Talking Out The Dead: “Strangers”


Thomas Crawford: This episode in a way seemed like a transition episode after the high octane season opener.  It showed Rick and the gang moving slowly down the road as a group, keeping an eye out, and trying to deal with what almost happened at Terminus.  It also had a very short period during the start where the group started reconnecting that I liked.  It showed the lovebirds Glenn and Maggie having a few quiet moments, Rick and Carol exchanging a few words and Carol and Tyreese talking about what transpired on their journey.  Darryl and Carol have a conversation about being watched (foreshadowing anyone?).  Then the group ended up in a church.

The group met a pastor named Gabriel.  Right off the bat, the man seems fishy.  He answered the questions that Rick and the group have devised to evaluate newcomers.  How many walkers had Gabriel killed?  None.  How many people had Gabriel killed?  None.  Why?  He was a man of God and God did abhor killing.  He also admitted that he was a sinner, yet he only confessed those sins to God.

Anyone else getting a very squeamish feeling?  I will admit that the idea of someone surviving just by scavenging and luck is very plausible in almost any horrible situation.  In The Walking Dead world, it isn’t likely though.  I’m sure we are going to see that Gabriel has some secrets.  There were several scenes that alluded to this.  His jumpy mannerisms, his quick answers, and the way he reacted when seeing a walker at the food bank weren’t coincidences.  Carl finding the words, “You’ll burn for this,” scratched into the side of the church are a big sign.

Do I think Gabriel will be a problem for the group?  Not really.  He is one man, and throughout the entire episode he seemed more like a strange jumpy guy who hasn’t been around people for a long time.  I don’t see him causing the group any major issues, especially with what they have all survived in Terminus.  This could be one of those times the show throws a curve ball, its just going to be one of those wait and see things.

I think one of the big surprises was how Rick and Maggie seemed to accept Tara into the family.  She did help Glenn get back to Maggie, and he has vouched for her.  However, I’m not sure what to think about it when Maggie just forgives her in the church.  I guess I was expecting some sort of backlash for her part in the season 4 midseason finale.

I am kind of hoping that this is something that will not be left in the wind.  It just seems too easy for everything to be done between those three.  It is possible that the writers may just call it a day and leave the issue alone.  However, with a lot of character building done during this show over the years, this seems like a prime example of developing these three characters further.

What about Bob?  I tend to agree his time on the show is very short though I have already covered that.  The spotlight on him being Mr. Happy to Be Alive and looking for the positives feels like another nail in his coffin during the beginning of the show.  The fact he and Sasha had several peaceful moments together also points out that he is going out and very soon.  The ending also had a few clues for any that missed it.

Well, the feelings Darryl had of being watched were spot on.  Bob is attacked outside the church and wakes up next to a fire.  Who is looking at him? Mr. Likeable himself, Gareth.  Anyone else think that Gareth sounds like a broken record, justifying what the Terminites had become to survive.  That being said, the lines may be the same but the creep factor he has in delivering them makes it entertaining every time.

The images of the group, hungrily chowing down in the background while Gareth explains that the group of Terminites aren’t bad, they are just hunters now.  Taking a bite of meat himself, and complimenting Bob for his good taste was just stone cold.  It was just a mix of revulsion matched with entertainment as we get an ending of Bob sitting on the ground missing one of his legs, which had been sliced clean off.  The meat the group was eating wasn’t really a big secret anymore.

I am still wondering where this will lead.  The group has Bob, who is going to bite it sooner than later.  The Terminities know where the church is and the group is staying inside for safety.  Now what?  is this confrontation going to come to a head soon?  Will this be something that is ongoing, the group starting to lose new members as they are being hunted?  This episode seemed to start off as a transition, but left me wondering how soon the two groups would meet up.

In contrast, Rick and the family are sitting inside the church, eating the food from the food bank and drinking wine.  Rick is playing with Walker Bait as Abraham gives a rousing speech about getting Eugene to DC and getting the world back for the living.  Rick and the group agree to go with Abraham.  It is time to see if the Terminites are going to be a major issue, or just a big speed bump on the road to Washington.  I think everyone can say they aren’t completely sure but want to find out.

