Published: Tuesday, 25 August 2015 | Written by SciFi Vision
Season five of The Walking Dead follows Rick (Andrew Lincoln)'s group as they continue to fight for survival. The series picks up where last season left off: Beth (Emily Kinney) has been kidnapped, and the rest of the group, except Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), and baby Judith, has been locked in the boxcar at Terminus, where they soon learn that Terminus is no sanctuary, but made up of murderous cannibals. Carol may be their only hope.
The first part of the season also introduces the character of Father Gabriel (Seth Gabriel) who joins the group on their journey.
The next part of the story focuses on Beth's rescue, during which the group splits as Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) agree to follow Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita (Christian Serratos) to D.C.
It is during this time Rick's group meets with Noah (Tyler James Williams) who plays an integral part in Beth's rescue.
Rick's group suffers more than one devastating loss before they reunite with Abraham and the others, who have also had some major setbacks.
The group continues towards D.C. and eventually ends up on foot and dehydrated, having run out of supplies. This is when they meet Aaron (Ross Marquand), who says that he lives in a safe fortified community and he wants them to be a part of it. The decision of whether or not to trust him is split between the group.
The rest of the season focuses on what transpires at the community, the Alexandria Safe Zone, where they meet their leader Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh). The inhabitants have been sheltered from the apocalypse and aren't ready for their fight for survival, which Rick knows is only a matter of time, as they can't stay lucky and safe forever.
The group struggles to fit back into society and decide if helping the new group puts them at risk, or if they can even trust them.
The end of the series also introduces the Wolves and brings about the return of Morgan (Lennie James).
Season five really had a lot going on from the get-go. Even after Terminus, the series didn't drop the pace. As always, the writers are not afraid to make big moves, killing off four main characters one after the other without allowing the audience time to breathe.
Although I have to admit, I did not enjoy the Terminus storyline as much (simply because of my personal distaste for horror and gore factor of the cannibals), I was still on the edge of my seat through all sixteen episodes.
In other seasons I did not like the pacing of splitting the story between two groups, but it really worked for this season and the storytelling. I was kept interested in both Rick's group and what was going on with Abraham and his group on the way to D.C., and I enjoyed how the story played out.
The script and acting were brilliant. There were many heart-wrenching moments this season with the deaths of some favorites, and the actors often brought me to tears. The character arcs this season were superb, and I cared about what happened to all of them.
My favorite character this season was hands down Carol. I enjoyed McBride in the beginning of the season, but especially the end, once they arrive in the Alexandria community. She was super-smart to play the role of the unsuspecting homemaker, and the actress was flawless.
Rick is also a character that again goes through a lot of growth. He has been hardened by everything that has happened and does not trust people like he used to and is afraid to give anyone a chance, perhaps to his detriment. I really enjoyed seeing Michonne (Danai Gurira) step in and help to get Rick to realize that he had to change some of his ways of thinking.
Another big standout was Beth. I loved seeing her on her journey of discovery and becoming such a strong and impactful character.
I also was very happy with the return of Morgan, even if he only appears in small pieces. He's one of the most interesting characters that we don't know enough about, and he's been through a lot.
The new additions to the cast were also great, especially Noah, who made quite an impact even though he was only with the group a short while.
As always with the series, the special effects bar was once again raised with the introduction of new and more disgusting walkers and the ways in which they were killed.
Overall season five, in my opinion, was one of the best so far, and I can't wait to see what comes next in season six.
*No Sanctuary - Audio commentary by writer/executive producer Scott M. Gimple and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd; audio commentary by executive producer/special effects make-up artist/director Greg Nicotero and actor Melissa McBride
*Self Help - Audio Commentary by actors Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, and Alanna Masterson
*What Happened and What's Going On - Audio commentary by executive producer/special effects make-up artist/director Greg Nicotero and actor Chad L. Coleman
*Them - Audio commentary by director Julius Ramsay and actors Norman Reedus and Sonequa Martin-Green
*Remember - Audio commentary by executive producer/special effects make-up/director Greg Nicotero, executive producers Tom Luse, and actor Danai Gurira
*Conquer - Audio commentary by executive producer/special effects make-up/director Greg Nicotero and writer/executive producer Scott M. Gimple
Inside The Walking Dead - There are sixteen featurettes, one for each episode, and they are of the cast and crew discussing the episodes and the characters' journeys and motivations. They focus more on the actual storylines than on production aspects. It actually works as a good refresher for the pivotal events of the season.
The Making of The Walking Dead - There is again, one featurette for every episode, sixteen in total. These are of the cast and crew discussion how certain scenes were made and focuses mostly on the production. Most of the scenes discussed are scenes that are either high action or high special effects. I've highlighted the scenes below.
