(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)
First, came the First Four Minutes…
AMC released The First Four Minutes of The Walking Dead’s Season 5 premiere episode, “No Sanctuary,” earlier in the day on Sunday, October 12, 2014 on AMC’s official website and Facebook pages. My WD buddy texted me in the late morning: Did you watch the first four minutes of tonight’s show they released? Intense. I’m stoked.
I had not, yet. I was still in the midst of Sunday chores. It wasn’t until later that afternoon that I had a chance to sneak away with the laptop, find a quiet place, crack open a Miller Lite (for courage, and because, you know, it was time to start celebrating), and watch.
Four minutes and some later, it was a little hard for me to catch my breath. I was glad I had brought the Miller Lite.
Hours later, my WD buddy came over, bearing champagne, to watch the Season 5 premiere episode together. It was such a treat for me to have her there. We toasted Rick, Daryl, and the gang, and when 9 o’clock came, we rewatched the First Four Minutes:
First, we see a black screen, bearing one word:
The opening shot of “No Sanctuary” shows us the figures of about six young men and women, huddled miserably in a dark train car, sitting braced against the car’s walls, or in the center of the tiny, cramped space. Each person has his/her knees drawn up towards their chests in a self-protective measure. As the camera pans over the huddled figures, we hear a woman’s agonized screams pierce through the walls and the darkness. All falls silent for a brief moment before the terrified screaming starts up again.
We can see how each scream resonates, and registers, through the body of each person who sits in the small, dark box, as he/she awaits his/her terrible, unknown fate.
As the poor woman’s screams stop, then start afresh, one young man’s head sinks lower, and lower, into his arms, crossed at his knees. Another young woman sits quiet and still, and stares listlessly down at her hands in the brief, dark silence…then. a fresh wave of screaming begins again.
One bearded young man, huddled in the darkness, laments, in a shaking voice, “We should have never put up those signs…What the hell did we think was gonna happen?” Screams fill the silence that follows his words.
The camera pans to the profile of the young man speaking…we recognize him as Alex, the bearded, squirrely sidekick who met his fateful demise in the Season 4 finale, “A,” in the first moments of the standoff between Rick and the Train Car Superstars and the Terminans of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.
Alex concludes his lament, saying simply, miserably, “We brought ’em here.”
Across from Alex, his brother, Gareth, leans forward from the darkness. Gareth’s voice shakes too, with earnestness and conviction, as he whispers back to Alex, “We were trying to do something good…”
At this, Alex laughs, softly and bitterly, shaking his head at his brother in disbelief.
Gareth leans forward until he is face to face with Alex, asserts, “We were being human beings.”
Alex laughs thinly at this, hisses back, “What are we now, Gareth?”
Gareth says nothing. He closes his eyes for a long moment…
And when he opens them again, we see:
We hear Abraham’s voice as we watch images of our gang’s hands, as each member creates and modifies his/her own makeshift weaponry from whatever items are on his/her person:
“They seemed nice enough, but I was ready to go. We had just got here, but, damn. It was time to go. When I told them about D.C., a wink and a nod from the head asshole in charge, they pulled their guns, and it was right back to our regularly scheduled shitstorm.”
Abraham is sharpening something metal down, on the floor, as he talks, Rosita is wrapping her belt around her hand, wrist, and arm…she has taken her earrings, perhaps, and has fashioned them into sharp spines that stick out from the belt she has wrapped over her knuckles. Glenn stomps on a belt, breaking off the top rounded part of the buckle, laces his fingers through the metal spines so they protrude from a closed fist, and proceeds to wrap the belt around his hand.
Michonne’s hands are testing the strength of a leather lace, snapping it taut, as we hear Sasha’s voice ask, “Before they put you in here, you didn’t see…Tyrese?”
Michonne’s voice answers, “No.”
“Good,” Sasha sighs.
We hear Daryl’s voice next, talking about Beth’s abduction, “Black car, with a white cross painted on it. I tried to follow it, I tried…” (We know you did, Daryl Dixon, you beautiful, sweet man.)
Maggie’s voice asks, “But she’s alive?”
“She’s alive,” Daryl answers. We hear Maggie and Daryl’s whispered exchange of smiles, sighs, and laughter at this news.
