Gird your loins, greaseballs! TWD ain’t playin’ no more. Four throat-slittings in the first five minutes last week? DUDE.

For this week’s show, “Strangers,” I got my “Fight the Dead, Fear the Living” t-shirt on and everythang. (Drinking bourbon? I’ll take the fifth. AHAHAHA.)

We learned as the lights went up at the end of last week’s episode (or even later, in post-show interviews) that Morgan (the good dad gone bonkers) will likely be joining our merry band sooner rather than later, as he’s tailing them. And that, as far as Terminians go, Smirking Gareth’s mom was Mary, one of the top barbecue short-order chefs at Terminus before Carol left her for the walkers; and that he had a brother, Alex, who was on the slab in the Safeway’s Fresh Meat Selection in the bowels of Terminus.

And that he perhaps has a twin or look-a-like brother who is way different but looks just the same, like that whole crazy “There Will Be Blood” thing. And, in flashback, that Smirking Gareth’s family helped set up Terminus as a non-ironic sanctuary, only to find that everybody was not so nice in the zombie apocalypse and then they went all We-Are-Skinny-White-People-Who-Ain’t-Taking-This-Crap-No-More and took the place back and ate all the bad guys. Or something.

It all makes “True Detective” look straightforward — well of COURSE inbred Cajun child-molesting meth dealers are in cahoots with devil-worshiping political overlords in Plaquemines Parish!! Who didn’t know that?

Rick spit gospel after Terminus was overrun, when he said he wanted to go back and kill Smirking Gareth’s crew: “It’s not over until they’re all dead.” YES.

Lights down! Here we go!

Our crew is on the move, getting away from Terminus. Baby Judith slurping on her bottle. Glenn and Maggie, reunited and it feels so good. They’re all walking in slo-mo, with cuts to private conversations. Rick thanks Carol for saving them. In another chat, Tyreese tells Carol that he’ll vouch for her killing the virus infested people back at the prison, but not to say anything about Jessie and her sister.

That night, Carol and Daryl are talking away from the campfire. “I can’t talk about it,” she says. “I can’t. I just need to forget it.”

“All right,” he says.

Cue spooky leaves rustling out in them there woods! Daryl walks out, looks, says it’s nothing. But we get the point of view of someone looking at them from behind a tree. Morgan? That you?

Bang, we’re into the first break. Thoughts: Where are all the dogs? Seriously. This is south Georgia. I’m from Mizzippi. People got dawgs down this way. There was this tornado in Atlanta one time a few years back? And the paper quoted a guy saying the first thing he did was run go get his dog? Wouldn’t they do the same in the zombie apocalypse? We know walkers eat animals (see, horse, Rick, Season One) but what happens when animals get bit? Do they turn into walker horses? Walker dawgs? THE HORROR, PEOPLE, THE HORROR.

We’re back: It’s the next morning. Daryl tells Rick about the possibility of somebody trailing them. Bob and Sasha smooch. Then….screams of “HELP!” They run, see a pastor climbing up on a boulder, walkers clawing at his feet. He’s wearing his clerical collar AND a suit coat, which seems a bit much, but our gang saves him anyway.

This is Father Gabriel, a thirtysomething dude with a shaved head, a nervous disposition and an oily feel to him. When asked if he has weapons, he says stuff like, “The word of God is the only protection I need.” And that he hasn’t killed any walkers or people, and that he confesses his sins only to God, not to a greasy bunch of sinners like Rick & Co. Uh-oh.

But he has a church nearby and our crew needs a roof. Turns out to be a nice little wooden church in the woods. He’s been isolated here almost the entire time, he tells them, scared to even go outside much. He’s apparently been copying the entire Old Testament in a journal. Carol flips through it and sees, “Thou shalt not kill” in all caps. He explains his supply of canned goods by saying the apocalypse happened right after the church’s annual food drive.

He says he’s cleaned out all the nearby places for more canned goods, save the the local food bank because (of course!) it’s the one building in town overrun with walkers.

Rick leads a small expedition to get the food, taking the pastor with them. Before he leaves, he tells Carl, “You are not safe. No matter how many people are around or how clear the area….you are not safe. It only takes one second. One second and it’s over. Never let your guard down.”

