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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

64
/100
Viewer
69
/100

Episode 2 - Strangers

26 October 2014

Credit AMC

Synopsis: The group come across a Priest who identifies himself as Gabriel. They set up camp in his church, find some food and agree to head to Washington. Carol and Darryl come across a car and use it to pursue Beth's kidnappers. Bob wanders off on his own to cry and gets captured by the Terminus survivors.

The Good: This definitely feels like a different show now than the one which resumed in Season 2 or 3. Every single character has a subplot of their own, multiple groups are now interacting with our survivors and mysteries are threaded throughout. These are all positive developments.

As time has gone on Andrew Lincoln has really repaid the casting director's odd choice. He had a real swagger and self assurance about him here. Rick seems almost at peace with living life constantly alert and mistrustful. He's also found a better way to lead. He has rules that govern his dealings with strangers and although he demands some down time in the church he also recognises the concensus forming around a trip to Washington. I thought his awkward conversation with Carol was very well put together. He can hardly climb down from the decision he made then. But he recognises that her ruthlessness is now part of him (e.g. his desire to kill all the Terminus people) and tries to explain that.

Carol's discomfort is an interesting story. She doesn't feel she deserves to be back in the group. Like Rick she has developed an inner steel to get her through each day. But up to this point it was caring for the group's children which gave her her purpose. Now that that role has gone she winds up out at night trying to be useful rather than part of the "family."

As for Bob, it seems like there is a missing piece of the puzzle. I thought he was weeping because he had been bitten or scratched when the Walker dragged him under the water at the foodbank. But Gareth's words imply that it was somehow Bob who caused our survivors to be locked up in a train car rather than enjoying some human barbecue. Last season farmer-Rick, crazy-Lizzie and the Governor were all only slowly explained as the season unfolded. It seems like Scott Gimple has recognised that it's better to deliver action upfront and deal with parts of the plot as ongoing mysteries. It's a formula that has worked well so far. Although the shock of Bob's amputation didn't do much for me. In part because I was still under the impression that he had been bitten and so thought the amputation was an act of mercy (initially). But also because of the silliness of Bob not realising what had happened for a good minute of conversation.

The Bad:
That wasn't bad though it was just a slight miscommunication. What was bad was the staging of the food bank Walker scene. Why couldn't the Walkers be killed from above? It seemed like they were within stabbing distance. Indeed, why not just shoot them? Yes it would eventually draw more in but climbing into water with Walkers was always going to be very dangerous. It made the characters look foolish.

The Unknown: It seems like Father Gabriel may have had an affair with a girl and been ostracised just as the apocalypse broke out. But it's probably more tragic and complicated than that.

It looked to me like Martin, the guy Tyreese "took care of" is alive and with Gareth. That seems tailor made to lead to someone's death (Sasha?) and leave Tyreese in a deep rage.

Bob's happy-go-lucky attitude was somewhat refreshing last season. In this episode it just seemed to slap a "dead man walking" tag on his forehead. That is a problem with the show, no character can really be happy without it feeling like disaster is about to strike. The fact that Bob-Sasha are going through a trauma so soon after Darryl-Beth two barely established couples is vaguely worrying too. I don't want the show to become formulaic in how it deels with romance.

Darry and Carol chasing the mysterious car makes sense to some extent. How else will they track down Beth if they don't follow them? But you can already sense that they are going to be seperated from the other survivors and again you don't want the show to establish a lazy formula for splitting and reuniting the group. I'm running ahead to meet trouble here but I just want to express these reservations now.

Best Moment: Probably Rick and Carol. It was as believable as I could imagine that conversation being.

Conclusion:
A solid episode setting up multiple plot threads to carry us forward.

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  • I don't have a lot to say for this episode. It was an expected change of pace after the premiere and it had some great character moments and setup for the next few episodes.

    I've always liked Andrew Lincoln's portrayal of Rick but I've especially enjoyed his performances since the season 4 finale and it's refreshing to see Rick finally embrace his crazy dark side.

