SEASON 7 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” premieres 7 weeks from today, thus beginning our celebratory countdown with the 7 best episodes of the show thus far, in our humblest of opinions, of course.
DISCLAIMER: It is a tall order to ask any “Walking Dead” fan to just list SEVEN of his/her favorite episodes, but LIL GRIPES rose to the occasion. Mind you, if we’ve omitted a favorite of yours, PLEASE comment below and let us know! Let us know what you loved about it! xx
No. 7: Season 5 Episode 1, “No Sanctuary”
The best “Walking Dead” episodes tend to relish in a slow burn rather than high-octane action. “No Sanctuary” is one of the spare, spectacular exceptions.
Maybe it is the elevation of the stakes we knew our heroes were facing right from the start…This season premiere picking up chronologically right after our protagonists were all herded into a dank and dim (read: creepy) train car at Terminus. It opens with them then being herded off into ::you guessed it:: a human slaughterhouse. When Glenn Rhee, Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes are just four people away from having their throats slit in a human-trough lineup, you goddamn better be sitting on the edge of your seat biting what’s left of your nails.
*More on Glenn’s hilarious James Bond-esque evasion of certain death not once, but three times, later.
Maybe it is the satisfaction derived from watching the sweet, slow blow of revenge… Thanks to Carol 2.0’s boldest act of badassery yet (leading a herd of walkers whilst covered in their guts toward her friends’ place of capture and blowing up a propane tank to lure said walkers toward our heroes’ captors, the Termites), we got to see glorious gore exacted upon the villains for once. Never has having human faces being devoured on this show been as satisfying as when these walkers made a fine Sunday feast out of the Termite cannibals.
(I literally applauded and hooted in cheering during the scene in which the above GIF appeared)
Maybe it’s that our heroes have reunited again as a family working together toward a common goal after spending a whole half-season sprawled apart. With Rick gone farmer all of season four, it was especially welcome to see “Kong Fu Rick” back, blasting machine guns while dripping forehead-to-beard with both the blood of enemy humans and walkers. Given the first chance via Carol’s explosive diversion, Rick stabbed and gunned his way to freedom, leading his group out of the hazy maze of foggy smoke, fiery walkers, and frightened cannibals with appropriate bravado. Rick made it clear: The show had returned from summer hiatus and so had he–he’s playing for keeps Season 5:
*Now back to Glenn… One of the mostly darkly funny moments this entire series has been how Glenn managed to evade near-death this many times in a roll in the slaughterhouse… Especially given that it was a bat-to-the-head situation, as if morbidly teasing what’s to come for him in the comics (Negan, you SOB). The guy lined up before him had just been knocked unconscious over the trough and his throat just slit open, bleeding him dry. The expression on Glenn’s face (brilliantly brought to life by Steven Yeun) said it all: “Here it comes. This show is about to kill off a major beloved character…again.”
Terminus butcher raises his bat to knock out Glenn. The Termites’ leader interrupts him, “Hey, how many shell counts did you have?” He answers.
Butcher raises bat over Glenn again… Termite leader says to the other butcher, “I need your shell count!” He replies, “Oh man, I’m sorry; I didn’t count mine… It’s my first round-up.”
Leader excuses him for this time’s slip-up and decides to use the moment to chit-chat with Rick. After a good five minutes pass, the first butcher resumes raising his bat over the back of Glenn’s head for the third time. MID-swing, *KA-BOOM* An explosion knocks them all off their feet and onto their sides.
And Glenn the Survivor survives…again…
~ CUE 007 THEME ~
LINE OF THE EPISODE:
“[My bag] has a machete with a red handle… That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you.”
– Rick to Gareth, the Terminus leader
P.S. How hot does Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) look in this promo photo for this incredibly grisly episode? They don’t call it sexy dirt for nothin’:
Episode ranked #6 next week… Suggestions of your own?