This is a review for the first half of season 5 of The Walking Dead so there are SPOILERS in this review. I will be honest, for me season 4 was quite disappointing and quite a mixed bag. Season 5 has the same feeling with the journey to Terminus but there is a lot more consistency with the quality of the episodes.
The first episode kicked the season off in the best possible way. With the help of Carol, the group ripped through Terminus and provided an intense and action packed episode. I was left confused as to why this wasn’t the season finale for season 4. As it would have been a fantastic final episode. I felt strange as well that they had spent half a series making their way to Terminus only for the place to be overrun and destroyed in two episodes. However it was really fun to watch, it was also a good indicator of Rick’s character when he was happy to let his enemies turn into the undead, almost as an act of revenge.
From Terminus the group finds a priest by the name of Gabriel whose church they take refuge in.His character is interesting, his guilt of leaving his flock to die weighs heavily on his shoulders and he seems to cause more trouble and help solve it. Especially his antics in the food bank which actually causes Bob to be bitten. There is someone watching the group and eventually they play their hand when they kidnap Bob and eat his leg, the Terminus cannibals are back and hunting the group. What plays out here is a short but intense showdown between the Rick and the group and the cannibals were the Terminus gang are completely massacred under God’s roof. This act just showing what has become of the people in the group and how lost from their old selves some have become.
The area of the church acts as the hub but the paths of the group eventually splits up again as it did in season 4 part 2. I have to say I am actually not the biggest fan of splitting up the group, especially as I did not enjoy season 4 that much where it was all the rage. We see Glenn and the gang rekindling their journey to Washington and Daryl and Carol going after Beth.
The road to Washington is quite short-lived and actually the least interesting part of this half of the season. There is some character development here for the likes of Abraham, Eugene, Rosita and Tara but not enough to still make me care about the characters. By now they have been with the group a while but they still don’t seem to have much personality. Except maybe Eugene who seems to have a little more personality to him than the others. The big reveal does come here though as Eugene admits he was lying about Washington and this causes Abraham to have crisis of sorts.
In the other storyline we get to see what has happened to Beth which actually acts as a sort of swan song for the character. She is trapped in a hospital in Atlanta where the rules are about earning your way. Everything comes at a price, there are no favours. It is a very interesting dynamic which makes for some really dark and interesting characters. Here Beth meets Noah, and eventually they try to escape together, they almost succeed too but Beth is left behind and Noah runs away to eventually link up with the other survivors. It’s now that she finds Carol has arrived at the hospital after being run over and thus the build up to the finale begins.
If I am honest I was never really excited for the mid-season finale, It had only just really started building up to this point and I guess I didn’t have high expectations that it would really blow me away. To be fair it didn’t, it wasn’t bad or anything but it wasn’t too dissimilar from the average Walking Dead episode. I felt that Beth’s death actually came at the point of something dramatic needing to happen at the finale rather than out of necessity. It was nice to see that Maggie actually remembered she existed as well.
Season 5 part 1 was a lot more consistently good than season 4, I enjoyed it a lot more. I still think it is some way of the standard that it set with season 3 but I am hopeful it can once again reach those dizzy heights.