After Season 4 of The Walking Dead, I had serious questions about whether or not I’d dive into Season 5 (check out those thoughts here). I won’t go into the long of it in this post, but the short of it is that I felt that the series tended to plod through large parts of Seasons 2-4, and the incessant focus on the background and re-ascension of the Governor in Season 4 felt like filler because the minds behind the show needed to get our heroes from point A to point B, and they didn’t have enough to justify a season just focusing on Rick and company.
Season 5 will – or at least should – be remembered as a high-water mark. The one thing that our crew should have learned – quit trusting everyone and quit approaching everyone as friends or potential allies – finally got through their thick skulls. Yes, their treatment of the cannibals was brutal. As it should have been. Some things aren’t acceptable, and in a world where humans are slowly becoming an endangered species, eating them is not an option, particularly if you’re going to saw parts off while the human is still alive and mock him as you suck down meat off a his calf. The showdown with the gang at the hospital was interesting, in that instead of attempting to turn or recruit them, both went their separate ways. Both groups could have helped each other, sure, but too much water was under the bridge. In a choice between mutually assured destruction and detante, both wisely chose the latter. And when the opportunity to return to civilization presented itself, our survivors were able to suck it up and dump their problems at the gate.
OK, not so much the last one maybe, but some of them – Michonne, Maggie, Carl, etc. – made a good go of it. Some – Daryl, Carol, Sasha, etc. – not so much. It made for some of the best conflict within the group since our original survivors arrived at the farm in Season 2. Watching the struggle with PTSD and shock, particularly with Rick and Sasha, was fascinating and real. The disbelief among our gang about how their new, civilized compatriots just didn’t get “it” was also interesting to see play out. And damn if Carol may not be the most interesting character on that show now. I’m half surprised she didn’t cap that wife-beating piece of shit the minute he walked into the meeting with Michonne’s sword.
The direction of the show has re-energized it, and viewers such as myself as well. Bring on the wacky wolf boys. This time, Rick and the gang – and me, for that matter – are ready.