Airing on October 12th, the premiere episode of The Walking Dead Season 5 proves that there's still plenty of life left in this zombie series. Feeling more like a big budget movie than a TV show, the talented cast and crew have produced what will easily be seen as one of the best episodes in the series.

The Walking Dead Season 5 picks up shortly after the events of the Season 4 finale. Rick and most of his group are trapped at Terminus with death only moments away. Who lives and how do they get out of their seemingly impossible situation at Terminus? You'll have to watch it for yourself to find out. While I can give early impressions at this point, I'm unable to cover spoilers until after the episode airs.

There's a really good mix of action and drama here, and this is clearly Rick's episode, taking back his position of confident leader after attempting to lead a normal life during Season 4's first episodes. Daryl Dixon may be a fan favorite, and he's a big part of the action that unfolds, but there are going to be quite a few more Rick fans after this episode. Most of the main characters are given at least a little importance and screen time, but I need to tease that one character completely steals the show.

It looks like everyone has approached this season with a new excitement for the material. In general, this episode isn't drastically differently from what we've seen in the past, but there's an extra level of polish that is very noticeable and a big part of that is due to the work of Scott M. Gimple and Greg Nicotero. Special makeup effects master Greg Nicotero directed this episode and topped what he's done in past seasons, giving us more gruesome living dead creations and intense action. This is an episode that doesn't really hold back and there will definitely be viewers turning away during some of the graphic, but necessary, scenes. Nicotero is able to balance these graphic moments with a number of more personal character scenes that give us a better idea of what's going on at Terminus.

When it comes to adapting the source material, I've loved the "remix" approach that showrunner Scott M. Gimple has been taking and it works really well here. For fans of the comic book series, there are familiar moments and characters, but clearly this is its own beast. Even having read all current issues of The Walking Dead, I only have a sense of the broad strokes and love how this episode kept me guessing. I've said it before and the same is true with the season 5 opening: these newer episodes may depart from the source material at times, but they feel much closer to the spirit of the comic book series.

The Season 5 premiere delivers everything that a fan of the series could want and more, with the episode building toward the larger world that Robert Kirkman introduces us to later in the comic book series. Similar to how the Season 3 premiere amped up the action when Rick's group took the prison, the first episode of Season 5 takes the series to another level. After how this episode ends and from what has been teased in the trailers, I'm left feeling confident that the creative team will continue to deliver throughout the season.

Episode Score: 5/5

*Note: Our episode scores are ranked against other episodes in the series.

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