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Recap / The Walking Dead S 05 E 01 No Sanctuary

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Season 5, Episode 1

No Sanctuary

Carol wages war on Terminus to save the rest of the group.

A group of people from Terminus are seen in flashback discussing how they only wanted to do right, while a woman screams offscreen. Alex, who got killed in the Season 4 finale, laments to Gareth and asks what they have become...

In the present, the boxcar prisoners are readying improvised weapons. Rick and Abraham are prepping the others for how to attack when the doors are opened, but their plans are foiled when a smoke grenade is thrown in through the top of the car. Everyone is forced out, and Rick is knocked unconscious by one of the Terminus members.

He wakes up alongside Bob, Daryl and Glenn and four other prisoners, who are all kneeling in front of a trough. A pair of men begin slaughtering the prisoners by knocking them out with a baseball bat and slicing their throats to bleed out in the trough. Just before he knocks out Glenn, Gareth enters and asks for a report on their counts, causing them to pause for a moment. Bob tells Gareth to stop what he's doing, and says that Eugene knows a cure and they need to go to Washington. Gareth refuses to listen, and instead asks Rick that the Terminus search party couldn't find the bag of guns he hid in the forest. Rick tells him that it's filled with guns and a machete and says that he's going to kill him. Before anything else can happen, gunfire is heard and a large explosion knocks them down.

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Carol and Tyreese are still following the rail tracks in the nearby forest. She asks if he's ready to get back to clearing out walkers, but he tells her that he's still not comfortable with killing. Both of them are distracted by a horde, and hide while they pass by. The horde is distracted by gunfire and starts walking towards it. Carol realizes that it may be coming from Terminus, and that they should go investigate.

Walking along the tracks, Carol and Tyreese discover a Terminus member, Martin, holding a conversation with another person over walkie-talkie about a "chick with a sword" and a "kid with a hat". The pair take him hostage and tie him up inside a nearby cabin. When she doesn't believe his information after questioning, Carol orders Tyreese to watch him and Judith while she goes on ahead. The Terminus man, Martin, tells her she won't be able to get close, but Carol ignores him and leaves.

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Carol coats herself in walker guts and makes her way to Terminus. She sees Rick and the others being taken inside, and sets up a perch with her equipment. Using a sniper rifle and a firework, Carol blows a propane tanker up, which causes a massive explosion and results in several walkers being set on fire. She moves into the base.

Inside, the two butchers are questioning whether they should go outside and help. They are surprised by Rick, who cuts through his bonds with a wooden shiv in his shoe and brutally executes both of them. He frees the others and tells them to leave the bodies to turn. Their search for weapons leads them to a room full of butchered human bodies. Disgusted, Rick orders his men to not hesitate to kill the Terminus people. They head outside and see carnage - walkers are everywhere, and numerous Terminus residents are being attacked.

The four men begin carving their way through walkers to get to a nearby boxcar to free a prisoner inside. When they do, he runs out screaming at them that they're Not So Different before he's munched on by a walker. The four continue on, and Rick kills a Terminus member and takes his AK-47 before killing several others and passing out rifles to the rest of the group.

Elsewhere, Carol is moving through the base and killing Terminus members while blending on with the herd. She makes her way inside a building and finds the confiscated items from the group, and takes her old watch and Daryl's crossbow, then comes face-to-face with Mary at gunpoint, who orders her to set down her gun. Carol spins and fires before tackling Mary, and eventually grabs her rifle to point at the latter. Mary tells her about Terminus' past, and how they were decent people who were forced to adopt a harsh mentality when their members were raped by another group and they rebelled to take control back.

Mary asks Carol to kill her, but the latter instead kneecaps her and leaves her to a horde of walkers.

Tyreese is keeping watch on Judith in the cabin when he is distracted by walkers outside. Martin uses the opportunity to take hostage and force Tyreese out under threat of killing her, but is ambushed moments later when Tyreese busts his way back in and brutally beats the man...