Rick is using the chain of Hershel’s pocket watch to saw at a corner of a wooden support beam, fashioning himself a sharp blade.
Outside, the voices of Creepy Comrades escalate, barking orders and telling poor, protesting people to “shut up” as they begin another horrific roundup. Daryl peers out a crack in the door. “Alright,” he says, “There are four of them pricks, comin’ our way.” He looks up, his eyes meet Rick’s.
Rick tears the blade he has fashioned from the wooden beam, reminds the group that “You all know what to do…go for their eyes first, then their throats.” Outside, a Teminan barks out the order for our gang in the train car to, “Put your backs to the wall at either end of the car…NOW!”
Rick looks back at the gang, nods silently as they crouch in ready stances, facing the door…but nobody comes through there. The gang then hears a noise from above, looks up as a light shines down from an opening above them. A canister drops down onto the floor.
Abraham yells, “Move!” and shoves the others back as the canister erupts in a cloud of noxious gas. Enter, stage left, The Dicks With Gas Masks.
The following sequence is a nightmarish series of images and events, seen from Rick’s point of view as he is dragged across a large concrete floor. The piercing shriek of a chainsaw screams, then lulls, and winds through the black, sinister hum of the Bear McCreary score that simmers and pulses as if it were alive, breathing…
All goes black…and then we see:
First Rick, then Daryl,,and Glenn are dragged to the large metal sink, bound with zip ties at the wrists and ankles, gagged, and forced to kneel, along with others, at the long, gleaming trough. Bob is brought last, and forced onto his knees to Rick’s right side. To the left of Glenn, there are four other men, bound, gagged, kneeling.
One of the butchers, clad in respirator, baseball cap turned backwards, goggles, and bloody plastic apron, calls, “Hold up,” to his comrade. He pulls out a fresh knife, then proceeds to sharpen the long, shiny blade in loud, scraping strokes. The other butcher, a tall, strong fellow with gleaming shaved head, clad in bloodstained plastic apron, grips his bat and begins to warm up his swings a couple of feet behind the kneeling men’s heads.
The blow from the bat sends poor Sam forward into the trough, then the knife-wielding butcher steps forward, grabs Sam’s head back, and slices his throat in one quick stroke, then releases Sam’s body back forward into the trough just in time to catch the first gush of blood as it sprays from Sam’s throat into the gleaming metal sink. This ritual is repeated with the next young man, as the bound, gagged men who are next in line begin to scream and plead into their gags, all the while trying vainly, desperately to free themselves, to flee what is happening. But they cannot.
As the butchers move down the line…bash, pull back, slice, release, next, Glenn watches the dark blood drain closer and closer towards him…the butchers are now at the man to Glenn’s left…once they finish with him, Glenn is next in line.
As the butchers step behind the man next to Glenn, Gareth strides into the room with a ledger book and pen. As usual, his manner is an interesting blend of testy officiousness and casual indifference as he flips open his ledger book, clicks his pen, and asks the goons in the bloody aprons, without looking up from his calculations, “Hey guys? What were your shot counts?”
It is some dark humor being wielded like the bald goon’s bat as the goon winds back, bashes the man next to Glenn’s head in, and answers easily, “38.” This guy obviously knows the routine, knows to count the bullets as he corralls the panicked human cattle or mows down walkers. Gareth makes a note of this number in his ledger as the other butcher releases the freshly slit man’s body into the trough. The man’s life’s blood sloshes into the catch sink and gurgles down the drain.
Gareth doesn’t really have time for this shit. His Testy Level is at like 11 right now. He exhales, and as if explaining to a particularly stupid child, he instructs the new guy, “After you’re done here, go back to your point and count the shells. Ok? We won’t be gathering them until tomorrow.” As Gareth goes back to writing, Bob begins to call out to Gareth through his gag, managing to convey that he wants, needs Gareth to “Lemme talk to you!”
Gareth tries to ignore Bob, counting the slumped bodies and confirming with the goons, “Four from A, four from D?” At the goons’ affirmative noises, Gareth notes this too in his book. Bob continues frantically calling out to Gareth through his gag.
Annoyed, Gareth walks over and yanks the gag off Bob’s mouth. “What?”
Bob doesn’t have much time. He makes it count. He fixes his gaze on Gareth, unwavering. “Don’t do this,” he begins. “We can fix this.”
