Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, “No Sanctuary,” was one of the tightest, most economical, and thrilling episodes in the entire run of the Robert Kirkman series. There was no fat on that episode: It started strong, answered our most pressing questions, and then Carol came in all G.I. Jane on Terminus, floored the gas, and kicked the episode into a higher gear.
It didn’t come down from that turbo speed until everyone that was in that cattle car came out alive, and Terminus was on fire.
Take-charge Rick and the rest of the survivors had one woman to thank: Carol Peletier, who ironically wasn’t even supposed to be in the series. Her comic-book counterpoint took her own life early on in the graphic novels, and even her character was supposed to die in season three (had she not lobbied to spare her character, T. Dogg might have ended up saving everyone last night). Carol, however, brought the hurt.
After escaping from Terminus, we also got three amazing reunions. On the Troy Barnes Scale of EMOTIONS, they are ranked:
1. Carol and Daryl — I don’t care if Daryl is gay, and I don’t care if Carol and Daryl are ever romantically linked. All I know is that Carol and Daryl have more affection for each other than any other two characters on this show, and every ounce of that showed in their reunion. That was understated and perfect.
2. Rick and Lil Ass Kicker — This one felt good, too, diminished only by the fact that Baby Judith probably didn’t give a rat’s ass because it just means a different person carrying her around in a front pack. WHY IS THAT CRAZY MAN WITH A BEARD RUNNING TOWARD ME?
3. Tyreese and Sasha — It’s been so long that these to have seen each other that I damn near forgot they were brother and sister until last night. It’s good to see them back together, too.
Zombie Kill of the Week — This one, by a mile. I mean: They really upped their game by setting zombies on fire before siccing them on the people of Terminus. Bonus points for FACE EATING.
The Unanswered Questions
There were quite a few, despite the number of answers we did receive, like, are the people of Terminus cannibals? (Yes)
1. Will Michonne ever get back her katana? She does great work with other weapons, but Michonne without her katana is like Wonder Woman without her golden lasso or Dwight Freeney without his spin move. It just doesn’t compute.
2. Is Glenn going to be the cowardly lion this season? Look, Glenn: You were half a second and a paper-work issue away from having your head bashed in and your throat slit by the cannibals of Terminus, so when Rick asks you if you should go back and kill every last surviving one of those motherf***ers, you say YES. Have we learned nothing about backing away from a fight? Because it always comes back to bite you in the ass. Did you see those stuffed animals, Glenn. THEY WERE KILLING AND EATING CHILDREN. You go back and you wipe them off the goddamn planet. NOW.
3. Is Gareth still alive? He got shot in the shoulder, but you can bet your ass that we’ll see Gareth again. That guy fought too hard to escape his original captors and set up the best BBQ restaurant in Georgia to let that go. He’ll be back, and soon. And unlike The Governor — who was a bit of a loon — Gareth is cold, calculating, and unmerciful.
4. Is it water under the bridge for Rick and Carol now? Before Carol went Chuck Norris on Terminus and saved everyone’s ass, she had been banished from the group by Rick. Does all that strain go away now that Carol has saved them? Mostly, but don’t expect the issue to be completely dropped.
5. Did Tyrese actually kill that dude in the cabin? We didn’t actually witness Tyrese kill him. There’s got to be a reason for that, right? Scott Gimple seems to suggest as much in an interview with EW:
I will say that’s not a bad thing at least to pick up, like “Wow, the way he said that, we didn’t see it, what happened.” I mean there’s always the possibility of a greater story towards things that we don’t see. It could be the story of how he killed that guy, which could be a whole big story and super interesting, or it could be how he didn’t kill that guy, and that also could be a whole big story that’s super interesting. But picking up that there’s more to it? Sure, I’ll accept that.
6. Do we believe Eugene’s story? No. Nope. Hell no. Not even a little bit. Working as a government scientist he discovered that the government had a way to decimate the entire population, and he thinks he can flip the script on the zombies? That sounds a little too sci-fi for this show which, despite the presence of zombies, remains fairly grounded in reality. I’m not buying it at all. AND GET A HAIRCUT, EUGENE. Nobody trust a man with a mullet.
7. Was that Negan who whacked Gareth in the face in that flashback? No. End of story.
8. Will we be seeing more of Morgan? Does a bear crap in the woods? Does the pope wear a funny hat? Was Low Winter Sun a terrible show? Yes! According to Gimple that post-credits tag was the “start of something” for Morgan, who he also suggested is no longer completely crazy.