Kelen Conley: I’m so into the show right now that I wouldn’t call this episode transitional. It’s calmed down greatly from the action packed opener but there’s a lot going on here. I personally could have done without the reconnecting. I understand it’s a good way to deal with loose ends and fill some time before the meat of the episode but it’s not needed. We know Maggie and Glenn love each other. While it’s nice that they addressed the “Rick saw Tara with the Governor” issue, I’d imagine a two minute conversation with Glenn would’ve cleared any of that confusion up. Especially when Rick says “You didn’t want to be there.” We all knew that. And I feel like everything that needed said about Rick and Carol was said at the end of “No Sanctuary”. But enough of my complaining about unneeded scenes.

Officer Carver is on The Walking Dead y’all! But seriously, Father Gabriel is a welcome addition to the group for me. His addition means that at some point, we’ll hopefully get another episode dealing with religion in TWD universe. It was way back in the season 2 episode “What Lies Ahead” when the group stumbled into that church looking for Sophia, and even then, they didn’t get much time to dwell on the topic with Carl getting shot. I’m just intrigued to see how they address it.

Father Gabriel isn’t a threat though. He’s done something messed up but I doubt he fed people to Terminus for protection or suffers from multiple personalities. I pretty much see him replacing Bob in the group, especially with the fate that fell on him by this episode’s end. It’ll be cool to see how he progresses and whether he can become a valuable member or expendable.

There hasn’t been too much from Maggie at all this season. She’s gotten to kill a few walkers and say a couple lines but she’s been relatively quiet. I think they handled her conversation with Tara wrong as well though. Granted, Tara and Maggie were together for x amount of time before they arrived at Terminus so this conversation could of happened then. My issue is how accepting she was as well. Maggie should have at least been pissed off and had to find forgiveness for Tara at a later point. Maybe have Tara and her talk at the beginning of the episode instead of all those other conversations I didn’t care about. Have Maggie get pissed and say she won’t forgive Tara. Resolve it before the group moves on from the church. That’s better than the route they went with it.

And poor Bob. I didn’t want my dude to get done dirty like that. Gareth is stone cold and I look forward to seeing more of his evil ways this season. Even though they know where the church is, I’d imagine that some kind of confrontation will lead to either Rick and the Daryls hitting the road again or that team up we talked about last time. But he was far too happy for something awful not to happen to him.

And did you notice that Tyreese did not kill the Terminus guy (Martin) who threatened Judith last episode? Tyreese flat out lied to the whole group. Martin was ready to rip Judith’s head off and Tyreese still can’t find it in himself to kill this dude? Tyreese is officially a liability.

Rick agreeing so quickly to go to DC just made me have a revelation: everybody in this episode is way too happy (other than Father Gabriel and Bob). Sure, Rick doesn’t trust Gabriel for a second and even threatens him, but there’s tons of smiling, and laughing, and kissing, and hugging. The next episode is gonna be awful, right?

I know it’s gonna be a doozy for sure, but I just want to say goodbye to Bob Stookey now. May you rest in peace. Maybe your next TV character won’t die a horrible death. Unless you’re into that.

TC: I think you are right. The laughing and smiling is definitely a big sign that it is about to hit the fan.  Anytime the group finds peace we know things are going to go wrong.  That is sort of the point of the show, for those who haven’t figured out the formula by now.  In all seriousness, I do sort of like the calm quiet moments before the storm.  I don’t think of them as boring or foreshadowing “something better” coming up.  This world is harsh, and it is good to see things go right at least ONCE in awhile  (Except for Bob, the only regular upbeat guy in the bunch at this point).

I love the storytelling and the dynamic.  You have the group having hope, sharing a good meal, and laughing.  They even get to have a bit of wine and unwind.  Just a short distance away, the Terminites are dining.  They are feasting and enjoying their “bounty” as well if you want to go there.  Gareth doesn’t seem bothered by losing their sanctuary, there is still plenty of “meat” to enjoy in the world.  You have the family enjoying a meal and the cannibals enjoying a meal, something about that mix of scenes just stuck with me.

