerA friend said on Twitter today, “I’m weeping but I’m so happy about it,” and that’s it, that’s the recap.

Before we talk about the seriously amazing premiere, can we first decide on what we’re going to call the group of people in this show? The family? The team? The group? Rick’s people? I need something to call them. They call each other “our people” so I guess our people works for now, but really they need a name. Can we smushname all of them? Ricarlaberyleuggieglemichosha. Crap, I forgot Bob.

The episode is bookended with flashbacks that show us Gareth turning evil, and also try to instill some sympathy for the Termites. Uhhhh, too bad, show. Obviously it’s terrible for your home to be pillaged and your people to be raped, but that does not justify you stealing peoples’ shit and then eating them.

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What I love about our people is that they’re not in the train car feeling sorry for themselves, they’re making weapons. They’re making plans. And yes, some of those plans are to kill the Termites, and we could make parallels between what our group wants to do and what Gareth does, but no. Because our people want to kill the people that are trying to kill them, not them and anyone else that comes after them. To me, there’s a difference.

Unfortunately their plans involve the Termites sliding open the doors and taking them that way, and the Termites open the top of the car instead and drop in a smoke bomb. They drag Bob, Daryl, Glenn, and Rick out of the car and into what looks like their slaughterhouse, complete with creepy ass trough. They bend our guys and four others over this trough, bound and gagged. It’s pretty obvious what’s about to happen and yet I shrieked when they started what Chris Hardwick called the whack-and-slash. Knock dude out with a baseball bat to the back of the head, slit his throat and let him bleed out into the trough. It’s gross as eff, but it’s also really clinical and matter-of-fact when you think about it. To the Termites, these aren’t people anymore. They’re food.

What I love about this scene, other than the unapologetic gore, obviously, is that while the other victims are yelling through their gags, our people are not. Our people don’t make a sound. Rick is working a shiv out of his sleeve, because he 100% believes he can fight his way out of this. OUR PEOPLE

Bob tries to talk Gareth out of killing our people because they have the cure, but Bob doesn’t know that he’s not talking to a human with a heart. Gareth doesn’t have feelings anymore, they were burned out of him by whatever happened to his own people while he was stuck in a train car. What a vicious cycle. When he un-gags Rick to ask him what he buried in the woods Rick tells him about the weapons, including “a machete with a red handle, that’s what I’m going to use to kill you.” Gareth, unlike me, was unimpressed by this statement. Unfortunately for Gareth his boys don’t get to whack-and-slash our guys because just before slaughter dude takes the bat to Glenn’s adorable skull there’s the sound of gunfire and then an explosion shakes the building.

Cut to Carol and Tyreese walking with Judith. Carol wants to get them safely to Terminus but she’s decided she’s not going to stay. She still thinks she’s unwelcome. Oh, honey. A walker comes towards them and Tyreese can’t kill it. Carol tells him he has to be able to, but she takes this one for the team. Then they spot the herd, which turns towards Terminus when they hear gunshots coming from that direction.

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Carol and Tyreese come upon a guy talking smack about their people on a walkie. They take him hostage, and he tries to talk his way out of it. Fool. “They attacked us, we’re just protecting ourselves, we just have the boy and the samurai, that’s it.” Carol ain’t having it. She smears herself with walker guts and mud and takes off for Terminus with a bag full of guns.

Tyreese makes a little crib for Judith and calls her a friend when the guy asks about her. He doesn’t say the same about Carol when asked, and I wonder what Tyreese’s feelings for Carol really are. The guy – Martin, but I refer to him in my head as “douche with the grossest gum-chewing noises EVER” – says he doesn’t have friends anymore. “I know people. They’re just assholes I stay alive with.” It makes me wonder who in our group feels that way. Is Tyreese just staying alive with Carol? Even with what happened with Karen I doubt it.

Carol makes it to the outer fence of Terminus and sees the Termites dragging Rick off. She sets up with her guns and her bombs and her bombs and her guns, and then she waits for the ideal moment to shoot a hole in the propane tank and LIGHT THAT FUCKER UP. Literally. SHE BLOWS UP THE PROPANE TANK.

So this is our first time jump, because Rick is being dragged off to the trough, and the propane tank exploding is what shakes the slaughterhouse building. Gimple says in the first episode of The Talking Dead that they’re going to play more with time this season. Which is good, because then maybe we’ll get the answer to the question plaguing us, and Twitter: “Where is Beth?”

Our people are in the slaughterhouse, their whack-and-slashes put on hold by this new threat. The new threat, of course, being FLAMING WALKERS. ZOMBIES ON FIRE. Because what we need was more terrifying zombies. This show does not rest on its laurels, people. They’re invading Terminus – and is that irony? Undead things being BBQ’d while entering a place where they BBQ dead people?

The slaughterhouse workers are having a “that’s not our job” argument, and then Rick pops up and kills them dead. In the train car, there’s a momentary division where the get-to-DC folks don’t think there’s anyone left to rescue them. Carl says they’ll be back. Because of course they will, duh.

While making their way to the train car Rick shows how comfortable he is with his brutality. He tells Glenn not to give a Termite a head shot, to “let him turn.” He says that the Termites “ain’t people.” He tells his guys, “Cross any of these people, you kill them. Don’t hesitate.” While I’m glad Rick’s survival mode is in high gear, I worry for him. Glenn is doing a great job being his Jiminy Cricket right now – he convinces Rick to free the other people trapped in the train cars because “that is still who we are, it’s gotta be” – but he needs to get his moral compass pointing true North again.

