The Walking Dead – Season Five – Episode 1 – “No Sanctuary” Review

twd-season5-rickOne of  my main complaints of The Walking Dead, that I have touched upon in these reviews, is its ability to remain incredibly stagnant at times. The first episode of the entire series showed such promise when it aired – it wasn’t particularly explosive, didn’t feature any melodrama, but it was focused and it showed progress – both literal and emotional. This would quickly dissipate as the show found itself stuck in its first rut in Hershel’s farm during season two, and then again for much of the prison time during seasons three and four. Last season’s finale seemed poised to place our heroes in another round of stagnation – I fully expected the gang to be trapped at Terminus for at least four episodes, complete with poor character decisions (ala Andrea), killing any tension we had in the first place.

I think it’s safe to say that “No Sanctuary” proved me wrong, showing that maybe this show is able to get itself back on track, and providing one of the most satisfying episodes since the premiere.

The big thing is how quickly the show dealt with Terminus. Rick and the gang weren’t kidding when he said that he “screwed with the wrong people”. For a moment there, I was sure that we were going to lose one of our main cast to the butchers (instead we lost a bleached blond Robin Lord Taylor, who can now be found as The Penguin over on Gotham). Thanks to that damn bureaucracy, we were spared the details of a gruesome death. Sure, it’s silly and it did play off a bit cheesy, but damn was it tense.

The moment when the leader (Gareth?) walks into the room nonchalantly asking about bullets as if he was asking for tax forms was great. I’m always impressed at how the show can handle different societies in this world, and while this one seems like they have the organisation down pat, they still are cannibals, and that is incredibly creepy.

This is of course tying into the overarching theme – “What would you do to survive?” It’s obvious that the Terminus people find themselves as a necessary evil, and their grand acts of cannibalism solidify them as part of the evil camp, no matter how much a crazy lady tries to tell Carol otherwise (and we will get to Carol in a minute). Sure, this theme is repeated time and time again with nothing particularly interesting coming out of it – the writers have seemed to place Rick as the go-to  guy for the “right way”. They were suitably creepy in how much they were able to justify it, and it was a fun little detour. It did bring up an interesting exchange when Rick was so dead set on returning to pick off the survivors, but of course Carol re-appearing was bound to throw a spanner in those works.

And wow, did Carol throw a spanner in some bigger works too. Carol moving with the herd was incredibly cool – it shows that the writers still haven’t fail to impress on that front – but it also continues to show how far this character has moved. Again, and I really can’t say this enough, Carol is a shining example of how to write a character arc – especially in a show devoid of them. Melissa McBride sells this transition, and she was a saving grace in plenty of melodramatic moments last season.

Coming back to Rick’s plans to return – hey writers, please continue down that path. Angry Rick is a million times more interesting than the Rick we have been seeing, and I would love to see this avenue explored more. Judith being back in his arms could potentially be a problem for that line of thought, but it would be nice to have at least someone call him out on the behaviour he has been showing for the past two episodes.

The Walking Dead has a habit of starting out really strong, and ending really well, it just tends to have a lull in the middle.  But – the show has never started a season as well as this, not since the first season at least. Lets hope that this season can capture the magic of a show that began with such incredible promise all those years ago.

(Quite) a few observations

  • Welcome back to my Walking Dead reviews! Hopefully I will be a bit more onto it with regular coverage this season, but excuse me if I miss a week here and there. This is also a fairly dense episode so I will have a bit more here at the end.
  • The Daryl/Carol and Judith/Carl/Rick moments were a much better handling of the matter than anything that occurred between Maggie and Glen last season. No matter how much flashy lighting and edits that the show could throw at me, those two could not act out the return the way Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride sold their reunion. Plus the Rick/Judith moment was so unbelievably emotional I teared up a bit.
  • Carol moving through Terminus was wonderfully shot, and the lack of dialogue lent to a more ghostly feel. The visual “show, don’t tell” is something this show has handled well, and it made for a dense, but subtle experience.
  • Gareth has to come back. He was shot in a fairly obscure way, and no way would they build a flashback around a character they were going to kill off in the first hour. the flashback was decently done, if only to show that these characters thought (and justified) that they had no other choice.
  • Tyrese and Dickhead-who-won’t-shut-up were okay, if for another tense and scary moment where Dickhead almost killed Judith. I could have done without it, but that scene made up for the rest of them.
  • Zombie of the Week: I probably have to go with the Butcher Zombie when Rick let him turn. What a wonderfully creepy image.
  • Zombie Kill of the Week: The propane tank explosion – I mean come on, not only was it scientifically accurate
  • Next week: Looks like we gonna take your ass to church, and Morgan!

Climate Change Catastrophe: Survivor Under Threat



The charged political debate over global warming and climate change has caused its own set of political casualties, with huge work remaining to build a worldwide consensus on tackling the issue. In the meantime, the general public appear to already be suffering the consequences. One stark example is Survivor, the never-ending series of reality TV shows. Still rating well, thanks to a dedicated fan base of North Americans who assume each series is actually filmed in Florida, the show is facing one of the biggest challenges in its fourteen year history.

Series presenter Jeff Probst, fresh from condemning eighteen more people to a lifetime of C or D grade celebrity on Survivor: Cagayan , looked drawn and was quite emotional when interviewed.

“Most people don’t realise that Survivor is one of the most popular shows in TV history, and in these difficult times it’s a beacon of hope to the peoples of the world,” Probst said in his understated style.


Jeff Probst – international diplomat and environmental science advocate

“With the rising sea levels, we have a crisis on our hands. The public have just watched season 28 of the show, but we’re already in production for season 42, and we’ve hit a huge road block. We’re running out of locations to shoot the show from, and with rising sea levels we’re not sure we’ll be able to continue beyond season 50, which we’ll be shooting in 2017.”

When quizzed on remaining locations the producers have scouted, Probst was more coy. “I don’t want to give too much away, but I can confirm we’re considering Survivor: Fyshwick and Survivor: Slough, but our focus group testing isn’t coming back that positive.”

Probst and the show’s producers have written to the United Nations and each of the G20 nations outlining the crisis and Probst is spearheading the efforts. “I’ve met more heads of state in the past six months than Bono has in his lifetime. With all modesty I can say each and every one of them love the show and agree the issue has opened their eyes to the wide ranging impacts of climate change. By the way, they all said that Bono was the most boring person they’d ever met.”

The Snark is The Creative Shed’s Satire News Section. 100% of it is satire and in no way resembles reality. Reality is way sillier than this stuff. Follow The Snark on Facebook and Twitter


Sick of loud TV ads? So are politicians

It has sometimes been described as a myth, but most of us will have experienced the jump in volume when a TV show segues to an advertisement. I don’t know anyone who sees the phenomenon as a positive one, and in the US at least, politicians have picked up on the mood of voters. The US Senate has passed a bill mandating compulsory equalisation of sound between TV shows and ads. It’s expected that after some tweaking in conjunction with Congress, who have passed a similar bill, the law will come into effect after the November mid-term elections.

Is there anyone out there that will miss louder ads? Will the ‘Dave’s Demented Discount Den’ 30-second TV spots sound as endearing at lower volume?

via [Yahoo News]

Photo courtesy of the brilliant Mary Tseng

The blurring between internet and TV continues

YouTube on your Sony TV anyone?

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