The Walking Dead – Season 5

For my write ups on previous seasons check out:
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4

Now here we go into the bowels of Terminus at the start of The Walking Dead: Season 5


The Good:
One of the general themes of season 5 is trust. 

The season opens with our characters in the worst possible situation: locked in a freight car totally dependent on someone outside to let them out, with little to no way to defend themselves they are at their most vulnerable. Yet they are confident and trust in each other like never before.

Contrast this with the second half of the season where they are in idilic surroundings, safe, behind walls, clean, with hot running water and electricity, cookies, even jobs. This is as close as they are ever going to come to going back to the world as it was. And that’s when they are most suspicious and on edge and where they really fall apart.

Along the way they continually run into questions of trust. After Terminus the first person they meet is Father Gabrielle whose stupid sense of humor makes all of us, survivors and viewers wonder if he can be trusted.

We find Beth questioning who she can and cannot trust in the hospital where she is taken hostage. During Rick’s rescue attempt and dealings with the cops we’re constantly wondering if we can believe anything they are saying.

The ultimate lie that Eugene had told his friends and later Rick’s group comes out and then it’s the trust of the people closest to you that is in question.

When our crew meets Aaron, the question of trust is right there. They’ve been hurt before and who is this guy promising good news with a big smile and a reasonable tone. We’re not falling for THAT! Of course he turns out to be alright. But when Rick’s group reaches Alexandria, we are all reminded of Woodbury and wonder if the people here can really be trusted. Can they ALL be trusted? Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? It takes time to understand people and build trust and along the way we get hurt. The people in Alexandria rightfully wonder if Rick’s group can be trusted. Look at these people and their seemingly rough almost feral way of living.

You get the point. Trust is the core of the interactions this season.

The Writing this season seemed very well done with a great deal of tension being created in the Walking Dead that’s similar to what we are seeing on Game of Thrones. Both series are based on written versions, comics in TWD’s case and the books in GOT’s case. Both have strong fan followings meaning viewers who are familiar with them already know what to expect next. Or do they?

The writers are being smart by playing on those expectations, events happen to different people, don’t happen, or don’t happen the way we expect them to. This means that the tension is kept high for people already familiar with the story and that fan favorites and main characters like Dale are in just as much danger of getting killed off as everyone else. On the show, Dale died on the farm in season two yet in the comics he survived MUCH longer and had his leg eaten by the hunters just like Bob in season five, (image of that below.) We see a lot of allusions to Glenn’s fate during the lead up to the end of season five that make it very clear the writers are toying with our emotions.

Being a fan of the comics I was terrified that certain things I was familiar with there were about to happen but if the rumors are to be believed I have a feeling they are on the way in season six.

The Bad:
Eugene Josh McDermittEugene: I’ve said it before but I just never really believed that Eugene was what he said he was. When it’s finally revealed that he’s a liar and a fake . . . yeah, no big surprise there. The question is where he goes from here. If he is anything like he is in the comic . . . good things lay ahead.

Father-gabrielFather Gabrielle: In the comics I believe his character and really like his story and though I feel the same about him on the show something about the actor playing him didn’t work for me at first. His portrayal didn’t win me over though hat gets better over time and by the end of the season I’m sold. His character is definitely interesting, torn between what he did, what he believes he should do and what he actually is doing. If I had to group him in with the good guys or bad guys he definitely wouldn’t be someone I could trust.

The Hospital: What was this crap? I’ve gone back and forth about certain story elements on the show but this was the worst. The cops, in uniform, in a hospital in Atlanta? What? It just didn’t make any sense or fit with the feel of the show. It just seemed ridiculous. They drive around, run people over, hurting them, and then force them to work as indentured servants sewing buttons and mopping floors? Yeah, I don’t think so. Everything about how the hospital episodes worked seemed impossible for me to believe based on the context of the sow. The cops could come and go from the building seemingly at will but no one else could or would? I’m not buying it.

