Season 5 of “The Walking Dead” finally washed away the near disaster that was the prison/Governor plotline that took up the better part of two full seasons of the show. It can rightly be said that the Terminus episode represented the final chapter of that long, drawn out plotline.
While David Morrissey as the Governor was at times some righteously bad guy fun, the producers slowed the storytelling down to a snail’s pace, and worse, by doing so they were forced to pay far too much attention to “meh” characters like Andrea while sacrificing better ones (we will always remember you, T-Dog). The result was episodes so uneven and meandering I wrote that the show was teetering on jumping the shark …
Which of course the producers must have figured out based on the season premiere (no doubt because they read my insightful insults). I made five suggestions, all of which seem to have been listened to for Season 5. Rick and Daryl kicking ass as brothers? Check. Lots of zombies and gore? Check. Good vs. evil in starkly drawn terms? Check. Money shots? Check. And finally, no more waiting around in one location becoming “The Days of Our Zombie Lives”? Check. And it was all done with a big budget movie level of production value. The (awesome) gore, acting, sound effects, costumes, weapons — all top notch, not to mention Bear McCready’s amazingly subtle yet powerful music, which is perhaps the most underrated thing about the show.
Because while it’s far more realistic for Rick and crew simply to make their way back to the prison and retake it (and with it even more guns and a tank), to do so essentially would make the show a soap opera with an occasional zombie attack. By taking the show on the road, the producers will spend more money — but of course, they have plenty of that now as Season 6 has already been green lit. The show isn’t perfect — again the show isn’t sure where to go with its zombie mythos (one moment a scratch or bite can zombify, the next Carol is willy-nilly slopping on zombie blood without a care in the world) — but in “Terminus,” the producers were far more willing to show what automatic fire from battle rifles can do and the tone in general was both somehow simultaneously more gritty and more fun.
Quibbles aside, Season 5 is shaping up to be the best since Season 2.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
“The Walking Dead” is based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel from Image Comics. “No Sanctuary” was written by Scott M. Gimple and directed by Greg Nicotero. It stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Michael Cudlitz, Chad L. Coleman.