The Ninjabot

Don’t Talk to “Strangers” – The Walking Dead Review [SPOILERS]

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 7:00 am by Amanda Andonian

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After the events at Terminus, the gang is on the road again, trying to get to know their new members and come to terms with everything that they’ve been through. Despite the fact that they’re on the road, leaving the smoking ruins of Terminus behind them, they’re also more at ease with each other and themselves. Tyreese and Carol have long come to terms with each other, though she still needs to come to terms with herself; Tara is new and doesn’t quite feel that she belongs; and Abraham is dead set on getting to DC and saving the world. There’s an uneasiness to all of them, but they’re also where they belong in a way—surviving on the road.

The newest addition to the cast, Gabriel Stokes, is one of the more interesting characters we’ve come across, in my opinion. We haven’t seen someone so afraid and naive in a long time, but it’s also clear that he’s hiding a terrible secret. Since I haven’t read the comics, I don’t know what that secret is, but my money is on him turning his back on his flock in order to save his own sorry hide. He really doesn’t seem dangerous enough to have actively hurt people, so it makes more sense to me that he allowed people he knew to fall victim to the walkers instead of helping them when he could have. On the surface, he doesn’t seem particularly dangerous; but just because he’s obviously terrified and relatively useless in this new world, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t represent real danger to the others.

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Almost everything he says and does points to Gabriel being a danger to them, but the question is whether he’s the wielder of that danger or the lightening rod for it. First, his flippant remark to the others, “People are just as dangerous as the dead, don’t you think?” At first I thought, “Well that’s true,” but Daryl’s deadpan, “No, people are worse,” highlights the fact that Gabriel doesn’t really understand the true threat in this new world. Then, when they go to the food bank to retrieve supplies, he completely falls apart at the sight of someone he once knew who is now a walker, forcing Rick and the others to put themselves at risk in order to save him. It’s been nearly two years already, and he still hasn’t come across a walker he used to know? That seems highly suspicious. Finally, there’s the words carved on the side of the church. Clearly, he’s done something very bad.

Speaking of danger, Carl and Rick’s conversation in the church really left me feeling torn. I hear what Carl is saying about the fact that they’re strong and they don’t need to be so afraid, but it’s hard to truly believe in that when Rick’s advice rings so true. They really aren’t safe, no matter how many people they have or how clear it looks. Experience has taught them that they aren’t safe, and the end of the episode shows us definitively that they aren’t. I agree with Carl that everyone can’t be bad, but it shouldn’t be his first instinct to trust. At the same time, I felt a little glad that Carl isn’t as cynical as his father; he could still very easily go down that road, and it’s good that he’s able to maintain that small voice of reason that says hanging on to his humanity means not reaching for his gun at every single encounter.

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While this episode is concerned with a number of philosophical questions, it definitely doesn’t disappoint in the action department. There’s no dithering around, which I feel has been the downfall of The Walking Dead more often than not. Everyone gets a chance to have their say to each other, making peace, and then we’re dumped right into the action with the appearance of Father Gabriel. The scene at the food bank was gruesome and creative (I loved that Michonne killed a walker with a beater wisk), and the last moments of the episode not only left me fearing for Bob’s life, but also for Beth! I totally did not remember the cross being in the back window of the car that took her, so good thing that Daryl did. It makes me nervous that he and Carol are going off on their own, but if anyone can stage a rescue mission and be successful, it’s those two.

I feel like this is going to be a season of non-stop action. The show didn’t spend forever at Terminus, it brought back Beth’s captors already, and it didn’t make us wait all season for the Terminites to rear their ugly heads again (like we knew they would). There are mysteries to solve and secrets to uncover, but I have a feeling that The Walking Dead has finally decided to answer those questions sooner rather than later. I can’t wait for next week; I have a feeling that Rick is going to blame Gabriel for what’s to come, but it’s really him and the others who have brought this trouble down on their heads!

What do you think is going to happen? Why was Bob crying? And what’s with those weird marks on the trees? Share your theories in the comments!

“Strangers” – A

The Walking Dead, Season 5 Episode 2, “Strangers,” aired on AMC October 19th, 2014.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

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