Walking Dead Episode 5X01 ‘No Sanctuary’ Review – Gareth is just the worst

Damn, Walking Dead. I mean DAYUM. Just when I think you can’t top yourself, you done go and top yourself.

We last left Rick and the gang trapped in a boxcar, awaiting whatever horrific thing the Termites had in store for them. Rick declared that they were going to be very surprised when they realized they were “screwing with the wrong people.” Personally, I think the situation warranted a much stronger expletive, but you work with what you’ve got, I suppose.

No Sanctuary begins with some timey wimey then and now flashbacks, giving us a glimpse of Terminus: the before they were batsh*t crazy days. We see the termites locked up in a boxcar, sobbing and terrified, because the cycle of abuse has to start somewhere, you guys.

In present-day boxcar, our heroes are preparing DIY weapons and getting ready to do battle the moment that door opens. I especially loved Rick ripping the zipper from his jacket and using it to saw himself a makeshift shiv. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Termites first rodeo and they’ve prepared for this contingency by attacking from above. With tear gas.

Rick, Glenn, Daryl and Bob are dragged to a scarily organized, post-apocalyptic kill room, complete with conveniently labelled bins and a trough for catching all that messy, messy blood. We are approximately 5 minutes into the episode at this point and I am curled up on my couch biting my nails and basically just a giant ball of frenetic nerves. Walking Dead producer/writer Scott Gimple called what they were going for in this scene ‘institutional violence’ and I have to say they nailed it. Few things are more chilling to me than cold, detached, sociopathic violence of this nature. The terror I felt just watching this scene caused me to marvel at the fact that Glen didn’t have a heart attack or pass out from sheer fright then and there. Plus, I’m thinking they’re probably glad they didn’t accept any food from these guys now. Hey, there’s always a silver lining.


Just as Glenn is about to become the next casualty in the world’s goriest assembly line, Gareth (seriously? Gareth? Even his name is douchey) waltzes in with his clipboard, granting everyone a brief reprieve from the carnage. Except, you know, those first three guys that just had their throats slit. Sorry, guys, timing just wasn’t on your side this time.

Gareth proceeds to grill Thing one and Thing two on their shot counts while looking entirely bored and especially put out by having to take time out of his schedule to discuss logistics with the help. He is further put out by the fact that Bob is insistently telling him ‘Hey! I got something to say!’. He rolls his eyes and removes Bob’s gag, listening patiently to his diatribe of ‘you don’t have to do this’ and ‘can’t we all just get along?’ before pointedly ignoring his pleas and turning to Rick demanding to know what he buried in the woods and where. Rick attempts to negotiate, telling him ‘Hey, I can take you there. Just, you know, untie me and don’t slit my throat and stuff.’ Gareth laughs in that condescending way that only complete hipster douchebags can, and is all ‘How about you tell me and I won’t stab your good friend, Bob, in the eye?’ Check and mate, Rick tells him it was guns and begins to rattle off the various contents, clearly trying to buy time. Gareth all but pats Rick on the head as he thanks him and replaces his gag.

Just as round two of human skull as baseball is about to commence, with Glenn up next, everyone is distracted by the sound of gunshots followed by the reverberation of an explosion through the compound. Annnnd cue opening credits. I was so engrossed I didn’t even realize they hadn’t happened yet.


After the credits, we cut to Carol and Tyreese making their way through the woods, Judith in tow. Carol is accompanying Tyreese down the railroad tracks to Terminus as she tells him “I’ll get you both there, but I’m not gonna stay.”


Because you can always count on them to show at the most inopportune time, a walker wanders out of the woods and onto the tracks before this conversation can continue.


Tyreese tells Carol “I can’t…not yet.” And Carol is quick to tell him “You’re going to have to be able to.” She hands Judith over to him and takes care of the unwelcome party guest. A woman’s work is never done, you guys. And because trouble always travels in herds on TWD, no sooner has Carol dispatched the stray walker when the rest of his posse comes snarling and stumbling over the hill. Carol turns to Tyreese and whispers “More.” and they quickly duck into the woods to avoid the gaggle of walkers. The undead crowd staggers toward the mound of dirt that is just barely obscuring them, and Carol is about ready to jump to the rescue for the second time when a shot rings out in the distance. All the walker lemmings turn as one and lurch off in the direction of the undead dinner bell.

