Humans and zombies get even scarier in season five of The Walking Dead

Walking Dead Season FIVE.  Wow, we’ve come a long way since the apocalypse began.

Where to begin?  Season four ruthlessly left us with the cast locked in a train car, and Rick Grimes growling the chilling words, “They’re f***ing with the wrong people.”  About eight months later, fans resume their white-knuckle grip on their armchairs as the group of survivors continue their breakneck adventure.

Episode one commences with the kind of scene that sends an excited chill down one’s spine.  Working with sweaty hands and bloodied knuckles, the group labors in the dark loneliness of their train car jail, turning rotten wood and scrap metal into lethal weapons.  Hardened by the murders they’ve witnessed, the people they’ve killed, and the overhanging knowledge that the population of the world is dead and/or trying to kill them, the group has become resourceful and unyielding.  When an explosion rocks the train car and the group escapes, the show is hurled back into the ceaseless battle between man and zombie.

Without giving too much away, they find themselves at a church that seems like a viable, if temporary, safe haven.  There, Daryl and Carol chase a lead on Beth, men from Terminus come and a bloodbath ensues, and Glen and Maggie start their journey to DC with Dr. Eugene Stokes and Sgt. Ford, planning to meet up with the group in a couple of days.

What will become of the continued quest for survival?  Jugulars ripped out, arms chewed off, legs eaten, heads chopped off, guts strewn across the ground—that’s for sure.  But what about the cast?  What about humanity?

The answer: in a world where law is nonexistent and survival is paramount, humans are far more dangerous than the decaying, flesh-eating zombies that started the epidemic.

As the plot unfolds, best friends have turned against one another, betrayal has brought unavoidable death to innocent groups of people, tyrannical conquistadors have gunned down their own flock, and the founders of “Terminus,” where “those who arrive, survive,” have slaughtered and eaten their visitors like butchers do—or zombies…wait…

In four seasons of this brutal show, beloved characters with memorable personalities have been saved from death, then brutally ripped apart.  The few characters—Glen, Maggie, Rick, Carl, Daryl, Michonne—that have stayed alive since almost the beginning have grown essential to the show.  But the possibility that every one of these characters’ lives hangs so delicately in balance makes the show increasingly terrifying and still more exciting.

Everything in season five’s plot so far points to the idea that the group will reconnect with lost members, lose current ones, and against everything continue to its destination of Washington DC.  And if anything about this every-man-for-himself, bloodbath-of-a-world can be taken for granted, it’s that the show will keep us gritting our teeth from Sunday to Sunday, waiting for the horror to unfold.

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