This week ‘The Walking Dead’ crew tries to turn the other cheek and leave the past behind in ‘Strangers.’ We open with a lot of slow-motion shots of Rick and Co. walking away from Terminus, both literally and figuratively. Rick and Tara come to an understanding about her role with the Governor. Wrong place wrong time. Tyreese and Carol chat about acceptance of the past while trying not to look at the flowers. A few more slow motion shots find Michonne one on one with a Walker. It pains me when she has to rekill it without her sword. It just doesn’t feel right. Rick and Carol come to an understanding amidst an awkward watch moment. Rick is incredibley humble and asks if they can join Carol. Ooh, all this personal growth is making me light-headed. Next up on the Carol train is Daryl. Carol doesn’t want to talk about anything that happened. Daryl seems all right with that, he’s just happy to have her back and thinks everyone should take this opportunity to just start over with one another. Clean slate and all that. Off in the bushes a silent figure looms watching the two. Daryl feels the eyes on them and takes a look. Nothing. How ominous… and ballsy. Who’d sneak up on two of the baddest mother-effers left alive? Hit the intro music and let’s get this apocalypse started.
Finally, we have some shots of the group walking at normal speed. I swear, that better be the last time they let Peter Jackson into the editing room. We see Bob and Sasha bonding. It’s very sweet, so we know one of them is going to die. I vote Bob. He brings nothing to the Walker littered landscape. Help! Someone is screaming for help off camera. Everyone hesitates but Carl. He urges Rick into action and the group runs off to save… a priest on a rock. Looks like a clergyman has gotten himself into a bad situation. Stuck up on a big rock with a group of Walkers clawing for a meal. The group quickly takes care of the threat and rescues the preacher, who is so grateful he throws up. Ew.
So the preacher is named Gabriel and he has no weapons. Apparently the word of God is all he needs to protect him. Seems a little naïve to me. It’s all right though; Carl gives him a pecan while everyone else just stares. Rick; however, doesn’t trust Gabriel from the get go and asks him “the” questions you ask people nowadays. How many Walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Worse? To which Rick receives an unsatisfactory “None.” I guess the G O D abhors violence. When Rick presses, because come on, we ALL have done something, Gabriel lets him know that he is a sinner but he confesses those sins to God, not strangers. Rick is not amused.
The gang decides to walk to this church of Gabriel’s. A few awkward jokes later and we arrive at St. Sarah’s Church. The place looks pretty nice, considering the undead hellscape the world has turned into over the last year and a half. The group is cautious and methodically clears the church. Have I mentioned how professional these monster slayers are? The world has definitely changed and they have changed right along with it. The gang checks out the facilities. There are a ton of religious motifs running through these scenes. Bible passages litter the place and some people, like Carol, seem uncomfortable while others like Glen take an inward sigh of relief. But who can ignore the biggest passage, written above the altar archway, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” The Walking Dead is anything if not subtle. Make what you will of that. Walkers *cough* Terminus *cough*
We learn that the short bus is out back, I will let you insert your own Bob joke here, and it is decided that it’s time to make a supply run. Apparently there is one place left Gabriel hasn’t pillaged because it is over-run with the undead. Half a dozen, maybe more. Rick did a nice job of not laughing. That is child’s play for this group. We have a nice little moment with Abraham, who has been trying to find just the right time to push the whole go to Washington and save the world mission. Glen, Tara, and others all let him know that one way or another they are doing what Rick does. They are not splitting up again. Looks like the Rictatorship is back!
We have a nice little father and son moment here. Rick let’s Carl know In no uncertain terms that he does not trust Father Gabriel. He’s hiding something and he’s dangerous, that’s why he is taking him with him. To keep an eye on him. It also allows Carl the opportunity to take a closer look around the church. Carl seems to have his blinders on though and wants to trust Gabriel. Why? Because everyone can’t be bad. Damn son, where have you been? I miss the murderous Carl. This nice one is going to die horribly. It’s some great dialogue and a very good back and forth between Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs.