Carl, youthful believer in humanity, says they’re strong enough not to be afraid. “He’s hiding something,” Rick says, unmoved.

Commercial two. Thoughts. Carl: Age and treachery overcome youth and skill every. Single. Time. Listen to the old man.

Back to the action: The pastor, Rick, Bob, Sasha and Michonne head out to the Walker Safeway. Others fan out to scavenge elsewhere. Carol and Daryl find an abandoned car on a country road. It won’t crank, but there’s a charger in the trunk. Carol flicks it on and saves they’ll leave it there in case things go bad at the church.

Rick’s crew gets inside the food bank, but all the goodies are in the basement, which is filled with a good two feet of rainwater (the roof had caved in) and walkers. “If a sewer threw up, this is what it would smell like,” Bob says.

Commercial. Thoughts. Hair care. How come Daryl and Rick never wash their hair? The well-presented gentleman at least trys. Who does Carol’s pixie? How come Michonne’s locks never grow out? Does she do them herself? Is there a stash of Hot Six Oil we haven’t seen?

Back: Our crew goes down in the water-sloshing basement, getting boxes of canned food, fending off walkers off with shelves. Father Gabe tries to run back up the steps, but they fall apart. Walkers converge! He recognizes one walker, a former church lady! Everyone runs to save his cry-baby self. Bob gets dragged underwater by a walker, but Sasha swings into action with a beat-down save. Phew! On the way back to the church, pushing their boxes of food on trolleys, Michonne tells Rick she no longer misses life before the apocalypse, but does miss Andrea and Herschel. Says she doesn’t even miss her sword.

Once back at the church, Rick finds Carl along a side wall, looking at the wooden shutters. He shows Rick cuts along the wood, like knives were hacking at it. Then he leads Rick to the back wall of the church. Carved there are the words, “You’ll burn for this.” Father Gabe is no saint, y’all.

And yet more commercials! Here’s one for the new Keanu Reeves movie. Talk about terror, kids, picture sitting through two hours of that.

We’re back! The gang is having a decent dinner by candlelight. Abe, the Army dude, toasts them but says they have to get Dr. Eugene to Washington so that he can “make the dead die.” Eugene says there’s fuel, food, refuge in Washington, like the inner Beltway is actually prepared for sweeping worldwide disaster, so there’s a happy little reminder this is fiction. You know it’s going to be a bad, bad move because Big Government Is Never The Answer To The Problems of The American People.

But we’ve got to have a plot line, so Judith gurgles, Rick takes it as a sign and everyone claps and signs on.

Father Gabriel is sitting off by himself. Rick sidles up to him and thanks him for letting them drink the communion wine. “You’re hiding something,” Rick says. And if it hurts the gang in any way, “I’ll kill you.”

Carol goes out to the car. What the heck? She needs fresh air in the middle of the night? Daryl comes up and … the car with that cross on the back window roars by! The one that took Beth! He knocks out the back taillights of their car (so the bad guys won’t be able to see their car from the back), they jump in and take off in pursuit.

Back at the church, Bob is outside, too, alone. He’s standing by a tree, gets emotional and starts sobbing. And…BAM! Gets clocked upside the head! Falls! Hooded figure! Morgan?

Commercial. For six hours.

Bob has been dragged to a campfire. Fuzzy shots of…Smirking Gareth! And Martin, the Terminian we thought Tyreese had beaten to death, and a couple of others.

Bob is tied up to a pole, sitting on the ground. “You people took our home away from us,” Smirking Gareth is monologuing. Now, in order to live, we have to hunt, he says. No biggie, he stresses, this isn’t personal. But no matter how much we hate all this ugly business, he says, “a man’s got to eat.”

Camera pulls back…and we see one of Bob’s legs is cut off! It’s roasting on the fire, with a foot at the end! Gareth takes a bite of meat off the bone, says, “You taste much better than we thought you would.”
AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!

We’re done! Previews show bang-bang-shoot-em-up next week with dialogue saying “now three of us are gone.” (Gone, mind you, not necessarily dead. And those “three” could be Daryl and Carol running off to find Beth, plus Bob, who’s not running off anywhere.)

 


kMichael Cudlitz as Abraham, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes. Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC