Let’s get the SPOILER WARNING out of the way ‘kay?
This is a recap/review/discussion post on the latest episode of The Walking Dead so it WILL contain loads of spoilers about the episode. If you haven’t seen this week’s episode yet and you don’t want to read any spoilers I strongly suggest that you skip this post and come back after you’ve seen episode 2 of The Walking Dead Season 5. You’re pre-warned so don’t complain if you read anything that you do not want to know as yet, because that will make you the opposite of Daryl Dixon….
Now, let’s get talking about….
The Walking Dead Season 05 Episode 02 “Strangers”
‘With supplies running low and not knowing whether to trust the people around them, Rick leads a mission where the risk might not be worth the reward.’
Written By: Robert Kirkman
Earlier in the year, as The Walking Dead got into PR mode and bits and pieces of Season 5 got revealed to the fans, I noticed a common theme amongst the interviews that were posted. It was a warning to everybody out there – The Walking Dead is not a family show. The writers and directors were ramping up the gore and the horror this season and they were going to show us stuff that they actually expected to be censored by the television networks. Having been a rabid fan of The Walking Dead since the very beginning, I was kind of skeptical of the hype. I saw the Well Walker being pulled from the well on Hershel’s farm in season 2 and I saw Daryl drive over and get stuck in a pile of walkers in season 4 so I was fairly confident that I could handle whatever they sent our way. But nothing could prepare me for what we’ve seen so far in the first two episodes of Season 5 of The Walking Dead.
It took me a few days to figure out why these scenes were particularly horrible to watch. We are so used to seeing walkers killing the people of the TV show so it was nothing new to us by now. What was new however was the level of cruelty we saw being displayed by the people themselves. Everything from throats being slit to Carol leaving Mary to become lunch to walkers who invaded Terminus; it was all shocking to take in and process. But The Walking Dead was not finished toying with us yet. In episode 2 we saw the introduction of The Hunters, and with them, the confirmation that the world order as we knew it was gone. Gone was the old saying of ‘Killed or be killed’. Instead we saw a group of people eating their kidnapped victim piece by piece, keeping him alive in order to keep their meals fresh. Oh man, let me tell you, I’m sure that a few South Africans cancelled their week-end braais after they saw Bob Stookey’s foot on the braai grid at the end of the episode.
I’ve only got one question though – how far can the writers of The Walking Dead go until they’ve reached the final no-go zone as far as showing horror and gore on TV screens goes? I mean, surely there must be somewhere the fans will say “That was just too much for me to stomach, I’m outta here”. This also worries me about the rest of the season, they started off with a bang (literally) in episode 1 and they carried right on with the shock value in episode 2. We’ve still got 14 more episodes till the end of Season 5 so how high (or low, depending on your viewpoint) can the writers take the gore before it’s too high or too low? I for one can’t wait to see what they come up with next as I also read the comic books and I know that there are even worse stuff in the futures of our Survivors. We’ll have to wait and see if they can keep up the pace and keep on entertaining the fans, that’s all we can do right now.
We were introduced to Father Gabriel in episode 2. He comes across as someone who’s actually too good to be true. He claims that he’s never killed a walker or another person which sounds unbelievable in the days of the zombie apocalypse. I thought he might be somehow involved with Beth’s kidnapping in season 4 seeing as there were a cross on the car that she was in, but he’s holed up all alone in his church. He survived by eating canned food that were collected as part of a food drive held by the church at the onset of the walker virus and he tells the Survivors about a second food bank not too far away. He couldn’t get to it as the building was overrun by walkers.
As Rick gathers people to go on the scavenger hunt with him, he gives Carl a haunting speech about how he is never safe. It doesn’t matter where he is or who he’s with, he should always stay on the lookout for trouble as it’s the only way they are going to survive. Carl’s answer to this is "We're strong enough that we can help people. And we can handle ourselves if things go wrong." This echoes the sentiment of the group during last week’s episode; they shouldn’t become those people that they fear. After this exchange Rick and the Survivors set off to the food bank with Father Gabriel in tow. Tyreese stays behind to look after Judith and Carl must look after Tyreese (or maybe it’s just me who thinks that).
