The Walking Dead returns stronger than ever

Seth Barshay, Sports Editor

Over the past few weeks, The Walking Dead premiered its first three episodes, with its plot moving at an extremely fast pace. 
Now in its fifth season, cable’s most watched TV show opened exactly where the fourth season closed; most of the group, including leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), was trapped in a train car at the evil compound called Terminus. 
While past seasons of the zombie-drama would have spent many episodes milking out the plot arc of the group at Terminus, much to the dismay of many viewers, the writers made the wise decision to have the plot move more quickly than usual. 
Rather than spending excess time on each little detail, the show keeps on pushing through.  This change has arguably produced some of the show’s finest episodes thus far, including the season premiere, “No Sanctuary.”
“The show is exhilarating so far.  Much more than usual.  I love it,” said junior Ben Landau.
Another change of note in this season is the show’s much larger cast of main characters.  At this point, the recurring cast has ballooned to 17 with the introduction of characters like The Wire alum Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel, a priest with a dark past that the group encounters after the Terminus arc.
Gilliam is the third Wire actor to join the cast, along with Chad Coleman (Tyreese) and Lawrence Gilliard (Bob).
In addition, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), a goatee-wearing, headstrong man is on a mission to bring his scientist friend Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) from Georgia to Washington D.C.  because he supposedly has a cure to the zombie outbreak.  This could potentially tear the group apart, as some favor embarking on the journey while others, like Rick, are less receptive to the idea.
This season, the show has seemed to finally find a balance of drama, action, and moral dilemma.  Show runner Scott Gimple made a conscious decision this season to try to incorporate more plots and characters from the comic books on which the television show is based, writing the scripts much closer to the material. 
A recurring theme of the show has been that the living are to be just as feared as the dead, as exemplified by the members of Terminus from this season.
Although the show has had its share of happy moments this season, it has also had several shockers.  After what the group has been through, it may not have a leg to stand on.  Rick and his gang could hope to find strength in numbers in further episodes.