We follow our hunting party into town. Gabriel, Bob, Sasha, Rick, and Michonne. Bob is droning on about curing this whole undead plague thing and how this isn’t real life. It’s a nightmare, and nightmare’s end. Way to optimistic Bob… you are so going to die. We cut to Daryl and Carol getting some water down by a stream before running across a car with a battery charger in the trunk. Carol says to leave it, as a backup in case the church thing doesn’t work out. There seems to be a look of sadness and contemplation in her eye. She and Daryl have a nice moment. We catch Maggie, Tara, and Glenn at the gun shop. Everything is cleaned out except a threesome of silencers stashed in a mini-fridge. First rule of scavenging in the apocalypse, anything worth having is hidden.
At the County Food Bank we find Rick and Co. who come across one of the neatest set pieces of the season. The basement is flooded and full of waterlogged Walkers. These things look great. What’s better is the water. The putrid, sewer ridden, fecal paradise that these beauties are splashing around in. As Bob puts it, “If a sewer could puke, this is what it would smell like.” And of course that’s where all the food is. Time to see if our heroes can come out clean on the other side.
After a few words from our sponsors we find our heroes in a world of shit. Literally. They use the shelves to block themselves off from the Walkers as they scramble to grab as much food as they can. It’s about this time that a soggy Walker shambles up to Gabriel. She has on her horned rim glasses and is giving her best naughty librarian stare. Gabriel loses his shit, good place for it, and tries to flee. Well, there are only so many places you can flee to in a dark, water-filled basement. The church lady corners him and Gabriel readies himself to die. Well, Rick will have no part of that and easily dispatches the fem fatale. Bob almost buys it in the melee. He has a pretty cool Dianoga moment but seems to come out unscathed.
As the gang departs with their shitty food we have a few more character moments. Michonne laments on missing Andrea and Hershel. We all do. Sad face. She talks about her sword and how she got good with it because after the fall there were plenty of Walkers to practice on. Back at St. Sarah’s we learn that Carl was a good little detective. He found some scratches near the window that were made by a knife. People were trying to get in. There was also a nifty little phrase scratched into the side of the building. “You’ll burn for this.” Looks like Father Gabriel might not have been too generous with his food and sanctuary.
Party night. The gang is enjoying a well-earned respite from the carnage. Its baked beans for everyone! There is laughter and smiles and a well-timed pitch from Abraham. He wants to go to Washington and who better to help him get Eugene there than this group? Baby Judith is all in, so Rick and the rest go all in too. Bob and Sasha have another little moment. Ok, seriously, this guy is gonna die. Nobody can be that positive. Tara tells Maggie she was on the other side of the fence when the Governor decapitated her father. Maggie was ok with it and forgave her, understanding that Tara didn’t know what the Governor was capable of. Tara did not mention that she has the hots for Glenn. Rick has a moment with Gabriel, thanking him for letting them drink the Communion wine. A drunken Gabriel says it’s only Communion wine if it’s blessed. Gulp. Rick offers some wisdom of his own. He knows Gabriel is hiding something. If that something hurts them in any way, he’ll kill him. Cheers!
We find Carol on the highway back at that old car they had found earlier. It’s all ready to go. Looks like she was going to split. Daryl catches up to her and they start to talk when another car speeds down the road. It’s the same car that took Beth! Daryl and Carol jump in and head off in pursuit.
At this point Bob has left the warm comfort of the church and is watching from the outside and having a good cry. See, nobody can be that chipper during the apocalypse! Well, before his tears can even hit the ground, he is hit from behind. We get a blurry vision montage and we find Bob all tied up at a bonfire and staring into the eyes of Gareth! Looks like Terminus wasn’t the end of the line for him. Oh, and that guy Tyreese didn’t kill is there too. See what mercy gets you. Enemies! Gareth is holding a grudge even if he doesn’t want to admit it. He does a Soylent Green speech and says that what is happening to Bob right now isn’t personal, they were just out hunting. It could have been anyone. Oh yeah, and the food that they are eating… it’s shish-kaBOB. We pull back to see Bob’s leg has been cut off and thrown on the fire. Mmm, tastes like chicken. Now Bob has something to cry about.