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The Walking Dead (season 5)

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Covid-19
Country of origin  United States
Original network  AMC
No. of episodes  16
Starring  Andrew Lincoln Norman Reedus Steven Yeun Lauren Cohan Chandler Riggs Danai Gurira Melissa McBride Michael Cudlitz Emily Kinney Chad L. Coleman Sonequa Martin-Green Lawrence Gilliard Jr. Josh McDermitt Christian Serratos Alanna Masterson Seth Gilliam Andrew J. West
Original release  October 12, 2014 (2014-10-12) – March 29, 2015 (2015-03-29)

The fifth season of The Walking Dead, an American horror-drama television series on AMC, premiered on October 12, 2014, and concluded on March 29, 2015, consisting of 16 episodes. Developed for television by Frank Darabont, the series is based on the eponymous series of comic books by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The executive producers were Kirkman, David Alpert, Scott M. Gimple, Greg Nicotero, Tom Luse, and Gale Anne Hurd; Gimple was also the season's showrunner. The fifth season received widespread critical acclaim, and was nominated for multiple awards at both the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards and 41st Saturn Awards.

Contents

This season adapts material from issues #62–77 of the comic book series and introduces notable comic characters, including the cannibalistic hunters from Terminus, Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) and Aaron (Ross Marquand), as well as the Anderson and Monroe families. The season continues the story of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group of survivors as they search for sanctuary, but face new threats from both walkers and other (hostile) human survivors. It also marks the return of Morgan Jones (Lennie James), who was last seen in the third season episode "Clear." The first half of the season focuses on the group escaping from Terminus, after finding themselves in a vulnerable situation, where they learn the true motives of the Terminans and the rescue of Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) from Grady Memorial Hospital. In the midst of events, part of the group is also traveling to Washington, D.C. in search of a possible cure for the walker virus. In the second half of the season, the group encounters and joins the Alexandria Safe-Zone: a walled town, whose inhabitants have little experience dealing with external threats.

Main cast

The fifth season features 17 series regulars: 10 of the actors are featured in the opening credits; the other seven are credited as "also starring." Michael Cudlitz, who portrays Sgt. Abraham Ford, is added in the opening sequence after being listed as recurring in the previous season, as are Emily Kinney and Chad L. Coleman, who portray Beth Greene and Tyreese Williams, respectively, after previously being credited as "also starring." Credited as "also starring" are Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Alanna Masterson, and Andrew J. West, who were promoted to series regulars after being listed as recurring in the previous season, and Seth Gilliam joins as a series regular as Father Gabriel Stokes. Kinney and Coleman's names are removed from the opening credits after episode 9; they are added back in episode 13 for a brief flashback scene.

Starring

  • Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the series' protagonist, who has recently overcome a struggle to balance his brutality with humanity. Lincoln also voices the role of a radio broadcaster, using his natural accent in the episode "What Happened and What's Going On."
  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, the group's primary hunter, who has overcome his past issues with abuse.
  • Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, a former pizza delivery boy has undergone a maturation and is now Maggie's husband. He acts as one of the group's primary supply runners.
  • Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Glenn's strong-willed and determined wife, who has recently lost her father.
  • Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Rick's teenage son, whose recklessness clashes with his morality.
  • Danai Gurira as Michonne, a fierce, katana-wielding survivor, who has overcome the trauma of the death of her son and boyfriend, forming a close relationship with the Grimes family.
  • Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, a resourceful and empowered former victim of domestic abuse, who is attempting to rebound from several tragedies.
  • Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford, a former military sergeant and boyfriend of Rosita. He pursues a mission to take Eugene to Washington, D.C., to find a cure for the walker virus.
  • Emily Kinney as Beth Greene, Maggie's kidnapped younger sister, who has formed a close bond with Daryl since the assault on the prison.
  • Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese Williams, Sasha's older brother, who is tough, compassionate, optimistic and places an emphasis on moral reasoning. He struggles to cope with the immoral nature of some of the group's survival tactics and finds it difficult to kill in defense of the group.
  • Also starring

  • Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams, Tyreese's fiery younger sister and a former firefighter, who has since developed a relationship with Bob.
  • Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Bob Stookey, a former army medic and recovering alcoholic, who has formed a close relationship with Sasha, and has developed a renewed sense of optimism.
  • Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, a scientist rescued by Abraham, who insists on traveling to Washington, D.C., to locate a cure to the walker virus.
  • Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, Abraham's girlfriend, who helps escort Eugene to Washington, D.C. and is protective of Tara and Eugene.
  • Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, a former police academy student and ally of The Governor's, the only surviving member of her family, who often tries to boost the group's morale.
  • Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes, a cowardly priest, who lives alone in his church, whose encounter with Rick's group leads him to challenge his beliefs.
  • Andrew J. West as Gareth, the pragmatic leader of Terminus, who captures and coerces Rick's group into submission.
  • Terminus

  • Denise Crosby as Mary, one of Terminus residents; Gareth and Alex's mother.
  • Tate Ellington as Alex, a Terminus resident; Mary's son, and Gareth's brother, killed by friendly fire aimed at Rick, in season 4; he appears alive in a flashback and as a corpse in the present.
  • The Hunters

  • Chris Coy as Martin, a Terminus man, one of the Hunters; he has a score to settle with Tyreese. Later appears in Tyreese's hallucinations.
  • Benjamin Papac as Albert, one of the Hunters, who tries to retaliate against Rick's group.
  • Chris Burns as Mike, one of the Hunters, following leader Gareth to take revenge on Rick's group for the destruction of their home.
  • April Billingsley as Theresa, a Terminus woman, one of the Hunters.
  • Grady Memorial Hospital

  • Tyler James Williams as Noah, a survivor Beth encounters, who originates from a walled community in Richmond, Virginia but was abducted and forced to stay in Grady. He is shown to be very resourceful but has minimal experience in the outside world. He initially feels distant from the group despite their having accepted him as part of the family, but he eventually becomes more settled in with them.
  • Ricky Wayne as O'Donnell, a violent and cynical police officer fed up with Dawn's leadership style, despite their having been friends since they were rookies, and who seeks to eliminate her. O'Donnell and Dawn also disagree about how they should conserve their resources, which O'Donnell mainly schemes to use for his selfish uses.
  • Christine Woods as Dawn Lerner, a sadistic police officer, who holds Beth captive and the leader of the officers stationed at Grady Memorial Hospital. She has a vision of "trying to keep society intact," believing that help will eventually come. However, despite her intentions, her manipulative, violent, and obsessive nature antagonizes most of her fellow officers, both good and bad, as well as her captives – most of whom want her dead.
  • Erik Jensen as Dr. Steven Edwards, a scheming doctor secretly working for Lt. Lerner, who takes a liking to Beth. Ironically, he preserves his importance, as the only doctor at Grady, by killing captives ("patients").
  • Teri Wyble as Amanda Shepherd, a police officer and subordinate of Dawn's, who greatly distrusts her and is aware of the paranoid monster Dawn has become. Amanda is far more reasonable than Dawn and will do whatever it takes to avoid bloodshed.
  • Maximiliano Hernández as Bob Lamson, a police officer, subordinate, and old friend of Dawn's, who respects Rick and is one of the more compassionate cops at Grady, though he isn't unwilling to use brutality to ensure his own survival. Despite his resentment of Dawn's leadership, Bob is distrusting of strangers.
  • Christopher Matthew Cook as Licari, a police officer and subordinate of Dawn's, who like Shepherd is aware of what she really is and knows how to work around her.
  • Keisha Castle-Hughes as Joan, a survivor Beth encounters who'd been raped by the other cops at Grady and attempted to escape, only to have her arm bitten and forcibly amputated, despite her preference to die.
  • Cullen Moss as Gorman, an abusive and manipulative police officer, who "rescued" Beth in the previous season; he rapes the women at Grady and quickly comes to antagonize Beth.
  • Alexandria Safe-Zone

