The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 2 “Strangers” Review

The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 2 Stream

In “Strangers”, Rick has suspicions on Father Gabriel while a member of the group gets bitten in more than one way.

Everything after the break will contain complete spoilers and a discussion of The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 2.


The Walking Dead has a strong record of kicking off the season on full throttle. Where the quality has been a little inconsistent is in the transitional episodes after the big event or showdown. Coming off the action-packed premiere, “Strangers” did feel sluggish at times in comparison. However, in terms of what this episode set out to accomplish which was to address the gang coming back together, introduce a new character and set up the next story arc, “Strangers” is a solid effort.

With the gang reunited there were some issues that needed to be hashed out which made for a talk-centric start to the episode. Of course on The Walking Dead, characters don’t go into extended monologues rather they get to the point of the matter using as few words as possible. Some of it boils down to economic storytelling though the writers sure love coming up with T-shirt catch phrases like “Hold on to your squirrels” and “You only tell your sins to god”.

The best of these dialogue scenes where characters talk in short sentences is Rick asking Carol for permission to join her. It shows how much respect Rick has for Carol and it’s nice to see that the two parental figures of the group have buried their differences.

You’ll Burn For This

Though Tara is a relative stranger, her open and straightforward nature has helped her to be accepted into the group. A part of survival in the post-apocalypse is quickly accessing new people. After everything he’s been though, Rick’s bullsh*t detector is finely tuned, immediately catching on that Father Gabriel is hiding something.

The way Father Gabriel is introduced tells us as much about our gang as it does about him. Firstly, Rick’s initial reaction to a stranger yelling for help in the distance is caution. He doesn’t decide to help the man in distress until Carl urges him to do so. Secondly, everyone in Rick’s gang is alive because their trauma and experiences have forged them into the ultimate survivors.

So seeing Father Gabriel completely helpless is a real conundrum as to how he’s survived alone for so long. If there’s a part of Gabriel’s story that is the truth, it’s that he’s been holed up in the church eating canned goods since the outbreak. Adding a new character can be tricky business because there are already a number of under developed and under utilized characters. Hopefully, the writers have a clear game plan with Father Gabriel.

Later at the church, Abraham’s after dinner toast, okay so there are some mini speeches, is like a meta commentary on the series: they fight the undead, rinse & repeat. Which brings to mind the question how long can this survival series sustain itself before it’s just repeating the same stories or does there need to be a clear end game at some point. This makes the prospect of a cure in Washington D.C. all the more intriguing. But since there’s a new spin off series in the works, we shouldn’t be holding our breath for the cure any time soon.


What About Bob?

Last but not least let’s talk about Bob. Since everyone survived Terminus and a new character is introduced in an already sizeable cast, it shouldn’t be surprising that someone is on the chopping block. Bob’s carefree smooches with Sasha pretty much sealed his fate since happiness on The Walking Dead is like the kiss of death.

At the food bank, killing those walkers behind the shelves was a sketchy plan to start with. Rick should have left Gabriel to die after he left their protection. The way Gabriel stood there with his arms outstretched is like he wanted to die and to be punished for his sins.  But back to poor old Bob, it’s pretty safe to assume he got bit under the water. It’s really sad to see Bob the optimist, crying alone in the woods, knowing that he could have had a future with Sasha.

Yes the final scene showing The Hunters hungrily chowing down on Bob’s dismembered leg is … stomach churning. It’s also disturbing how cold and as matter of fact Gareth is. Eating Bob alive is not an act of revenge. “It’s not personal” as Gareth said, “it could have been anyone”.  The Terminus may have been destroyed but the story line continues on in a horrific way.

“Strangers” is a good follow up to the season premiere setting the stage for a final confrontation between Rick’s gang and the Hunters.

What do you like or dislike about this episode? Are you excited about Daryl and Carol’s tracking down the car with the white cross?

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Posted on October 20, 2014, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I said the same thing about Bob in my review, he was probably bitten. Only explanation for him being alone outside like that. I’m wishing I hadn’t watched trailer over the offseason because I know Gareth speaks with Rick (or someone) about DC, so we’re leading into a quasi-cooperational effort somehow. I’m hoping Morgan comes into play somewhere in there. It would seem, given the horizontal marking on the tree, that Gareth and crew are making the tree markings and Morgan is actually following them, no?

    Any predictions on who/what Daryl and Carol run into following the car that took Beth?

