The Walking Dead is back for its fifth season, louder and more explosive then ever. Unlike last year's season opener, which was a slow-burner that began with Rick literally gardening the yard, this time he and his band of survivors are ready for combat. It has been an interesting evolution watching (what's left of) the characters we have known grow from fleeing victims, to savage warriors. This year things are taking a darker turn as Rick's gang becomes as proficient at killing humans, as the zombies.
The opening episode is about how each of the characters hold on to their last few strands of humanity, as they once knew it. This episode is expertly carried by Rick, Carol, and Tyreese. They are all in various states of crisis at the beginning of the episode and it is fascinating to watch them attempt to retain, or regain, what humanity they have left.
Rick is as confident as he has ever been. He is now fully capable of doing whatever it takes to survive. This is made clear after their escape from their captors. Rick insists on returning to kill the rest of them off, despite the fact that they had already reached safety. It was just a glimpse, but it shows the scales have turned for the former sheriff. He coldly declares, "They don't get to live." He fears their former captors are too dangerous to live. Which on a longer thought, isn't as irrational as it sounds at first. However, it does show how his environment has changed Rick (and everyone) yet again. That sense of god-like justice is usually reserved for the evil figures of the show. It will be worth monitoring over the course of the season, if the show-runners and writers play with this notion even more.
Carol! She looks ready for her role in the next Rambo film. Or at least someone needs to put her in the next Expendables film to class up the joint. Her past as a victim of the zombie apocalypse as formed her into a new woman. She now has the skill-set to take on the Predator and she will shoot a little girl in the back of the head if she has to. I'm not even kidding...She will do it. Carol single-handedly assaults Terminus with craftiness and techniques picked up from past episodes, such as "Guts." The direction makes the sequence feel plausible and is as good action as you will find on TV. Plus her interactions with Tyreese are outstanding. She helps to pull him out of the fetal position he is stuck in mentally, with direct language and decisive actions.
Tyreese is not simply the Incredible Hulk of the bunch, he is also the heart of the show. So emotionally damaged at the beginning of the episode, he is unable to even kill threatening walkers. His selflessness is noticed and used against him by their captive. Martin points out how caring for an infant is weighing him down and will ultimately lead to his demise. It is a chilling truth that shows the strength of Tyreese's character. It also could be foreshadowing for any member of the show, who happens to be tending to baby Judith. Tyreese gets to show what he is capable of with his bare hands, if literally pushed into a wall and out the door. There may be nothing better on TV, than to witness Tyreese in a righteous rage.
This episode makes use of time and flash-forwards expertly. Just when it seems that there are too many random coincidences, a different character is later shown to have caused the action. It is compelling writing and editing. The beauty of the execution is how all of the primary cast really affect each other. Which highlights how crucial the core players of The Walking Dead are to each other, even when separated by distance.
After separation, hopefully, there is a reconciliation. The end of the episode is one of the more uplifting moments in the series so far. When the remaining cast of The Walking Dead reunite, it is cathartic. Some have caused each other great pain. All have sacrificed their lives for each other. The entire cast shines as a thousand things are said between each other, without speaking a single word. It is a moment that reminds you about how far the show has come and how open the possibilities are for where it could go next.
The biggest issue for the rest of the season, is that the bar is set very high from the start. Hopefully there are plenty of twists ahead as the Terminus saga was wrapped up quickly. However, there are some very big loose ends that will definitely comeback to haunt Rick's gang. Particularly, the decision to go against Rick's directive to take out the murderous cannibals. This season couldn't have started off much better. It looks like it is going to be another fantastic season.
Source: Point of Geeks