Let’s be honest. If I ask you what your thoughts were on The Walking Dead Season 5, what would you say? It’s time to get reacquainted with Terminus and their leader Gareth.
The Walking Dead reruns are back on AMC. In fact, the Season 4 marathon just wrapped up which means its time to get reacquainted with a villain who deserves more credit than he received: the leader of Terminus himself, Gareth.
If we look at villains on The Walking Dead as a whole I’ve categorized them as the following (this is my opinion, not fact):
- Long Term – The Governor, Negan (currently)
- Somewhere in between – Oceanside, The Scavengers (depending on what happens during the latter half of Season 8)
- Short-lived – Shane (depending who you ask), Gareth, Grady Memorial Hospital (police officers), The Wolves, Joe’s Gang (The Claimers)
- The Walkers are in a category entirely of their own (on-going)
- Characters like the prisoners Rick faces in Season 3, the young men who remained in Atlanta at the nursing home (Season 1 episode “Vatos”) don’t apply.
As you read above, Gareth fits the short-lived category for the fact he was killed before the Season 5 midseason finale. We were first introduced to our (assumed) youngest villain to date during the Season 4 Finale.
During the Season 4 midseason finale, Rick’s group was separated after the fall of the prison upon a surprise attack by The Governor. Upon his death and sadly Herschel’s the prison was destroyed and everyone separated.
Season 4 picked up where it left off as we followed the separated group finding each other and the circumstances that ultimately help them grow and understand each other better. Rick, Michonne, Carl and Daryl (recently separated from Beth episodes prior) found each other after a run-in with The Claimers and noticed the Terminus signs.
They followed the railroad tracks with the hopes of finding the rest of their group and perhaps a new home to live in.
With limited options, they decide to take a back entrance inside. Immediately they find a room of people, including one using the radio for the broadcasts that we heard episodes prior, and meet Gareth.
At first, everything seems to go soothingly well. But as I had mentioned in the TWD100 videos filmed by an AMC crew covering Terminus, Rick, and his group quickly realize that Terminus was far from the sanctuary they believed it to be.
Upon noticing familiar objects such as the riot gear they acquired from dead walkers at the prison, Daryl’s infamous poncho and the pocket watch Herschel handed down to Glenn, Rick demanded answers.
When Gareth’s answer proved to be lies, Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Carl tried to escape only to be trapped and forced into train car A where they were reunited with Maggie, Glenn, Sasha, Bob, Tara and newly introduced Eugene, Abraham and Rosita.
What follows at the beginning of Season 5 can be best described as traumatic and unforgettable. The episode jumped from Rick’s point of view as he was tied, gagged and dragged into a room with Bob, Daryl, Glenn to be shoved to their knees in front of a pig trough to be slaughtered.
It has become apparent that the people in Terminus were cannibals. Literally, luring people in seeking sanctuary only to kill and eat them.
Creatively, it was a smart move to show the deterioration of humanity the further we travel in the walker apocalypse. The apocalypse turned men into monsters and the monsters into the undead over the course of only a few seasons.
Down the row were more men including minor character Sam played by Robin Lord Taylor. In the meantime, Carol, Tyreese, and Judith had just tragically lost sisters Mika and Lizzie are able to lure walkers towards Terminus witnessing firsthand the danger Rick and the group are in.
Carol’s quick thinking and bravery enable Terminus to fall, blending in with the walkers and killing members of the community. Rick and the group escape on a scale of epic portions with nonstop action.
With the group finally reunited, except for Beth whose whereabouts were currently unknown, Rick wanted to make sure Terminus was destroyed. However outnumbered by the group’s decision to leave they continue forward meeting, at the time, a timid and fearful Father Gabriel seeking refuge in his church.
After a quick run to grab supplies, Bob winds up bitten by a walker unbeknownst to Gareth and his remaining people from Terminus. Dropping Bob back off at the church, Rick knew Gareth would return and decided to find him first.
Splitting up Rick left with a few people while the others to hide in the church. Daryl and Carol already left after spotting a car with a white cross similar to the one that kidnapped Beth. Gareth returned after watching Rick leave, hoping to put an end to the rest of the group.
Gareth’s plan ultimately failed when Rick returns with full force. Using the red handled machete he killed Gareth putting an end to the horrific Terminus.
With all of that being said you have to give credit where credit is due. Andrew J. West who played Gareth was phenomenal.
He remained calm while maintaining a threatening demeanor almost as if he was devoid of human emotion or lost it entirely. Even when Terminus fell, he remained composed, attempting to kill the rest of Rick’s group without throwing a fit of rage as we have seen Negan do recently and a couple of times before.
The only time Gareth was genuinely fearful was when he was on his knees before Rick defeated. A moment we’d revisit in the Season 6 Finale when Rick’s group meets Negan.
The beauty of Gareth’s villainous appeal was the unexpected nature of Terminus itself. It was explained that Terminus used to be a sanctuary until it was taken by a violent group who murdered and raped.
Those who survived took their community back, bitter and changed. We never got to see the Terminus that was, however, it would make an excellent show on its own.
Coming from Rick’s perspective he had lost the only real home he and his group had since camping out in the woods in Season 1. Homeless, starving, carrying limited ammunition he was desperate for a miracle.
The hopes of finding the rest of the group he considered his family was beginning to dwindle. The brief run-in with Joe’s gang (the Claimers) didn’t help matters either.
This was the first time in my recent memory when Rick went into his crazy, fighter mode (since killing Shane) refusing to show Gareth an ounce of fear. I believe his method of killing Joe a few episodes prior had a huge impact on his alternative fighting options.
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It’s apparent when Rick’s back is against the wall he becomes his strongest.
With the little amount of time we spent with Gareth and Terminus, it really stood out to me and still does today. Looking back, Season 5 remains one of the most intense seasons of The Walking Dead.
The first half was a pure rush of countless emotions that to this day will give me chills. The fact alone that Terminus left a lasting impact to the point that even Daryl refused to take railroad tracks speaks volumes.
When you get a chance be sure to give Megan McCluskey’s article The Definitive Ranking of The Walking Dead’s 20 Most Evil Villains from Time.com a read for more about villains from season passed.
Am I the only one who loved and feared Gareth? What did you think of The Walking Dead Season 5? Tell me why or why not in the comments below. Oh, and remember to stay away from railroad tracks.