Ahoy, Deadheads! This week of The Walking Dead
was one for the books. I could not possibly be more thrilled with the trajectory of this season. We had some action, emotion and some truly scary moments. I physically jumped in my seat several times throughout the episode. Carl was the voice of reason and a group member literally watched his own leg be consumed by those maneaters from Terminus. Yep. It was a wild ride.
But I think the most interesting portion of this episode was the religious symbolism. I know that's a bit weird, but the evangelical undertones were bountiful. We'll hit on that later.
We start with the group tromping through the woods. Shocking, right? They're at camp at night and Rick asks Carol if she'll have them, basically relinquishing the leadership wand to her. The next day, they hear the crying screams of someone under attack. Rick is noticeably, and understandably, hesitant to enmesh the group in the struggle of others after their last experience. But Carl, I said earlier, is the voice of reason and morality in this season so far. He implores Rick to rush to the distressed person's needs.
Rick heeds his sons advice, and they find a priest on top of a boulder under siege from a half dozen walkers. The group clears the area of the walkers and start to interrogate the priest with their three standard questions while patting him down for weapons. Rick clearly distrusts this dude from the get go, but the rest of the group seems to be comforted by his holy presence.
The priest (who we find out is named Gabriel, which, of course he is), thanks the group for helping him and tells them that he has a church that is safe and clear. Rick clearly does not trust him but he isn't really in the position to be turning down refuge right now.
They get to the church and check everything out. It appears to be cool, but Rick notices a graveyard of canned foot on the altar. Father Gabriel informs them that he has survived by luck alone, as his parishioners had just completed their canned food drive. The zombie apocalypse started right after the drive completed, by the Grace of God, obviously; and allowed him to survive. He even states that he didn't leave the church for five months after everything started.
He tells them that everywhere around him has been cleared out...except for one dwelling. He tells the group that he hasn't pillaged that building because it is overrun by walkers. Rick and company believe that they can handle the walkers and head out to get some food. Abraham wants them to head to Washington right away, but Michonne reminds him that they can do nothing without supplies. Everybody tells him that they'll not separate again, and he realizes that unless Rick is on board, nobody is. He and Rosita have some sort of sub-plan going on here, but we don't find out what's up with that on this episode.
Rick leaves Carl and Tyreesse behind to stay with Judith, but brings Father Gabriel along. Mostly so he can show them where to go, and so that he's not out of his sight and around Judith. Gabriel tells Rick that he won't be any good to them because, as he said when he was asked the three questions. he's never killed before. Not walker nor human. Rick isn't so sure about that, though.
This is kind of where the religious symbolism was first apparent to me. Rick is talking to Carl before they leave about how he doesn't trust Gabriel and that's why he's taking him. Carl asks him why he doesn't trust him and Rick asks Carl why he does. Carl tells Rick that not everyone can be bad; but again, Rick is not so sure. In this instance, Carl seems devout while Rick appears to be the atheist. Father Gabriel has said the whole time that he is still alive by the Grace of God alone. He prayed for help when he was on that boulder, and help came. So we've got the man who's given himself to God completely, the boy who is trying to hold on to faith so that he may also retain some humanity, and a man who believes in nothing anymore basically outside of a small group of people. Interesting.
So they go on the run and Michonne, Bob, Sasha, Gabriel and Rick head to the free store foodbank. Also known as apocalyptic mecca. They go into that the floor has collapsed, taking the food and the walkers with it. That's right, more soggy, melty-skinned walkers. Fucking disgusting. Seriously. I just had to look away at this point because ew.
They think all of them are cleared, and start to wander around the basement to gather the supplies. That's when the submerged walker grabs Bob and pulls him under. It's also the first time I almost jumped out of my seat. They get the supplies and go on their way.
When they return back, Carl shows Rick some things he has discovered. There are knife marks on a window, indicating that someone or something was trying to get in. A few feet down, the words "You'll burn for this" are carved into the siding. Carl tells Rick that it doesn't mean Gabriel is a bad guy for sure; but it definitely means something.
When they return, they have themselves a little nonperishable feast and sit around the church. Tara admits to Maggie that she was with the Governor's group when he mercilessly decapitated her father. She confesses her sins to the victim's daughter. And in another strong religious moment, Maggie absolves her of her sins. She envelops Tara in a hug and clears the air between them. Tara is a part of their group now. Also, her saving Glenn's life didn't hurt her cause.
Rick and Gabriel have a chat. Rick tells him that he knows he is hiding something, but that that is his own business. However. If Gabriel's secrets harm his family in any way, then Rick will kill him. No questions asked.
We also see Carol eyeing the door in this scene. Later, we see her at a car that she and Daryl walked by earlier. She said to keep it there with the battery charger in case things don't go according to plan. She is clearly getting ready to run before Daryl finds her and asks her what exactly she is doing. She tells him again that she's not going to tell him what happened with Lizzie and Mica and during the time that she was gone. But he asks what she is doing and where she is going, and puts the kibosh on her fleeing right quick. Then they hear a car speeding down the highway the opposite way. Daryl goes to check it out and discovers that it's the vehicle that stole Beth all those months ago. He busts out the taillights and he and Carol go to follow them to try and finally track down Beth.
Back at the church, Bob and Sasha are having a moment. Bob goes outside to get some air or something, and I'm automatically thinking that he was bitten or scratched in that the skirmish on the run. But before we can explore that option more, Bob starts to cry while leaning up against a tree, and is then knocked out and captured by an unknown, hooded man. Oh, except it's not unknown. It's the dude from the guard house where Tyreese was guarding Judith at Terminus.
Before we see what's going on with them though. we go back to the group at the church. Abraham gives a passionate speech about why they need to get to DC. He tells them that there is infrastructure there meant to withstand the onslaught of a national/international pandemic. It's where Eugene can take the world from the dead and give it back to the living. If you build it, they will come and whatnot. More religious undertones. Rick tells him that he's in, they'll start their trek to DC. Abraham is thrilled and I'm sure we'll find out soon enough what his other plans are.
We flash to a bonfire with Garreth and other Terminus thugs. Bob is just coming to from being knocked out. Garreth gives him some sort of pissant spiel about why they turned out the way they did. And after he's finishing spewing all of his bullshit, we the camera pans out and we see that Bob is now missing a leg. A leg that Garreth bites into right in front of him. I can't think of many things more disconcerting that watching yourself be fucking eaten.
And that's it! Whewie. I tell ya, this season is shaping up to be quite extraordinary. However, that is what I thought last year, too. And while the first half of the season, save the episodes where the Vanilla Governor was moping about, I was sorely disappointed. But if they keep it up with how it's going now, The Walking Dead
fandom is going to be a happy group of weirdos.
Stick with me, Deadheads. I'll be here every week!
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