“No, we can’t,” Gareth replies. He goes to pull Bob’s gag back up over this mouth. But Bob is quick. “You don’t have to do this!” he yells, surging forward and taking Gareth back a step. Bob looks up at Gareth earnestly, continues, “We told you there’s a way out of all this. You just have to take that chance!” Gareth, unmoved, goes back to his ledger, continues his calculations.
“We have a man who knows how to stop it. He has a cure. We just have to get him to Washington…you don’t have to do this, man! We can put the world back to how it was!”
Gareth’s Testy Level is inching up to 12 now, as he regards Bob with no small amount of annoyance. This day is really shaping up to be one for the crap books. He steps forward, ready to shut it down. “Can’t go back, Bob,” he says easily, pulling the gag back over Bob’s protests. Bob tries another moment, then falls silent. Mad props to Bob for trying, though…he really gave it everything he had.
Gareth steps over to Rick, kneels down, and pulls Rick’s gag from his mouth. He and Rick regard each other for a moment. “Saw you go into the woods with a bag,” Gareth informs Rick, “and come out without it. I had to pull my spotters back before they went to look for it.” (So they did know Rick and the gang were coming! Those crafty, creepy people-eaters!)
Gareth looks away as he says this, then looks back at Rick. “So, what was in it?” he asks Rick. Rick says nothing. “You hid it, right? In case things went bad?” Gareth looks at Daryl, then back at Rick. “Smart,” he nods briefly, then shrugs. “Still, we’ll find it…but…it’s too dangerous to go out there right now.” Gareth pulls out a knife, pulls Bob’s head towards him across the trough, and holds the pointed blade to Bob’s eye.
He turns back to Rick. “What was in it? I’m curious…and, it was a big bag.” Rick just looks at him, and a touch of Gareth’s former annoyance returns. “You really gonna let me to do this?” he asks Rick, motioning with his blade towards Bob. Rick’s voice is hoarse as he replies, “Why don’t you let me take you out there?” Rick leans back, looks at Gareth. “I’ll show you.” Rick’s eyes shine with pleasure at the thought. Ha, how about it, motherfucker?
Gareth shakes his head. “Not gonna happen.” He pulls Bob’s face closer to the point of his knife. “This might.”
Rick speaks up quickly, “There’s guns in it. AK-47, 44-Magnum…automatic weapons, night scope.” Rick looks up, as if doing the inventory in his head. “There was a compound bow in it, and….a machete with a red…red handle.” Rick looks at right at Gareth, now, as he says, pleasantly, “That’s what I’m going to use to kill you.”
Gareth turns his attention back to his butchering flunkies, informs them, with pointed finger and arch tones, “You have two hours to get them on the dryer…I want to go back to ‘public face.’ Now’s the time we can get messy, but I want to dial it all in before sundown.” The goons “gotcha’ and “yes’sir” Gareth, and as he turns to go, his departure is interrupted by the sound of gunshots. He pulls out a 2-way handset and tries to reach “Chuck” as the Terminal BM winds back, once again ready to brain Glenn, when another gunshot pings off something metal outside,stopping him mid-swing. Strike Two. Again, dark hilarity ensues.
The gunshots are followed by a huge explosion, which sends the standing men flying and shakes the rafters of the warehouse, sending bits of plaster and ceiling raining down upon them all.
I transcribed, and deconstructed this scene in great detail because, one, I love it so; and because, two, I feel many key elements and questions were answered in that first nine minutes.
We see the origins of Sanctuary, that once Mary and her sons, Gareth and Alex, (wrong about other predictions but nailed the Gareth-Mary son/mom connection…yes!) and their community did start out as peaceful, idealistic folk who seemed to have established a good thing, and wanted to share it with others, and got preyed upon and brutalized for their efforts.
In the blink of an eye, locked in a darkened train car, Gareth seemed to reach inward and invoke a deeper, darker side of himself….and with that, the transformation of Sanctuary began, led by Gareth, to becoming a cold, predatory, brutally efficient system that lures vulnerable outsiders into its lair with the promise of safety and sanctuary, only to imprison them, dehumanize them, and harvest everything that can be gotten from them, right down to the flesh on their bones.
