This week’s episode, Strangers, follows a superb and highly successful premiere episode, last week, of The Walking Dead, entitled No Sanctuary. Last week we saw the re-connection of the characters as Rick and gang escaped from Terminus, with the help of Carol, and reunited with Carol, Tyreese and Judith. An action-packed and thoroughly engaging episode, we saw Terminus all but destroyed and our survivors head off into the wild as a collective unit once again. The scenes that saw the group break out of the prison-slash-sanctuary were about as entertaining and full-on as they could have been, showing that the show was back with a big whole flash-bang.
This week begins where last week ended, with our group wandering the woodland and discussing things that have happened since they were last together. Tyreese expresses to Carol that he wants to keep quiet about what happened in Season 4 with Lizzie and Mika and we can see that Carol is conflicted about it. Tara confesses to Maggie that she was on the Governor’s side of the fence when Hershel was killed in the previous season, apologizing and reassuring her that she didn’t know what The Governor was capable of. The two embraced. The group run to the aid of a screaming clergyman who is being over-run by walkers, and save him. Wary about him and how he has managed to survive without a weapon for so long, he offers them shelter in his church. Rick, especially, is untrusting of the religious man named Gabriel and threatens to kill him if whatever he may be hiding causes any suffering to the group. Rick, Sasha, Bob and Michonne, along with Gabriel, go scavenging for supplies in a nearby food-bank which holds over a dozen walkers. Tyreese looks after Judith while Rick is out looking for food and such, and Carl notices, while investigating the church, that there are marks outside that imply that someone may have tried to get inside, and there is carvings on the wooden façade that exclaims “You’ll burn for this”. Carol and Daryl, while out at the side of a road, see a black car speed by with a white crucifix emblazoned on the back windshield, the same car that we saw in the previous season when Beth disappeared. Daryl and Carol set off on its trail. Abraham makes a speech about the importance of the group traveling together to Washington to make a fresh start, and they all agree to go along with him. Bob, who we get the impression has been bitten during the scavenger hunt, goes outside the church and is crying when he is hit from behind. We then end the episode with Bob tied to a post and members of Terminus who weren’t killed in the breakout, including Gareth, the leader of Terminus. They talk to Bob about payback and getting revenge for the group destroying their home. The camera then pan’s out to reveal that Bob’s leg has been amputated and the attackers are cooking and eating it.
“Strangers” was another solid episode, directed by David Boyd. The introducing of a new character, in Gabriel, the mysterious priest, and reconnecting of friendships that we haven’t seen for a while due to the group being separated is enjoyable. Carol and Daryl have reignited their bond, and we can see new and old friendships reforming and forming already. There was plenty of horror and gore, once again, especially in the scenes in which the small group is scavenging for supplies. The zombie-kills here are really entertaining and bloody-curdling stuff, and it feels like the gore has been upped a little bit since last season. The introduction of Gabriel, and re-emergence of Gareth and company, opens up many questions and avenues that the next episode could take us down, and that in itself is intriguing and exciting. The season looks set to do a lot in its twelve episodes, with a great deal of things having already happened in just two episodes.
It looks as if we may see, sooner rather than later, what lurks in the mind of Gabriel, and what he is hiding from the group. We should also, fairly soon, find out what happened to Beth, and if she is still alive. This, along with the group planning to head towards Washington, but with Terminus’s group of cannibals seeking vengeance for the loss of their depraved settlement, it might not be quite so easy. There are so many characters, relationships and possible conflicts here, and more on the horizon as the season grows. My attention was grabbed fully by last week’s premiere episode, and they have held my attention entirely with this week’s instalment too. Roll on next week.