Walking Dead 5.2 – Strangers

Dynamic Duo! Seriously, there's nothing these two can't do.

Dynamic Duo! Seriously, there’s nothing these two can’t do.

Previously! We are moving at a fast clip into the next Big Bad. Well, except for all the slo-mo Hero Walking we did in the beginning. Plus, there were loads of scriptures sprinkled throughout this episode, which was fitting seeing as we’ve done added ourselves a preacher man to the group. Last, Dr. Mullet allowed me to use my most favorite quote of all time. So it’s a pretty big day for me. Let’s Hero Walk.

So we’re not too long after Carol Lone Wanderer-ed Terminus, as evidenced by the giant plume of smoke in the background. Tara—remember her? Eh, she’s all right, I guess?—watches Glenn and Maggie being the cutest couple in the ZA, which, awk-ward, because her girlfriend died by their hands. She tries to “confess” her story to Rick, who frankly has more important things to worry about than this and reluctantly “bumps it” before Hero Walking again. (Side note: the music the past two seasons has been stellar, and this episode is no exception. Well done, Show.)

Sheriff

Sheriff doesn’t “bump it” with just anyone, TARA.

Tyrese and Carol scoop up some Giardia water at a murky river—

PROTIP: KEEP YOUR WATER PURE. Never mix collection containers with “cleaned water” containers. You’re probably not going to be able to boil your water while on the run, so it’s good to know some faster methods.

  1. 1/8 tsp—that’s the small one—of PLAIN bleach per gallon of water. This needs to sit for 30 minutes before consuming, by the way.
  2. Need a breather after finding a river? Dig a hole on the bank, let that fill up with ground water, scoop that. It’s not going to be 100%, but it’ll be much better than the brackish water there.
  3. Rip off a section of birch bark, roll it into a cone with a dime-sized opening at the bottom. Tie this with a shoe-string. Drop in a few pebbles, then layer the inside with sand, grass clippings, and charcoal, if you have it. Run your water through this handmade filter a few times.
  4. Got a 2-Lt bottle? Cut it in half, tie some panty-hose or natural cloth over the bottle opening and invert that into the other half. Fill the top half thusly: fine sand, coarse sand, pebbles. Pour your water over the pebbles, let it run through and filter into the bottom half.

—when Tyrese calmly says he just wants bygones to be bygones, and he’ll stare down anyone in the group that doesn’t accept her. She just shrugs. He’s not going to talk about the girls to anyone. Yeah, that’s a smart move, Ty. No one needs to talk about how freaking jacked-up that situation became.

More Hero Walking until a Walker staggers out; Michonne dispatches it, reminding us that she lost her Katana blade—I thought it was in the buried bag? No?—and Abraham sees his moment. I’m like Rosita, confused and going along with it. (I just don’t think that translated the way the show meant for it to. Abraham sees a way to push his agenda because of one Walker? Uh…)

They make camp, and Rick makes nice to Carol.

Rick: So… that was a dick move, me kicking you out of the group for burning those infected bodies and all.
Carol: Well, it helped me level up; that was pretty sweet, actually.
Rick: Whew! Um, can we stay with you?

GUYS I NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS. I need to talk about Carol, who had been abused by her husband, who hadn’t been listened to by the group from Day One, who had been dismissed as anyone of importance, who has proven her worth time and again, I need to talk about this woman being asked by the Man In Charge if SHE will allow them to be with HER. I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING.

Even later, Daryl has a conversation with her.

Daryl: [puppy eyes]
Carol: [jimmying a locked car trunk] That’s not going to work on me. I’m hard now, D.
Daryl: [adoring stare]

There’s something in the woods, but Daryl can’t find anything. He’s on High Alert, though.

New Intro We see Rick’s gun for Andrew Lincoln, the “on the move” bags and wheels for Norman/Daryl, a watch maybe representing his time running out for Stephen/Glenn (nooo!), a family photo burning for Lauren/Maggie (crying), AWAY WITH YOU for Carl, which makes me laugh and laugh because Carl, get in the house CORL. Is…t hat a hanging rope for Michonne? DO NOT LIKE. Standing her ground with a knife jammed into the earth is Melissa/Carol, and baby shoes on a cross is Michael Cudlitz/Abraham. Eeesh, is he going to be responsible for killing a new generation? Or is he trying to prevent that? Always pay attention to the opening montages of shows and movies, folks—they’ll tell you everything you need to know.

The next day, Daryl shows up with some tree rats on a string (squirrels) and mentions to Rick about the stalker the night before. He—their best tracker—couldn’t find any signs of them. (I find this hard to believe, personally.)

Medic Bob, ol’ Mr. Brightsides, is playing the Silver Lining game with Sasha, and apparently they’re in love now? NOPE. I hate this, I hate that so much, I went on record last season saying how much I don’t like it when a woman says no, made that C-L-E-A-R, but because the guy persists with a smile, he “gets the girl.” I don’t care if you disagree, okay? I don’t like this message one little bit.

They hear someone screaming for help, and Carl immediately wants to run there because he’s still a foolish kid. You looking to be made a catamite, son? Come on! Use your noodle!

