The Walking Dead Episode 502: “Strangers” — Summary, Thoughts, and Impressions.

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WARNING: FULL EPISODE SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

This week’s episode of the Walking Dead was an interesting one. It was assumed by most that we would see a much slower episode given how explosive and fast-paced the premiere was. That said, we still saw A LOT this episode. In addition, there was a whole lot of well-placed symbolism to take in that you may have missed (I’ll be examining that symbolism in an article following this review). We also got to see some story arcs begin to unfold that are straight from the pages of the comic, leaving a great deal to unpack from this episode.

First and foremost we got to see the cast reconcile their transgressions toward one another, as forgiveness and being able to “go back” is a big theme that is carrying over from previous seasons. We FINALLY see Rick acknowledge the fact that he knows who Tara is, and it was really cool to see him be fine with that. We also see Tyreese and Carol discussing what happened with Karen and David, but also what transpired between Lizzie and Mika. Tyreese reveals that he isn’t willing to discuss that, and it appears throughout the episode that Carol isn’t willing to discuss any of it anymore, not even with Daryl.

Personally, I’m fine with Carol and Tyreese downplaying the past. There’s no use in bogging down the new season with old story lines. I’m sure they’ll come into play later on, but it’s best the show doesn’t dwell on them for the time being with so many other things going on.

When the episode quickly jumps to night time, we also see Rick speaking with Carol, and asking her permission to join her since he feels he left her to this sort of life on the outside, and they both seem to understand that it worked out for the best that he sent Carol away.

From there on we begin to suspect that someone is watching the group as we see a figure lurking in the distance, and Daryl thinks he does as well, eventually alerting Rick the next morning. –This part didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Now, we see in the previews for the next episode that Sasha has a night scope, and Rick mentioned night scopes to Gareth in the premiere, so why not use one here? They did just break out of what is essentially a murderous prison camp. Shouldn’t they err on the side of caution?– Anyway, Daryl alerts Rick to his suspicions the next day, but the group is quickly distracted by screaming in the distance.

After following the screams and taking care of a few walkers, we get to meet Father Gabriel whose ineptitude for avoiding the undead is only matched by his sense of humor. Fr.Gabriel reveals that he has been hiding in his church nearby, but has recently run out of food and has begun to venture further and further out in search of resources (food seems to be a big plot point early in this season, as well as late last season). He also reveals that not only is he rather unacquainted with the undead, but he also refuses to dispatch them due to his deep faith and the fact that God abhors violence.

Rick and company are obviously suspicious of Gabriel, but decide to follow him back to his church, and upon inspection they begin to suspect there is something fishy going on below the surface of Gabriel’s facade.

Once settled, Gabriel reveals to the group that there is a wealth of food across town at a food bank, but it is overrun with a dozen walkers. This number is so insignificant to the group at this point that they splinter off into different factions. Maggie, Tara and Glenn recover some silencers, Carl and Tyreese stay behind with Judith, Carol and Daryl gather some water and find a car that Carol leaves behind in case of emergency, while Rick leads Michonne, Sasha, Bob, and Gabriel to the food bank.

While at the food bank, the group encounters a flooded basement full of deformed walkers akin to the “well walker” from season 2. The group dispatches them after some clever strategy, despite Gabriel running off after seeing a walker he recognized from before the turn. Bob is pulled under by a rather skeletal walker that no one sees under the water, but appears unscathed. Appears. Keep an eye on Bob, just saying he was pretty fishy in the back half of the episode. Despite all this, the group makes off with multiple carts of food items, and appears to be well stocked for quite awhile.

When we get back to the church, Carl shows Rick some scratches around the windows of the church where it appears someone tried to enter, as well as the words “YOU’LL BURN FOR THIS” carved into the side of the church. Anyone familiar with the comics will already have been connecting some dots at this point, but if you have not read the comics and are interested, I’ll let you know what issues to check out following the review.

That night is a feast of sorts, as the group gathers for a joyous meal for the first time in a long, long time. At this point we see Gabriel looking over a photo of the walker from the food bank before the turn, and Abraham gives the group his best “be all you can be” speech. At this point, Abraham asks the group straight up whether or not they’ll join him. Rick, agrees and it seems that the future is sealed for our favorite survivors, until Bob steps outside. Bob, looking in at the church begins to break down, and is suddenly attacked by someone in the shadows.

Carol also disappears, but is quickly tracked by Daryl. It appears Carol was going to sneak off in the night in the car that she found earlier. As Daryl is confronting her, a car passes them with a cross on the back window, similar to the one on the car that took Beth. Daryl breaks out the lights to Carol’s car, and the two chase after the fleeing vehicle.

Just as the episode is ending, we get to see where Bob ended up. We see from Bob’s perspective as it’s revealed that it is indeed Gareth and the few Terminians left (including Martin, the man who Tyreese appeared to have beaten to death in the premiere) who took him. Gareth gives a monologue about how they really didn’t want to hurt them, revealing that his new group, whom he referred to as hunters now, is currently eating Bob’s leg. Gareth states that he believes that this event is a form of cosmic justice since Rick and co. drove the Terminians from their home. The episode ends as Bob appears to be weeping… or is he laughing?

OVERVIEW:

8.5 out of 10 = Pretty Damn Good

Fr. Gabriel appears to have done some horrible things to survive, things he is only willing to confess to God. It also makes sense that not many people would have come across the church as many travelers would have been more likely to head toward terminus.

Was Bob bitten? If so, is he now “tainted meat?”

Where are Carol and Daryl headed? Are the survivors likely to leave for DC without their entire group accounted for?

POSITIVES/NEGATIVES:

+ This is how a slower-paced episode of the Walking Dead should be.
+ Introduction of Fr. Gabriel
+ Many, many shots ripped straight from the comic
+ Religious Symbolism
+ Rick is a badass
+Everyone is a badass, who am I kidding?

– Daryl not thinking to use the night scope
– Love interest of Fr. Gabriel seemed kind of forced

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If You Enjoyed This Episode, Check Out These Issues of the Comic:

Volume 11: Fear the Hunters (Issues 61-66)

Volume_11-Fear_the_Hunters

This section of the comics began almost shot for shot with this episodes. While we don’t get as much back story on the “Hunters,” a lot of the core plot points are in place save for a few changes:

  • Bob’s character has essentially taken the place of Dale in the comics.
  • Sasha has essentially taken the place of Andrea in the comics.
  • Thus far, Fr. Gabriel’s back story seems largely the same as this volume of comics details.
  • Gareth’s role is taken by a character named Chris who is very similar.
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