After the blood-letting during the season première of The Walking Dead the pace is slowed. Somehow the uncertainty of the circumstances in which Rick and the gang now live are made worse by that slow pace.
Don’t be a stranger………
As the gang moves away from Terminus they come across father Gabriel, a priest who has been living alone since the outbreak started. Rick questions how he could have survived and assumes he has been holding back on them. After they reach his church Gabriel shows them he had a supply of can food that only recently ran dry. To the viewer the stories and circumstances feel all to familiar, and Rick is not fooled either. Yet, he can’t catch Gabriel on a lie and instead is pre-occupied with the aftermath of what happened at Terminus.
Carol’s re-integration into group is a central theme in ‘Strangers’. At first it feels as though she might have to explain to everybody what she did at the prison, but as Tyreese has forgiven her it seems the others have as well. Only a brief scene in which Rick offers her his thanks for saving their lives at Terminus seemed to head for a showdown. It never did, instead Carol is once again back in the group but perhaps not yet fully integrated. There will be more awkward moments in the future as Tyreese and Carol need to explain what happened to Lizzie and Mika.
At first it seems that our gang is once again re-united and willing to set off for Washington DC to fulfill Eugene’s job of putting an end to the Zombie apocalypse. Instead, our gang starts to lose more than just a friend of a friend. First Rick decides they aren’t ready to set off and demands Gabriel show him the location of a possible supply cash. This irritates Abraham but he seems willing to go along with it, for now. Bob and Sasha also reconnect, only to be split apart when Bob decides to leave her at the end of the supply run.
Rick and Carl meanwhile continue to find a connection after events at Terminus. Rick warns Carl that he can never be off his guard again, he can’t trust anyone nor rely on circumstances. Rick’s warning feels like a premonition of the danger that Gareth and Gabriel pose. Carl doesn’t disappoint his father and after Rick’s return from the supply run Carl shows him knife scratching’s that indicate Gabriel has been withholding the truth.
As Daryl and Carol try to re-connect they find an abandoned car, Carol says they would need it if Gabriel has indeed betrayed them. During the evening when they are still trying to make the car ready Daryl spots the Chrysler 300 drive by with the white cross across the rear window. He recognizes it as the one used by Beth’s kidnapper. Daryl smashes the brake lights on their car and they set off after the Chrysler.
Before Rick’s premonition comes true Bob is captured by Gareth and the remaining gang from Terminus. Gareth tells him he doesn’t have a choice but to hunt Rick as he is a hunter. The encounter ends with Gareth revealing he has amputated Bob’s leg and takes a bite out of some cooked meat. He parts with the word ‘if it makes you feel any better, you taste a lot better than we thought you would’. The viewer is left wondering whether Bob left Sasha because had been bitten during the supply run, in which case Gareth has just eaten tainted meat.
At times ‘Strangers’ feels too slow paced with many long dialogue scenes, but such scenes are merely there to give the show a more natural pacing as you can’t have explosions and zombie decapitations all the time. Instead, ‘Strangers’ gives viewers a false sense of security that is rudely interrupted by the end. I give my hat off to the writers for the their effort to give season 5 that vital second episode it so needed. This was The Walking Dead S5Ep2 Strangers Review, please do comment below.
Score; 8.9 / 10. No big explosions or meat cleavers, but subtle lies and a Chrysler 300 instead.