Carol and Tyreese head down the tracks. Tyreese seems reluctant to find out what all this gunfire at Terminus is all about, but Carol tells him “We’re gonna get answers.” They walk east down the tracks and come upon one of the Termites making idle chit-chat via walkie talkie about “the chick with the sword.” as he casually sets up fireworks in front of a cabin. Carol instructs him to drop his walkie talkie and he tells her ‘Hey, what’s up? You can drop the gun, I totally know a place where we can all go hang out and have a BBQ. It’s totally not made out of people.’ Carol is having none of his down-home, country folk bullsh*t.


Carol and Tyreese tie him up and he sits in the corner telling them ‘Hey, we aren’t holding them prisoner. We’re just holding them. We’re just protecting them and stuff.’ Carol makes it evident that she couldn’t be less interested in what he has to say by answering “I don’t believe you.” to pretty much everything he says in the most bored tone ever. She could totally give hipster leader Gareth some lessons in ‘How to Sound Completely Disillusioned 101’. She adds that there’s a herd of walkers headed toward Terminus right now, and she wouldn’t want to scare them away because she could use their help. She gathers up a duffel bag full or fireworks and starts to head out of the cabin. Tyreese stops her, asking her “How are you going to do this?” and she responds simply “I’m gonna kill people.” You do you, Carol. You do you.

We cut to Carol smearing herself with mud and walker blood and I’m thrilled because we haven’t seen this particular tactic for quite some time. It may be gross, but it’s proven effective. Plus, I like the slightly Rambo vibe she’s got going on.


Back at the cabin, douchey baseball cap guy is attempting to make conversation with Tyreese/manipulate him into driving off with Judith, leaving him to his own devices. I’m waiting for Tyreese to snap or baseball cap guy to break out of his less than secure looking bonds and I’m especially nervous for Judith. This whole scene is just screaming sociopath in baseball cap is going to threaten innocent child’s life to secure his release.


Side note: I’m guessing there isn’t a whole lot of time to shave after the zombie apocalypse, so can someone please explain to me why this a**hole still can’t manage to grow a decent mustache?


We follow Carol to the perimeter of Terminus where she is ready to chew bubblegum and kick ass (note: she’s all out of bubblegum.) She spots a handy propane tank and, using her sniper rifle and a well-placed firecracker, blows the lid (er…fence) off this Terminus bulls**t. Eff you, Terminus. This  is how you do a BBQ.


Back in the creepiest kill room ever, all inhabitants are thrown to the floor by the explosion of the propane tank. Further solidifying his status as douchebag, Gareth is quick to tell Thing One and Thing Two to stay there and do their jobs even though sh*t is obviously going down outside. Rick somehow manages to saw through the zip tie binding his hands with nothing but a hastily sharpened piece of wood from the beam of an old boxcar that he’s been hiding in his back pocket this whole time. He then shanks both the would-be butchers in the neck, all without what looks like the most fragile shiv ever snapping in half. Suspension of disbelief, guys.

We cut once more to Rick freeing the rest of the gang. They exit scary kill room only to stumble into scary meat locker and I’m totally on board with Rick when he declares “Cross any of these people, you kill ’em. Don’t hesitate…they won’t.”


Everyone grabs whatever weapons they can fine and prepares to fight their way out. When they see a few walkers attacking one of the boxcars, Rick tells them “We run, we can get by them. They’re distracted.” Like the proverbial Jiminy Cricket, Glenn tells him “We’ve gotta let those people out. That’s still who we are. It’s gotta be.” They fight their way through the walkers to the boxcar, open it and out pops a tattooed version of Tom Hanks in Castaway screaming “We’re the same!” amid maniacal laughter before being taken down by a walker.

And now I’m about to cry because Carol has just entered the saddest, if this doesn’t make you lose faith in humanity nothing will, room ever. It even has a whole table devoted to the teddy bears of the children Terminus has presumably killed and eaten.