  • Ross Marquand as Aaron, a former NGO worker and now recruiter for the Alexandria Safe-Zone, who takes in Rick's group and forms a friendship with Daryl based on their both feeling like outsiders in their respective ways; Aaron's is attributable to his homosexuality.
  • Tovah Feldshuh as Deanna Monroe, a fierce yet understanding former Congresswoman, who is now the leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Though she is confident Rick's group can help them survive, she is somewhat leery about their increasingly prominent roles in the community.
  • Alexandra Breckenridge as Jessie Anderson, a former hairstylist, who lives in Alexandria with her sons, Ron and Sam, and husband, Pete. She helps Rick adjust to the community, and Rick quickly becomes attracted to Jessie, which seems mutual, and they share moments of flirtation. It's later revealed that Pete is abusing her, leading to a brutal conflict between him and Rick.
  • Corey Brill as Pete Anderson, Alexandria's resident surgeon and Jessie's abusive husband; his actions culminate in a conflict between himself and Rick. Because Pete has saved lives, Deanna turns a blind eye to his abusive tendencies towards Jessie, just as Jessie remains unwilling to report or leave Pete; both women hope he'll get better.
  • Jason Douglas as Tobin, the foreman of Alexandria's construction crew, who is willing to let some members of his crew die to preserve the lives of the others.
  • Steve Coulter as Reg Monroe, Deanna's husband and an architect; he built Alexandria's walls and, unlike Deanna, understands Rick's brutality and desires to keep everyone together believing it's the only way to rebuild civilization.
  • Michael Traynor as Nicholas, a supply runner for Alexandria, whose cowardly nature has led to other people's getting killed; he forms a bitter grudge against Glenn.
  • Jordan Woods-Robinson as Eric Raleigh, a survivor, who lives in Alexandria, Aaron's boyfriend and former recruiting partner. He, like Aaron, is viewed as an outsider for his homosexuality. After Eric's leg injury Daryl replaces him as Aaron's recruiting partner.
  • Major Dodson as Sam Anderson, Jessie and Pete's younger son, who forms an attachment with Carol. He is fully aware of his father's abusive tendencies towards his mother and desires a gun to protect her, much to Jessie's heartbreak.
  • Austin Nichols as Spencer Monroe, Deanna and Reg's younger son and Aiden's brother; he takes a liking to Sasha. Despite having an ego, he is more level headed than Aiden.
  • Austin Abrams as Ron Anderson, Jessie's older son, and a friend of Mikey and Carl's. He is in a relationship with Enid.
  • Daniel Bonjour as Aiden Monroe, Alexandria's chief supply runner, and Deanna and Reg's egotistical elder son; he quickly comes to odds with Glenn over the nature of how to handle supply runs.
  • Katelyn Nacon as Enid, an introverted teenager recruited to Alexandria eight months prior to the arrival of Rick's group; Carl has a crush on her, but she is dating Ron.
  • Elijah Marcano as Mikey, Nicholas' teenage son and a friend of Ron, Carl, and Enid's.
  • Ann Mahoney as Olivia, an Alexandria resident in charge of the community's food and weapons.
  • Ted Huckabee as Bruce, a member of the construction crew, who looks up to Abraham.
  • Dahlia Legault as Francine, a tough member of the construction crew, whom Tobin is willing to sacrifice, and thus she has a grudge against him.
  • Miscellaneous

  • Lennie James as Morgan Jones, the first survivor Rick encountered, who had previously suffered mental problems following the loss of his son.
  • David Morrissey as The Governor, the unstable and maniacal deceased former leader of Woodbury, whose actions destroyed the prison in season 4, and appears as a hallucination.
  • Benedict Samuel as Wolves Leader, the cold, greedy, uncaring leader of the Wolves, who kill people and take their supplies. They carve "W"s on people's foreheads and let them turn into walkers. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple revealed that "Owen" is one of possible names for the character.
  • Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kenedy as Lizzie and Mika Samuels, two deceased young sisters previously under the care of Tyreese and Carol. They appear in hallucinations.
  • Robin Lord Taylor as Sam, an inexperienced yet positive minded survivor, whom Rick had previously encountered on a supply run but disappeared after his girlfriend Ana was killed by walkers.
  • Production

    The series was renewed for a fifth season on October 29, 2013. Season 5 began filming on May 5, 2014 and finished filming on November 22, 2014. Scott M. Gimple continued the role of showrunner, a position he held since season 4. In January 2015, it was announced that Ross Marquand had been cast in a series regular role, to debut during the second half of the season. It was believed Marquand would play Aaron, a prominent character from the comic series. The character debuted in the episode "Them" and his role as Aaron was confirmed. The season finale aired in an expanded 90-minute time slot. Season 5 also introduces prominent characters from the graphic novels including Aaron, Eric, Olivia, Tobin, Bruce, and Nicholas.

    The titles of the final five episodes of the season ("Remember," "Forget," "Spend," "Try," and "Conquer"), which feature the characters in Alexandria, refer to William Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury, which Dale quotes from in the season 1 episode "Vatos."