We see the scope of Sanctuary…they are placed in a ideal location, Terminus Station, where all the rail lines around Atlanta converge. They are large in number, and they are well-armed, well fortified…well-fed. They are brutal, ruthless. The only way for their system to work is to decide quickly if there are newcomers who may be of value to them, and who could perhaps be persuaded to subscribe to the Terminal Method.
For those who do not rate, they must be stripped down, locked up, and harvested, quickly. I can only imagine that most people who cross the Terminal Gates are put in this latter category, and not regarded as potential members by the Terms (Scott M. Gimple’s and Greg Nicotero’s name for the Terminans, which I really love). Sadly, those who do not make the cut, get cut…and it doesn’t matter if they are men, women, children, elders…as the creepy slogans on the walls say, “We first, always.”
We get a glimpse of Gareth as a leader. He is pissy (and can probably hold a grudge for about a thousand years), but he is smart, and meticulous. Everything is accounted for, down to the very last shotgun shell used in roundups or for defense. It has to be, as Gareth is running a veritable human processing factory, open 24/7.
Sanctuary has its weaknesses, too, as we see in this episode. As Rick and the gang see Sanctuary’s weaknesses unfold, they exploit them as the opportunities arise (Hello, New Carol!).
While Sanctuary has the numbers, the arms, and the technology on their side, Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars & Co. have three game-changing elements on their side: Love, Luck, and Loyalty. And a shit-ton of sex appeal. So, suck it, Terminans.
Outside the false Sanctuary, somewhere down the tracks, Tyrese, Carol, and Judith are following the railway lines to Terminus. Carol tells Tyrese they are close, and she’ll make sure that he and Judith get there safely, but that she is not going to stay. Tyrese looks at her, and kind of nods in agreement, but says nothing. A walker (who looks so much like the Tore-Up She Walker Abraham impaled into his truck last season in “Claimed”… could it be?) makes her way up to the tracks and spots them, hissing. Poor Judith begins to cry, and Tyrese turns and takes the baby, telling Carol that he “can’t, not yet.”
Carol gives Tyrese a long look, saying, “Soon, you’ll have to be able to,” and rushes forward to kill Tore-Up She Walker 2.0. Carol hears hissing in the woods to her right, turns, and sees that they have another problem…
After the horde clears, Carol and Tyrese, holding Judith, step out onto the tracks. Tyrese wonders if the gunfire came from Terminus, and Carol muses that either someone was attacking them….or they were attacking somebody. When Tyrese asks Carol if they want to find out what is going on at Terminus, Carol’s answer is clear and immediate: Yes. She suggests an alternate route that will get them to Terminus.
“We’ll be real careful,” she assures Tyrese. “We’re gonna get answers.”
Now, I have had my doubts about Carol in the past, but make no mistake…I am a big fan of New Carol, especially since Season 4’s “The Grove.” New Carol is kicking ass, taking names, and getting it done, all day, every day. Much love, and mad props, New Carol.
It is especially awesome when Carol and Tyrese stealth up to the crappy little Half-Term, Martin, who is setting up explosives around a cabin (to detonate and divert the walkers who will surely be attracted by the sound of gunfire from Terminus).
As he sets up the explosives, Martin indulges in some back-and-forth shit-talking with some woman comrade on his 2-way radio. Martin disses Alex for not recognizing that “the chick with the sword was bad news…bitch was like a weapon with a weapon.” The woman comrade agrees that Alex was always a “sloppy-ass motherfucker.”
Laughing, Martin then says he told “Albert” that he called dibs on “the kid’s hat, after they bleed him out.”
Nice. Martin realizes he has been stone-cold busted uttering this shitty, callous comment when he feels New Carol’s gun behind his ear.
Carol tells Martin to keep his finger off the radio’s button and drop it. Martin complies, tries some of his Sanctuary welcome-wagon sloganage on Tyrese and New Carol, but Tyrese tells him to shut it. Martin wisely abides.
New Carol informs Martin, “We’re friends with the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat.” First New Carol zinger of this epic episode…drink one if you got one!
Inside the cabin, Martin is trying to lie his way out of the mess he’s gotten himself into, but New Carol isn’t buying his line of shit. After Carol finds Martin’s bag of flares, explosives, and weapons, she informs him that a herd of walkers is heading towards Terminus, which works nicely with her plan to head there too, armed with Martin’s weapons, and get her people out.
