The Walking Recap: Strangers

Wow. As Chris Hardwick said at the very beginning of tonight’s Talking Dead: that was vile. I give this episode 4 out of 5 soggy walkers. What an intense and insane season this is already shaping up to be, isn’t it?

First of all– Gabriel, the priest the group stumbles upon early in the episode, is mysterious, not to mention annoyingly meek– which in itself is a mystery, since the zombie apocalypse has been going on long enough now for someone to be used to, and not paralyzingly afraid of, the walkers. The group finds Father Gabriel cowering and screaming for help on a large boulder while futilely trying to fend off a group of walkers below him. The group saves him, but is also highly skeptical of him, as they should be; he seems to have rubbed Rick the wrong way the minute he starts spewing his “protection of God” sermon, and I certainly do not blame him. But the religious undertones of forgiveness in this episode, and in the series as a whole I think, are interesting to consider nevertheless.

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Anyway, they follow him back to his church, where he’d been hiding alone this whole time, allegedly, living off of donated food that never made it to the food bank in town. But when there is such a food bank available, it’s only natural that our group would go scavenge there, right? Father Gabriel says he avoided it due to his fear of the waterlogged walkers in the semi-flooded basement, but that’s something the viewers would love to see, isn’t it?

These walkers looked more like undead, mutant sea creatures. They were disgusting, probably the show’s most daring and interesting zombie makeups yet, even more gag-inducing than the well walker of season 2– their milky blue skin drooped and dripped and sagged, and their deaths were particularly gruesome, too. I loved it even while wincing at it. Even Bob says that it smelled like a sewer could puke. Well, these walkers looked perfectly at home in that fowl setting.

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But, happy ending (temporarily speaking), they end up with a feast’s worth of food, and what a feast do they have. Everyone is laughing and bonding over former-communion wine, and Abraham makes an idyllic speech that finally sells Rick on whether everyone will join in on the heroic road trip to D.C. Carol on the other hand, steps out to an abandoned car she prepped in case things went south at the church but it seemed a lot to me like she was actually going to leave the group again. Daryl finds her, though, and then a car drives by them– a car with a cross on the rear window, similar to the car that Beth was taken away in! And it’s a cross… and Gabriel is a priest… let the speculating and theorizing commence, am I right?

Daryl and Carol take off in hot pursuit of the Holy Kidnap mobile, while Bob stands some distance away from the church, leaning upon a tree, crying. I didn’t get to linger too long on why he was crying– he’s always had inner-conflict and baggage and bouts of alcoholism, anyway– before someone in a hood knocked him out from behind. I shouldn’t have been so bewildered at who it might have been– clearly the Terminus folks didn’t all die.

Alas, Bob wakes up, tied to a post, with Gareth telling him how none of this was personal, and that they would have done this to anyone (but he also remarks that it is a bit of cosmic justice since Bob’s group was responsible for their home’s destruction, turning them into hunters again). He also talks about how they didn’t always eat people– cannibalism confirmed– but man’s gotta eat. That’s when we zoom out from a close up to a medium long shot of Bob, missing one leg! And Gareth– and his remaining Terminus crew– are all chowing down on meat! And he tells Bob that he tasted better than he thought he would! And we see a foot roasting in the fire! And the whole ordeal is by far more disturbing than any zombie the show could ever produce– sewer-puke water balloon walkers included.

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Other moments of note: Carl and Rick argue over whether to trust Father Gabriel, and Carl finds the words “you’ll burn for this” scratched into the outside of the church (Carl says he doesn’t know if it means that Gabriel is a bad guy, but he does know it means something, and I tend to agree). Carol tells Daryl that she can’t talk about anything she’s experienced in their time apart (mainly, the events of “The Grove” from last season), because she just wants to forget– a line she basically stole from Tyrese, who by the way did not kill the Terminus guy in last week’s episode after all, because that guy is seen happily chowing down on Bob-leg at the end of the episode.

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4 thoughts on “The Walking Recap: Strangers

  1. I did like Rick and Carl’s talk about trust since they’ve been violated so many times, but I found it interesting that Carl would be the optimist and say that not EVERYONE is bad. Yes, they have every reason in the world to be suspicious of everyone they run into, but trust was a constant theme this episode. I did find it odd that Rick and Maggie were so quick to accept Tara, given how she was once with the Governor, so they WOULD have good reason to be suspicious and not trust her. As for Bob…I get the feeling that he was bitten. Part of that comes from having read this arc in the comics and looking forward to The Hunters, but even though Gareth and pals are chomping down, something tells me they’re eating tainted meat.

  2. Pretty good episode. Very curious about why Bob was crying, what the carvings on the trees and the church mean, and how that guy survived Tyreese’s beating. I mean, Tyreese said he killed him, right? Or am I remembering that wrong? Plus, if he did survive, wouldn’t he look all beat up?

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