    Writing

    Scott Gimple remarked that the television series would be following its source material more than ever in Season 5, with exceptions including original characters such as Daryl Dixon, and deceased characters from the comics alive in the television series and vice versa.

    The fifth season adapted material from the comic books "Volume 10: What We Become," "Volume 11: Fear the Hunters," "Volume 12: Life Among Them" and "Volume 13: Too Far Gone." While the television series has remained faithful, the character of Beth Greene and her story arc have been largely made up for the television series. Despite this, the event in which Rick chases down a man who betrayed the group's trust was a moment from the source material, albeit with a different character.

    Critical response

    The fifth season has received widespread critical acclaim. Based on 31 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, season 5 received an average 90% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating; the website's consensus states, "Thanks to a liberal dose of propulsive, bloody action and enough compelling character moments to reward longtime fans, The Walking Dead's fifth season continues to deliver top-notch entertainment." On Metacritic, the season has a score of 80 out of 100 based on 11 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Brian Lowry of Variety gave the fifth-season premiere a positive review, saying: "After the (rather too) long and winding road to Terminus, 'The Walking Dead' opens its fifth season in spectacular fashion, a dazzling adrenaline rush filled with suspense, righteous violence and, before it's all over, genuine emotion. Imbued with cinematic touches, the only downside to this breathtaking episode is pondering what the creative brain trust can do for an encore. Still, AMC's megahit finds itself in a very good place, from the current makeup of its ever-evolving cast to the latitude it has earned to take unexpected detours. Given the hype surrounding the series, it's still impressive to see the producers deliver such a feast."

    Several critics have felt the fifth season has been a huge improvement to its preceding seasons. Todd VanDerWerff for Vox, wrote: "...it's not unprecedented for a series to have its best season in its fifth year, but it's definitely strange for a show to make this big of a leap this late in its run." He praised all aspects of the storytelling and conception of the fifth season, singling out the action, themes, characters, advanced storylines, newly introduced anthology character-focused episodes, and overall improvements to the material the show has always worked with.

    Similarly, writing for Grantland, Andy Greenwald praised Scott M. Gimple as showrunner, particularly noting him as an improvement to Glen Mazzara and Frank Darabont, as well as praising the increase in minorities and resulting racial diversity among the main cast. He further commented: "Gimple has also done wonders with the characters he inherited," and singled out characters such as Beth Greene and Tyreese, praising their newly established complexities and character evolution. The constantly shifting environments and surrounding threats were also noted and lauded. Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club in his review of "Consumed," summarized the season as a whole, saying: "This is a large part of why The Walking Dead has gotten so good this season: The writers have found a way to exploit subtext and history in compelling, haunting ways."

    Laura Prudom of Variety on her review of "Conquer" commented that "...season five represents a marked improvement over the stagnation of previous years, with the promise of Alexandria breathing new life into the series, offering our group a form of opposition that isn't inherently wrong, unlike The Governor or the Termites." She assessed it as having "arguably been "The Walking Dead's" best yet, propelled by compulsive story threads and fascinating character dynamics."

    Accolades

    For the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards, the season was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series. For the 41st Saturn Awards, the season received seven nominations and three wins. Wins included: Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series, Best Actor on Television (Andrew Lincoln), and Best Supporting Actress on Television (Melissa McBride). Nominations included: Best Supporting Actor on Television (Norman Reedus), Best Supporting Actress on Television (Emily Kinney), Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series (Chandler Riggs), and Best Guest Starring Role on Television (Andrew J. West).

    Ratings

    ^1 Live +7 ratings were not available, so Live +3 ratings have been used instead.

    Broadcast

    The first half of the season premiered on Fox International Channels on October 13, 2014. Episodes air a day later than in the United States. The second half debuted on February 9, 2015.

    Home media releases

    The fifth season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1/A on August 25, 2015. Special features include "Inside The Walking Dead" and "The Making of The Walking Dead" featurettes for every episode; eight other featurettes titled, "Beth's Journey," "Bob's Journey," "Noah's Journey," "Tyreese's Journey," "A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz," "A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt," and "Rotters in the Flesh"; deleted scenes; and audio commentaries with cast and crew. A special limited edition Blu-ray packaging set, featuring the "asphalt" walker, designed by Greg Nicotero and sculpted by McFarlane Toys, was released on December 1, 2015.

    References

    The Walking Dead (season 5) Wikipedia


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