Martin tells her she’ll never make it. Tyrese asks her how she’s going to do this…Carol looks right at Tyrese and informs him that she’s “gonna kill people.”
New Carol zinger #2, people…toss it back!
As Tyrese is left to babysit two babies back at the cabin, Carol goos herself up with walker blood, guts, and even a little mud mixed in, giving herself a nice walker-guts & mud facial…all natural ingredients, and very exfoliating!
Back at the cabin, Martinn is trying to get into Tyrese’s head. He asks Judith’s name, asks if she’s his daughter. Tyrese replies that she’s a friend. Martin muses aloud at the now-alien concept of friends. “I don’t have any friends,” Martin admits. He says the people he lives with are “assholes that I stay alive with.” When Martin asks Tyrese if the lady who left was a friend, Tyrese looks at him, then down, like he doesn’t really know how to answer that question.
Martin continues, saying he used to have friends…he used to do a lot of things…watch football, go to church. I found it hard to focus on that Martin was saying at first, because I noticed he was chewing gum as he said it, and who the hell has luxuries like gum these days? Terminans do, but at the cost of their souls, it seems. Martin then muses that it’s hard to tell how much time has gone by, as horrible shit just seems to stack up, day after day, in these times.
“You get used to it,” sighs Martin. Tyrese looks up at him, replies, “I haven’t gotten used to it.” “Of course you haven’t,” Martin says. “You’re the kind of guy that saves babies…kind of like saving an anchor when you’re stuck without a boat in the middle of the ocean.”
Martin continues to size up Tyrese, guessing that he’s been behind walls for a while, and hasn’t had to get his hands dirty yet. “I can tell,” Martin says. When Tyrese retorts that Martin doesn’t know the things he’s done, Martin stands firm on his take. “You’re a good guy,” Martin says. “That’s why you’re gonna die today…that’s why the baby’s gonna die.”
Tyrese stands up to his full height at this jibe, prompting Martin to quickly offer Plan B: Or, take the car, take the baby, and go, keep on being lucky. Tyrese growls out, “You think you’re gonna kill me?” In response, Martin asks Tyrese, point-blank, with a bemused smile, “Why haven’t you killed me? How does having me alive help you? Why are you even talking to me?” Tyrese has no answer for this, and Martin urges him once again to get the baby, get in the car, and go.
“I don’t want to do this today,” Martin says.
I have to give it up for Chris Coy, the young actor who plays Martin, the Half-Term, for a standout performance in this episode. I call Martin the Half-Term because even though he has definitely lost much of his former moral code, he is still just a young man, one who has survived the horror of the walker apocalypse this long by adopting the brutality of the Terminal Method. Still, he grapples with these choices, remembering better days. Martin is on the fence, it seems, about it all. It seems to piss him off to see Tyrese holding onto his humanity this long, having friends, saving babies. It makes Martin mean, and say, and do, shitty things.
Meanwhile, Walker Stalker Carol, slimed in walker goo, approaches the outskirts of Terminus. She hears the Terminal Goon ordering the gang to get up against the walls of the train car, and then we hear the canister go off inside the car. Carol peers through the fence to see a group of Terms dragging Rick to the processing house.
With Martin’s duffel bag full of ammo, Carol stealths around the perimeters of the fence. Using the scope on her rifle, she spies two Terminal Bitches culling walkers at the fence… then she spies:
As Carol continues to scope around, she sees the Terminal Bitches running from their culling posts at the fence, calling out in alarm. She turns and sees the Hungry Herd, coming en masse, towards the Terminus compound.
New Carol knows the time to act is now.
Back at the cabin, Tyrese and Martin hear the explosion. Tyrese peers out the window and sees the black cloud rising over the trees. Martin, still bound and sitting, asks Tyrese if that’s Terminus. Tyrese tells him it is. Martin takes a moment to process this. He muses that maybe Tyrese and his people are going to win today, or maybe..maybe the woman who left was the one who got capped. Martin continues, saying maybe it’s him that’s gonna get capped when she, the lady, friend, whatever, comes back.
