The Walking Dead - Season 5, Episode 2: "Strangers" TV Episode Review
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Robert Kirkman
2013, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on October 19th, 2014
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford
Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese Williams
Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha Williams
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Bob Stookey
Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter
Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa
Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler
Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes
Andrew J. West Andrew J. West as Gareth
Now free from certain death and (mostly) reunited once again, Rick and has ragtag band of survivors, along with new friends Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita, try to put as much distance as they can between themselves and Terminus. It’s all fine and dandy until it’s not, and it looks like the group is about to become separated. Again.
Warning! There are spoilers for the show found within!
Steve: Before we dive into this, let’s just get this out of the way: Bob. Looks like we were right about his fate. Granted, he’s not dead yet, but I would be very surprised if they kept him around with that missing leg. Bob is fine and all, but he’s not Herschel.
Dan: OK, I’ll discuss Bob for a moment; with what we’ve tossed around with regard to his demise I was almost certain he was going to fail to come out of the food run alive. If we’re right about him going this season, then pretty much every time he’s in a precarious position my mind is going “This is it, say bye-bye to Bob”.
But let’s kick off at the start where Rick & gang rescue Father Gabriel from atop a rock while he’s being clawed at by hungry walkers. I thought it was more good evidence to Rick’s tougher character. Old Rick would’ve instantly respected a man of the cloth, but New Rick isn't having any of it and treats him with the same suspicion that he’d treat any newcomer. Even later in the episode where he has the heart-to-heart and threatens to kill him if he brings any harm on his ‘family’. I don’t think there’s any doubt the guy is actually a priest, but it’s certainly not holding any sway with Rick either way.
Steve: For the second week in a row, Rick has failed to piss me off. This has to be some sort of record. Not only that, New Rick is actually growing on me, and quickly. He’s not just acting different with how he’s handling people, the character has a much darker vibe. I have to give Andrew Lincoln mad props here. His portrayal of Rick has been outstanding these past two episodes. The character has been completely broken and has risen from the ashes a stronger (albeit more bitter) person, and Lincoln is completely owning this role. Hell, I was even impressed with the father-son speech he had with Carl about how the boy will never, ever be safe. This talk is much more powerful coming from New Rick, because New Rick has no time to dilly dally around with niceties. He’s going to tell it like it is and not sugar coat it. New Rick would beat the hell out of Old Rick.
Steve: I don’t know if you noticed, but it seems like there’s a subtle change with Carl too. He’s not as sociopathic as he was last season. I’m not sure if I like that or not, but I am digging how much more thoughtful he appears to be. There are a few examples of this as well; when he finds the scratch marks on the sill outside of the church and his feelings on Father Gabriel – as far as not willing to write him off just yet, but smart enough to keep an eye on him. I’d almost add that him finding the writing was impressive, but the scratches are far more so. Especially for a teenager. I like the realism of him having to be hyper-aware of his surroundings because otherwise you run the risk of getting eaten by either zombies or humans.
Dan: I’m only ever a fan of Carl when he’s not prominent in the storyline, so I didn’t pay much heed to his character development. Maybe the writers are maturing him, maybe he’s maturing as an actor, or maybe he just hasn’t had much to do so far and it’s making him seem more level. Boy done well to keep those knife marks to himself and only share with his dad though.
And going back to Tyrese as the babysitter that we discussed last week, what did they do with him in this one? Left him holding the baby. Again. He even gave off a stupid-looking grin when Rick told him to stay behind with Judith. That look could have only been more stupid if it was accompanied by him saying “Aw yeah, that’s the shit I like.”
Steve: Sadly, as each week goes by, I’m losing more and more faith that they will do anything with him. And makes me more and more depressed. I’m sure anyone who’s read the comics will agree. Maybe he was just brought in because of his role The Wire. I’m convinced someone behind-the-scenes of The Walking Dead is a big fan of that show. Currently there are three actors on the show (Lawrence Gillard - Bob; Chad Coleman - Tyrese; and now Seth Gilliam - Father Gabriel) that were also on the Baltimore-based HBO drama. That’s too many to be merely a coincidence.
Back on point, is it me, or is Daryl the only person that cares about Beth? I think I only heard Maggie, Beth’s own flesh and blood, ask about her once since she disappeared. But what did Daryl do when he saw that same creepy-ass car this episode that he only last saw when Beth was in it? He took off after it without hesitation. He didn’t even bother to give Carol more of an explanation than, “That’s the people that have Beth.” Daryl made it clear that he was going after it with or without Carol by his actions alone. But I believe he knew that Carol would come with him without question, because that’s the relationship the two have – of which, it’s my absolute favorite relationship on the show, hands down. The two communicate volumes with very little dialogue.
Dan: I’ve said this before, but I’m really not that big a fan of Daryl. I mean, yeah, he’s the badass crossbow zombie killer and all that, but there’s literally nothing in his character that I can identify with. So while I can appreciate the strides that Carol has made in her own badassery, the relationship between the two doesn’t really do much for me. It is definitely strange how Daryl’s the only one still concerned for Beth like you say, it’s like the others have just accepted she’s gone now and won’t expect to get her back. I’m quite interested in that thread of the story, because it looks like the folks in the creepy car haven’t been encountered before, so we could have at least one new foe that we haven’t seen.
Steve: I’m going to be honest here: I truly hope we get past the bad guys from Terminus as quickly as possible and move onto The Case of the Mysterious Car. Because I have this terrifying suspicion that they are going to milk Garath in his crew as much as possible, driving the story into the dirt (a la The Governor). Let’s not, okay AMC? Let’s just have it that Bob was infected like it sure as hell seemed, and they ate his tainted leg and they all die and that’s it. It won’t be anti-climactic, I promise, because you had your goddamn climax of that story in the season opener. Let’s not drag it out. Please. It’s time to move on.
Steve: How you can consistently be so supportive of Rick while not being a big fan of Daryl truly boggles my mind. If the zombie apocalypse came right now, at this very moment, Daryl is still the better person to have on your team than Rick even if the crossbow wielder is more of a soldier than a leader. At least you know he won’t give up on finding you if you disappear for more than five minutes.
Dan: Daryl will help you win the battle, Rick will help you win the war.
On another note, what did you think of the basement scene at the food bank? It was pretty claustrophobic down there with the water and the walkers closing in, and I loved the water-rotted look they gave the zombies. When Gabriel took off to the other side of the room, I half expected New Rick to shrug and say “I told you to stay put” while the water-walkers ate his face. I was half disappointed when that didn’t happen.
Steve: I have to give Greg Nicotero and the rest of the effects team mad props here. The series is now five seasons in, and they continue to find wonderful ways to keep the undead fresh. Whether it’s water-rotted walkers, cameo cadavers, or the flaming flesh-eaters we saw last week, it feels like at least every other episode gives me something to smile about. And I’m one of those people who is -- perhaps outside of this show -- exhausted of the zombie genre. Yet, here I am every week being impressed by something that I’ve either never seen or is new again. (On a side note, if you are an indie filmmaker or up-and-coming author and you are looking to do a zombie piece...don’t. I promise you, unless you are Greg Nicotero, it’s been done. So put it down for 10 years and let this run its course.)
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