    • I totally agree Bob got bitten. Bob normally sees the bright side to things so seeing him cry by himself makes sense he’s a goner. I haven’t watched the trailer but at some point Rick and Gareth are going to have a head to head. I hope Rick makes good on his promise to Gareth heheh. Last season, Beth came across something with D.C. on it, it’s cool how the writers have been dropping these easter eggs. When camera zoomed onto the tree with the marking I was wondering why. I totally forgot about the marking Morgan was following in the premiere. I’m really curious where Morgan is going and how he’ll meet the group.

      Daryl and Carol’s side mission is a complete mystery to me. I think a big clue is the white cross on the back window of the car. You have any theories?

      • Oh wow, I completely missed what Beth say with DC on it. What was that?

        The most obvious theory on the car with the cross is that they’re with Gabriel. But, I don’t think that’s the case. Mostly because it’s too obvious, but also because the group checked around the church and I’d think they would’ve noticed if another vehicle was coming and going. I think that’s a completely separate group/person. Maybe not even religiously related, maybe they just stole that car. I think Beth will get an episode or two all to herself sometime very soon.

        • I think it was in the episode last season where Beth wanted to get some alcohol and came across some souvenir which was embolden with D.C. on it. I guess for people re-watching the show they’ll go OMG they were planning that way ahead and served as a little nugget for comic readers.

          It would be interesting to focus on Beth from the time she got captured to the present. Gabriel is more troubled than sinister, he would have died if Rick didn’t save him; I agree he’s unlikely to be involved with kidnapping young girls. Then again, the Governor seemed all nice and friendly at first.

  2. If the comics are any indication of anything, Bob was definitely bitten. Any time we get a hint of optimism, whether the show OR comic book, something big and bad is bound to happen.

    • When Bob and Sasha were all smiles and kisses at the beginning of the episode, I pretty much called at least one of their deaths. I heard that the producers will be following the comics more closely, I agree Bob was definitely bitten.

  3. I wonder – was Bob part of the Terminus group before or did Gareth seem so familiar with him just because the Grimes gang were the catalyst to the destruction of Terminus? Poor Bob. He finally felt part of a group to end up with such a sad fate (death by walker is one thing, eventual death by fellow humans because they are eating you, whole other level). Father Gabriel is definitely sketchy. Is his isolation punishment for what he did in the past?
    I do hope they don’t draw out the Carol/Daryl Beth chase and have those two get separated from the group right away.
    Was good to see Rick give Carol the respect she deserved and ask to be part of her group. The food bank scene was gross and seemed a little forced with them having to go into a pool of walkers. Abraham’s speech was bit hokey for me but I think he’s kind of hokey to begin with. The series does need a purpose to continue on so maybe the DC plan will be a long drawn out one. Hopefully we’ll find out where Beth is in the next episode or two. Would be nice if Maggie pretended she slightly cared about what happened to Beth.

    • I think Gareth is a chatty guy and is familiar with Bob from Rick’s gang. Bob once said he was the lone survivor of his previous groups so it must mean a lot to him to find a new gang and girlfriend. So unfortunate. Can’t those Hunters hunt squirrels or something else? I think Father Gabriel’s back story will be revealed sooner than later, he’s not telling the whole truth and the markings on the church that Carl noticed has something to do with it.

      I’m very curious where the Carol/Daryl storyline is going. If they were smart, they’d follow the car to their base and come back with the whole crew to rescue Beth. Yeah, they could have found a better way to get rid of those walkers in the pool. It looks like DC will be the long range plan but they’ll have to over come a lot to get there. You know, I totally didn’t notice that Maggie hasn’t mentioned Beth or talked to Daryl about her. I wonder if Beth’s captors will be the main villains for the second half of the season or her storyline will be wrapped up earlier.

  4. Well that ep took a real Hannibal Lector turn near the end didn’t it?

  5. Hated everything about this episode. The first one was satisfying but poorly directed. This one was annoying especially the way it ended. (and it’s past time they found some different foliage to walk through. They have been filming in the same three outdoor locations or reusing the same trees on set for way too long). And why the hell wouldn’t Tyrese kill that guy that was going to snap Judith’s neck. I thought he was dead. He tells Carol that he took care of him. He did not. (that annoys me) The bad direction. The staleness. I loved last season but I’m close to calling it quits. Maybe they’ll show some more of the back story of The Hunters. And we’ll see some good character evolution. because all of the main guys have become stoic and boring. Or maybe they’ll kill off a beloved main character bringing back a true sense of jeopardy (and not just Bob. Did they save him by cutting off his leg? Was he bitten? was he going to suicide? Or was it all annoyingly cutesy misdirection?). One more episode like this and I’m out. I enjoyed the character dynamic and the politics. I liked the soap opera that it was. Now it’s a superhero show. With this seasons cartoonishly evil super villains. This episode’s ending was like a super-villain origin story. From this day forward we will be known as the Hunters. Also the new actors are not very good. And the dialogue doesn’t help. The show changed dramatically and I’m not liking it.

