The Walking Dead: 5.01 & 5.02

It’s a bloody and gory welcome back to The Walking Dead this month. Despite its huge audiences in the UK and US it’s a show that had a fair share of issues over the previous four seasons. Despite this the strong end to Season Four left most people hungering for more of Rick and the gang.

And in the first episode showrunner Scott Gimple’s promise that all will be explained quickly plays out. Everything is explained. In one of the most brutal and bloody openings to any show. Ever. From the throat cutting confirmation that Gareth and Terminus are indeed the long rumoured cannibals, to the explosive entrance of Carol and Rick and Daryl’s subsequent dealing with (or massacre) of the Terminus people. It’s violent and blurs the lines between good and bad even further.

Before Rick expelled her from the group back in the early part of Season Four Carol had already started down the murky path of moral ambivalence, she’s now too far gone to recover from that and has no qualms about taking human life. A short scene in the second episode before her and Daryl rush off to find Beth shows the toll that these decisions are taking on her.

After one of the most action packed and death heavy episodes the season opener ends with some a lovely scenes when Rick and Carl are reunited with Judith - don’t forget they still thought she was dead - and a reunion between Sasha and Tyrese, and Daryl and Carol - though what this means for Daryl and Beth who knows...

The second episode is a little less intense, until a disturbing and pretty dark final scene; who would have thought that the show could get even darker. It’s nasty stuff.

Up until then the show reverts to its fallback sequence of events, half the gang stay somewhere safe, the other half go on a mission for supplies, it’s all pretty standard. There were a few developments outside that stock setup though, Abraham and his lot are still hiding something from the rest of the gang, the new reverend is clearly hiding some secret which hopefully won’t be too obvious, and there are tensions within the gang that are sure to raise their heads again (Carol and Tyrese, Maggie and thingy).

Thematically the show is continuing its road to darkness, with decisions and the difference between right and wrong being blurred. Rick seems to be over struggling with what he has to do to survive, it’s only Glenn that seems to continue to want to do the right thing. It’ll be interesting to see how these dynamics develop now the group are back together.

The most intriguing thing about the start to the season is the confirmation / proper introduction to the new big bad. The Governor was bad, but he was no cannibal. Gareth and his crew have been given a tiny bit of backstory so far but it’s enough to make them feel dangerous, and for the audience to have a tiny bit of sympathy with them. Until Bob’s leg of course.

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