After last week's rock em' sock em "No Sanctuary" episode, for the most part TWD fell back into second episode blues syndrome. It was fairly standard fair even when they did begin to sprinkle in breadcrumbs of the upcoming story arcs, but then the last ten minutes hit and The Walking Dead blew up into The Hills Have Eyes, the original version. This could be the most shocking ending of an episode that The Walking Dead has ever had.
Let me explain.
The crew is catching up for lost time after escaping terminus, walking in the forest. Rick has to eat crow over what he did to Carol last season since she singlehandedly came back and saved all their asses so he asks her if she will allow all of them to join her.
A short time later they hear a scream in the distance and come to the aid of another "The Wire" alumni, Seth Gilliam, who is now Father Gabriel Stokes, perched atop a boulder of some kind wailing for his life, surrounded by a few Walkers. After they save him, Rick begins the interview process to see if he's a worthy ally and immediately doesn't trust the guy. Father Gabriel says he's never killed a Walker or any person since the plague started and all this time he's been holed up in his church, which is after they come upon it, a fairly well kept church.
After the church checks out clean of all traps and zombies, the gang hangs out there and Gabriel tells them of a possible food supply that's been overrun by the dead.
Carol and Daryl grab some alone time trying to fix a car near the church as a Plan B exit strategy just in case when Daryl asks her what happened to her since they had no scenes last season She refuses to tell him and just wants to forget it all. Can you blame her?
As our gang prepares to hunt for food, hunt the operative word, Rick gives Carl another one of his fatherly talks. When will he stop with this nonsense already. Carl is the quintessential post apocalypse survivor poster child, who is sufficiently sociopathic enough not to need a pep talk about staying alive. Instead, Carl gives his father some sage worthy words of wisdom by telling him they don't have to be afraid and hide all the time because they are strong and can take it.
Rick forces Father Gabriel to join them on the excursion and let's just say he just about wet himself. They come upon the old food depository and find that a host of soup zombies are in the basement, trapped with the supplies. Enough water has leaked in on the trapped Walkers that they are literally soupy. After they jump down into a pool of retched water, they synchronize kill the zombies, but Bob gets bushwhacked by a submerged bag of bones that has enough strength to drag him underwater for a hot second. He comes back up and they kill the thing. Sasha is visibly upset since they are now lovers, but Bob says he's OK.
Back at the church, the crew are having a real party since they hit the motherload of supplies. Sgt. Abraham Ford gives a sermon to them while they are all drinking unblessed wine and convinces everybody (Rick agrees) that they should go to Washington and save humanity with Eugene.
Tara admits to Maggie that she was part of the Governor's crew when they hit the prison that killed her father, but didn't know how crazy he was. Maggie forgives her unconditionally.
Carl, who earlier told his father to save Father Gabriel because not everyone is bad, shows Rick a message scraped onto the outside of the church which says "You'll burn for this." It appears the good padre locked innocent people out of his church so they could die at the hands of the dead while he cowered behind Gods words and locked doors. At least that's what it appears to be.
Rick confronts the Father and tells him he's welcome to have his own secrets, but if they come back and harm his people, he's a dead man.
Carol dispatches a Walker while she's finally got the clunker running when another car zooms past her. There's a cross like symbol in the back window and Daryl races out of the woods and tells her that these are the people that have Beth. He breaks the tail lights and they speed off after them.
Back in the church, while everybody is still partying, Bob seems solemn. He asks Sasha for another kiss and slowly walks out of the church by himself. Earlier in the episode he told Rick that he was right for wanting everybody in terminus dead.
When you said they don't get to live, you weren't wrong.
This made me wonder if he got bit or scratched by the underwater soup zombie and was heading out to kill himself rather than turn in front of Sasha. He rests by a tree that has a sort of mark carved into it and begins to cry.
Suddenly someone jumps out and knocks him unconscious.
When he comes to, he sees Gareth softly talking to him. He's quietly explaining to him that his group didn't start out like monsters, but things happened and they had to change, devolve so to speak and it is what it is. They are hunters after all, just hunting what they normally hunt, and it's kind of a "cosmic justice" that it's Bob paying the price. The rest of his friends will pay also.
Bob looks down and sees that his left leg has been cut off and the remaining Terminites are feasting on it. I mean they are going to town on Bob-kabob.
Gareth: A man's got to eat.
Gareth takes a bite out of a big piece of Bob's leg meat right in front of him like he's at the best barbeque house in Texas, savoring every little morsel.
"If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would."
It didn't make him feel any better.
*I'm sick because I instantly thought of a Christmas song with the words "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire."
*Gareth's speech reminded me so much of Papa Jupiter's, back in 1977. He was talking to a dead Big Bob Carter, who he had burnt alive and now was eating along with his family of disfigured cannibals and he threatened to eat Bob's family too.
*We're used to seeing Zombies eat people on TWD, that's par for the course and even a little boring, but watching the Terminus cannibals go to town on Bob was indeed shocking and sickening at the same time.
*Rick mentioned earlier that humans were much more dangerous than Walkers to Gabriel and after "Strangers," I doubt anyone will disagree.
*As crazy as The Governor was, he didn't eat people.
*If Bob was infected by the zombies like I had speculated, I wonder if Gareth and his pals (including the asswipe that Tyreese said he killed) could eventually turn into Walkers as the season progresses?
What part of Bob will they eat for breakfast?
*Will Rick and the crew be able to save him?
*Will we see Beth next episode?
Did you buy Father Gabriel's Jesus act? Is his secret more than we think?
(Please excuse all mistakes and typos. It's late.)