With our heroes (minus Beth) all reunited after last week’s escape from Terminus, this week’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ allows time for a little more character development as the stage is slowly set for the next major storyline.
The pre-credits sequence primarily consists of little bits where one character talks to another to either catch up on things or apologize for the events of the past. Rick and Tara settle any bad blood between them when Rick says he understands that Tara was not part of the Governor’s gang by choice. Tyrese tells Carol that he’ll explain to the others about what she did back at the prison, but he’s not yet willing to talk about what happened to Lizzie and her sister. Carol also has a chat with Rick, in which Rick says he’s now part of her group, rather than vice versa, and asks her permission to stay with them. Finally, Daryl and Carol begin to bond again, although Carol says she doesn’t want to talk about what happened while they were separated.
Daryl then notices movement in the nearby woods. Someone is following them.
The next morning, the group hears the sound of a man screaming nearby. Rushing to see what’s going on, they come upon a priest trapped on a large rock and surrounded by Walkers. After Rick and the others dispose of the Walkers, the man introduces himself as Gabriel. Naturally, Rick immediately mistrusts him and searches him for weapons. The priest leads them back to his church, where he explains that he’s been living off canned food (the Walker apocalypse conveniently happened right after his church’s last canned food drive) and has raided most of the local places… except one, which he hasn’t been able to get to because it’s infested with about a dozen Walkers. Rick agrees to get a group together to get the food, but insists that Gabriel must come with them.
Before Rick leaves, he has a nice scene where he reminds his son Carl that he’s never safe, no matter how many people he’s around, and to never let his guard down. Carl promises to do so. I have to take a moment to confess how much I like the way the character of Carl is developing. With a few notable exceptions, child actors don’t usually turn into impressive adult actors, and rarely within a single series/role. Chandler Riggs, on the other hand, is turning into a very good actor, and I can foresee a day (perhaps in this series’ final season) where he takes the lead of the group.
Rick joins Gabriel, Bob, Sasha and Michonne to go in search of the extra food, which is located in a nearby town’s food bank. While journeying there, Bob takes a moment to talk to Rick and insists that, “The Washington thing is gonna happen,” meaning that he believes the group should join Abraham and make the trek to Washington, D.C. where Eugene insists a cure for the Walkers can be found. They have a nice exchange where Rick insists that they’re living in the real world, and Bob counters with the idea that it’s all just a nightmare… and like most nightmares, they’ll eventually wake up from it.
When the group enters the food bank, they find a big hole in the middle of the floor. Water has been leaking in through more holes in the roof. In the lower basement level, a bunch of waterlogged Walkers are wading around the available food. Sasha (hey, the writers had to give her something to do) has the brilliant idea of using the food shelves to block the Walkers, so the others use this strategy when they go down into the water to kill them and retrieve the food. However, Gabriel panics when he sees one particular Walker (a woman with glasses), and quickly finds himself up against a wall as she bears down on him. Rick has to come to his rescue. At one point, Bob gets pulled under the water by a Walker, but Sasha saves him. Bob says he’s fine… but did he actually get scratched or bitten? That’s one of the questions that I think this episode hints at, but I’m not sure of the answer.
When Rick and the others return to the church with the food, Carl shows his father some scratches on the side of the building that look like knife marks. A message is scrawled in the wood: “You’ll Burn For This.” It seems that Father Gabriel is hiding something. Later that evening, as the group celebrates the newfound food with a hearty feast, Rick pulls Gabriel aside to talk with him. He tells the priest that he knows he’s hiding something, and if that something leads to the harm of any of his friends, Rick promises to kill him. Also during this gathering, Rick agrees that he supports Abraham’s idea of taking the group to Washington, D.C. in search of Eugene’s promised cure. (Why no one can see through Eugene’s BS is a little surprising to me, although I fully support a change of locale for the series.)
Earlier in the episode, Carol and Daryl came across an abandoned car near the church. Toward the end of this episode, Daryl finds Carol out by the car (she may be thinking about leaving the group again, but this is never really confirmed). Suddenly, a car speeds by that Daryl recognizes (thanks to a white cross on the back window) as the same car that took Beth. Daryl and Carol hop in the abandoned car and take off in pursuit.
Finally, after a few smooches with girlfriend Sasha, Bob heads out of the church and into the surrounding woods. He’s crying. We never find out why, because he’s suddenly hit from behind and knocked out by a hooded figure. Bob awakens near a campfire surrounded by men – including Gareth and the guy we thought Tyrese killed in the cabin last week. It’s obvious the rest of the group is from Terminus as well. Things go from bad to worse when we see Gareth chomping down on a big piece of cooked meat and the camera pulls back to reveal that they’ve cut off and cooked Bob’s left leg. “You taste better than we thought you would,” Gareth says as this week’s episode fades to black.
So, we were led to believe that the season premiere wrapped up the Terminus storyline, but it looks like some survivors will linger. I’d actually like to think that Bob really was bitten or scratched by Walkers in the food bank and that Gareth and his men are eating tainted meat, but I’m not sure the show will go there. Also, does this mean that Bob is as good as gone now, or will he hop around on one leg like Hershel for the rest of Season 5?
Other than the surprise ending, I have a feeling that most viewers will consider this week’s entry one of the lesser episodes of Season 5 when all is said and done. A big chunk of it is used for characters to make amends with each other and to set up the storyline that will unfold in the coming weeks.