Rick, Daryl, Bob and Glenn free the rest of the group and they escape over a fence, though not before shooting Gareth as he tries to attack them.

In the forest, Rick retrieves the bag of guns. He is surprised by Carol, and he and Daryl tearfully greet her as the rest of the group look on in happiness. They walk back to the cabin and find Tyreese and Judith, and everyone has a tearful reunion.

Rick tells the others that they need to head away from Terminus, while Abraham tells Rosita that he'll talk to him about heading to Washington. Together, the much bigger group begins making their way through the forest. Rick pauses at a "SANCTUARY" sign and spray-paints the word "NO" in front of it before leaving...

In another flashback, Mary gets thrown into a box car while two bandits - one of them the crazy tattoo guy - selects another woman to be raped. Gareth tries to comfort Mary, promises they will take back Terminus, and delineates their new ideology: "You're either the butcher, or the cattle."

Some time later, a hooded and masked man is walking down the tracks and stoops to read the sign. He turns around and takes off his hood to reveal... Morgan, who begins to follow the markings on a tree someone has left in the forest...

Tropes:

  • Back for the Dead: Sam, who's slaughtered by the Terminus butchers just a few moments after being seen again and sharing a look with Rick.
  • Badass Crew: All parties minus Beth finally reunite, resulting in a huge, powerful group consisting of Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Carol, Carl, Maggie, Rosita, Tara, Sasha, Bob, Glenn, Eugene, Tyreese and Abraham.
  • Being Good Sucks: The Terminus residents' reason for their Face–Heel Turn.
  • Big Bad: Gareth.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Carol, who pretty much saves everyone from being the cannibals' next meal.
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins and ends with a flashback to the events that resulted in the current incarnation of Terminus.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The group responds with a collective What the Hell, Hero? when Rick suggests that they spread out around the fallen Terminus compound and pick off the survivors. The group have just faced a harrowing ordeal in order to be reunited and just want to get moving before anything else goes wrong, feeling that the Terminus crew are doomed anyway. On the other hand, given all the foes Rick has seen come back to cause grievous harm when they were not permanently stopped, (Andrew, The Governor, The Claimers,) it's not difficult to agree with him.
  • The Bus Came Back: Morgan, after last being seen in "Clear".
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Terminus folks are completely nonchalant about slaughtering people for food. Word of God is that this is intended to be what sets Terminus apart from other foes like the Governor or Joe, that this brutal cannibalism is Terminus' equivalent of mundane office duties like making donuts.
  • Call-Back: Carol uses the "walker-parts camouflage technique" Rick and Glenn used in "Guts".
  • The Cameo: Morgan, who appears in The Stinger and decides to follow the markings left behind on Rick's trail.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Carol and Tyreese have a discussion about his lack of will to kill anything while a walker approaches them at the train tracks.
  • *Click* Hello:
    • Carol uses this against Martin at the shack, just after he finishes speaking to his partner via walkie-talkie.
    • Mary tries this against Carol, but it doesn't work nearly as well.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Rick's group are seen fashioning weapons from whatever they were locked up carrying. Rick uses a piece of wood cut from the wall of the train car to cut his bonds and kill his minders.
  • Continuity Nod: Upon finding the storage room with the group's confiscated valuables, Carol retrieves the wristwatch that Rick had given to Sam in "Indifference".
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: When Rick's group gets captured by the residents of Terminus and are brought into slaughterhouse to be killed, just before the butchers could kill Glenn, they stop when they hear gunshots from outside, followed by a massive explosion that knocks everyone down, courtesy of Carol. Rick uses this moment to cut the rope around his hands to free himself and the others to fight back.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • The prisoners being executed like pigs in Terminus.
    • One of the Terminus members has his face gnawed off by a flaming walker.
    • Another Terminus resident is seen pinned down, screaming as walkers are slowly chomping into her neck and sides.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • The butchers knock out their victims before slicing their throats, so they won't writhe around. It seems they also do it to cause brain damage, thus preventing corpses from reanimating.
