WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
Is it just me or did The Walking Dead go out on a limb this week?
Ok, puns aside (and there are a lot of them – shish-ka-bob, bob’s burgers, bar-bob-q…), ‘Strangers’ was a well-paced follow on from last week’s explosive season opener. Creator of the Walking Dead comics, Robert Kirkman, personally penned this episode so it’s of no surprise that the script was thoroughly thought out and precisely balanced when dealing with multiple story elements. There was the introduction of a new character in Gabriel, the re-organizing of the group in a new setting and the sad fate of Bob’s leg to contend with. On top of all this, Kirkman managed to drop in some key moments of excitement as well as some downtime between different sets of characters.
Before we get to that scene, let’s take a look back at the earlier part of the episode. For a lot of viewers finishing off the terminus chapter last week may have brought up a fear that the group were now on a slow road to DC with a story that dragged on like it tended to do on the road to terminus. It’s a blessing then that their prayers were answered in the form of Gabriel, the latest character to make his way from the comic to the small screen.
Gabriel is nothing more than a huge question mark at this point, just as he was intended to be. We know from the evidence Karl discovered and the way he almost sacrificed himself to (what we can only assume was his wife) that this man has a lot of skeletons in his closet. Can the group trust him? Time will tell on that one, but so far he’s doing well to play the man of mystery card.
Elsewhere, there was a lot of tying up of loose ends in this edition of the show – Carol and Rick reconciling, Maggie learning about Tara’s involvement with the governor and Tyreese not wanting to discuss what happened with the girls. In order for the story to continue these all needed to be nipped in the bud, even if some of them were more convenient for the plot rather than the character, and to that degree they were checked off at the right speed to keep the momentum going from last week. There was also a new roadmap laid out by Abraham and Eugene with a finishing point somewhere in DC, the legitimacy of this is something that will no doubt become more significant as the season moves on.
Let’s face it though, the only thing viewers will be discussing after this episode is the sight of Bob’s leg slowly roasting away on an open fire. There are a lot of theories about this: Bob got bitten in the food bank basement and has, a) infected the people from terminus, b) infected them and saved himself if the bite was on his leg or c) been infected but not infected them because they may already carry the disease anyway. There is also another possibility that he was fine and they are just chopping on clean meat, given the way he left the church and cried it’d be a poor twist if this was the reality.
At this point, anything is possible even if the situation is directly from the comics, albeit with a different character. Personally, I’d really love it if the situation was flipped on its head from what’s expected just so the fans of the comics are left as surprised as the rest of us.
On a final note, those of you with keen eyes may have noticed a guy behind Bob who looked like the man holding Judith hostage in the cabin. If this is true then that brings up a few questions for Tyreese as he claimed to have killed him in the cabin, if it turns out he didn’t then that is going to cause a big problem should that character cause any deaths in the group.
What did you think of ‘Strangers’? Would love to hear your thoughts, feel free to post them in the comments section below or via our Facebook page.