Perched on a boulder is a preacher—Sugar Watkins from Starship Troopers, hey hey!—being attacked by a bunch of Walkers. Our group easily dispatches them. Bonus brotherhood moment: Daryl dead-eyes a hillbilly Walker with his crossbow, and Rick literally leans around the boulder in pleasant surprise, and gives a “Noice!” chin nod. I can’t lie, I cackled.

Fans of Teen Wolf know Dr. Deaton can't be trusted.

Fans of Teen Wolf know Dr. Deaton can’t be trusted.

Preacher comes down, is shaken, pukes, and I instantly don’t trust him. I mean, I don’t believe for one second that we’re supposed to.

Rick: You armed?
Preacher: [shaky smile] With God’s loving grace! [winky emoticon]
Daryl: [takes in dead Walkers]…so God’s out of ammo, huh?
Rick: Three questions of joining while I pat you down!
Preacher: Ack! I’m holy! I’m all good and never—
Rick: Yeah, I’m not buying.
Preacher: Okay, I sin. But hey, don’t we all?
Me: If you’re trying to say that being human and not Jesus is your sin, Imma punch you in your neck.

Hey, who wants some foreshadowing? As they all move off to his church, where he’s apparently sequestered himself since this all started 17 months ago, he makes jokes about not being who they think he is (or are they jokes?) and says, “People are as dangerous as the dead, don’t you think?”

Rick: No, they’re worse. (Thank goodness Sheriff Grimes is on the case, because he’s not falling for it.)

They get to the church, which is St. Sarah, a Romani patron saint who was known for giving alms/aid for those in need, and wow, Gabriel the Preacher had a can food drive going on when the ZA hit, leaving him fortunate enough to have food to eat. (And bro. Get those old cans out of the place. You looking to get run over by rats?) But nice nod, Show.

There are scriptures everywhere. In a big archway, it reads, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” Totally different context in this world, huh? Fun stuff: there are scriptures listed on the wall.

Rom 6:4 – refers to being buried and raised up from the dead, walking in the newness of life.

Eze 37:7 – refers to the Lord making bones arise with life (being covered with sinew then flesh)

Ma 27:52 – “And the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose”

Luk 24: 5 – “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

There are some ominous pictures of a burning bush, of a fatted lamb—all cartoony—being placed on an altar for sacrifice, and Gabriel is for some reason transcribing the Bible in a Big Chief Tablet. Yeah, this guy ain’t to be trusted. The name “Gabriel” is for the archangel Gabriel, who watches over Paradise and serpents, (mm hmm) and also the Christian mythology of him using a horn to sound the coming of the Messiah.

So, what, he’s talking to God, who is having him collect pure beasts for sacrifice to… what, grant him protection? And he in turn uses a horn (some signaling method) to tell Raiders/Hunters that the sacrifices are ready? LOOK. I am prepared for any and all things to happen here, okay? (Side note: Mormons believe Gabriel was once Noah. Which is another interesting twist here, being isolated as man dies outside your safe ship of a church. Hmm.)

Carl, sweet summer child, thinks Gabriel is a good guy.

Rick: [rubs face] When do you grow out of your innocence again? Please don’t do anything stupid.
Carl: I’m not really listening, Dad, because I foolishly want to stick to my notions. Love ya, pops!

They roll out to scavenge with Gabriel leading them to the one place he couldn’t get into because it was overrun. Mr. Brightsides Medic Bob paints a picture of a beautiful future birthed by Abraham and Dr. Mullet, one with Ice Cream socials, Spaghetti Tuesdays, and Burn a Walker Saturdays. Bliss! Rick isn’t so sure just yet.

Bob: Pfft, I’m calling it. You’re going to agree, life will be great, this red shirt of mine, faded though it may be, isn’t really going to be a Red Shirt.

We have some importantish convos happening during this sequence. Daryl and Carol make sure they’re all cool, and Daryl points out that he believes in clean slates. Maggie, Tara, and Glenn—who evidently unlocked the Gold Digger Perk as he found three silencers in a mini-fridge; always check containers, survivors!— and Glenn says the ominous, “There’s nothing left in this world that isn’t hidden.” So everyone has secrets. Well, Tara does and Gabriel sure as hell does. Hm, I guess Carol does, too, since only Ty knows about the flowers.

They get into the food bank, and this is giving me serious Fallout “Super-Duper Mart” feels, which means raiders. Okay, no, just Walkers who fell through the floor into the basement, and are officially the coolest, grossest Walkers yet.

AHHHHHHHHH!!!

Like this one: AHHHHHHHHH!!!

PROTIP: Please tell me you noticed the toilet paper, people. Please. That, condoms, and tampons are the new currency in a ZA situation, never forget!

They trap themselves between shelves, giving themselves a chance to kill the Walkers at their leisure. Well, until Gabriel freaks out and runs off, falling into the water like a big, dumb baby, and the STUPID decision our team makes is to tump over a shelf loaded down with precious canned nacho cheese (among other things) so they can save his ass. Rick does, Bob gets pulled down into the water by a skeleton barely held together by sinew and flesh (Eze 37: 7!!), and I swear, I thought he was bitten.