*The Making of Episode 501: No Sanctuary - Fight at the train cars; Carol's explosions
*The Making of Episode 502: Strangers - Food bank walkers in the flooded cellar
*The Making of Episode 503: Four Walls and a Roof - Killing "Termites" at the church
*The Making of Episode 504: Slabtown - Elevator and wire work
*The Making of Episode 505: Self Help - Eugene and the fire hose
*The Making of Episode 506: Consumed - Carol and Daryl van stunt
*The Making of Episode 507: Crossed - Napalmed Atlanta and the melted walkers
*The Making of Episode 508: Coda - Beth's death
*The Making of Episode 509: What Happened and What's Going On - Tyrese's hallucinations; Tyrese's death
*The Making of Episode 510: Them - Pushing walkers into the ravine; storm at the barn
*The Making of Episode 511: The Distance - Flare gun
*The Making of Episode 512: Remember - Captured walker in Alexandria with ripping skin
*The Making of Episode 513: Forget - Welcome cocktail party in Alexandria
*The Making of Episode 514: Spend - Noah's death
*The Making of Episode 515: Try - Rick & Pete fight
*The Making of Episode 516: Conquer - Food trailer walkers attack Daryl and Aaron; Morgan fighting walkers with his staff
The Making of Alexandria [9:45] - This feature is almost ten minutes and is of the crew discussing how Alexandria was created, from using real homes being built, to erecting the wall around the town.
Beth's Journey [4:20] - The cast and crew talk about Beth's arc and her death, as well as about working with Emily Kinney and how hard it was losing her, for both the characters and the cast.
Bob's Journey [4:54] - The cast and crew discuss Bob's story and his death, including how his scene with the Termites was directly translated from the comics. They also talk about working with the actor.
Noah's Journey [4:26] - The cast and crew talk about Noah's story and his death. Yeun discusses the true meaning of Noah telling him not to let go, and the cast talk about working with him as well.
Tyrese's Journey [6:53] - The cast and crew discuss Tyrese's journey and death, as well as working with him. They talk about the dichotomy of his character, that he was capable of rage, but a gentle giant. They also discuss the idea of seeing a character's death through their eyes. Coleman talks about his hallucinations and the Governor (David Morrissey) representing Tyrese fighting off death.
A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz [7:58] - Cudlitz narrates the day while he films the scenes at the construction area in Alexandria. He also talks about testing out the weapons. There is also a fun bit where McDermitt photobombs him.
A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt [7:56] - McDermitt walks viewers through his day, from hair and makeup, including getting his "mullet of life" and his legs bronzed. He talks about filming the scene where he saves Tara. There is also explanation about different kinds of fake blood that is used.
Rotters in the Flesh [4:35] - This feature is under five minutes, but is one of the best of the bunch, in my opinion. The cast and crew talk about the walkers melted to the pavement and how the effects were created. The cast often has to be careful about stepping on walkers, because it's hard sometimes to tell which are real actors. Nicotero also explains the gag of Daryl ripping the head off of a walker to use as a weapon, which he gave to Reedus for Christmas. Some of this is repeated in the making of featurette for the episode.
There are multiple deleted/extended scenes from six episodes, which you can play separately or all together: "Four Walls and a Roof," "Crossed," "Coda," "Remember," "Forget," and "Spend." To me they were good additions for the season set, but nothing that really added anything necessary to the story.
The Blu-ray set comes in the normal clamshell case with a cardboard slip cover. Inside there is an insert with Digital HD code as well as a booklet of "Dead Stuff," which includes some ads for merchandise (including discount codes), AMC series, and the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights all-new maze for The Walking Dead.
The set contains five discs. I must comment on the extremely annoying fact that there is no listing whatsoever of what episodes are on each disc, so I've broken it down:
Disc One is front-loaded with AMC promos for Comic Book Men, Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead (season six), and Into the Badlands. The disco holds the first four episodes, including the two audio commentaries for the episode "No Sanctuary."
Disc Two contains episodes 5-8 and the audio commentary for "Self Help."
Disc Three contains episodes 9-12, including the audio commentaries for "What Happened and What's Going On," "Them," and "Remember."
Disc Four contains the last four episodes and the audio commentary for "Conquer."
Disc Five contains all the special features minus the commentaries.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season is a really great set. The episodes themselves are some of the best. I highly recommend the fifth season. If you haven't seen the series before, you could probably jump in and still greatly enjoy it, though it's definitely worth watching the other seasons as well.
There are quite a lot of special features in the set. If you are fan of the series, it's worth the price just for the special features alone. If you want to relive the season, then it's a no-brainer. I highly recommend this set.