    • Carol leaves a knee-capped Mary to be feasted on by walkers, after the latter had just asked Carol to shoot her in the head.
  • Darker and Edgier: You'd think it would have been impossible, but yes, the show got a ton darker as of this episode.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Carol vs. Mary.
  • Devoured by the Horde: Mary asks Carol to kill her, but the Carol instead kneecaps her and leaves her to a horde of walkers.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Terminus people's herding of victims into boxcars, their confiscation and sorting of personal belongings, and their brutal yet nonchalant and methodical executions are more than a little reminiscent of a concentration camp.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Gareth is irritatingly casual about the carnage he and his people are committing, and seemed bored when threatening to stab Bob in the eye; yet he maintains a casual, polite tone of voice while speaking to Rick.
  • Gorn: The entire episode is much more violent than before, and features multiple people being Eaten Alive, tied-up prisoners having their throats slit and left to drain out in a trough, human torsos and other body parts hanging from meathooks, people having their faces or necks eaten in close-up detail and Terminus people getting sniped in close detail.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Flashbacks to the early days of Terminus reveal that it once was indeed a sanctuary, until a gang of marauders took over, and slaughtered and raped the people of Terminus. Mary's group was able to rebel and take over, and eventually Terminus became a trap for travelers, so they could take their belongings and eat them. After their attempt at being decent human beings in the apocalypse brought such suffering on them, they decided to renounce their humanity to any outsiders, fearing another takeover.
    • Rick also shows signs of taking on this trope full blown (and this is AFTER he ripped someone's throat out with his teeth). After barely escaping Terminus, he wants to go back and finish them all off. Everyone else just wants to get the hell out of there.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Mary tries to justify her group's cannibalistic actions this way to Carol.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: What happened to the Terminus residents after they killed their previous invaders.
  • I'll Kill You!: When Rick tells Gareth the contents of the bag he stashed in the woods:
    Rick: There's guns in it. AK-47, .44 Magnum, automatic weapons, night scope, there's a compound bow, and... a machete with a red handle. That's what I'm gonna use to kill you.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The people of Terminus. They're even willing to cannibalize their own dead.
  • Improvised Weapon: Rick and co. made weapons out of random things (mostly wood) since their weapons were confiscated.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Carol blows up a propane tank to take out several Terminus members and light the surrounding walkers on fire.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • Played straight. Judith is put in danger, but is rescued by Tyreese before Martin has a chance to do anything else.
    • It's also implied that the people of Terminus had previously averted this trope. When Carol was looking at the collection of things that had been taken from people who had previously arrived at Terminus, several stuffed animals are seen. But there are no children shown in Terminus. Plus Martin states he wants Carl's hat after he's been bled out.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The two men who were slaughtering the prisoners get brutally killed by Rick and the others as soon as they escape.
      • When Daryl goes to dispatch one of the dead butchers' brains, Rick stops him and tells him to let them turn.
    • The leader of the rapists tries telling Glenn and Daryl that they're Not So Different after they free him from a boxcar, only for him to be bitten by a walker moments later.
  • Manly Tears: Daryl has them when finally reuniting with Carol, Rick and Carl get them when finding Judith alive and thanking Tyreese, who gets them when finding his sister for the first time since the fall of the prison.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Glenn almost gets his head beat by a baseball bat twice. In the comic, it is how Negan kills him, albeit much later in the timeline. It's ultimately how he dies in the show too.
    • A Terminus mook is sharpening a knife behind Rick, with the knife looking similar to what The Governor used to amputate him (his right hand) in the comic.
    • The first walker of the season (the one seen by Carol and Tyreese) is wearing Andrea's comic attire, complete with blonde hair. Carol is also the one who put that walker down, nodding the fact that she's been filling her role since the TV version of Andrea has been dead.
    • The Carol, Tyreese and Judith party in general, since they're all (currently) Spared by the Adaptation.
