“Walking Dead” returned to AMC on Sunday, Oct. 12 for its Season 5 premiere. After months of waiting, the series finally exposed the horrors behind Terminus. However the “truth” behind the sanctuary wasn’t the biggest jaw dropper in episode 1, it was the two big reveals in the final moments – the potential introduction of Negan and the reintroduction of Morgan (Lennie James).
Episode 1, “No Sanctuary,” kicked off with Gareth and the Termites taking Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun), and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) to get slaughtered. The survivors were lined up with four other men – from train car D – in a room seemingly set up to harvest meat. In the “human butcher shop,” Gareth’s (Andrew J. West) men began working their way down the line – knocking them on the head with a metal bat before cutting their throats.
Fortunately they got a little distracted before they got to our four train car A survivors – which gave Carol (Melissa McBride) a chance to swoop in and save the day (with the help of some explosives). It turns out that Carol and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) had watched Rick and the others get taken away by the Termites. Tyreese stood behind with baby Judith and a random Terminus resident they stumbled across while Carol went in to set their friends free.
Carol’s explosion (and a hoard of walkers) allowed Rick, Daryl, Bob and Glenn to escape. However, making their way back to the others wasn’t Rick’s only priority after escaping – he wanted to kill every single Terminus resident.
“Cross any of these people, you kill them,” Rick warned Daryl, Bob and Glenn after finding the room where they dried the human meat. “Don’t hesitate. They wont.”
As Rick, Daryl, Bob and Glenn began to work their way back to the train car, Carol was snooping around the compound. She managed to steal back the watch she gifted Rick and Daryl’s crossbow before finding the memorial room that the Terminus people set up to mourn their loved ones. It was in there that Carol came face-to-face with Mary (Denise Crosby), the woman who was manning the barbeque pit when the group’s first arrived at Terminus. The two women immediately began to fight when Carol refused to drop her weapons, but Carol managed to best Mary.
In a crazy haze, Mary began telling Carol about what happened at Terminus. The signs for sanctuary were real, however people came and “took” it. According to Mary, they raped and killed the people who sought sanctuary. But eventually Mary’s group was able to get out, fight them and take it back. “You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle,” she explained.
Carol didn’t care for her sob story, because she shot Mary in the leg when she refused to answer where Rick and the others were being kept. But that wasn’t the worst part – she opened up a door, allowing walkers to eat Mary alive.
The entire group of survivors was able to escape alive, despite Gareth’s best efforts to kill Rick. When they dug up the weapons that Rick buried before going into Terminus, Rick tried to get them to go back and kill every last one of them. However no one agreed with Rick’s plan. Fortunately Rick got side tracked when Carol appeared before them. The reunion between her and Daryl was a tender moment, and Rick even jumped in on the action – hugging her and thanking her for rescuing them.
After they all hugged it out, Carol told them to follow her. She reunited Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) with baby Judith, and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) with Tyreese. With a new sense of hope, they all decided to keep moving forward – but Rick made sure to cross out a nearby sanctuary sign, writing “no” above it.
The premiere episode then brought viewers to the moment that left everyone screaming at their TV. In a flashback to “Then,” it was revealed that Mary is the mother of Gareth and Alex (who was killed in the Season 4 finale by the Termites when Rick tried to take him as a hostage). Mary had been telling Carol the truth when she said that men took over Terminus, holding them in train cars and taking them out one-by-one to rape or kill them. After Mary had been thrown back in the train car, Gareth tried to console his mother – however a man told them that it wasn’t going to be okay. That man’s face was kept in the shadows, however even in the shadows he looked eerily similar to Negan – the infamous villain from Robert Kirkman’s “Walking Dead” graphic novels.
The speculation of Negan’s potential introduction comes on the heels of “The Strain” actor Kevin Durand allegedly telling reporters that he was “approached” to play the comic book character.
“Walking Dead” showrunner Scott Gimple and executive producer Greg Nicotero didn’t address the Negan speculation on “The Talking Dead,” however Gimple did tease that fans can look forward to “new threats” in the upcoming episodes.
THAT LOOKS A BIT LIKE NEGAN JUST SAYING #TheWalkingDead
— Alexander (@alejavier3110) October 13, 2014
GUYS THAT WAS NEGAN
— Adam Loves Andrea (@AdamLovesAndrea) October 13, 2014
— Charlie Schneider (@AwesomEmergency) October 13, 2014
Unfortunately Robert Kirkman shot the fan speculation down on Twitter. "That was NOT Negan at the end of the episode," he tweeted. "Note the face tattoos."
That was NOT Negan at the end of the episode. Note the face tattoos.
— Robert Kirkman (@RobertKirkman) October 13, 2014
Kirkman's "face tattoo" comment is a reference to one of the men that was held captive in a separate train car. Glenn wanted to set the people in the train car free – despite Rick just wanting to kill the Termites and let their group out. Glenn opened up a train car and a man with face tattoos came busting out. The tattooed man was screaming that they were "the same" … before a walker attacked him.
It was that tattooed man who had raped Mary and the other women at Terminus before Gareth’s people managed to take over again.
While Negan may not be part of Season 5 yet, Morgan definitely is. The character, who was last seen acting crazy in the "Clear" episode in Season 3, was shown after the credits aired. He looked at the Terminus sign that Rick had altered before following a different sign into the woods -- a circle with an "X" carved into trees.
Are you bummed that Negan wasn't revealed in the Season 5 premiere? Are you happy to have Morgan back? Tweet your thoughts to @AmandaTVScoop.