I’m changing the names of the articles for Season Five Parts I and II. Rather than No Sanctuary, Part I is now Slabtown because that’s my favorite part of the season. And I forgot I decided on No Sanctuary before... And I’m changing Part II to Remember because I have a funny joke I just thought of for that half (which you can see there), so Conquer had to go. Alright, you’re all caught up, enjoy my review!
Season Four ends with everyone making their way to Terminus, only to be put into a caboose as prisoners. Rick says
“They’re screwing with the wrong people” (Gimple, Kang),
and boy were they! The premiere episode of its fifth year picks up right were the previous finale left off. Rick’s balls grew tenfold because as he is waiting to have his throat slit he says
“and a machete with a red handle. That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you” (Gimple, Kang).
Whoa… (I’m including these scenes at the bottom, but I’m including the version where Rick says “Fucking with the wrong people” on the DVD/Blu Ray versions. The show doesn’t have the gonads to say that on TV for whatever reason).
And after the tease of Glenn’s head being caved in with a bat, Carol becomes John Rambo and wreaks havoc. Our band of survivors free themselves from their restraints, raise their rings in the air and call out the elements and with their powers combined they summon Captain Planet! And they completely destroy Terminus before the episode ends. It’s a fun premier; totally different from any opener before or since. But Terminus seemed like such a threat in the last season; just like everything else, they are resolved within the first episode of the next season… The fuck’s that about!
Yes, Gareth and a few other hungry folk come back in a few episodes, but what happens? Aside from one, really awesome scene where we see the group leave the church… I forgot, after they leave Terminus they meet Gabriel, priest who brings them to his church for a safe haven. Alright, so where was I? As the group leaves, the camera hangs there looking at the distance and then slowly peers to the side to reveal those left of Terminus making their way to the church.
I love how they did that. But anyways, the Terminus folk eat Bob’s leg in place of Dale from the comics, and then when they get to the church, after that awesome “oh shit! Rick and Abraham are gonna fight and then don’t” moment, they kill the rest of the cannibals.
Then the next episode is Slabtown. Before I dive into that, the show set up Terminus as the next big enemy, but all they really were was a small dilemma to move them to the next issue. The show does this constantly. Let problems overlap, stop introducing a problem to only drag out the storyline and the resolve it with the snap of a finger and move to the next big bad.
Terminus has an appearance in the comic, but it’s not nearly as noteworthy as the show makes it. The show portrays it as “here is the new Governor character, Gareth; he’s the new enemy and we have to see this unfold.” But its storyline is a four-episode arc.
And then the Slabtown story begins, and I really love this storyline. Beth was a fan favorite, and she was one of mine. So to see her get some real development finally was enjoyable. And the supporting cast of Slabtown (including Junk from One Tree Hill) were all pretty good. I like seeing other societies and seeing how they cope and try to handle the zombie run-world. But the show introduces these other societies and then wraps them up almost as suddenly as they were introduced.
With this story, came the episodes that break up the cast. And most often than not, these episodes are boring. With exception of Beth, I didn’t give a shit about the Daryl and Carol episode, didn’t care about the Maggie, Glenn, Abraham, Rosita, Tara and Eugene episode. Having Beth’s storyline is one thing; that was happening simultaneously with everyone else. Maybe not chronologically, but her story worked separately and we see she has her own problems happening while the others do too. But breaking up the main cast caused the show’s main storyline to slow down, and that’s all this approach does.
The problem is the comics, are boom boom boom. They go from one event to the next, with no time being wasted. It works for a comic medium. And the comic is enjoyable to read. But that pattern doesn’t work for the show because they try to move from issue to issue in the same manner, while they slow down the main progress at the same time. It’s a very weird pacing where a lot of side bullshit happens, but nothing that’s really relevant ever occurs.
The show is at its strongest when they explored the Governor and his people, devoting time to see both his people and Rick’s people develop and allow the tension between both fractions to build and eventually lead to war. But by this time in the show, development is half-assed. Just as a few layers are peeled back to reveal more, the conflict is thrown aside to all of a sudden move forward. Dawn is an interesting character, but she’s killed just after four episodes (hey, that’s the same amount of time Gareth was around for. Are you noticing a pattern?).
And Beth’s storyline closes with her death. And that sucked because she had all of this time on her own to grow as a person. I’m all for killing the characters. Even the ones I like, it keeps the stakes of the show feeling present. But by devoting all of that time to Beth only to have her bite the dust, felt like it was a waste, and meant to just take up time. Sure, if that was all done to then kill her and have her death serve as a means of further developing the other characters, go for it.
Maggie breaks down and you feel bad for everyone. But then the second half of Season Five begins and Maggie just wants her hot rod Glenn and forgets she ever had a sister. The only one who seems to care Beth is gone at all is Daryl, and pretty soon he seems to forget too. As it is, her death has no impact and feels like a blip in the story that no one remembers, which is a perfect spot to close this half and encourage you to continue with my second half of this article Season Five Of The Walking Dead Part II: Remember!