    • Terminus being burned. Their comic counterpart, the Hunters, were all burned to death.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • Gareth is shot in the shoulder and goes down, but was never shown to have died.
    • Tyreese claims that Martin is dead.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In the SDCC 2014 trailer, Glenn was shown about to have his head beat in with a bat, but even before this episode aired, any mildly savvy fan should've known not to believe Glenn would actually die.
    • The trailer also implied that Gareth would take Bob's words about a cure to heart and ally with Rick's group after Terminus' destruction. This certainly is not the case in the actual episode.
  • Non-Action Guy: Eugene takes no part in the battle, though it's not likely that Abraham would have let him in any case.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Tyreese delivers a supposedly fatal one to Martin when he tries holding Judith hostage.
  • Not So Different: Mary tries to justify her group's cannibalistic tendencies to Carol by explaining that their members were decent people who were forced to fend for themselves after their members were assaulted by a group of rapists. Carol doesn't buy it, and leaves Mary to the walkers.
  • Not So Stoic: Gareth is calm and Faux Affably Evil up until Terminus is attacked. Once shit hits the fan, then he raises his voice and reacts like a normal human being.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Abraham, when the smoke grenade is tossed into the train car.
    • Rick, Glenn, Bob and Daryl all get this when the prisoners start getting knocked out and have their throats slit in the trough.
    • Everyone when Carol sets off the explosion that lets the walkers in.
  • Plot Armor: Glenn is saved from being executed at the last moment when Gareth arrives and the Terminus members begin having a discussion about their shot counts, and soon after, by gunfire from outside.
  • P.O.V. Cam: Rick, before he gets knocked out by one of the Terminus members in the opening.
  • Pretend We're Dead: Carol smears walker guts on herself to pass undetected through the herd into Terminus.
  • Promoted to Opening Credits: Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), Emily Kinney (Beth), and Chad Coleman (Tyreese) are added to the opening theme. Alanna Masterson (Tara), Josh McDermitt (Eugene), Christian Serratos (Rosita) and Andrew West (Gareth) are promoted to the title "Also Starring" sequence.
  • Rape as Backstory: The Terminus women were raped by a band of invaders who took over their sanctuary.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Martin lectures to Tyreese about how morality will get him killed.
  • Red Shirt:
    • When the captives are lined up at the trough, Sam and three other Red Shirts are conveniently placed at one end to be killed first before the butchers get to Rick and company.
    • Rick frees the leader of the rapists (whose identity he is unaware of) from a train car, only for the man to get eaten by a walker moments later.
  • The Reveal: Eugene claims that with some tinkering, they can genetically engineer a virus that will kill all of the undead on the planet.
  • Start of Darkness: A series of flashbacks reveals how the Terminus residents became what they are today.
  • Start X to Stop X: Eugene explains the genesis of his cure this way (via "fighting fire with fire") to the rest of the group in the boxcar.
  • The Stinger: Morgan returns, hooded and masked, and on Rick's trail.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Sam and Mary.
  • Survival Mantra: In one of the flashbacks, Gareth tries to calm Mary down after she's brought back to the boxcar (presumably from being raped) and another woman is dragged off in her place, saying "It's okay, it's okay." Subverted when one of the thugs kneels down to them, says, "No, it's not", and hits him across the face.
  • Title Drop: Rick stops to grab some mud and smear the word "NO" before the word "SANCTUARY" on one of the Terminus signs at the end of the episode.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Carol. She smears herself in walker guts and goes on a one-woman rescue mission, taking out walkers and Terminus members (including Mary) and retrieving Daryl's bow before reuniting with Rick's group.
  • Trash the Set: Terminus is destroyed as a result of the group's actions.
  • Wham Episode: The group minus Beth is wholly reunited, Terminus is destroyed (and it's revealed they were a community of cannibals), and none other than Morgan is on Rick's trail to reunite with his old friend.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Martin attempted to choke Judith to death. Fortunately, Tyreese is there to cease it.
    • Likewise, the Terminus crew have no qualms about feasting on children. There are stuffed animals seen in the background of their storage room.

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