You may be right about Gabriel.  He may just be there to replace Bob.  Honestly, the way his character acts at this point, I’m not liking the trade off.  Bob had his issues in the beginning yes, but has come through and become a character I like.  I will hold off judgement until the season unfolds.  Bob had his issues and was a liability when they were in the prison.  It is very possible that Gabriel will develop in the same fashion.  The whole, “I don’t kill,” thing does bother me.  He doesn’t even kill walkers?  Herschel was the spiritual leader for a long time, but even he knew when to put boot to ass for survival.  This is going in my “wait and see” category.

Have we forgotten about Carol and Daryl?  They did speed off in the middle of the night chasing that stupid car with the white cross.  I think we will finally find out “what about Beth?”  I have to admit she is not one of my favorite characters.  However, she was a member of the group.  Her sudden disappearance has sort of left a sore spot.  I hope there will be some elaboration and soon.  The fact Carol was getting ready to split before Daryl found her was also strange.  So, is she part of the family, isn’t she part of the family, what gives?  Maybe she is paying penance so to speak for what she did at the prison and to Lizzie.  I think her bad ass exterior may be a shield that may crack this season.  Just a warning.

Finally, no I did not notice that the guy was still alive that had Judith hostage.  I was certain Tyreese had finished him off.  Is he a liability?  When it comes to killing walkers en masse?  No.  When it comes to protecting the kids?  No.  Will he be able to make tough decisions involving the living?  That is a big question mark.  I think push comes to shove, his unwillingness to finish bad guys off (cannibalistic jerk holding a crying baby hostage, you don’t get much more in the way of bad) will come up this season.  The question is will he falter, or come through?

This is why I love this show.  I don’t really think critics appreciate all the complex stories and subplots that go into making this show so great.  We are in episode two.  We have so many questions.  We have so few answers.  We have had action and gore.  We have also had some slower moments to let us catch our breath.  I could honestly discuss this one episode further, but I think I’m going to turn it over for the wrap up.  Final words, can’t wait to see the next episode.

KC: TWD is hugely under appreciated by the critics and non-watchers. There’s more to it than just zombie killing, and the balance that the writers are able to maintain would be difficult for any other show. It’s one of the reasons Angel was able to get into it. If it was straight zombie killing every episode, she wouldn’t like it and neither would all those viewers that tune in each week. A huge credit is due to Robert Kirkman for his work on the comics but the show has become a monster all its own.

Tyreese is a liability. Sure, he saved Judith and can kill walkers but what happens when the next group of people with bad intentions show up? When Rick or Daryl or Maggie have their back turned and someone is about to grab them in front of Tyreese, does he not take the shot? You can’t have people like him in your group this far in the game. I’m calling it: Tyreese’s inaction will lead to something happening to someone in the group. Or the writers will gloss over his issues in lieu of other storylines.

We did forget about Daryl and Carol! I have no idea why Carol was trying to leave again, almost like she got used to being alone. But she did mention to Tyreese last episode that once he and Judith were at Terminus, she was leaving. I know we touched on her losing it last column but I think there’s more to it. When Carol was alone on the road, the only person she had to worry about was herself. As soon as she linked back up with Tyreese, Mika, and Lizzy, 2 out of 3 died. I think she believes her presence puts other people in danger, so she’s trying to sneak off to protect the group. I’d like to see them go this route rather than Crazy Carol.

I can’t wait to see what’s going on with Beth. I have such a huge crush on Emily Kinney now, it’s not funny.

You forget though, that Herschel had to learn to kill the walkers too. Herschel kept his in a barn; Father Gabriel kept himself in the church away from all the madness. Their stories are pretty similar. If Gabriel is to stick around longer than a few episodes, he’s definitely going to have to have his “walkers barn massacre” moment like Herschel did.

The similarities between the group and the members of Terminus is super creepy! I didn’t even make the connection between the two scenes until you mentioned it. Now I’m weirded out, thanks.

I don’t mind seeing things go well for the group either but knowing the other shoe will drop viciously, it’s almost not fair. Unless you’re Bob and you only need one shoe from now on.

I couldn’t resist.

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