So, remember how I said last week that I wasn’t exactly sure how I would be writing these posts, and that some of them might be heavier on the “recap” style of post and some might be heavier “review” style posts? I didn’t precisely say that? Crap. Well, that’s what I meant to say. Point is, this one’s gonna be less recappy than last week.
Also, I’m gonna be talking about the comics a bit, toward the end, but I’ll keep it spoiler-free for how I think the show’s going to go.
PREVIOUSLY ON THE WALKING DEAD: Throat-slitting! Head-batting! Improbable fireworks! Reunions! Bad decisions! And FIRE ZOMBIES, which in case you aren’t clear from context, are ZOMBIES THAT HAVE BEEN SET ON FIRE. In other words, the best thing ever.
So: It’s clear from the opening couple of minutes that this is going to be a slower more talky-style episode after the frenzy and horror and OMG FIRE ZOMBIES of the season premiere. It starts with a bunch of brief character-setting moments, including the most excruciatingly awkward fist-bump in the history of television (you can see Andrew Lincoln wincing, I swear) between Rick and Tara. They’re all (well, all but that) good moments, they’re just not super exciting.
There’s lots of walking through the woods. Michonne reaches for her sword to kill a zombie and is briefly startled that it’s not there. So… what happened to it? I swear that was the haft of the thing for the Darth Maul spear last episode, but I don’t remember it getting broken, and she shoulda kept the spear.
Daryl and Carol are taking watch. Daryl sees some foreshadowing running around in the woods! And opening credits!
They come back to Rick nearly shooting Daryl, who has been hunting. He’s captured some bundles of fur, which in no way resemble animals (seriously, any time they try and use a rabbit in this show they may as well replace it with a pink stuffed animal for as good as it looks) and then there are screams. Carl insists that they go help whoever it is. It’s Gabriel! Hi, Gabriel!
He’s in a spot of trouble.
The gang kills the hell out of the zombies and then Gabriel gets The Questions. Well, once he’s done vomiting. Turns out he’s killed no one– no walkers, no people, nothing– he’s just been living in his church, off of the results of a wonderfully-timed canned food drive, and apparently copying the Bible by hand over and over and over again.
He leads the group to the church, but not without making a couple of incredibly inappropriate jokes about how maybe he’s leading everyone into a trap. Rick checks the church out; it’s all good, and then Abraham tries to get everyone to go to DC with him and Mr. Obviously Not A Scientist, What the Hell is Wrong With You People. Everyone declines. In order. It’s kind of hilarious.
More character stuff. Rick talks to Carl about how he’s never safe, ever. Carl is looking like there’s a Carl’s Not In the House moment coming up. Rick questions Gabriel about how he’s been staying alive, and he mentions that there’s one place nearby he hasn’t cleaned out yet because there are too many zombies.
The first shot? The crew they sent along is Rick, Michonne, Sasha, Bob, and Gabriel. In other words, Rick and four black people– two of whom are a black man who’s been on the show and the new black man on the show. So… Bob’s gonna die, then, right? Because that’s what happens when this show introduces new black guys; they have to kill off the old one. And we’ve already seen Morgan is coming back this season, which makes me fear for Tyreese, too. Well, crap. I liked Bob. He was the only black man left on Earth who was named Bob. That’s gotta be worth something.
So the Crew of At Least One of Us is Doomed find their storefront. There’s a hole in the floor, the basement is flooded, and the basement is full of zombies. And, of course, all the food. Do they find something long and sharp– like, say, Michonne’s spear that she had last episode– for stabbery? No, of course not, we’ve gotta find an excuse to kill Bob, so we gotta climb down and use the shelves to keep the zombies away from us while we stab them at close range, because that makes perfect sense. This works until Gabriel freaks out and runs away after clearly recognizing one of the zombies, at which point they knock a shelving unit onto a bunch of them (zombies can’t drown, you morons) and save Gabriel.
And then Bob gets dragged underwater. And
bitten no, of course, I’m not bitten, I’m just fine, don’t inspect me for bites, I’m okay.
This bit has really awesome zombie makeup, btw:
(Interesting point: at this point in the series, the zombies are decayed enough that Sasha is able to brain the one that
bit Bob didn’t bite Bob with the corner of a green plastic recycling box. Those don’t normally shatter skulls.)
Back to the church. Detective Carl has found some sinister signs that there is sinisterness afoot. Namely, knife marks around a window outside the church– and, more worryingly, the words “YOU’LL BURN FOR THIS” carved into the wall. Carl points out that this “doesn’t mean Gabriel’s a bad guy for sure.” Pff.
Later, they’re celebrating, and Abraham gives a dumb speech about how they need to be dumb and go to DC with the dumb creepy guy who is OBVIOUSLY NOT A SCIENTIST. The characters aren’t too bright this season again so he talks them into agreeing to go. You know what’s in DC? MILLIONS OF ZOMBIES. MILL-EE-UNS. Morons.
More character moments. Carol tries to flee in a car. Daryl talks her out of it. And then a car with a white cross zooms by them– it’s the same car that kidnapped Beth! Daryl and Carol jump into the car and take off after it.
Bob shares a tender moment with Sasha and goes outside to cry. He’s totally not bitten
everywhere at all, guys. And then– wham. Rifle butt to the back of the head. And a zoom in on another weird marking on a tree, like we saw last episode and I’m not sure I mentioned.
And then something real interesting happens. Bob’s been kidnapped by Gareth and his people, including, in a moment of supreme annoyingness, the dude who Tyreese apparently didn’t beat to death last episode, because again, bad decisions seem to be a theme this season. Gareth gives Bob the exact same speech, word for word, that Chris gave to Dale in issue 63 of the comic book. And… oh, crap:
That’s, uh, a chunk of Bob he’s gnawing on there. Because they’ve amputated Bob’s leg at the knee. And they’re eating it. Right in front of him. He tastes surprisingly good, Gareth says.
Cut to credits.
For my money, this skeeves way more than the head-bashing and throat-slitting last week. And it gets directly to why I think The Walking Dead is one of the greatest adaptations from one medium to another that I’ve ever seen. Because they’re doing the “Hunters” arc here– and, again, Robert Kirkman wrote this episode, and he wrote the comic books the episode is based on, and Gareth’s entire speech here is lifted word-for-word from the comics. This show uses the comics as inspiration but they do not give one single crap about trying to be faithful. If the show wants someone to die who is alive in the comics– like, say, Andrea, they die. If they think it’s more interesting to keep someone alive for a while– like, say, Shane, who was dead almost right away in the comics and survived until the end of Season Two in the show– they stay alive. And they remix storylines as they see fit. See, I think I know what’s coming in the next couple of episodes, right? Because I know what happened next in this arc in the comics. But in the comics, this happened to Dale, who was already missing one of his legs– which is a thing that happened to Herschel in the TV show– and Dale had been bitten. And that made things interesting. In the show, Dale died three seasons ago, and Herschel lost a leg, and got beheaded by the Governor. In the comics, Dale lost a leg, and got eaten by the hunters– and Tyreese was the one beheaded by the Governor, although he killed Herschel too, but in a different way.
This is great. It means that the show can hit the high points of the comic series, but that the people who have been following them never really know what’s going to happen. And it’s one of the best things about the show.
NEXT WEEK ON THE WALKING DEAD: Oh, so very many jokes about this TV show. And, no doubt, absolutely insane amounts of brutality to go with it.
Is it next Sunday yet?