Warning: Huge spoilers, rampant speculation and fevered discussion to follow. Back the heck away if you haven't seen The Walking Dead Season 5 premiere!
Holy f--k! That was intense! Last night I saw the long-awaited premiere of The Walking Dead Season 5, and boy did it deliver. From minute one to the post credits scene, this episode had it all and stands as one of the greatest in the show's history.
There were brutal acts of violence, nerve-shredding tension, and an emotional reunion that ensured the entire spectrum of human emotions were experienced during this breathless hour of television.
However, I don't want to dwell on the major plot points in this recap. We all saw the episode and know what happened. Instead I want to look at 5 things you might have missed from the episode and what this means for the rest of the season.
1. The return of a familiar face
I'm not talking about THAT familiar face - although we'll get to him later. No, I want to start with the blond guy who got his head caved in and had his throat slit.
Recognize him? Despite him looking a bit like a post-apocalyptic Eminem, this is in fact Sam. We ran into him lady friend back in Season 4 when he crossed paths with Rick and Carol and had his shoulder fixed.
Clearly the shoulder won't be bothering him anymore...
2. We've already been told how Gareth is going to die
After poor Sam and the three Red Shirts were brutally and systematically dispatched, Terminus leader Gareth appeared demanding Rick tell him what was in the bag they'd buried outside the compound.
After some gentle persuasion and mild threats of violence towards Bob, Rick gives up the details of what's in the bag, plus this gem of a sentence:
There's a machete with a red handle. That's what I'm going to use to kill you.
The Walking Dead has previous experience when it comes to foreshadowing events - Lizzie was told to look at the flowers at the beginning of Season 4, when Carol had to put a knife in her father's head - so I'm confident that later in the season Gareth will feel the cold, deadly steel of Rick's knife in his throat.
3. Family tastes good
Remember last season when Rick and co. tried to shoot their way out of Terminus and one of the Termites took a bullet to the head?
It turns out this was Alex, who happens to be the brother of Gareth. Now, if we fast-forward to the Season 5 premiere, and the point when Rick, Glenn, Daryl and Bob kill the two butchers in the meat prepping room, there's a body that's been prepped for slicing and dicing on the table.
Yep, you guessed it, this is Alex. So it looks like Gareth has no qualms about tucking into his brother for Sunday lunch.
Sticking with the "f--ked up family" theme, it was confirmed by showrunner Scott M. Gimple that mad, bad Mary is Gareth and Alex's mother. I bet their family barbecues were a blast...
4. One of the bad guys looked a hell of a lot like Negan
What I really enjoyed about this episode was the hint of a backstory to why Terminus had become a compound of cannibalism. Basically, loads of bad men broke in and took over, and then decided to stick around for a few weeks and do some terrible things to the residents.
We saw a brief flashback of the leader of these undesirables when he came into a train carriage looking for his next victim, and he looked a lot like Negan, the big bad from the comic book:
Social media was abuzz with fans speculating whether this was the first glimpse of the sadistic killer, but TWD creator Robert Kirkman quickly jumped in to set the record straight:
The face tattoos were hard to spot first time around, but if you squint you can kinda make them out.
Despite the similarities to Negan, the guy above is actually the tattooed guy Glenn sets free from the container earlier in the episode:
Although quite why the Termites hadn't already eaten him, remains a mystery.
5. The return of an old friend
Probably the most awesome thing that happened in this episode of awesome things was the post-credit scene and the return of fan favorite Morgan.
It was a spectacular reveal and I genuinely punched the air with a "hell yeah" when he pulled off his head gear to reveal himself.
But what path is he following?
Morgan was seen following trees marked with a strange symbol. Who made these and where does it lead?
Is it Rick and Daryl leaving markers for those who want to escape Terminus?
Could it be Gareth and the Termites, who managed to escape the compound and are now leaving a trail for the rest of their tribe to follow?
Or could it be something to do with the guys who snatched Beth?
I'd love to hear your theories on this.