The Walking Dead—Season 5

walking dead season 5 poster review episode guide
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Still good looking, has moments

Characters are all over the place and inconsistent, too long of seasons

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The zombies are getting sloppier

Terminus has not turned out as the survivors hoped.  Instead they discover a group of cannibalistic survivors who need food…and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people could be next on their menu.  With Beth (Emily Kinney) an indentured servant in an Atlanta hospital, and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) pushing to try to get Eugene (Josh McDermitt) to Washington to stop the plague, the survivors are taxed to their limit…but the rumor of a safe place might be in their cards.

The Walking Dead—Season 5 aired form December 12, 2014 to March 29, 2015 on AMC.  The series continued to gain fans and followers and loosely adapts the Robert Kirkman series The Walking Dead #61-78 (May 2009-October 2010).  It received Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series (“Conquer”), Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or a Special (“Strangers”), Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role (“Conquer”), and Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie.

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The saga of Beth

I must admit that I’m not the biggest Walking Dead fan.  I think there are a lot of pacing issues, character inconsistencies, and aspects of the series already feel a bit long in the tooth.  As a result, I’ve been behind on the series for years.  When I binge The Walking Dead, I enjoy it, but I also find my assessment of the series holds up season after season.

The season is pretty much divided into three parts.  You have the Terminus part (which segues into the church), the hospital sequence, and the Alexandria-Safe Zone story which carries on into the next season.  The set-up feels like a flipside to the prison-Woodsbury storyline (which also went on way too long), and that is both a clever and almost lazy comparison because it shows some of the shows weaknesses instead of the strengths.

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Young love in the time of zombies

The Terminus-church part of the series felt like a waste.  The lead-up to Terminus was big in season 4 and essentially (minus a couple survivors) was a non-story.  It introduces the extremely unlikeable Gabriel whose faith is an excuse to cast stones at others to avoid his own sins and it also works to establish the Washington, DC as the out storyline.  Fortunately, it only goes on for a couple of episodes before it turns into the “rescue Beth” story.

The hospital (like the church) also has pacing issues.  You get a “what happened to Beth” story, the introduction of Noah (who ends up being more problem than he’s worth), and it feels like a lot of ideas that could have been interesting are avoided.  The hospital is set-up like indentured servants who can never possibly pay for their freedom.  It echoes a lot of slavery aspects and set in the South, it felt like this could have been explored and used to enrich an otherwise boring story with characters with little dimension.

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Do you like the “new” Rick?

The final part of the season is the Alexandria story.  The survivors reach a “promised land” where it is safe and walled, but they of course don’t trust it since it has happened to them before.  In the course of the story, Rick essentially becomes the Governor (whom they despised and hated) in his quest to protect the people of Alexandria.  It feels like it goes against his character and he’s smart enough to question what that would mean…if he doesn’t question it, other characters like Michonne should have pointed it out to him.  It was like Woodsbury and the prison never happened.  I understand his argument, but his approach isn’t in line with the experiences of the character.

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Who are the Wolves?

The Walking Dead does remain a visual show.  The zombies continue to get slimier and the gore feels like it is getting greater.  With more and more zombies and less and less people, it seems like the zombies would begin starving themselves to death and that also should be explored.  Do zombies eventually rot away?  Do they need to eat flesh or is it is just an action?

The Walking Dead is in a unique place as a TV series.  Most zombie movies don’t have the time or opportunity to look at the bigger picture questions of what would happen in a zombie apocalypse, but I also feel that The Walking Dead is missing some of those stories that could not only lengthen the run, but also add greater depth to the characters and stories as the show moves forward.  With popularity and viewers, The Walking Dead easily walks into The Walking Dead—Season 6.

The Walking Dead—Season 5 Complete Episode Guide:

walking dead season 5 episode 1 no sanctuary terminus rick andrew lincoln norman reedus

“No Sanctuary”

5.1       No Sanctuary Airdate:  10/12/14

Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), and Glenn (Steven Yeun) and the others are held prisoner at Terminus and learn from Gareth (Andrew J. West) that they could be the next sacrifice for Terminus’s cause.  Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) approach Terminus but discover that it might not be everything they believed.  While Carol sets out to free her friends, Tyreese finds himself tested by Martin (Chris Coy)…and escaping Terminus could become more dangerous as the Walkers approach.

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5.2       Strangers Airdate:  10/19/14

Traveling through the woods outside Terminus, Carol seeks to find acceptance among the group while Tyreese tries to forget what happened to the children.  As Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) pushes for the group to go to Washington for Eugene (Josh McDermitt), the group discovers a minister named Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam)…but Rick suspects Gabriel is hiding something.  Daryl and Carol get a lead on the possible location of Beth (Emily Kinney).  Bob is about to discover that the people of Terminus might not be finished with them.

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“Four Walls and a Roof”

5.3       Four Walls and a Roof Airdate:  10/26/14

Bob wakes up a prisoner of Gareth and the survivors from Terminus, but Bob has a surprise for them.  Gabriel admits what he fears and why he has sinned.  With Bob, Carol, and Daryl missing, Abraham wants to move on to Washington with Eugene, and Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) make an agreement to keep the peace.  Gareth and his men are coming for Rick and his men and might get the drop on them.  Daryl returns to the camp with a surprise.

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5.4       Slabtown Airdate:  11/02/14

Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) finds herself in Grady Memorial Hospital after being rescued from the attack.  She learns that Lt. Dawn Lerner (Christine Woods) protects the hospital with her officers in exchange for work…which Beth learns is not voluntary.  Trapped in the hospital, Beth finds an ally in Dr. Steven Edwards (Erik Jensen) and one of the “orderlies” Noah (Tyler James Williams).  When Beth sees what become of people who go against the officers in a patient named Joan (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Beth realizes she must escape.

