Last week's season 5 premiere of The Walking Dead was definitely the most action-packed premier in the history of the show. I was very satisfied with the action and with the character development. One thing that stuck out to me is how little dialogue our main characters had in the episode.
The most obvious difference between this and the previous seasons is that it (apparently) won't be be focused on a single location. Season one took place primarily in the Quarry, two on the farm, three in the jail. Season four was split between the first half in the prison and the 2nd half on the road to Terminus. Season five will apparently also be spent primarily on the road but it's not clear where they will head. (Presumably they will eventually try to make it to D.C. in pursuit of Eugene's cure.)
The trap that the show has painted itself into is that the survivors seem destined to bounce from one horrible place to the next for as long as this show lasts. (Which is going to be quite awhile, given it enormous ratings success.) The only things I can say for sure is that they will encounter some new survivors (including Detective Carver from the Wire) and that they will again cross paths with Gareth again. I think Gareth has great potential as a character. It will be fun to see how he interacts with the survivors when they meet up again. Most importantly, we know that we'll find out what's going on with Beth and with Morgan! Lots to look forward to.
I like I that the story is unpredictable, at least for now. So rather than make a long list of predictions for the season, I'll focus on the perennial topic of the show: who is going to die and who is going to live. I have ranked the significant characters below by how much I want them to survive. The number in parenthesis is my estimate of how likely they are to die this season.
1. Rick (0%) To me, the show is still about him. I know he's not always the most compelling character and there are some better actors in the ensemble, but I think the show is still centered on his journey through this apocalypse. I want him to survive to a cure more than anyone else.
2. Darryl (0%). The best actor in the cast and the baddest character among the survivors. Norman Reedus actually makes more money per episode than Andrew Lincoln, and for good reason. Fans really would riot if he left the show. The only way that happens is if gets sick of doing the show.
3. Judith (25%). Obviously I have no investment in her as an individual but her birth and recent rescue by Tyrese are the only good thing to happen to this group in 4 seasons.
4. Carl (50%). Similar to the above characters. He represents some semblance of hope for the future and has become a better actor as the seasons go by. His age limits the story telling in some ways, because it's getting awkward that Carl has gone from 10 to 15 in the roughly 2 years since the apocalypse happened. (Consider that Laurie must have gotten pregnant at about the same time as the apocalypse and Judith is only right about one year old.) So there must be some temptation to kill him off. But I don't want to see that happen.
5. Michonne (0%). I still want to know how this woman got to be an expert at wielding a kitana, but I do see infinite possibilities for her in the future. And she's way too popular to kill off.
6. Maggie (20%). She's a good actor and very, very, very easy on the eyes. Now that Hershel is gone, either she or Tyrese will emerge as the conscience of the group.
7. Glenn (70%). Well, someone important has to die this season and Glenn seems most likely. His death will be a lost to the cast, but I think he's well positioned to do other things in Hollywood. And his passing could set up a deep story line for Maggie.
8. Tyrese (40%). I still think of him as Cutty and I loved the scene last week when he beat that douchebag to death. But they have clearly established that he is willing to take risks to do the right thing and that's not a recipe for long term survival.
9. Gareth (60%). I found the Governor's story line deeply disappointing because I don't think the character was well written. I think that Gareth has potential to be much better and I think the actor has the chops to elevate the story.
10. Morgan (20%). He's such an integral part of the show, despite only being on 3 episodes. I think that he's in for the long haul, but it's hard to say for sure.
11. Rosita. (25%) Any woman who makes the effort to keep shaving her legs in the zombie apocolypse deserves to live.
12. Bob (49%) Ranked ahead of Sash solely because of the Wire.
13. Sasha (51%) Bob ans Sasha are now a couple, which makes me think one of them is doomed. I think Sasha is more likely to die, but I will switch that if Tyrese dies. The show likes to have people around to mourn the dead.
14. Beth (10%) I think they are trying to open some new doors through her story, which probably means it will carry on for awhile.
15. Father Gabriel I haven't even seen him yet, but he's a Wire alumni so he can't be at the very bottom.
16. Carol (55%). She's a good actress and her character has become a big part of the group but I just don't see a great arc for her. And if she does hook up with Darryl, she's doomed. A season of brooding Darryl will be very good for the ratings.
17. Abraham (10%) He has potential in the story but I think that Darryl (who does not exist in the comic book) fills a lot of the space that this guy filled in the comic book. But Michael Cudlitz is a good actor and I like the fact that he has a clear motivation.
18. Tara. (60%) Not exactly sure why she's still alive. I don't have anything against the character but I'm not really sure what she adds to the group, other than being the only gay character still alive.
19. Eugene. (50%) I've been waiting for an intellectual to join the group since season one. And this is the doofus we get? Oi vey.
20. Morales. (?) Remember him? Season one. Left with his family for Birmingham. As far as we know, he's still alive. I doubt we'll see him again but 20 is a nice round number.