Overall Grade: (A+)
One of televisions most compelling and mentally riveting shows concludes its fifth season with all the tense intrigue you would come to expect as we say goodbye to some familiar faces and are pulled deeper into the depths of some others.
Some of the group begins the season locked in Terminus with the realization they were not brought in to help the living but to be food for them. Others continue the search for Beth and her kidnappers, while the awkward pairing of Tyreese and Carol are left with little Judith. The group has been broken and separated from one another and at their weakest, they will have to do what is necessary to survive.
As the season progressed the group hits an all-time low in moral as some close to them lose their lives. During this depression we will learn more about some familiar characters that the writing has not delved deeply into thus far. As the season begins to wind down they find what seems to be sanctuary within the walls of Alexandria, although adjusting to rules and normal ways of living may be more difficult for some member’s of the group to cope with after so long on the run.
The season starts with a highly tense and dramatic setting of the group being locked in Terminus. All seems loss as key members of not only the group but the show as a whole, come only inches from death. This highly tense and morbid theme the season begins on seems to be the tone the entire season followed. The world has grown more dangerous as the key threat no longer feels like the ‘walkers’ but the living, as more then one time the group faces harsher dangers from other people while the dead, become more of an accepted irritation.
This season as a whole was a great blend of highs and lows and throughout your attention will be nothing but completely enthralled. New characters are introduced as both friend and foe throughout the season and they all fit seamlessly into the framework of the script. To counter the highly adrenaline filled episodes are some slower ones that, in my opinion do a great job of using the downtime to express more deepness in some of the more familiar characters.
After the loss of some close members of the team we get to see how the different members cope with the repeated blows of horrible luck. They all deal with their grief in different ways and the writing does a great job of matching these reactions to the characters personalities, while other times it used their coping mechanisms as the opportunity so add more layers to others.
After some more somber episodes there was the inevitable ramp-up of action as the dangers never stop coming at them. For me the season ended with the most compelling set of events we have seen in any of the past seasons. There was loss, drama and many tense scenarios. Without revealing too much of the actual events, in my opinion Rick comes full circle with the group and the rest of the members are able to express their support for the way he thinks they need to live in order to survive.
Overall this was one of the better seasons with a lot happening from start-to-finish. Some of the characters come morbidly close to dying and others deal with the mental break of losing people close to them and fight to find inspiration to go on. The cast and main group of this season were excellent and the continued perfection in the writing and creative direction are running at full speed.
The cliffhanger at the end of the episode was fantastic and with all the action that goes down in the final episodes you can feel the strength of the group build just as a very formidable foe is introduced. This nice blend serves a perfect set-up for a sixth-season that should promise many more great things from an excellently well-rounded television series.