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“Self Help”

5.5       Self Help Airdate:  11/09/14

Abraham, Rosita (Christian Serratos), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Maggie, Glenn, and Eugene make their way to Washington, but they find trouble along the way.  When their bus crashes and they find themselves trapped next to a massive herd of Walkers, the truth about their mission comes out.  Abraham recalls how he came to be on the road and how he met Eugene.

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5.6       Consumed Airdate:  11/16/14

Carol and Daryl pursue the vehicle with matching symbols to the one that took Beth and find the car leads the back to Atlanta.  With Walkers closing in, Carol and Daryl meet Noah who doesn’t take kindly to the strangers.  Carol and Daryl find themselves weaponless and in the city and discover that getting Beth back might be harder than they though.

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5.7       Crossed Airdate:  11/23/14

Daryl reports Beth is alive in Atlanta, and a rescue attempt develops to get Beth and Carol back from Grady Memorial Hospital.  Beth learns that Carol is going to be allowed to die and has to turn to Lt. Lerner for help.  A plan to get and exchange hostages for Beth and Carol is set, but Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her mourning of Bob could compromise the plan.

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5.8       Coda Airdate:  11/30/14

The death of Sgt. Bob Lamson (Maximiliano Hernández) has put a wrinkle in the plans for a hostage exchange with Grady Memorial Hospital.  Beth learns getting Lt. Lerner on her side could come at a price as Lt. Lerner’s control continues to crumble.  Gabriel sets to leave the church but it could cost everyone the sanctuary it promised.  The trade is set to go down but a surprising twist changes everything.

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“What Happened and What’s Going On”

5.9       What Happened and What’s Going On Airdate:  02/08/15

With Beth dead, Rick has decided to honor her wishes and get Noah home to Richmond, Virginia.  With the promise of a gated community, Noah hopes to find his family alive, but the situation is grave.  When Tyreese is in danger, he questions if he’s made the right choices in the world they live in now.

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5.10     Them Airdate:  02/15/15

The survivors are at their lowest point and finding they are running out of bullets and supplies as they try to head to Washington, D.C.  Michonne (Danai Gurira) discovers that Sasha’s death wish following the deaths of Bob and Tyreese is getting more dangerous.  The survivors discover they might not be alone on the road as a massive storm threatens to hit them.

walking dead season 5 episode 11 the distance aaron ross marquand maggie lauren cohan

“The DIstance”

5.11     The Distance Airdate:  02/22/15

Aaron (Ross Marquand) has offered the group something they haven’t had in a long time…security.  Rick questions if Aaron can be trusted and what he is hiding.  As the group debates if Aaron is telling the truth or lying, they must decide if they are going to go with him to the community where he lives.

walking dead season 5 episode 12 remember alexandria cast episode guide


5.12     Remember Airdate:  03/01/15

The survivors have reached Aaron’s home in Alexandria, but Rick still has suspicions about the place.  Meeting the community “leader” Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), Rick and the others learn that the community relies on the work of the members, and that Deanna believes Rick and his people can serve a purpose.  Rick continues to doubt the seemingly safe community, and an encounter between a walker, Noah, Aiden (Daniel Bonjour) and Tara raises the suspicion.  With Rick and Michonne as potential “constables”, Rick begins to work on plans in case things go south.

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5.13     Forget Airdate:  03/08/15

The survivors try to settle in at Alexandria but continue to question the reality of a “safe” community in the zombie apocalypse.  With Rick and Carol coordinating gun thefts from the stockpiles, and Sasha not being able to accept the safety, others like Noah and Abraham try to fit in.  Sawyer finds a potential ally in Aaron and learns Aaron has an assignment for him.

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5.14     Spend Airdate:  03/15/15

Noah sees a potential future for himself in Alexandria and reaches out to Reg (Steve Coulter) about learning to be an architect.  A mission to repair the failing solar grid at Alexandria turns sideways and results in horror.  Sam (Major Dodson), the son of Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Pete (Corey Brill), reaches out to Carol and reveals that there is still danger behind closed doors.  Gabriel has a warning for Deanna about Rick and his people.

walking dead season 5 episode 15 rick grimes andrew lincoln


5.15     Try Airdate:  03/22/15

Alden (Daniel Bonjour) is dead and his mother and father Deanna and Reg mourn as Tara fights for her life.  Nicholas (Michael Traynor) blames Glenn for what happened at the warehouse and Glenn has his own warning for Nicholas about his future with Alexandria.  Rosita and Michonne continue to worry about Sasha’s stability and learn that she’s had activity outside the walls.  Carl (Chandler Riggs) follows Enid (Katelyn Nacon) outside of Alexandria and learns that her path to the town was also dangerous.  Daryl and Aaron go on a finders mission and discover more “W” marks on walkers.  Rick’s concerns about Pete’s abuse of Jessie go unheard, and Rick decides he has to take the problem into his own hands.

walking dead season 5 episode 16 conquer daryl norman reedus


5.16     Conquer Airdate:  03/29/15

Morgan (Lennie James) continues to track Rick and as a confrontation with one of the “Wolves”.  Rick’s future with Alexandria is in question with the fight with Pete and the revelation that he stole a gun from the armory.  Pete and Jessie are forced into separation, and Pete doesn’t accept the situation well.  Glenn follows Nicholas outside of Alexandria despite his warnings and discovers Nicholas has plans for him.  Father Gabriel debates his faith and makes a decision about the fate of man.  Aaron and Daryl’s search of a canning factory turns into a fight for survival.  As the people of Alexandria meet to decide Rick’s fate, Rick discovers death has invaded Alexandria.

Related Links:

The Walking Dead—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Walking Dead—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Walking Dead—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Walking Dead—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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