And we begin with a shout, not with a whisper. Also: CAROL.
Then. People, not our people, cower in train cars as shrieks and screams echo from outside.
Now. Our people, in their train car, work on putting together whatever weapons they can scrounge, from belt buckles, zippers, chips of wood. They are focused, ready to attack when the Terminusians come for them. Unfortunately, the Terminusians don't come in the front: they open a door in the top of the car and drop in a smoke bomb. Rick, Darryl, Glen and Bob are dragged out, bound and gagged, and brought into what pretty much looks like - and is - a slaughterhouse. They and four other captives are made to kneel against a stainless steel trough while one dude sharpens a knife and another dude practices his swing with a baseball bat. It is very tense. And then they whack the guy on the end in the head, and when he slumps over the trough, they cut his throat, the blood gushing out in torrents. It is SO GRIM. They do the other three captives and then Glen is next in line.
Again, it's very tense and it looks almost like it might be Glen's turn to buy the farm. But Gareth interrupts just in time, coming in with some administrative stuff to do. Bob begs for their lives; Gareth is uninterested. What he is interested in, however, is the bag Rick buried out in the woods before coming into Terminus. Gareth threatens to gouge Bob's eye out so Rick tells him all the weapons that are in the bag, including a red handled machete with which he intends to kill Gareth. Gareth's all, ooh, scary. He heads out, leaving the two butchers to finish their job. Bat Guy winds up behind Glen again (but this time, all the tension is gone) and just as he starts his swing, the building is shaken by an explosion.
Out in the world, Carol, Tyrese and Baby Judith walk along the tracks towards Terminus. Carol tells Tyrese that she'll get the two of them there but she's not going to stay. When a walker menaces them, Tyrese takes the baby, saying he can't kill anyone/thing, not yet. Carol rolls her eyes, all exasperatedly "Men!" before stabbing the walker in the head with her knife. She then catches sight of a large herd of walkers heading their way. The humans hide and luckily the herd is distracted by the sound of gunfire in the distance, probably coming from Terminus. When the walkers are past, they continue on. They come across a Terminusian setting up fireworks out by a little shack in the woods, They overhear him talking about a "chick with a sword" and a "kid in a hat" and quickly subdue him, tying him up. They don't gag him, though, and that's too bad because he's an asshole.
Leaving Tyrese and the baby behind with the asshole, Carol heads out, gooing herself up with walker guts and walking along behind the herd undetected. (Back at the shack, the asshole first tries to talk with Tyrese and then to rile him up. Tyrese is determined to turn the other cheek and be the bigger dog - he doesn't want to kill anyone today. The asshole is like, dude, that means you'll be the one who dies - you and the baby.) Meanwhile, Carol has made her way to the Terminus fence in time to see Rick, Darryl, Bob and Glen dragged out of the train car and into the buildings. She watches as the herd of walkers starts to menace the Terminusians, then spots a propane tank. With the magic science/physics of television, she shoots a couple of holes into the propane tank, causing a leak, then shoots a fireworks rocket right at the tank. There's the explosion that kept Glen from getting his head bashed in. Hooray for Carol! She watches carefully as burning walkers stagger through the hole in the Terminus fence, then follows them. Walkers pour into Terminus. The Terminusians fight back but there is a lot of carnage: a shot of a burning zombie chewing off a guy's nose; at least two women being eaten alive. It is horrific and extremely violent.
Inside the slaughterhouse, Bat Guy and Knife Guy dither around about what that explosion could have been, distracted enough for Rick to pull a stake of wood out of his boot, cut his bonds (that's a sharp piece of wood!) and then stab Bat Guy and Knife Guy in the throats. He cuts Darryl, Glen and Bob free. As they wander through the buildings, they find a room full of butchered human body parts. They cannot even articulate their horror and just pick up as many weapons as they can find. Rick's all, if you come across any of these people, do not hesitate to kill them. The guys are like, WORD. Glen insists that they have to let the captives out of the train cars; Rick agrees although he'd really rather just be killing people and zombies.
Carol wandering through the buildings, looking for her friends and killing zombies and Terminusians indiscriminately, finds a stash of personal belongings. She quickly snatches up Darryl's crossbow as well as a couple of guns. (She doesn't take Michonne's sword? Poor form.) In another room, one creepily adorned with candles, Mary (Gareth's mom apparently, played by Denise Crosby a/k/a Tasha Yar) finds her. The two women fight until Carol gets the upper hand. Mary has a little speech, saying how they didn't used to be like this, how they really were a sanctuary until they took in some bad folks who took over the place, raping the women repeatedly and beating and killing. She says they learned that you're either the butcher or you're the cattle - and they weren't going to be the cattle anymore. (But cannibalism? I can see being distrustful and killing threatening strangers, but eating them? WTF can't you get enough deer?) When Mary won't answer her questions, Carol shoots her in the leg and then leaves her for the walkers who come in when she opens the door.
Out at the shack, the asshole manages to get his hands around Judith's neck, forcing Tyrese to drop his weapons. The asshole says he'll snap the baby's neck unless Tyrese goes outside - where three or four walkers are lurking - so with tears in his eyes but a roar in his voice, Tyrese goes out. The asshole listens to the sounds of struggles for a while, but then there's silence. And then Tyrese bursts through the door, having put down all the zombies, and beats the living crap out of the asshole, shouting "I won't! I won't!" all the while. I guess that means he isn't going to kill this guy, which may come back to bite him later. (But later he tells Carol he killed him ... although we never see the body.)
Back at Terminus, the gang still in the train car (Carl, Maggie, Michonne, Eugene, Sasha, Tara, Rosita, Abraham, etc.) are again readying their weapons, trying to figure out what's going on outside. Sasha wants to know what the cure is that Eugene knows about. While I have my doubts that Eugene knows any such thing - I think he's just saying he knows a cure so people will protect him - he says he used to work for a lab that engineered biological weapons and he believes that with some tweaks to the formula, he can change these weapons so they kill the dead instead of the living. Everyone seems to buy it and then Rick yanks the train car door open so they can all come out and fight zombies and Terminusians. They do, fighting and killing, and all make it over the fence. Rick takes them to where he buried his bag o' weapons, saying that they have to go back and kill all the Terminusians. Glen, Maggie, Rosita et als. are all, um, NO we just got out of there, but Rick is in a killing mood.
Until they look up and see Carol standing there quietly, watching them. Darryl throws himself at her, hugging her, not wanting to let her go. It's really quite sweet. Rick limps up, a small smile on his face: "Did you do that?" She nods and he hugs her too, whispering, "Thank you." Everyone crowds around but she just says, "You have to come with me." She takes them to the shack where Tyrese and baby Judith are waiting. Rick and Carl and Sasha are, respectively, overwhelmed and overjoyed. After the reunion, everyone heads out, walking down the railroad tracks away from Terminus. They have no supplies and barely any weapons, but they are all together again. As he passes one of those Terminus signs, Rick picks up a handful of mud, obscuring most of the wording and revising it to say NO SANCTUARY.
Well, that was something. A strong start, shocking and sometimes scary and ugly, with the completion of Carol's transformation from meek mouse to full-on badass. There was also a tag scene that I think my DVR cut off: a black man, in a mask and a hood and a long coat, following the tracks some ways behind our heroes. Rumor has it that he's Morgan, the guy who rescued Rick way back in S1 and then got all crazy the last time we saw him.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
6 hours ago