With the finale a week behind us, it’s time to take inventory of Season 5. I thought things started off very strong, on which I will expand later, but began to meander, then went insane, but came back around to an acceptable norm by the end. It was also literally all over the place. Where Season 2 was clearly “The Farm” and Season 3 was “The Prison/Woodbury,” Season 5 would be “Terminus-Church-Hospital-Road-Alexandria.” It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have the Group on the move, but it almost feels like too much was squeezed into 16 episodes, or it simply wasn’t connected strongly enough. Most particularly, the hospital.
If anything felt like a random add-on it was the “Save Beth” plot. Of course her disappearance had to come to light, but for the big showdown of the mid-season finale to be crooked cops in a nearly abandoned hospital, it all felt weak and poorly planned. Other than that, I really enjoyed the first half of the season. Once returned though, it took on an air of tedium as the Group wandered (almost aimlessly), on the verge of dehydration and starvation until Aaron found them and brought them to Alexandria, where everything went to hell as Rick disintegrated into a madman. He came back to the realm of decent in the finale, but next season has a lot of cleaning up to do to make Alexandria worth our time. Thankfully the final moments left big consequences to deal with next time around.
Favorite Episode: No Sanctuary
The season premiere takes the crown, easily. It started off with sheer terror, as the Terminites started cracking skulls and slitting throats to add a little protein to their diet. Then Carol steps in, blowing everything up, an action-packed escape ensues. And finally the beautiful family reunions I’d been holding my breath for since the mid-season premiere of Season 4, all with a Morgan post-credit stinger. That’s how you start a season.
Favorite New Character: Aaron
On his own, Aaron isn’t that exciting (though he has loads of potential). But his scouting partnership with Daryl has brought out some great character development in Daryl that has been lacking as of late. When the two were trapped in the car during the finale, I didn’t only fear for Daryl, as I wasn’t ready to see anything happen to Aaron yet. And, of all the Alexandrites, he is the only truly competent one who can handle this post-apocalyptic world outside the walls.
Saddest Death: Tyreese
Bob’s and and Beth’s deaths weren’t really surprising, nor emotional to me. I never grew attached to Bob and Beth always felt like an expendable, side character. Noah’s was more shocking, only because he was brand new and I thought surely he’d have more time, so no opportunity for real attachment. But Tyreese…that one hurt. We had just lost Beth, so I was not expecting another main character death so soon. And the attack came early, so there was a lot of suffering to endure for the next 45 minutes. I had little hope they would be able to chop off the infected area and save him. So it wasn’t the quick death in the final minutes of the episode, as most are, but one we were meant to really feel. All of this coupled with my love for Tyreese, for reasons stated in my review of the episode, and this is one TWD death I’m still not over.
Season 5 may be done, but I’m not. Until the show returns (or Fear the Walking Dead starts) I’ll be going back to the beginning, starting next week with a review of the series premiere, “Days Gone By.” See you next week.