The food bank brought with it a flooded basement filled with decomposing rotting walkers stumbling around in the water. Bob Stookey’s description of the stench was spot-on "If a sewer could puke, this is what it'd smell like." After a few close calls the Survivors manage to loot a few crates of food and supplies. Bob nearly got ambushed by a walker rising up from the water and Father Gabriel seemed to have a close encounter of his own as he was attacked by a female walker with glasses on. It seemed as if he recognized her so the mystery surrounding this man is getting deeper and deeper as the episode progresses. It’s also my KILL OF THE WEEK when she gets taken out by Rick. The images of her zombie face getting smashed into the shelving were horrible and awesome all at the same time.
While all of this is going on, Abraham seems to be very uncomfortable with relinquishing command to Rick. He’s got no choice as everyone of the Survivors fall in line with Rick and his authority and although he attempts to get back on the road to Washington as soon as possible, the others weren’t interested. In the comic books, Abraham is Rick’s right hand man, very similar to the role we see Daryl in right now so I can’t help but anticipate a big Alpha male showdown somewhere in the near future between the two men. Sure am looking forward to that one when it goes down.
The group spends a quiet and relaxed night together after eating dinner and we see the relationship blossom between Bob and Sasha but somehow Bob seems to be a bit off. He seems distracted and like he’s got something on his mind and he gets up to go outside by himself. Just as we see him on the verge of tears he gets knocked over the head but a mystery guy in a hoody. What the what?!
It seems like Carol is struggling with her own demons throughout the episode. I’m sure she wrought with guilt over killing Lizzy and she doesn’t seem to find her footing in the reunited Survivor group and towards the end of the episode we see her jumpstarting a car in an attempt to leave the group under the cover of nightfall. Just as she was getting into the car, Daryl came up to her and in his on redneck way, he tells her that what’s in the past is exactly that – in the past. They should all start anew in this new group they’ve formed. Right about then they heard a car speeding past them and Daryl sees the same sign on the rear windscreen of the car as on the vehicle that sped away with Beth in it last season. They both jump into the car to follow the other vehicle and they set off to go find Beth.
As Bob comes to after being assaulted in the woods, we see that he was captured by Gareth and the remaining Termites. As we see a montage of the Survivors back at Father Gabriel’s place Gareth tells Bob that the Survivors forced them out of their home and that is was time for payback.
"We didn't want to hurt you… before. We didn't want to pull you away from your group or scare you. These aren't things we want to do. They're things we gotta do. You and your people took away our home. That's fair play. Now we're out here like everybody else, trying to survive, and in order to do that, we have to hunt. It didn't start that way, eating people. It evolved into that—we evolved. We had to. And now we've devolved into hunters."
He made a weird comment about how it was ‘cosmic justice’ that Bob were the first one of the Survivors they captured which made me think that Bob was somehow responsible for leading them right to the church. Remember the markings on the tree at the end of episode 1 when we got the brief glimpse of Morgan? It seemed like Bob was making another one of those markings on the tree outside the church. Could it be that he was somehow coerced into working with the Termites in order to secure his own survival? If that was the case, then it would be wildly ironic that he was the first person to be captured by them.
As we come to end of Gareth’s story, he proclaims them to be The Hunters and that they hunt people to survive. The camera zooms out to reveal that part of Bob’s leg has been amputated and its right then that Gareth tells him that he actually tastes better than they thought he would. He takes a bite of what could only be a piece of meat from Bob’s thigh and we then see Bob’s foot roasting in the fire. In the background we also see the Termite that we thought Tyreese had killed in episode 1. He told Carol he killed him but now we know that he wasn’t telling the truth. How much damage did the deaths of the two sisters in season 4 do to this man’s psyche that he can’t bring himself to kill someone who was clearly ready to return the favor at the drop of a hat? I can’t help but feel that Tyreese won’t be with us much longer, if he can’t do what’s necessary then how is he going to survive the apocalypse?
So much anticipation for the next episode right? From the previews it seems that the Survivors have figured out that they’re being picked off one by one as we hear them say that three of their group is missing. We however know that Daryl and Carol went looking for Beth so at least we know they are (sort of) safe. Can’t wait for next week, the anticipation is so high!!
Have a look at the preview for episode 3, apologies for the quality but it's the only one I could find that weren't restricted for South Africa (cough cough hint hint FOX Africa)
All pictures are courtesy of AMC.com