Still looking out the window, Tyrese says that nobody’s gotta die today. Martin snorts out a derisive laugh at this idealistic sentiment. “Man, if you really believe that,” Martin tells Tyrese, “then it’s definitely gonna be you and the kid…even if that place is burning to the ground.”
The scene shifts to back inside the processing rooms, where the butcher goons are starting to rouse themselves after Rambo Carol’s blast. We can hear a voice on Gareth’s handset radio asking, “Man, what the hell was that?”
Gareth is losing it, ordering the goons to stay back with Rick and the others. When the bald guy questions this, Gareth screams at him to stay put while he finds out what is happening.
This is the opportunity Rick has been waiting for, and he continues to slice away at his zip-tie binds at his wrists.
The scene shifts outside to show Mary, who too has been knocked down by the explosion (no doubt while getting the front grill area all cleaned up and ready for “Public Face” later). Mary looks up in horror to see burning walkers streaming through the hole that was one of their fences. “Oh, shit!” she says. Yeah, Mary. “Oh, shit” is right.
While Walker Stalker Carol strides into the Terminal Blast Hole with the rest of the Hungry Herd, New Guy is freaking the hell out. He’s trying to radio for Gareth, to no avail. “Don’t you smell the smoke?” he asks Terminal BM. “The whole place could be going up!”
Terminal BM blathers on about “protocol,” how their job is here, not there, spouting forth a bunch of bureaucratic blah blah blah.
When this compelling spiel fails to derail New Guy’s freakout, Terminal BM tries out some of the new management skills he learned last weekend at the Mary’s Sanctuary Effective Management seminar. (Lesson Three: Use the Voice of Authority, even when utilizing The Personal Approach, which is discussed in full detail in Lesson One. For more on Lesson One, please refer back to page three of your course outline.)
Terminal BM tries a combination of Lesson Three and Lesson One on New Guy : “Hey…look at me!” New Guy turns to look at Terminal BM, just in time to see Rick Grimes teach Terminal BM a lesson of his own…
Meanwhile, back inside Train Car “A”…
Carl comes forward, flanked by Maggie, and reminds everyone that his dad, Rick, said that they would be back, so they will be back. Maggie backs him up, adding that they just need to wait, stay ready to fight, when the time comes. Maggie then looks at her father’s pocket watch, thinking, no doubt, of Glenn…and Hershel. She kneels and resumes using the chain, as Rick did, to saw a wooden blade for herself.
Michonne peers out the crack in the door, sees walkers roaming through the compound. A walker’s hand grabs at her through the crack, but of course cannot get at her.
Karma is slapping Terminus up like the bitches they are. It is truly satisfying to see the Creepy Comrades of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op get feasted on by the undead:
When Carol hears gunshots, she ducks around a corner and peers through her scope. She sees a Terminan shooting walkers with an assault rifle, so Rambo Carol takes him out, sniper style. Her gunshots attract the attention of a couple of nearby walkers, and she ducks behind a heavy door and shuts herself away from them.
Back in the processing area, Rick cuts the righteous dudes loose, and as they gather knives and whatever other weapons they can find, while taking in Alex’s dead body and the carnage around them. Daryl goes to rekill one of the dead butchers. He is stopped by Rick, who tells Daryl to, “Let him turn.”
The men wander into the “dryer” room, where sections of human carcasses hang from meat hooks.
As Daryl, Glenn, Bob, and Rick take in the horror of the grisly room, Rick instructs them, “Cross any of these people, you kill them. Don’t hesitate. They won’t.”
I love when Rick Grimes goes all Lieutenant Deputy.
After arming themselves with knives, cleavers, and other butchering apparatus, the dudes peer out to see a group of walkers pawing at a locked train car as the poor people locked inside cry out. Rick suggests that they can run by, as the walkers are distracted, but Glenn says that they need to free the people in the train car.
So, the good guys go and battle the walkers, and their heroics are rewarded with one wild, hairy dude running out, laughing maniacally and exclaiming, “I’m saved! I’M SAVED!”
Judging from the grimly hilarious moments that run throughout this episode, it seems that Kirkman & Co. had a blast filming “No Sanctuary”.
