By Josh Axelrod and David Oliver
Well that was a hell of way to kick off a season. “The Walking Dead” has had some of the most anti-climactic finales on TV, but this last one at least set everything up for a ridiculously dramatic and action-packed season opener. “No Sanctuary” picked up with the group stuck in that train car and went full throttle, never letting up the pace. Where to begin?
JOSH: OH MY GOD CAROL IS A BADASS WARRIOR PRINCESS. Remember in Season 1 when she was a battered wife with nothing resembling a backbone? Yeah, after she blew up that gas tank with a signal flair, neither do I. No character on this show has shown more tangible growth than her. She saved Rick and the gang from being “humanely” slaughtered and fed to the residents of Terminus almost singlehandedly. Well, she had the help of about 100 walkers, but she was the instigator.
I also loved her reunion with Daryl. That hug showed the same amount of genuine happiness as when Rick discovered Judith was still alive. I was also really happy that Rick didn’t give letting Carol back into their group a second thought. His reasoning for kicking her out the first time was solid, but she more than proved her worth as a valuable member of his Ricktatorship by saving all of their lives. Oh, and Rick can assume she won’t drag anyone out back and light them on fire again. Glad to have you back Carol!
DAVID: I teared up at that huge reunion, but more so because Carol and Daryl! Not sure if this show will take the pair anywhere romantically, but I’m OK with them just being happy BFFs.
I’m so glad the gang is back together again, albeit a tad convenient that our favorites made it out alive. And just a quick side note, I am firmly on #TeamCarl and will fight anyone who disagrees.
JOSH: I didn’t realize Tyrese was such a gentle giant. I mean sure, he doesn’t have Rick’s “we can’t stop until they’re all dead” attitude, and we’ve seen him kill walkers with that hammer before. But I guess what went down with Lizzie and Mika last season left him a little traumatized and unwilling to kill walkers, let alone people. Of course, that unnamed Terminus guy pushed him to the point where he regained his ability to kill both the dead and the living. I was genuinely afraid he was going to hurt Judith, especially with the way she was crying. Thank god Tyrese found his backbone just in time.
DAVID: I was getting worried about Tyrese’s ability to kill, but yes thank goodness. I wasn’t worried about him killing Judith – he called her his friend!
JOSH: Rick wasn’t really going to go back to Terminus, right? The place was burning to the ground and still flooded with walkers. Sure, a few stragglers might’ve survived the assault, but was it really worth going back into that chaos just to kill a few bad people? Thank God his group calmed him down.
Other than that though, I like the new ruthless Rick. I guess once you kill someone by ripping apart their neck with your teeth, you’re not afraid of anything. I wouldn’t mess with Rick or anyone he cares about if you want to keep your blood and guts in your body.
DAVID: Farmer Rick was so boring. Welcome back, badass Rick.
JOSH: I’m putting money on their being no cure. Eugene talks a big game, and I bet he really did work in that lab trying to devise a cure. But there’s no way the show would introduce a cure that could potentially serve as an endgame. I’m calling it right now: There’s no cure. And if I’m wrong, Eugene’s going to be killed off before it can ever be put into effect. Just a hunch.
DAVID: Um, there HAS to be a cure. In theory this show could go on for tons of more seasons, but without ANY hope, it really can’t last. If there isn’t a cure there better be some answers, because the show will end with everyone dying or some people left alive with the cure. Either that or they’ll evolve and be immune to it.
JOSH: I wish we had learned a little more about how Terminus went from a sanctuary to a death trap full of murderous cannibals. I get that its residents were terrorized by that awful group of people (the humans on this make the walkers look harmless sometimes). But that’s a giant leap between victims who fought back and people who lure innocents into their compound just to kill and eat them. Everyone we met genuinely believed they were doing what they had to do to survive. I hope we see a few survivors later this season, just so we can learn about the history of Terminus.
DAVID: I liked the “then” and “now” pieces of the episode, but I don’t think we’ll be getting any more of those. Side note: cannibalism is gross, in case that wasn’t already established.
JOSH: OH MY GOD MORGAN IS BACK!!!! He’s such a great character. He basically taught Rick the rules of this new world and then showed him what he might become if anything ever happened Carl. The Morgan we saw a few seasons ago after his son died was straight-up insane. So knowing he’s wandering the woods looking for god knows what adds a new wrinkle to the story. THIS was such a great episode of “The Walking Dead,” and the post-credits scene with Morgan was just icing on the bloody, entertaining cake.
DAVID: BRILLIANT way to end the episode and start off a season. I agree with Michael Ausiello: best episode since the pilot.