'Walking Dead': Can the Survivors -- and Their New Friends -- Find Sanctuary?

The AMC zombie drama introduces three pivotal characters from the comic series -- and touched on a potential chilling location from Robert Kirkman's graphic novels.
Gene Page/AMC
"The Walking Dead's" Norman Reedus

[Warning: Spoilers ahead from Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead, "Inmates."]

With Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) safe, AMC's The Walking Dead shifted its focus to what happened to the remainder of the group -- including the fates of baby Judith and Carol (Melissa McBride).

During "Inmates," Beth (Emily Kinney) pushes Daryl (Norman Reedus) to keep hope alive and begin tracking the rest of the group. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Bob (Larry Gilliard Jr.) and vows to find Glenn (Steven Yeun).

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Elsewhere, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) is caring for Carol's "daughters" Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy) as well as Rick's baby Judith, who made it out of the deadly prison attack alive. After a brief scare in which it looked like Mika wouldn't survive, Carol reappears to help spare the girls -- and Tyreese -- from walkers, putting Judith in the care of the woman whom Rick banished from the prison. Together, they follow the tracks to find a safe place they've been told about and stumble onto a sign advising weary travelers of a "Sanctuary" labeled "Terminus" -- which is one of the terms Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese heard on the radio in episode 403, "Isolation."

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As for Glenn, he's stuck back at the prison and wakens to find that walkers have overrun the facility and everyone has cleared out. He packs up food, ammo, Hershel's pocket watch and a photo of Maggie and moves out in riot gear, saving Tara (Alanna Masterson) on his way. Once they're finally out of danger, Glenn learns that Tara was traveling with The Governor, who took Hershel's life. Following a walker attack, Glenn -- still weak from the flu -- passes out and Tara saves his life. It's at that point that a military truck arrives and three familiar faces from the comic series arrive: Michael Cudlitz's Abraham, Josh McDermitt's Eugene and Christian Serratos' Rosita. (For comics fans, their first appearance is a nearly spot-on re-creation of issue 53.)

[Warning: Spoilers from the comics series ahead.]

The arrival of Abraham, Eugene and Rosita -- as well as the name check of the "Sanctuary" -- raise several questions for the series' mythology. Chief among them: Is the Sanctuary referenced in this week's episode the same one that is currently at the center of The Walking Dead's comics story line in which Rick battles the franchise's most heartless villain yet in Negan? Will the introduction of Abraham and his cronies lead the AMC drama down the comics path that takes the trio -- and Rick's ragtag group -- toward Washington, D.C.?

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In the comics, Abraham is a former Army sergeant turned sports coach who travels with high school science teacher Dr. Eugene Porter and Rosita Espinosa -- a group that crossed paths with Rick and company while at Hershel's farm when the trio was headed for Washington, D.C. (For more on the new characters, click here.)

As for references to the Sanctuary, aka "Terminus," it's unclear if The Walking Dead -- under comics fan and new showrunner Scott M. Gimple -- will fast-forward more than 50 issues to the comics' current story line. In creator Robert Kirkman's comics, the Sanctuary is where Negan resides -- a gated community ruled by the guy who makes The Governor look like a fluffy bunny. He uses violence and fear to rule the community of so-called Saviors and takes other communities by force, often torturing people before they're willing to pay him in food and supplies for "protection."

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Worth noting: The AMC series has yet to introduce Greek alum Andrew J. West as the mysterious character Gareth, who will have a big presence in the back half of the season. Character details are being kept under wraps but he is said to have an important presence and be a remix of sorts of an unidentified character from the comics, though Gimple recently told THR that Negan will not appear this season.

Of course, it's unclear what direction the zombie drama will take -- if any -- from the comics, though Gimple has been adamant about taking a "remix" approach to the series.

What did you think of the episode? Hit the comments below with your thoughts and theories -- and check out our weekly Walking Dead Dissection interview with Cudlitz here.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit