The Walking Dead Season 5: Everything You Need to Know

The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres this Sunday. Here is everything you need to know before showtime!

The premiere of The Walking Dead Season 5 is quickly approaching. On Sunday, Oct. 12 at 9 pm EST, AMC will bring you another season full of zombies, gruesome deaths, tears, and perhaps the occasional comic moment (although don’t count on it).

There are a couple of things you should know before the season premieres, just to get yourself ready for what might be the best season of the show yet. That said, we will be stepping into spoiler territory, so let this be your warning. 

Here’s a picture of our favorite zombie bicycle girl before we begin our spoiler-filled preview:

Okay, if you’re still here, we’ll begin with…

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When we last met Rick and friends, they were locked in a rusty train car, awaiting execution by the Terminus group — those survivors who apparently promised safe haven throughout the second half of season 4. Surprise, you can’t trust anyone that isn’t part of the group! Even Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita might still have some surprises up their sleeves in season 5. At least, we’re betting Eugene does!

Here is the official synopsis:

Season four of The Walking Dead ended with Rick and the group outgunned, outnumbered, and trapped in a train car awaiting a grim fate. Season five picks up shortly thereafter. What follows is a story that weaves the true motives of the people of Terminus with the hopeful prospect of a cure in Washington D.C., the fate of the group’s lost comrades, as well as new locales, new conflicts, and new obstacles in keeping the group together and staying alive. Stories will break apart and intersect. The characters will find love and hate. Peace and conflict. Contentment and terror. And, in the quest to find a permanent, safe place to call home, one question will haunt them…after all they’ve seen, all they’ve done, all they’ve sacrificed, lost, and held onto no matter what the cost…Who do they become?

One thing is certain, this season could be the darkest we’ve seen yet, which is saying a lot since we just got done with that whole Governor/Carl going through puberty phase of the show. You would think these guys would get a bit of a smooth ride, but no. The long walk to Terminus was as smooth as it’s going to get for this group. The misery porn continues!

Andrew Lincoln (Rick) talked to a bit about the darker tone of the season:

It feels like we’re moving to a new area now. It feels like we’ve got this incredible journey, and this incredible family of people with us. And we’ve gone into this room, and it’s a very dark room and it’s a very scary room, and we’ve locked the door and you’re not allowed out. We’re going to the other side now. And I do think it’s worth stressing— we’re really earning our rating this season. There are families that watch it together, but just so it’s on record, guys: It’s a grown-up show this season. And some of the violence is moving into a territory where it’s human violence, the most scary aspect of this show. In fact, some of the most lifelike moments are the zombies now. And I think that that’s a huge change. It feels real after these people have been inhabiting this world for two years, you know? The people left are going to be just as equally pragmatic and brutal, and tough, and resilient. So the clash in this season, and the conflict and the fear and the terror comes directly from the humans.

It has felt for a while that the real danger of late has come from other survivors, and season 5 might be the epitome of that theme. At this point, the zombies are really more of a backdrop for the human conflicts that have taken the forefront. The Terminus group sure does look sadistic in the season 5 trailer:

The cast and crew also discussed this upcoming season in this featurette, where we get a good look at Rick’s current mindset:

It’s nice to hear that Rick will once again step in as leader. He went peace-loving farmer last season, putting his guns away and taking care of some pigs, until the zombies started trying to tear down the fences and the Governor showed up with a tank. Since then, and up to the moment he tears Bandit Joe’s throat out, Rick has been nothing but merciless. How will this affect the rest of the group? We have a feeling things are going to get a bit more gray in terms of who the good and bad guys are.

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Although we don’t specifically know where this season might take us, we did get a look at the season 5 premiere. Here is our spoiler-free review. Things definitely look promising — for the viewers, not the survivors, of course.

Our reviewer, Ron Hogan, says of the premiere:

The fifth season premier finds The Walking Dead in fine form indeed, with an episode full of action and impressive levels of tension. The violence is brutal and meaningful, with the show’s writing nearly rising to the level of its visual flair. If it is indicative of the rest of the season, then season five will be one of the show’s true highlights. As appetite-whetting episodes go, this one has me hungry for the rest of this season’s zombie action.

Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead comics that the show is based on, said that season 5 is the best season yet for the show, which is what he’s supposed to say, but still:

In our first episode, it’s very much going to focus on the story of Terminus. There’s a lot of big revelations that haven’t really come out that I think people are gonna be pretty startled by. There’s a couple other revelations that I think people might’ve gotten a little bit of a lead on. We’ll definitely be defining those in some cool ways and confirming some theories and shooting down others, which is very exciting.

But I think the coolest thing about coming back to season 5 is that we really hit the ground running.