The Ugly:
(And the ones we lost)

The zombies are amazing.
The effects people really outdid themselves this season; from waterlogged things in the basement of a building near the church to melted victims on the streets of Atlanta. The Walkers this season are seriously amazing.

waterlogged walker napalm crawler




Bob: Look out Bob. You’re getting a lot of screen time. Your number might almost be up! Oops! You’re dead. Well Bob wasn’t  such a bad character but as a latecomer to the show I wasn’t particularly attached to him. What’s really interesting about him though is Dale. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Dale? He died seasons ago!” You would be right but you clearly haven’t read the comics.

In the comics Dale survives for quite a long time and it isn’t until he is bit, and wanders off to die that he’s grabbed by the hunters who cut off and eat his legs. That’s right, Bob filled the Dale role in this case. It all played out exactly the same. As a point of interest it helps reinforce that things we know about in the comics often appear in different way and events involve different people. This offers hope and fear for viewers who’ve read the comic, because, oh no! Is this it for this character? Or is it going to be different?

tainted meat

beth TWDBeth: Beth’s death served a purpose in that it helped destabilize Maggie’s character. Maggie lost her entire family to the walkers after the rest of the world had already fallen apart. They were  relatively safe on their farm until a heard of walkers came through leaving only a handful with our group. Over time we, the viewers became more and more attached to those that were left and felt Maggie’s pain as they fell. Beth was a sweet character who had just come into her own. Though her death seemed basically pointless, it wasn’t entirely without reason.

tyreseTyrese: No matter how you spin it, I’ll still say his death was pointless. It’s not unusual for characters in TWD to die pointless deaths. It happens a lot actually. But in storytelling terms we hope there is some greater point to the event. Tyrese was a giant with a big heart. He never really was able to deal with the world around him. In some ways he remained apart from it all, he maintained a sort of purity and innocence that others lacked and at times he was deeply hurt by the horrors he witnessed. We’ll miss him.

Celebrity CityTasha Yar: Seriously, I was surprised too. That’s right, Denise Crosby played Mary, Gareth’s mother and co-leader of the people at Terminus. I didn’t even realize this when I was watching it and I think that’s a good thing. I enjoyed the character and the portrayal as it was without the attachment of knowing the actress beneath the makeup. Denise is amazing and I’m so glad she was in this show.

dawn lernerDawn Lerner: The whole story of the people at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta didn’t sell me for reasons I’ve already stated above. The characters were interesting and the idea wasn’t so awful but there seemed to be a lot of plot holes that didn’t make much sense. In the end we felt sympathetic towards Dawn Lerner. She was a complex character that we didn’t really get to know as well as we could have. The way her story played out though, most fans were probably glad to see the character go. 

Aiden MonroeAiden Monroe: The self-proclaimed douchebag leader of scouting parties was a great example of someone with no experience getting other people killed or hurt. I want to say he got what he deserved for his stupidity but I sort of feel he deserved to learn from his actions not just get killed by them.

Aidan’s father is also killed in the final moments of the season and is possibly an even more important death as it relates to the other characters and their reactions to the act. Rick want’s to kill the abusive wife of the woman he has the hots for so when he shows up to a meeting drunk with Michonne’s sword in hand he accidentally kills the architect husband of the leader of Alexandria who immediately tells Rick to go ahead and kill him which of course is right as Morgan walks in and sees all this going on, closing the season and setting up the action for the start of season 6.

That’s a LOT for one scene.

noahNoah: Holy shit. Noah was just a sweet guy who died HORRIBLY. I’m still just . . . just wow! They pulled out all the stops on that one. It was an amazing reminder of how high the stakes are and that EVERY life even the new cast members or new friends we make have an impact on all of us.

All in all this was a great season. The show keeps getting better and better though I’m at the point where I can’t recommend it to anyone anymore because it’s SO depressing. There are times when I read the comics and I just couldn’t go on. I had to take a break. It’s the same with the show. It may be a little too good for its own good if that’s possible.

There’s a lot more coming and none of it is going to be easy. If you’ve read the comics you know it’s a big world and there’s lots that can happen. So here’s a look ahead at what’s coming in season six:

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Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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