Meanwhile, Stealth Carol finds the goods room, with items fleeced from the victims of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op. She first sees Rick’s watch, the one he gave to Sam…
Meanwhile, Glenn, Rick, Bob, and Daryl outside in the mayhem, stuck between a train car and a hard place. Trying to go forward, there are countless walkers and Terminans, armed with assault rifles, systematically mowing the invading walkers down. Rick tells them to wait there, and runs low to crouch behind an abandoned car. He monitors the oncoming Terminan shooters through a rear view mirror on the ground:
Daryl saves the day by spearing a walker that sneaks up behind Rick, after following Rick to the car. So hot, and then this happened…
With the shooters out of the way, the Terminal Walkers are free to go nucking futs on Terminus...
Meanwhile, Carol has found Mary’s creepy candlelit ritual room, the one with the SCC slogans painted on the walls (“Never trust,” “We first, always,” “Never again”). As Carol takes all this in, there is a click behind her, and Mary’s querulous voice telling Carol to drop her weapons, and turn around.
“I want to see your face,” Mary says.
Carol spies the shadows of walkers underneath at a closed door. At Carol’s hesitation, Mary screams, “Now!” Carol’s wheels are turning in her head as she slowly shrugs off her bag, and Daryl’s crossbow. Carol still, however, has the assault rifle under her poncho, and she whirls and fires on Mary, getting a shot into her and forcing Mary to drop her gun.
Mary drops to the floor, wounded, then in a burst of matriarchal fury, tackles Carol. They scrap hard, throwing each other into ornate candelabras and basically trashing the place in an epic Top Mama Tapout Beatdown (“Who’s Top Mama? I’m Top Mama! Say it, SAY MY NAME…TOP MAMA!”)
Carol, of course, is clearly Top Mama, and soon has Mary looking down the barrel of her gun. Mary looks around, her eyes tearing, and tells Carol that the signs were real, that it was a real Sanctuary…but then people came and took this place, and they raped, and they killed…Carol tries to shut her off, and find out where her people are, but Mary needs to unburden herself, and so Carol lets her keep talking. The abuse happened over a period of weeks, but they, the original Sanctuarians, fought back and reclaimed their home, by hearing the message: “You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”
Mary is super into her moment, but Carol has other things on her mind. “The men you pulled from that train car, where are they?” she demands. Mary doesn’t answer, so New Carol busts a cap in her leg, dropping Mary to the floor.
Now Mary’s just going on all crazy, lying wounded on the floor, telling Carol that she “could have been one of us…you could have listened to what the world was telling you!” New Carol don’t think so, Mary.
“You lead people here, and take what they have, and kill them? Is that what this place is?” she asks Mary, still pointing the gun at her. Mary tells her not at first, but that’s the way it had to be, and they’re still here because of it. Carol looks at Mary a moment, then says, “You’re not here…and neither am I.”
Back at the cabin, Tyrese watches the black plume of smoke continue to burn. He hears, then sees, a handful of walkers coming toward the cabin. Tyrese rushes from one window, to the other, taking his eyes off Judith. Martin seizes this opportunity to run to Judith’s makeshift crib and grab her, one hand on her head, the other near her neck. One twist, and she’s gone. He warns Tyrese to back off, orders him to put his weapons down, and as the walkers outside paw at the windows, Martin orders Tyrese outside, where the walkers are.
Tyrese begs Martin not to hurt Judith…Martin yells back, “Don’t make me! It’s one twist, man! Go outside!“
Tyrese must do as Martin says…and the scene ends with Tyrese charging out the door, right into a press of walkers. After the commercial break, we see Martin trying to radio Cynthia, his 2-way buddy, but Cynthia does not copy. From outside, it looks like there is some serious mayhem happening, crashing indentations into the cabin’s thin walls.
It would be easy to assume that the walkers were having the upper hand on one lone man, but then Martin hears a bellow, and two quick, crashing blows. The hissing and slavering of the walkers stops for a moment.
Martin steps forward, then looks at Judith, pulls his knife. But before he can do anything else, Tyrese charges him through the door:
Back in train car “A”, our gang is putting the finishing touches on their makeshift weapons. Michonne’s weapon is particularly badass, a double-bladed katana with dual wooden blades. Sasha asks Eugene point-blank what the cure is. Eugene immediately answers that it’s classified. While Abraham tries to shoo the ladies away from Eugene, the sisters aren’t about to be dissuaded. They want the deets.
