'Walking Dead' Season 5 Premiere: 8 Amazing Moments You May Have Missed

Walking Dead season 5 premiere

Sunday’s Walking Dead premiere was so nice I watched it twice. Okay, “nice” probably isn’t the right word; in fact, I’m certain it’s not the right word. “Intense,” “shocking,” “so violent and gory I kind of can’t believe they got away with airing it on basic cable” might be better terms. But whatever it was, it definitely lived up to the hype, wouldn’t you say? My only concern at this point is pacing. Don’t use it all up right away, guys! Save some for the rest of season 5!

After I watched “No Sanctuary” for the second time last night (I’ve never done that before with a show, not even with Breaking Bad), I noticed a few things I missed on Sunday when my jaw was lying on the floor. In case you missed them too — or have some interesting bits of your own to point out — here’s a review of the smaller yet notable moments from the premiere. (Spoilers ahead!)

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The timeline was confusing at first. Maybe it was just me, but the first time around I couldn’t figure out the timing of the gunfire/explosions. Upon second viewing, it seems like the gunfire that attracts the herd is the gunfire that happened during the season 4 finale, when Rick and the gang was being captured by the Terminus bad guys. The loud explosion that Rick and Gareth hear when Glenn’s nearly getting his brains smacked out of his head is when Carol has suited up in zombie guts and blown the propane tank all to hell. So, a pretty seamless transition — we picked up right where we left off.

The creepy huge guy in the final flashback wasn’t Negan. I thought the guy who was terrorizing Past Gareth & Co was Negan, the villain from the comics, but someone pointed out to me that on the Talking Dead, they confirmed that guy was the crazy man that Glenn freed from the boxcar. The guy who came out with the giant beard cackling, “We're the same, we're the same!” We’re the butcher, we’re the butcher. Executive producer and FX genius Greg Nicotero says,

At the end, when they go back into the train car and you see them, that's the same guy. When they're saying, 'You're either the cattle or the butcher,' Mary says, 'We put the signs up because we did want to save this place and want it to be a sanctuary and then they took it away.' Them being willing to take people in, it was the biggest mistake they made and it turned them. That's a big theme on the show because it shows how you can start out as a good person and with a few flips of the switch, be not such a good person.

Andrew Lincoln adds,

He is the guy who has been torturing them in the flashback; they've locked him up and he's been kept in there ever since they took the place.

The Terminus backstory was pretty gruesome but simple. I personally thought the backstory got a little lost in all the chaos, but the message was there. Showrunner Scott Gimple:

Bad people came in and did things to Gareth and his group. Gareth and his group did bad things to people. Does that mean that Rick and his group do bad things to other people? I don't think Gareth thinks he's the same as the 'large man' or the people that came in. I think he is a lot more pragmatic. [Gareth's mother told Carol] that they came in, laughed, and took the place over within weeks and they did horrible things and left. Gareth is a little amused by Rick saying that he's going to kill him. But other than that, Gareth isn't laughing. He's very serious about this. There is a gravity to the whole thing for Gareth. It's the banality of evil but in some ways, it's another day at the office at Terminus. But they're not sitting there laughing and enjoying it.

Gareth didn’t die, did he? He got shot in the shoulder/arm area, but that’s all. According to Andrew West, who plays Gareth, we may not have seen the last of his character:

I would hope that we have not. Everything would seem to point to Gareth maybe making another appearance somewhere down the line. It certainly would appear that way, yes. You know, we see certain things in the trailer and yeah, you know, I mean I would hope Gareth isn’t done that quickly.

That “This is still who we are” line was so great. You know when Rick wants to run past the people still trapped in the boxcar but Glenn says they have to stop and help them escape because it’s still who they are? That was awesome. Here’s what Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn, says about that moment:

You just see that this is who Glenn is. That this world, no matter how badly it’s burned him, he still needs to have that light shine through. I think that’s what that moment is. No matter how dire the circumstances, especially that trough where he could have died, he has hope that things will work themselves out. So I think for him it’s a no-brainer, that’s who he’s got to be. The first moment you met Glenn, he saved Rick from the tank. And so it’s hard to think of Glenn changing so much, hardening so much, that he wouldn’t do that for someone else.

What was up with Tyreese and his hesitation to kill? I was really confused by that. Actor Chad Coleman clarifies:

I think he’s still reliving the horror of “The Grove” and everything that happened with Lizzie and Mika. And just the overwhelming nature of the post-apocalyptic world. It shook him, you know? It shook him tremendously. That, and still the resonation of Karen, and everything that happened with Carol having to take her out. So, there’s so much reverberating in him right now, he kind of needs a moment without getting one. So that’s kind of what I think that is. You know, violence is, it just seems as if, like, almost no way out. And he wants a way out, and he wants a way out for humanity, more than anything else.

As for that moment when he killed the Terminus guy while yelling, “I won’t! I won’t!”:

You know, that there’s no diplomacy, that we can’t slow down and make a different decision. It’s just kind of eating him up that everybody thinks you’ve got to go a thousand miles an hour and just kill everything. You know, kill or be killed, and so that eats at him. So it all just comes out. Also, he suppresses a lot, but when you push that release valve, it’s pretty raw. But I love it because he, in the midst of this terrible situation, that’s the only way he can still try to touch his humanity, by smashing his face in but saying “I won’t.” You know, “I won’t be that guy.” And I think Tyreese is completely aware, and his hope is that we’re going to return to normal, so who are you going to be when you get there if you keep just going out and just doing these, you know, grossly violent things? What is it going to do to you? And are you going to be able to restore to your normal self? So, I think that he is keenly aware of that.

Anyone notice the beautiful callback to “The Grove”? At the end when Rick says, “I don’t know if that fire’s still burning,” looking at the black smoke coming from Terminus? That lets Carol drop some smoke knowledge she learned from Poor Dead Mika, who told Carol that when smoke is black, it means the fire’s still burning. When it’s white, the fire is out. Nicely done, Walking Dead writers.

Lastly, what about that blink-and-you-miss-it glimpse of Morgan at the end? Scott Gimple will only say this:

Here are clues onscreen to his mental state. I would say that he’s definitely dressed better than the last time we saw him. He looks pretty well put together. You know, he’s not talking to himself. I would say that, just laying eyes on him, it looks like a different Morgan. And then as far as how much we’re going to see of Morgan, you know me very well — that I will not be specific about that. But I will say that it does seem like he is following something, like he’s walking towards something, that it’s the start of something.

What else did you spot in the premiere?


Image via AMC

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