They let one dude out and he’s a little on the crazy side. “We’re the same, we’re them,” he shouts, right before he gets taken down by a walker. Glenn gives him a mercy killing. Daryl pulls him back and keeps him pressed to the side of the train car so he doesn’t get seen. And like, that isn’t even my ship but I love how Daryl kept touching his finger to Glenn’s chest to make sure he stayed put. They need to stick together, but they don’t want to double back to get more weapons and there are a lot of walkers between them and the rest of their group. So Rick does a Rick thing and leaps out into the fray alone. SIGH

But of course he’s not alone because DARYL HAS HIS BACK ALWAYS. (Oh hi, there’s my ship.)

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Carol is making her way through Terminus and discovering just how awful and terrifying the place is. Oh, here’s the room where we keep all the stuff we’ve stolen from the people we trap and eat. Oh, here’s the room where we light the candles and talk about how we don’t trust anyone. Oh, here’s the lady that actually cooks the people. Mary thinks she’s gotten the jump on Carol, but she’s not the only desperate person here. Their fight is tooth-and-claw, it’s everything-to-lose, and unsurprisingly Carol comes out on top. Mary tries to explain why the Termites are the way they are and tells us the tagline of the episode – “You’re the butcher or you’re the cattle.” Once again Carol ain’t having it, she just wants to know where her people are, and when Mary won’t say, she lets the walkers in to eat her face off.

Meanwhile, back at the cabin, Martin is telling Tyreese his soft heart and baby-saving-tendencies make him prime candidate for walker bait. Then he tests this theory by laying hands on Judith. NAIL YOUR COFFIN ASSHOLE. The cabin is being surrounded by walkers, and Martin tells Tyreese to go outside or he’ll snap Judith’s neck. Oh, Martin. Bye, Martin. Like Tyreese won’t kill every walker and every person and every THING EVER to save Judith. They show the baby’s face and it makes my heart crumple in my chest and I have never wanted anyone dead more than I have wanted that asshole dead. Tyreese charges in like a bull and fucks that fucker up. His refrain of “I won’t” is heartbreaking, but baby, you HAD TO. In this case, you absolutely had to. Gum chewer gets dead, and the baby gets saved.

In the train car, Sasha is asking Eugene what the cure is, and he unleashes a bunch of fancy wordplay to tell them they won’t understand. They don’t know what’s happening next, but they want to know the cure. I don’t know why, honestly, because he’s right, no one is going to understand it but him. I didn’t really get it when he finally does say it – they’re going to unleash a bunch of other viruses on the world in hopes that they kill the virus causing people to turn? That can’t be right, but it’s what it sounded like. “Fire with fire,” etc. Maybe his telling them was a way of saying they finally are in this together – Abe’s people and Rick’s people are now the same people. Either way it was nice to hear that there is a legitimate cure, and that they’re not just heading towards DC on a wing and a prayer.

Right at that moment someone comes to the door and it is obvious by Carl’s gasp that he knows it’s his dad. And yep, it is, gun blazing, no time for tearful reunion. I was a little disappointed at how abrupt this moment is – yeah, it’s necessary, but I wanted the emotion. AHAHAHAHAHAHA CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. There is one brief moment where Rick says “Carl” and grabs the back of his neck in greeting and then they’re off and running, taking out walkers by the dozens and making for the fence. Michonne and Carl work together and I JUST WANT THEM TO BE A HAPPY FAMILY OKAY. Rick shoots Gareth, the slaughterhouse dudes are walkers, Terminus burninus and all is right in the world.

They go out into the woods and dig up the gun bag and Rick says he wants to go back and kill the Termites. Glenn, forever the angel on Rick’s shoulder, says they don’t have to back. Everyone else agrees, but Rick isn’t swayed. Then. Then they throw the emotions at us.

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Carol shows up and Daryl launches himself at her for THE BEST HUG IN HISTORY. THE BEST HUG LITERALLY EVER. I cried so hard. Daryl did too. God, it was beautiful.

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Rick almost can’t believe it. He asks Carol, “Did you do that?” Carol nods and they have another beautiful hug. This show is so good at being gory and horrifying AND touching and beautiful.

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If Carol had any doubts about being part of the group I hope this dispelled them.

She takes our people back to the murder cabin, and there are more tearful reunions. Tyreese and Sasha, and Rick and Tyreese, and RICK AND CARL AND JUDITH. I may ship Daryl/Rick hard, but the look on Michonne’s face while she watches them … man. Basically I ship Rick/happiness.

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THESE LITTLE TOUCHES AND NODS THOUGH (source)

When Tyreese tells Carol about Martin threatening Judith she makes immediately for the cabin but Tyreese tells her that gum-chewing fuckface is already dead. “I had to, so I did. I could.” THAT’S RIGHT BABY.

The group is almost 100% again – but where’s Beth? One question we’ll hopefully get an answer to soon. I will also need to know what Abe meant when he said to Rosita, “We’ll talk to them, but not just yet.” Is he trying to split them up so they can go to DC, or is he trying to get them to go to DC together again? Also, SURPRISE MORGAN at the end. Where did he come from, and what is he up to? I guess we’ll see in the upcoming episodes. I was worried they were going to drag the Terminus storyline out for a while, keep them there like they did at the jail, but I’m glad to see (almost) everyone reunited and heading out to find their own place.

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Liz Keysmash
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Liz Keysmash

Liz has a ginger kitty named Thackery Binx who chirps like a bird and plays fetch like a dog. She reads a lot of slash, and writes a bit as well. She thinks she’s a good cook, she brews beer, she's a total nerd about baseball, she reads YA fiction, she has recently rediscovered her love of pop music, she swears like a sailor.
Liz Keysmash
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  • bisexual narwhal

    THE GIF OF THE HUG MAKES ME CRY. THIS FUCKING SHOW.

  • Leìah

    Yes, all of this. The hug made me sob. Such a good start to the season. I need them to maintain this level of excellence.

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