What I mean by that is that we very quickly deal with the situation that we left them in — this trapped, victim situation where they’re kind of at the mercy of the people of Terminus. We really kind of expand the story from there very rapidly, so I think this is going to be a pretty fast-paced season with quite a bit going on. News is already out that Seth Gilliam has been added, and we’re bringing in new characters like we always do, and I think season 5 is going to be our best season yet. I think when people finally see the premiere, they’ll see what I’m talking about.

As far as where this season will take place…


Obviously, the season will begin in Terminus, but after the group presumably escape their prison, they’ll be on their way to Washington again. While the comic book arc that season 5 apparently takes its plot from (we’ll get to this in just a few paragraphs) largely takes place in the rural areas the group have been frequenting since season 2, Lincoln teased a return to more urban areas:

One of the great things about this season is we’re in very similar locations to where the whole story began. And for me, it’s just kind of haunting. And there’s something about the urban environment and feeling the decay. And I know that the special effects department is having a lot of fun with that, and skylines and things, and you could see the effect of the erosion of the world, and I think they’re looking forward to creating that landscape as well. So I think every aspect is really fun. And also, just seeing what’s still left, if there are any people left in this city who aren’t dead. I want to stress as well that the last couple of episodes we had contain some of my favorite zombies for many years. There’s a breathtaking sequence in episode 7. And we walk into this environment, and we knew where it had gone now, and it was horrific. It was extraordinary.

Does this mean the group is going back to the hell of Atlanta? What new monsters will they meet there? Or perhaps it’s a brand new city. Rick and the group will undoubtedly make some progress on their journey to Washington. We don’t expect TOO big a setting change by midseason. Episode 7 is the episode before the midseason finale, so the group might just be entering the city.

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There’s also a church involved, which was basically confirmed by the casting of Father Gabriel (from the comics) and this poster:

A) Those are definitely the lights of Heaven shining on Rick, and B) the shadow under his feet is in the shape of a Church window. 

The inclusion of a church in The Walking Dead Season 5 can only really mean one thing…


Whether that means that the Terminus group are the show’s version of The Hunters or it’s a whole other group of cannibals that are going to hunt BOTH groups, there’s little doubt that we’ll get some human flesh-eaters this season. 

We discussed The Hunters at length in our spoiler-filled preview of the villains. Here is a quote from that:

The Hunters aren’t all that different to the “good guys” in the story, except they’ve succumbed to the desperate need to survive. Chris reveals to Rick before the massacre that his group was forced to eat their own children, which he likened to bears that eat their young when facing starvation. This justification allowed The Hunters to continue to eat human flesh.

This triggers a thought: what if Rick was forced to eat Carl someday? Here, you get to see how the character of Rick works. The only thing that really makes him the good guy at all anymore (the dude has murdered most things in his path) is his justification for doing so: keeping his family safe. He remains the protagonist and the series’ definition of a good guy because he doesn’t stray from that path.

If he falls to the carnivorous insanity of the times, undoubtedly the rest of the group will. They will eat, they will die, and be reborn as horrible monsters. When Rick decides to slaughter The Hunters, we see this reality for a brief moment.

Whether Gareth, the presumed leader of Terminus, is actually the cannibal leader is still anyone’s guess, although Kirkman told the TV Guide earlier this year that Gareth was not the villain of season 5:

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Gareth was a little Governor-like in his execution when it comes to being overtly nice. How similar are those two villains?

Not very. There are certainly some similarities, especially in this episode. But those similarities go away pretty quickly. His façade has a much more clear purpose that will be revealed in Season 5 and definitely sets him apart from The Governor in a big way. I would state emphatically that he is definitely not the villain of Season 5. I don’t want anyone to get the impression that this is a Rick vs. Governor face-off. Gareth and the people of Terminus are going to be a very big threat. They’re definitely going to kick Season 5 off in a big way, but the Rick Grimes that we’ve left this season with is not going to be allowing a Governor-like figure to be such a thorn in their side moving forward. 

In the “Fear the Hunters” comic book story arc, at least one member of Rick’s group is going to kick the bucket, and by that, we mean that he/she won’t be able to kick anything because the cannibals will be feasting on his/her legs. Poor Dale suffered this fate in the comics.

If season 5 decides to go this route — and why wouldn’t it — who will it be?


You never know for sure. All you know is that someone is. It’s pretty much a fact of the midseason/season finale that a main character is going to die. We think Rick is safe (he’s still around in the comic’s impressive 130+ issue on-going run), but it could be someone else we hold someone really dear to heart.

There’s a rumor going around that it’s Glenn, although he dies at the hands of Negan in issue #100 of the books. Still, the trailer does tease an image of one of the Terminus group holding a bat behind Glenn. 

No matter who it is, it will undoubtedly be a shocker.

Well, that’s all, folks, but we will continue to update this article throughout the week until premiere as we hear more whispers.

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