The Walking Dead season 5, episode 2 - TV review: Return of the Terminus survivors is an unwelcome surprise

Scenes served as one of the series' most disturbing sequences to date

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There are two types of television reunion: the ones viewers look forward to, and those that they hope will never happen.

If last week’s The Walking Dead series five opener offered the former, then this second episode, penned by graphic novel co-creator Robert Kirkman, offers the grisly opposite side of the coin.

Experiencing a renewed sense of vigour and purpose after being reunited with his daughter Judith, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) leads his regrouped band of survivors into the wild as they struggle to put the horrors of Terminus behind them.

On the way they discover Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), an enigmatic priest in need of rescue from his flesh-eating flock. But it’s as the group are starting to piece together their future that a dangerous enemy makes a surprise return and changes things forever.

With four corpse-ridden seasons under their belt, the pressure was on for The Walking Dead producers to deliver a fresh set of obstacles and this episode doesn’t disappoint.

Carol and Tyreese’s heart to heart at the water hole was one of the series’ most unexpected moments, a touching redemptive scene that resolves a conflict that has spanned three seasons.

The same can be said for Tara (Alanna Masterson), who finally confronts her colourful CV of violence (she was part of the Governor’s crowd in season four) and is somewhat surprised to receive sympathy and acceptance from Maggie (Lauren Cohan).

Of course, this being The Walking Dead every instance of true sentiment is balanced with moments of horror. Sasha and Bob’s evolving relationship is a light touch that very quickly spirals towards disaster.

It begins on the salvage mission at the food bank (which happens to be flooded, not to mention the zombies bobbing around like cannibal buoys). What follows is the grimmest possible version of Supermarket Sweep, as the characters race to gather whatever food they can carry before they get chomped to pieces by the undead.

The return of the Terminus survivors is an unwelcome surprise that is equally one of the series’ most disturbing sequences to date with profound implications for the central characters.

There is also the promise of further reunions looming on the horizon. From Michonne’s inevitable rediscovery of her sword to Beth’s potential return following Daryl’s discovery of her kidnappers, it seems the characters are fated to cross paths with many familiar faces (friendly or otherwise) over the weeks to come.