“The Walking Dead” must be the best media version of a Rorschach Test known to humankind. Our survivors are laughing, smiling, joking, hugging and, in the case of Sasha/Bob and Glenn/Maggie, kissing. Nothing makes you feel giddier than escaping becoming a seven course meal for a group of post-apocalyptic cannibals! Rick is talking with Tara about her role in saving Glenn, which matters more than The Govenor. They pound it out, seriously. Carol and Tyrese are collecting water from a nearby stream having a different forgiveness conversation. I’m distracted by the thought of how many WalkingDead walked that stream, or “died” in it. Tyrese tells her Rick knows what she had to do and insists that everyone else has to accept what happened. Yet, neither of them likes remembering it. The opening scenes are very well crafted with individual conversations woven through the scene of our survivors walking a trail with the smoke of Terminus behind them. Michonne grabs for her nonexistent blade to take care of an approaching walker and bashes it with the butt of her gun, instead. Abe, speaking to Rosita, utters the following ominous statement while watching Michonne. “Right there is why we’re waiting for our moment.”
As they break for camp for the evening, Rick and Carol talk. He is not sure about what happened in the past but admits she knew things he didn’t. He talks about sending her away and asks if she will now let them join her. She says yes. Later, Daryl looks at Carol like a lost puppy. She knows he wants to help her but she can’t talk about the girls. He accepts that. Just then they hear a noise. He is convinced it’s nothing. We see a figure in the shadows walk away. Gareth? Morgan? By morning they are unable to find tracks. Abe brings up hitting the roads to try to find a vehicle. Rick agrees.
Sasha and Bob are playing a game, Good after Bad. She lists the things she hates about their new reality (like a lack of privacy) and Bob turns them into positives (having a captive audience). I want to be happy. I AM happy watching them, but it feels as if it is only the calm before the fast approaching Dead-storm. As they continue walking through the woods they hear screams for help. Rick hesitates. Carl, the teen angst version of a battering ram, urges his father and the rest of the group to take on the challenge of saving the stranger. Rick follows Carl’s lead. Have we transitioned from a benign Ricktatorship to a slash-and-burn Carlautocracy?
The scream comes from a priest climbing a boulder trying to escape a small herd. It’s Fr. Gabriel, who promptly releases the contents of his belly when he’s rescued – a little stressed from the ordeal. He’s hungry, understandably, and Carl surprises me by offering him pecans. When he comments on how beautiful Judith is, the gang looks nervous (cannibal camp, hungry stranger, beautiful child. Again, understandable). Fr. Gabrielwe learn: has been alone for months, has killed no one, has a church he offers the group for camp. He teases them about the possibility that he’s lying and could be leading them into a trap. He has no idea what they’ve been through and realizes they don’t appreciate his sense of humor. His church looks untouched. Where is the flock? Are they the new “barn zombies” held somewhere in the basement? The church is clear of threats. Inside,Carol comes across a book of handwritten notes. He seems to be writing out passages from the bible and the commandment “Thou Shall Not Kill” is written in large letters. She flinches. Fr. Gabriel allows the survivors to have the bus at the back of the church, but they have to fix it up, first.
The Ricktatorship is back on! Glenn tells Abe, who wants to leave, that they do whatever Rick does, they’re not splitting up again. Rick wants food and ammo above all else. Tyrese stays to care for Judith while Rick, Michonne, Sasha and Bob go to the local food bank to find food, taking Fr. Gabriel with them, Rick doesn’t trust him enough to leave him behind. Carl does, and informs his father that “everybody can’t be bad.” Rick wants Carl to stay alert and help Tyrese protect Judith – he tells Carl he is not safe, ever, to never let his guard down, EVER. Carl tells him that they’re still strong enough that they don’t have to be afraid and that they can still help people. Thank YOU writers. I’ve been waiting for Carl’s humanity to return! There is an upside to cannibalistic assholes taking him hostage.
Bob and Rick debate whether Abe can get to Washington so that Eugene (CDC janitor?) can help find a cure. Bob is hopeful, Rick is not. Caroland Daryl are scavenging and find gallons of water in the trunk of a dark car, which reminds me of Beth being driven off in a dark car (coincidence?). Tara, Glenn, and Maggie are working together when Glenn finds silencers. I love the writers’ attention to small details. The gunfire always drove me crazy since it was sure to draw more walkers. At the food bank, the place is pretty much empty, with the exception of walkers who’ve fallen through a weakened floor, where food sits on shelves in the wet basement below – of COURSE! Our survivors jump in and start eliminating. Fr. Gabriel is horrified by the violence, panics, and tries to get away. Rick stops a walker from killing him since Gabriel doesn’t try to defend against it. Bob is pulled under by what is essentially a skeleton and is saved by Sasha.
On the way back, we learn that Michonne’s sword once belonged to someone else. She taught herself to use it. She doesn’t miss the sword, but misses Andrea and Hershel. When Rick returns, Carl shows him gouge marks on the windows and carved into the church are the words “You’ll Burn in Hell for This.” That night a feast takes place, with Abe toasting to “The survivors” and then asks them if that’s all they want to be. Caroleyes the door as he continues his speech about Eugene saving them. Rick says they’re in. Sasha wants to go hold Judith and Bob sadly asks for one more kiss (NO! He’s been bitten, hasn’t he?). Tara confesses to Maggie about being at the prison. Forgiven. Rick wants to know what Fr. Gabrielis hiding and threatens to kill him if his secrets hurt his family. Carol is packing to leave when Daryl stops her. The dark car that took Beth passes by, they take Carol’s car and start chasing it. Bob is outside, alone and crying when he’s attacked from behind. It’s Gareth and his gang. DAMN!Rick was right. They should have all been eliminated. Bob wakes to Gareth explaining that they aren’t going back, cannibalism is how they survive. They’re eating his leg as he watches! Speaking of inhumanity, I now hope he is infected! The man Tyrese beat to save Judith is there as well. They want vengeance.
Beth? Hold on, kid: