"The Walking Dead" was finally back tonight (October 12) with what might be the biggest episode the show has ever done. It was packed with action, intensely emotional, and bodes well for what promises to be the best season of the zombie drama yet.
Here's all the biggest, most shocking moments on "No Sanctuary:"
1. Lookin' Up, Rick
Those first four minutes. You guys. We've been waiting for months to see how Rick and company would get back at the Terminusians for trapping them in a train car. And then we see everyone preparing to kick serious butt… Only for a smoke bomb to get thrown through the roof, and most of the group dragged off to slaughter.
Hot tip: remember, train cars have six sides.
2. Batter Up
Then we get a moment straight out of the comics, as the Terminus butchers (yup, they're cannibals) proceed to knock nameless extras – and "Gotham" star Robin Lord Taylor! – in the head with a baseball bat, then bleed them out. You know, like cattle. Gross.
Comic readers: were you as terrified as we were than Glenn was going to get one in the noggin?
3. Gareth By The Numbers
We briefly met Gareth, the leader of Terminus last season, but here we find out that he's methodical and calculated. He knows how to play all the angles, and how to survive when the chips are down. So chances that he actually went down in a hail of gunfire at the end of the episode? Slimmer than a lean cut of human being.
4. The Rise Of Carol
Was this the best Carol episode ever? I mean, yes. Melissa McBride has gone from a victim of domestic abuse, to the second most kick-ass person on the show (after Daryl). She single-handedly destroys Terminus, gets in a knock-down, drag-out fight with Tasha Yar and can claim the only scene in "Walking Dead" history to bring me to tears. We'll get to that one in a second.
Oh, also, she remembers the "put guts on yourself, walk safely through a herd of zombies trick that for some reason no one has used since season one.
5. Little Shack Of Terrors
Okay, so the whole "I'm an evil guy who is gonna talk my way out of being captured" thing wasn't the most original thing ever – but when the Terminus dweller captured by Tyreese manages to get his hands around baby Judith's neck, it was the most cringeworthy moment in an episode that had flippin' cannibal in it.
But luckily it led to…
6. How Tyreese Got His Groove Back
Damn, Tyreese. The guy who survived a crowd of walkers with nothing but a hammer last season got sucked out the door of the shack "Evil Dead" style, and then proceeded to kill all of them with nothing but his bare hands. Then he burst back through the door to the shack, and beat the f—king s—t (sorry for the cursing, but it's deserved here) out of Mr. Terminus.
We're not totally sure about the "I figured out it's okay to murder people again!" message he got left with, but whatever floats your post-apocalyptic boat!
7. Attack On Terminus 13
It's hard to pick out a specific moment in the insane attack on Terminus, so let's focus on this: how incredible was that zombie explosion? And how much better were the effects – and the blocking of the effects – than that CDC explosion at the end of season one?
It's a stark contrast, and immense kudos to director Greg Nicotero, who staged an incredible battle that was mostly smoke and nameless zombies.
8. The Cure
Okay, so we've officially deviated from Eugene's story in the comics. The group confronts him about the "cure" for the zombie virus, and he has a legit explanation for what he needs to do in Washington D.C. Turns out – according to him – he doesn't actually know the cure, but he believes he can "flip the script" on the zombie virus, in order to create a cure.
Is he lying? Telling the truth? Something in between? We're in uncharted territory here, people.
9. Train Gang
And at the end of the episode, the whole group is back together on the train tracks. Two main impressions! First, holy cow there's a lot of people in the cast. It's insane that everyone survived Terminus without a (physical) scratch, and we expect a cast this size is going to get culled, and soon.
Second impression: this is the most feels we've gotten from something related to a train since "Drops of Jupiter." The moment when Daryl nearly tackled Carol (and spoiler, when I visited the set Melissa McBride physically showed me what Norman Reedus did to her, and it was intense) got us insanely choked up.
The show doesn't always stick the emotion – the "Predator" handshakes at episodes end may have gone on a little long – but the train reunion really nailed how far these characters have gone, and what they mean to each other.
Now it's time to start killing some of them off.
What did you think of the season premiere of "The Walking Dead?"