THE WALKING DEAD Recap: “Strangers”

     October 19, 2014


Now that the group of survivors has been reunited after the chaos at Terminus, what are they to do?  The Walking Dead has spent plenty of time in past seasons bottled up in one location or another (the farm and the prison, notably) but it looked like they were getting ready to hit the dusty trails for good this season.  Not so fast.  In the fifth season’s second episode, we get a momentary glimpse of life on the road for this unwieldy group before a new arrival (and an old foe) turn a possible sanctuary into a probable death trap.

Hit the jump for The Walking Dead recap. 

the-walking-dead-season-5-episode-2-strangers-norman-reedusAs the smoke from Terminus settles, the team takes stock. Rick talks to Tara about saving Glenn, while Tyreese says he understand why Carol did what she did back at the prison, ie sacrificing the sick for the good of the group, though Tyreese says they don’t need to tell them about the girls though.

After a slo-mo shot reveals the entirety of the group (it’s possibly the largest one we’ve seen on the road and not in a settlement in the series so far), Rick and Carol have a bit of an awkward reunion.  Carol returns Rick’s watch to him and he tries to do the same, but she declines his offer to … turn back time. While Rick somewhat apologizes for sending her away, he surprisingly asks if she’ll accept the group into her company, which of course she does. It seems like everything is copacetic for now … except for the shady folks watching the group from behind the trees.

While the group is making their way back toward civilization, they hear a man screaming for help and find an apparent priest on top of a rock, scrambling away from a half dozen or so Walkers. (Seth Gilliam) Father Gabriel Stokes vomits and introduces himself. He asks for food, and remarks that Judith is “a beautiful child” but the group stares him down. Rick pats him down and asks him how many Walkers and people he’s killed; he says, “None, because the Lord abhors violence.” Rick asks him what he’s done, and Gabriel says he confesses his sins only to God, not strangers. I’m sure the comic readers will have lots to say about Father Gabriel, but it’s pretty apparent at this point that he’s hiding something that’s going to get the group in some hot water before long.

At St. Sarah’s Church, the group finds the usual: religious texts and iconography, a handwritten copy of the Bible, ceremonial/ritual objects, tons of empty canned goods, drawings of burning bushes by little kids, etc. Ford finds a shortbus behind the church that the can fix up, but Rick needs them to go on a supply run first, and while Ford disagrees, the rest of the team sticks with Rick. Gabriel tells him a dozen or so Walkers have overrun a storehouse; Rick wants Gabriel with him and asks Carl to stay behind to protect Judith and help Tyreese in case Gabriel has friends.

the-walking-dead-season-5-episode-2-strangers-danai-gurira-chandler-riggsOn the supply run, Bob talks to Rick about whether or not they’re accompanying Ford and Eugene to Washington. Bob says it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be the start of getting back to the real world, which is why Rick is so resistant to committing to it. Meanwhile, Carol and Daryl fetch a few gallons of water and check a car they come across. It won’t start, but Carol finds a jumper back in the trunk and charges it; they leave the car in case things go south at the church.

Urgh, turd zombies… Probably the grossest version of Walkers on the show so far, but it’s a pretty cool change from the usual.  The group plans to use the shelves as barricades to pin the Walkers and kill them so they can liberate the food supply. Gabriel has a hard time watching his former friends and followers having been turned and now being killed. Rick shatters the Librarian Walker Woman’s skull before she can get to Gabriel, who is stunned because of, presumably, his familiarity with her.

We get a little bit of background on Michonne’s sword: she found it, in the very beginning. She says that she’s had a good long time with nothing else to do but practice her swordplay.  She misses her friends, but not her former life, and not the sword.  Sorry, fans.

Back at the church, Carl finds gouges on the shuttered windows from the outside; he finds something else that he’s not quite sure of: someone has etched “You’ll Burn for This” into the church. It’s party time back at the church as they all feast in candlelight. Ford proposes a toast to the survivors, but asks if that’s all they want to be. Eugene tells them that DC has enough infrastructure to offer an opportunity to restart for the world of the living, and Rick says he’s in because Judith agrees, and everyone seems to be in good spirits.

the-walking-dead-season-5-episode-2-strangers-seth-gilliamSo of course, this is the time Tara chooses to confesses to Maggie about being at the prison with the Governor because she didn’t want it to stay a secret. Maggie forgives her and welcomes her into the flock, which is a common theme in this particular episode.  Rick, however, makes it plain that he’ll kill Gabriel if whatever he’s hiding manages to hurt his friends/family.

As an aside, Carol’s now out on her own, starting up the car; she kills a rogue walker but Daryl catches her up. Another car flies by, a car with a cross, the one that Daryl chased down when Beth disappeared. Daryl busts the other car’s taillights and he and Carol head after the car. I love the adventures of Carol and Daryl, and it’s about time that someone starts to follow up on Beth’s disappearance!

Meanwhile, Bob’s out in the woods, watching the party in the church but starts crying. Something’s up with him, but before we can find out what it is, a hooded assailant knocks him cold, and the camera shows a horizontal slash mark on a nearby tree… Bob comes to but is surrounded by Gareth and his followers, one of whom sharpens a knife. Gareth says that he didn’t want to scare him or pull him away from his group, but they have to do it because they took away their home. While Gareth monologues, there are scenes of the group back at the church. Gareth says that he and his people have devolved into Hunters who now have to eat people to survive. Bob’s leg is revealed to be missing as Gareth chows down on him. In the promo, Bob’s leg is last seen roasting on an open fire. The Hunters are watching the group at the church and taking them out one by one. So much for a potential sanctuary…

Rating: A-

the-walking-dead-season-5-episode-2-strangers-sonequa-martin-greenOdds & Entrails:

  • Michonne reaching for her sword and smiling when she remembers she doesn’t have it; pretty funny.
  • Bob and Sasha flirting on the walk was a nice touch, but of course carried some foreshadowing because no one in this world can be happy for too long.
  • Heck yeah, The Wire reunion!  Glad we got to see Lawrence Gilliard Jr. and Seth Gilliam on screen together, for a time…
  • Gabriel: “Maybe I’m lying. Maybe I’m leading you into a trap so I can steal all your squirrels. … Members of my flock tell me that my sense of humor leaves something to be desired.” Daryl: “It does.”
  • Rick: “Mind if we take a look around first? We just want to hold onto our squirrels.”
  • I love Rick just walking up and down the aisle of the church holding a rifle and a baby because Georgia!
  • Rick: “You are not safe. No matter how many people are around, no matter how clear the area is, you are not safe. It only takes one second, and then it’s over. Never let your guard down. Promise me.”
  • Bob: “This is a nightmare, and nightmares end.”
  • Bob: “You can’t fight city hall.”
  • Glenn: “Found what we came for: three silencers in a mini fridge. Rule # 1 of scavenging: there’s nothing left in this world that isn’t hidden.”
  • Bob: “If a sewer could puke, this is what it’d smell like.”
  • Michonne: “Stumbling around in three feet of slime for some peas and carrots? That’s livin’!”
  • Gareth: “I just hope you understand that nothing happening to you right now is personal.”
  • Spoiler: So do comic fans think that Bob is standing in for Dale, who had his leg eaten by the Hunters? Do we also think that Bob will end up being “tainted meat”?