Carol picks up a watch from the table that’s dedicated to dead people’s watches and the music swells. I’m sure she recognized the watch and this is significant, but it’s a pretty non-discriminate looking watch so we’ll just have to wait and see who it belonged to. The Termites also have a gun table (cause they’re super organized) and Carol quickly grabs a weapon and heads into the next room, nostalgia being a luxury one can’t really afford during the zombie apocalypse.

As Rick and friends continue to battle their way out of the compound, Carol enters an eerily a candlelit room because this is apparently Resident Evil now. I’m almost looking for the typewriter so she can save her progress before that creature she didn’t see takes her out. I’m also wondering who’s in charge of keeping all these candles lit because surely some of them would’ve melted down or flickered out by now.

Distracted by the impractical candlelight vigil, Carol doesn’t hear Mary approaching. Mary tells her to drop her weapons and turn around so she can see her face. Presumably so she can shoot her in said face. Carol drops one of her weapons and turns to fire on Mary with the other. After a very brief wrestling match, Carol points her gun at her as Mary proceeds to wax poetic about how they weren’t always this way, they used to believe in things and circumstances, blah, blah blah…you’re the butcher…or you’re the cattle. Carol is all ‘Yeah, that’s nice. Can you please tell me where my friends are now?’ When Mary answers with a look of silent defiance, she doesn’t hesitate and SHOOTS HER IN THE LEG. I heart you, Carol.

Mary tells Carol to point the gun at her head, and explains that they weren’t like this at first. But they had to be, and it worked, because ‘we’re still here.’ Carol responds “You’re not here. And neither am I.” She walks over, opens the door and lets in a flood of walkers as she exits, leaving Mary to her fate. I’m not even a little sad. Sorry not sorry.

Back at the cabin, Tyreese is anxiously looking out the windows at the smoke and the approaching walkers when douchebag in a hat (who has managed to free himself) sees his opportunity and darts across the room to Judith.

I have to pause here and express just how much I love Tyreese. He puts all his bullsh*t, don’t-wanna-kill-things baggage aside when Judith is threatened and steps outside, walkers-be-damned. I’m just waiting for him to go medieval on everyone at this point, because you can only stuff your emotions down into that black box inside you for so long. He’s totally overdue for a rage explosion, and I’m thinking guy threatening to strangle baby will do the trick.

Before you can say ‘perhaps I misjudged this guy’, the noise of the walkers outside the cabin ceases. Baseball cap barely has time to pull his knife when Tyreese hulk-smashes through the door and proceeds to smash him to death with his fists. Once again, I’m not even a little sad.

Back in the boxcar, everyone is wondering WTF is going on out there as they vacillate between preparing to fight to the death and questioning Eugene on his whole mysterious ‘I can stop this if we just get to Washington D.C.’ thing. Maggie reminds everyone that they need to be ready to fight. At this point, Rescue Ranger Rick comes back and the subject is dropped. For now.

As everyone is fighting their way toward the fence and away from Terminus, Rick shoots Gareth. In the shoulder. I’m really afraid this hipster d-bag is gonna be back, you guys. They make their way into the woods. As they are digging up the guns that were buried earlier, Rick instructs everyone to go along the fences and “take out the rest of them.” adding “they don’t get to live.” Everyone else is like ‘WTF, Rick? The place is burning to the ground, we totes won.’


Before the argument can go any further, Carol wanders into the clearing and I don’t care about anything else except Daryl is about to see her again. So many feels.




Rick asks Carol “Did you do that?” and she nods and you can tell they’re like ‘yeah, we cool.’ and there’s more hugging and I am making all kinds of high-pitched noises and my eyes are leaking and basically everyone in the room never wants to watch television with me again because I’m ridiculous.

Oh, and then there’s this…


And then this…


I. AM. RUINED. I’m also really scared, because everything ended pretty well for pretty much everyone this episode, and that doesn’t last long on this show. <bites nails>

What did everyone think of the season premiere? And are you as nervous as I am about who’s gonna bite it next? Comment below!

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