Eugene spouts off some mumbly jumbo that sounds like a bunch of bullcrap, ending with the fact that if he goes “red rain,” the cure dies with him. Abraham is placating, telling Eugene that he won’t let that happen. Eugene is uncertain, saying again that he isn’t one to be able to negotiate the physical threats of walkers and bullets if they do get outside. Michonne answers that while he cannot, they can. Sasha adds that they just want to hear it, the cure. Rosita pipes in, telling Eugene that he “doesn’t have to” tell them (why are Abraham and Rosita enabling Eugene so hard?).
Pressed, Eugene stands, and tells them that he was part of a ten-person team with the Human Genome Project that created human pathogenic diseases to fight human pathogenic diseases…biological warfare. Eugene tells them that he personally knows the delivery mechanisms to unleash disease that could kill every person on the planet…he tells them that he believes “with a little tweaking on the terminals in Washington” that he can “flip the script” on the walker epidemic, and “take out every last dead one of them.”
Sasha looks wordlessly at Eugene. Maggie steps up and prompts them to get back to work. It sounds like both a plausible explanation for the walker epidemic and a reasonable scenario for a hope of a way to combat this thing…biological warfare. But can we believe Eugene? I want to, I really do. Eugene is a likeable enough guy, and I am obsessed with his mullet, which is looking really full and amazing in this episode.
I just don’t know, people.
Just then, the door to the train car opens, and it’s Rick and the dudes, holding off walkers and getting the rest of the team out of there. It’s a great scene, with our gang going to town, in their inimitable Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstar-style. I just love our gang, people. They are such total badasses.
In the woods, outside of the fences, Daryl leads them back to the place where Rick and he buried the weapons. Abraham wonders loudly why they are still hanging around these woods. Rick’s going a little Rick Smash! at this moment…he is instructing the others to set up posts at the fences. He still wants to fight.
At Abraham’s, “Um, what?,” Rick turns to look up from his digging, tells Abraham, “They don’t get to live.”
The gang voices their dissent, and desire to go…Rick insists that it’s “not over until they’re all dead.” I do understand his point, and I feel certain that we will be seeing Gareth and the Terminans later on…Gareth does know now where the gang is headed, and like I said, that guy isn’t one to let go of a grudge anytime soon.
As we we see in the end, when “No Sanctuary” comes full circle, back to Then, when Gareth and Alex’s mother, Mary, gets thrown back in the train car after being raped and brutalized, and another poor woman gets chosen, and pulled away, we see that how Gareth and his people suffered at the hands of brutal degenerates. It took much strength, and resolve, to fight back, take back their home, and survive, even if the methods employed to do so were unspeakable and evil.
Gareth isn’t going to let this one go, and he’s not dead. If if were up to Rick, they would stay, fight, and make sure he was. But it’s not just up to Rick, not anymore.
But enough of that, because coming through the woods is…
Rick approaches next, smiling, tearing up, being cautious, respectful, asks Carol, “Did you do this?” meaning of course, killing Terminus. Carol is crying, smiling, nodding, and Rick gives her a big hug as well.
Carol tells Rick and the others, “You have to come with me.” And so Carol leads them back to the cabin, where Tyrese is waiting for them, holding Baby Judith.
Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita watch as the gang is reunited. Rick says it’s time to go. “To where?” asks Daryl. “Far away from here,” answers Rick. Rosita looks at Abraham significantly, and he assures her quietly that he’ll “talk to him, not now, when the time is right.” They follow the gang, and before Rick slips off with the rest into the woods, he makes a change to the Sanctuary sign:
After the credits, we see another traveller, who has found Rick’s modified “No Sanctuary” sign. He regards it for a moment, then pulls his hood, face mask off…
Before the epic playlist, I would like to award this week’s Deadie to Carol, MVP of Season 5, Episode 1, “No Sanctuary.” And in honor of Sam, who came up with awesome names for walkers, and who was a sweet soul, I included a little love offering for you all this week, to bring the funny, like Sam did.
They call him Carl Poppa, bitches. ❤
Until next week, and enjoy the playlist.
Led Zeppelin “Battle of Evermore”
Bad Brains “I“
Wipers “Just a Dream Away”
Motorcycle “As the Rush Comes” (Gabriel & Dresden Chillout Mix)