    I agree with your thoughts on the group splitting. I have read a few interviews with Scott Gimple and he seems to like the episodes with only a couple of characters so I think we can expect that again this season, maybe soon with Carol and Daryl and of course Beth.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Tiarnan, 26/10/2014 1:43am (6 years ago)

  • If last season showed Rick the folly of trying to stay behind walls, is this season going to teach him to kill anyone who crosses him?

    Posted by The TV Critic, 24/10/2014 12:48pm (6 years ago)

  • This episode brings another show axiom into focus:

    http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/editpost/422

    In some (perhaps all ?) cases, if you have an enemy it's kill or be killed:
    (Season 5 Axioms)

    3. "You're the butcher, or you're the cattle". Some groups you encounter have this mentality. Those groups MUST be treated without mercy because they have already stated they will have no mercy on you.
    As Martin put it to Tyreese "You're a good guy.
    That's why you're gonna die today."

    Posted by Fluids, 23/10/2014 1:57pm (6 years ago)

  • OMG! Termite Martin is chowing down on part of Bob's leg in the end sequence! That means Tyreese didn't kill Martin. I don't think he was lying though to Carol, so he must have thought he killed Martin and no one bothered to check. After Rick's group left Martin must have been found by Gareth or another Termite.

    Great points MDW. The carvings on the trees. Did Bob make them both? Or one of the Termites?

    This 'L' and I believe it was an 'X' on the first tree Morgan found at the end of S5E1.

    What do they mean?

    That also gets me going now about Morgan. Is he okay?

    Will the Termites target Morgan for a meal? The episode "Clear' has me less worried about Morgan because he's demonstrated that he's pretty bad ass on his own.

    The only way I can rationalize Bob crying outside the church is if he was bit.

    This leads to a morbid question. Have the Termites ever eaten someone who was in the process of turning? What happens to that person? Do they turn too?

    Posted by Fluids, 22/10/2014 3:32am (6 years ago)

  • I have to apologize to The Walking Dead, I came into this episode thinking this would be a filler episode, where they meet some guy who seems "nice" and eventually tries to kill them.

    Halfway in, I still was thinking this would be a "supplies" episode, they get some food and kill Gabriel.

    However, the subtle mystery of Gabriel was more subtle than I expected and the layering of the various subplots was handled better than the series has done before.

    I completely agree that the "water basement walkers" was a dud, i dont see why they even bothered killing the walkers, if there was food on the ground floor.

    I feel like the old TWD would have not spent time developing the subplots and spent the entire episode on Gabriel, so I like that this isn't a one and done story.

    Beth's captor's with the "cross" car may have some tie with Gabriel, so we have 3 good mysteries to deal with.

    Final nitpick: I would have liked a better explanation for why no one found Michonne's sword, given they made a big deal about why she doesn't have it. (unless it was used to cut off Bob's leg).

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 21/10/2014 4:31pm (6 years ago)

  • @Fluids I assume they are keeping Bob alive so he can "stay fresh" and even with one leg he'll be easier to move around than if they killed and butchered him outright.

    Good episode, although with some weak points as per Robin's review - particularly climbing down into the flooded room rather than killing the zombies from above. I'm surprised that the survivors haven't adopted long ranged weapons (e.g. spears) yet a la World War Z.

    The carvings on the trees are interesting. Who is leaving them? I wondered if Bob was crying as he was carving the sign, or if he interrupted the Termites' carving when he came outside for a cry. Nicely ambiguous.

    Also nicely ambiguous is Gabriel's secret - with the clues found by Karl opening up multiple possibilities; did he shut survivors out and keep the food to himself, or something more complicated?

    And finally, this is the second has he/hasn't he been bitten moment for Bob - he was also bitten on a bandaged wound last season (I think) but showed no ill signs. Does this hint at something deeper (e.g. a developed immunity) or is the show just toying with us?

