There are so many mysteries and potential threats leading up to Season 6 of The Walking Dead that it makes this time last year seem like a breeze. Remember when all we cared about was what happened to Beth and whether everyone was going to get eaten at Terminus? Let's recap The Walking Dead Season 5, so that when everything blows up at the Alexandria Safe-Zone and the wolves come a'calling on Sunday, we're extra prepared.
Season 5 kept Rick Grimes and his group of survivors on the road for almost the whole time. They visited several locations, some new and some from the comics. Friends were made and secrets were revealed along the way. A few favorites died, though somehow Glenn survived. Rick finally shaved his beard. We saw how uncomfortable the idea of returning to a normal life is to these characters, even though it is what they crave most of all. This season also introduced the possibility that our heroes could be the villains from a certain point of view. Carol became "Scarol" and started threatening kids while holding cookies. Rick brought his vigilante justice to a well-organized neighborhood. Even Sasha was starting to have doubts and needed some time alone.
As for what specifically went down, here's a sketch of The Walking Dead Season 5 that will get you up to speed in no time.
Escape From Terminus
The season started right where Season 4 left off, though the survivors didn't stay as long at Terminus as I expected. In the season premiere, the group narrowly avoided being sacrificed before Tyreese and Carol caught up and helped them escape. Because of their cannibalism, Rick hunted down all of the "termites" of Terminus after they were hom free.
Father Gabriel's Church
The group sought refuge here, but knew that it was not going to be a permanent stay. Gabriel is one of the first cowardly or skittish people to be on this show, at least in a long time. He had never killed a man or walker with his own hands before, but survived by shutting his church doors during the outbreak and not allowing anybody in but himself.
Grady Memorial Hospital
At the end of Season 4, Beth Greene was kidnapped, and it turned out that this was where she was taken. The establishment, under the utilitarian leadership of former police officer Dawn Lerner, thrived on bringing in survivors and making them "repay their debt" by doing chores. It was essentially indentured servitude. Carol ended up there as well after she and Daryl investigated the situation. While Beth fought against the hospital's regime, helped a friend escape, and was nearly rescued by Rick and her found family, she was shot during a "prisoner exchange" and died — thus proving her own point that none of this really matters.
Liar Liar, Washington On Fire
After vowing to never split up again, the group split up again. Half of them went to rescue Beth and Carol from Grady Memorial, while half went to chase the dream of Eugene saving the world in D.C. using science. It was eventually revealed that Eugene was full of malarkey, but while Abraham's heart was broken, he let Eugene live with this lie.
The group continued north, and lost Tyreese along the way. Finally, they arrived at a major location from the Walking Dead comics: the Alexandria Safe-Zone. After being recruited by a fellow named Aaron, who bonded with Daryl, the group was accepted into the walled community. Everything seemed nice and normal there. It's lead by a former politician named Deanna, who is excellent at reading people and determining their strengths fairly. People get to shower and live in houses. Our group of survivors seemed very hardened and out of place. Carl even made friends with a girl named Enid, who seems shifty, but we don't know why yet.
And the gang still wasn't 100 percent safe. A teenage boy named Noah, whom they picked up at Grady Memorial, got caught in a revolving door during a walker attack and died. I avoided those swinging things for days. It was so gruesome.
However, Rick soon discovered that not everything in Alexandria was nice as it seemed. There may not be any cannibals or Governors, and Alexandria may run on a policy of "openness" and recorded testimonies, but there is an abusive husband named Pete, whose wife Jessie gets along pretty well with Rick. After getting in several altercations with him, Rick shot Pete. Is Rick the bad guy now? He has talked in private about taking over Alexandria if it became necessary, so we'll have that to look forward to when The Walking Dead returns.
Welcome Back, Morgan Jones
All season long, Rick's old buddy Morgan was tracking our heroes through the woods. He seems to have regained some clarity of mind, and I look forward to finding out what happened to him in the interim. Morgan finally met up with Daryl, and made it to Alexandria just in time to witness Rick Grimes killing a seemingly innocent man. Awkward!
Finally, the world "wolves" and the letter "w" were spotted throughout the season, but the threat wasn't apparent until the finale, when Morgan encountered one of them for himself. The Wolves are prone to setting traps and marking their victims. The final shot of the episode featured the graffiti "wolves not far." So consider yourself warned for the Season 6 premiere.
Images: Gene Page/AMC (8)