I'm litsurprirsed the glasses didn't fall off yet.

I’m surprised the glasses didn’t fall off yet. BTW, she’s Gabriel’s old Church Lady friend. [Isn’t that special?]

They get all the goods they can out of there, loaded down on some flat rolling carts, and feel pretty great about life. There’s TP, a roof over their head, some Cram and Mentats… What’s not to love? Not even losing her katana blade can bring Michonne down. (Did Terminus get her blade, then? I thought it was in Rick’s bag. Huh.)

Carl is surveying the outside of the church when they get back; he has something to show his dad. Knife gouges on the windows, like people were trying to get in. Oho! A little further down, carved into the clapboard is “You’ll burn for this.” OHO 2: THE OHO-ENING!

They have a big ol’ Sunday feast there at the church, everyone happy and satisfied with making it through another day, so Abraham uses this time to give a campaign speech. Because how about doing more than just making it through the day? Dr. Mullet has a plan, see?

Dr. Mullet: [burps] In DC there are infrastructures designed to withstand complete FUBAR situations, I am crapping you negative.
Abraham: Sounds pretty Gee Dee nice, don’t it?
Bob: I LIKE EVERYTHING.
Rick: Sure. I mean, shit. Anything’s better than Terminus.

MEANWHILE… Gabriel sits quietly as footsteps approach. It’s Rick. They drink some communion wine and Rick drops that he knows Gabriel is hiding something, probably something big. (Like being recruitment for Raiders. I’m not letting it go, guys.) But if Gabriel hurts Rick’s people, Rick will flat out kill him. Capice?

Gabriel: [GULP]
Rick: [smiles] Good talk! [pushes off on knee, sashays away]

He has this little toot to care for, after all. :)

He has this little toot to care for, after all. :)

Carol has slipped away to rev up a car near the church for emergency, because that woman is a thinker. (Don’t forget that we talked about how to check for dry cells last season!)

Daryl shows up, because of course he does, when a car blazes down the street, the same one with the white cross on the back window (STARES AT YOU GUYS BECAUSE FREAKING RAIDERS) that took off with Beth! They hop in the car she’s gotten up and running, and they make chase.

Bob shambles outside, dead man walking, because I swear to you guys, I believe he was bitten by that skeleton, and he’s slowly dying, and he KNOWS this, so he is getting some space to grieve the life he won’t have with Sasha. He’s knocked out by some guy in a hoodie. There’s a mark like this: on the tree where he was. Hmm. He comes to at a camp fire, and we can see DTB (douchey Terminus Ballcap) from the previous episode alive and well, Tyrese, with a few other people. Aaaaand Gareth.

But we knew we weren’t seeing the last of him. (Fun side fact: the name Gareth originate in the King Arthur tales; he was a lowly kitchen boy who rose to power as a knight, was known for sparing people’s lives to make them his servants, and King Arthur itself is an allegory for Christianity, which turns us back to the theme of this whole episode.)

Gareth, in his douchey motorcycle jacket, is all, “Aww, shucks, buddy! We didn’t want to hurt you! We just… have to. You get it.”

Um, no, Bob doesn’t.

Gareth: Lemme drop some knowledge on you, then. Y’all took our home. So we’re going to hunt your people. De-evolution, it’s a thing! Remember me saying we can’t go back? I meant humanity. Not letting you stay, letting you stay thinking you’re a human being who matters is what I meant. But hey, nothing personal. I’d do this to anyone, really. Equal opportunity sort of guy, that’s me!
Bob: I have these pins and needle feels in my leg?
Gareth: [talking with food in his mouth, so rude] Oh? That’s weird. Because we’re eating your leg?
Foot: [FLAME BROILED!!!]
Bob: [looks at missing limb] Scream!!

UH, BOB, HOW ABOUT SOME MR. BRIGHTSIDES? Because at least they cauterized and treated the stump so you won’t bleed out! Silver lining game!

I have to say, Bob had a meaty-ass thigh and calf, because there were, what, six people there? Is it wrong if I say I bet that was tender because Bob had been marinating it in booze for years? I am a terrible person, but you knew this.

Hahaha, NOW you know I'm terrible

Hahaha, NOW you know I’m terrible.

Guys, what did you think? I thought it was a stellar episode, it’s setting up the season nicely, we had rebonding of our team, AMAZING Walkers in the Super-Duper Mart, and the promise of Carol and Daryl being the badass duo that they are rescuing Beth. (Unless that burned family picture with Maggie/Lauren’s name means there’s nothing to save, that Beth has been burned away… Eesh.) Not to mention Carol being given the honorific of deciding if the group can stay with her, under her protection. [knuckles away tears]

I remain excited for this season. Episode 3: Four Walls and a Roof is here!

Note for any new folks: I am SPOILER-FREE. There is NO discussion of the comics here, okay? The fun for people In The Know is watching me flail blindly. Respect the no spoiler rule!