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by MDW, 21/10/2014 10:24am (6 years ago)

  • Really liked the character interactions. A lot of good conversations. The church party was the best moment for me.
    Seeing Bob and Sasha happy pretty much put them in "Red shirts"so I wasn't surprised to see something bad happened to one of them but the ending was a still a wtf moment in classic "Walking Dead" style. I was waiting hear "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" song for some reason.
    The worst moment for me was during the food bank fight When Father Gabriel freaks out and Rick is like we have to get him....really why? You don't trust he doesn't fight and you have his food now.
    Pretty fired up more episodes.

    Viewer score: 71 / 100

    Posted by Dave lopez, 21/10/2014 5:11am (6 years ago)

  • What we are watching now is "The Hunters" arc from the comic. I'm really impressed the way Gimple has given us comic book readers a prelude to this story as Terminus wasn't even in the comic. They came from nowhere with no back story.
    Rough times ahead.

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by Rob H, 20/10/2014 11:30pm (6 years ago)

  • Good:

    "No matter how many people are around, or how clear the area looks ... no matter what anyone says, no matter what you think ... YOU. ARE. NOT. SAFE. It only takes one second, one second and it's over. Never let your guard down, ever." (This is an overarching corollary for everyone.)
    There had to be discussions with Rick and Tara; Daryl and Carol; and Tara and Maggie.
    I especially loved Maggie and Tara’s exchange. Maggie looked upset with Tara as well as forgave her, so there was a nice mixture of emotions that seemed very natural.

    Terminus has served well as a back story for Gareth’s group.
    I feel more terrified about Gareth now then I had been in the last couple of episodes.
    I think he is definitely more evil then the governor; (commenting coldly to Bob about how much better he tastes then they thought he would as he eats his leg.)

    It’s pretty clear that Rick was right they should have killed all the Termites when they had the chance.

    The group doesn’t even trust a priest because everyone has sinned in some way in this world.

    Bad:

    Why didn’t the Termites take their food source as they fled Terminus?

    Story wise they are only about a day from Terminus having been overrun. To me, that means there was plenty of ‘food’ at Terminus (I am talking about the already blood drained meat hanging on hooks.) So I was a bit surprised Gareth would be hunting down food sources so quickly after Terminus fell.

    I suppose the Termites literally were overthrown by the zombie horde and took what they could. If there are a bunch of them it would stand to reason that they would taken back Terminus or at least run through what little food they had quickly and need new human victims to continue their lifestyle. Then again they went from eating 8 people at a time to only one leg, so there must not be many of Termites left (and they need to keep their food fresh.)

    Unknown:

    Why doesn’t Tyreese want the rest of the group to know about the fates of Lizzie and Mika?

    How has Father Gabriel sinned? Episcopalian priests can get married and there was a picture of him with what appears to be his wife wearing winged glasses. Rick ended up killing her zombified body at the food bank, so maybe he felt he sinned because he let his wife get infected or eaten? Perhaps he did something to his flock because he is alone?
    We saw the cans of food in the church (and he is a priest who can’t defend himself), so he probably didn’t kill or eat his flock. What happened to them? Carl found fingernail marks on the outside of the church and Rick found the words “You will burn in hell for this”, which hints at Father Gabriel possibly not letting innocents in for protection when the apocalypse hit his area or something equally as bad. I think Rick is right though. Father Gabriel is hiding something…

    Why was Bob crying outside the church while looking inside at Sasha and the rest of the group? Was Bob bitten at the food bank by the zombie who was under the water?
    He did have a weird look on his face when Sasha asked if he was okay and if he was bit?
    Is that is why he’s crying outside the church or is he just battling his alcoholic demons or the one that says whenever he’s with a group he ends up being the only one to survive?

    Is the funeral parlor the home for Beth’s captors?
    Are Daryl and Carol driving into a trap?

    Why didn’t Gareth’s group just execute Bob first and then eat him like they did in the prison? Why did they chose to keep him alive and just eat his leg?

    I suppose the Termites need to eat less because there’s less of them and I also suppose they are keeping their ‘food source’ alive by only eating Bob’s leg.
    Could it also be that Gareth’s unnecessary comment about Bob tasting good be passive aggressive because of Rick’s group killing Mary and his brother Alex and bringing down Terminus?

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by Fluids, 20/10/2014 4:18pm (6 years ago)

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