    • What he said. Because he was me.

    • I also noticed the guy Tyreese supposedly killed looked like he was back with the Terminus gang. It was a good character moment for Tyreese to rescue Judith and get revenge, so it does throw me for a loss if that guy really is alive. Hope that mistake doesn’t come back to haunt him, too late for Bob though. I agree that the Hunters need to be more fleshed out (sorry for the bad pun), the speech by Gareth sounded like it came from a writer if that makes sense.

      As for your questions about Bob, I’m certain that it will all be explained next episode. He’s still alive … at least for a little while longer. Hope the show can turn it around for you.

  6. While it was a solid episode, the ending should’ve followed the “Talk Less, Show More” rule in relation to horror and shocking the audience. Gareth’s comments on Bob’s tender leg was more funny than shocking, and it leaves little to the imagination. The shots should’ve just been Gareth chewing on the slab of meat, and Bob looking at new stump, and another shot of Gareth, and the Terminus survivors. I didn’t like how the ending spoonfed the obvious.

    • I agree Gareth’s speechifying, especially about devolving into the Hunters, was a bit much, it could have been handled better for sure. Like it wasn’t already obvious they zoomed in on Bob’s foot still burning in the fire. Also, I would think Bob should be in agony even if the wound was cauterized, it’s almost like he didn’t know his leg was missing until he looked down or maybe I’ll have to watch it again. I still liked the episode though and I want to see how this plays out.

  7. I had a suspicion that Bob had been bitten too, just by the way he was acting…does eating the flesh of someone infected with the virus also infect the person eating them? Because that could be a good twist…they eat him, and then get infected themselves.
    For some reason, both this and American Horror Story have really disappointed me so far…I think maybe my attention span just isn’t very good and the shows have gone on so long now that I’ve just lost interest because I can’t find a fault with this season yet…apart from just me being bored XD haha

    • Haha, that would be so nasty if those cannibals started turning into walkers from the inside out. That would be a cruel justice. Yeah, everyone in the church was smiling during the dinner and Bob was all teary-eyed outside … poor Bob!

      So far I’ve watched AHS Murder House and Asylum, at least that show changes it up each season but it doesn’t sound like it’s helping the current season. Well I hope TWD gets more interesting for you, wouldn’t want you to fall asleep watching it haha 😉

  8. I thought the opening this week was a bit iffy but glad they got through all of the catching up pretty quickly. It turned out to be another great episode! I’m really interested to see where they take Father Gabriel’s character, but the most shocking turn of events this week had to be Bob. I too thought he had been bitten. If he had, what would that mean for the people who are now eating him? It could get pretty interesting….

    • I thought the same as well, at the beginning of the episode there were boxes to be ticked off but like one commenter mentioned, they forgot to have Maggie ask “Where is Beth?” which is the question I’ve been asking at the end of each episode since she got kidnapped heheh. Yeah, what happened to Bob has a lot of fans shocked and wondering what’s going to happen next. This is the first time we’ve seen anyone eat infected flesh … this could get very interesting like you said.

  9. great follow up to the Premiere, liked a lot about it. I love how every episode just leaves us more and more questions to be answered and when those get answered, we still have others pending.

    Bob is a goner, so it doesnt matter if he was bitten or not. hopefully they will avenge him and any others that the former Terminus group end up getting

    Nice recap as always!

    • One of my questions that I think may get some answers next episode is Where Is Beth?

      Poor Bob, it’s only a matter of time before he dies. I also hope he gets avenged and Rick keeps his promise to Gareth … the one he made in the premiere!

      I’m liking the start of this season too so far! Thanks!

  10. I just got around to watching this one. Not as exciting as the premiere but pretty solid. I was really warming up to Bob and you could definitely tell due to his actions this episode he wasn’t likely long for this world. The end was pretty crazy. Hopefully I will get to the new episode and your review a little sooner this week!

    • The premiere is a tough act to follow, still pretty solid though. After Bob came up from under the water he was acting off. Like Axel from season 3, when I start warming up to a character their numbers might be up. I hope Sasha sticks round, I’m starting to like her more. Looking forward to your thoughts on the new episode!

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