After Rick’s breakdown, he prepares to talk his way in to staying at Alexandria and is prepared to do whatever it takes, even if it means shedding blood. Meanwhile, Glenn is attacked by Nicholas in the woods, Sasha considers her place among the living, and Daryl and Aaron track a friendly, familiar face in the woods, only to find themselves at death’s doorstep.
Scott M. Gimple
The highest-rated scripted show on television returned tonight, as The Walking Dead Season 5 kicked off with “No Sanctuary,” written by showrunner Scott Gimple and directed by special effects guru Greg Nicotero. Season 4’s finale left us on a cliffhanger, and “Sanctuary” picks up the action right in Terminus, giving us tons of answers about the place and its inhabitants.
Last week on our Walking Dead podcast, I half-heartedly joked around about how I cared more about the pig Violet than I did about Patrick dying. One week later, I find the most heart-wrenching moment coming not when the humans die, but instead when three piglets are sacrificed in order to stop the prison gates from falling down. This isn’t necessarily meant as a full on attack of the show. The ‘three little pigs’ scene is by far the highlight of the episode; as the barriers of the prison come tumbling down, so does Rick’s hope in retaining momentary peace. He and his group are losing in every which way possible to the flesh eating walkers, and if taking lives isn’t enough, now the walkers are feeding on their main food supply.
After an uneven but mostly solid third season, The Walking Dead opens back at the prison, as a supply run between the survivors and the new Woodbury recruits quickly goes haywire. Meanwhile Rick attempts to help a mysterious woman he meets in the woods, and a character’s sudden death after a violent coughing spell, can only indicate that a new threat has arisen, potentially leading the series down on a new path.
The conceit of “The Prisoner” is that the episode is structured to parallel a game of Go played by Riario and the eponymous, mysterious prisoner. This conceit, along with the comparisons of a caged bird to Lucrezia, plays out rather heavy-handed and isn’t really necessary for us to understand what’s going on in Da Vinci’s Demons at this point. It’s a freshman mistake made by a freshman series, but the over-the-top nature of it lends itself well to how these first few episodes have been executed. Da Vinci’s Demons is still finding itself as a show in these first three scripts, much like how it took Spartacus: Blood and Sand a little while to get going on the same channel, and it’s up to us to trust the writers to pick up on where their ideas are strongest.