The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 4, “Slabtown”


(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)


1:30 PM, Sunday, 11/2/14

On Sunday afternoon. I was putting in some overtime hours, thinking about The Walking Dead, thinking about what a wild ride Season 5 has been thus far. I kept thinking about last week’s episode,” Four Walls and a Roof,” and was feeling very unsettled about how it all ended.

I thought about Rick, and our gang, and all that they’ve been through, and how the core group keeps getting more and more separated, more fragmented. I kept seeing Maggie and Glenn looking out the window as the Abraham & Co.bus pulled away, and it still doesn’t feel real, or right, their leaving. It all makes me feel very worried and anxious.

I thought about Beth, and wondered what has been happening to her, since she was abducted in a creepy black funeral car, and taken away, somewhere. I thought about what the night’s episode, “Slabtown,” would have in store for us. I thought about Gabriel, of his terrible tale, and what his ultimate fate on the show would be. I thought about Carol, and of that final scene, of Daryl coming out of the bushes, and how, when Michonne asks him, “Where’s Carol?” I thought about the weird look Daryl gives her, before turning back to the dark bushes behind him, and saying, curtly, to some mysterious somebody, “Come on out.”

And I thought, Who is in those damn bushes?

My friends and I asked each other this question on Halloween night, as we sat around the fire and watched our kids run around the yard in their costumes, hopped up on their Halloween haul of candy. My friends and I all agreed that we wanted the person(s) in the bushes to be Carol, Beth, and maybe Morgan, hanging back in the dark while Daryl made sure the coast was clear. That would be a pretty ideal scenario, right? But…we were doubtful, worried about Daryl’s vibe in that ending scene.  He was acting so weird, on edge. Not happy, not like, “Hey guys, we found Beth, and here’s Carol, and this is Morgan…he says he knows you, Rick. Now, we can all go to Washington, and cure this thing!”

As I worked, I thought about all this.  And there was something about that line...‘Go to Washington, and cure this thing.’  Where had I heard that line before?  Gareth.  In my mind, clear as day, I could hear Gareth’s voice, saying, “You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

That scene, of Gareth, saying those words, was in the Season 5 trailer, which I deconstructed at length, in my Season 5 prepost, “ReEntry.”  In the post, I even provided a Youtube video link for the reader to watch the trailer, if they wanted. I must have watched that trailer 20 times myself in the writing process, and I could hear Gareth’s voice saying those words.  And, sure enough, when I went back to my “ReEntry” post, and played the trailer again, later, there was Gareth, sitting in the dark, talking to someone (presumably Rick and the gang), saying:

“You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

Watching it again, I was like, “Wait…that scene hasn’t happened yet.”

Now, if you actually read this crazy blog, you know that if this Gareth scene had indeed happened yet, I would have probably transcribed it for you, word for word, in one of my Season 5 posts by now. While I don’t strive to recap every little scene in every WD episode, that scene would be a significant moment, significant enough for me to transcribe, significant enough for Kirkman, Gimple, & Co. to put in the Season 5 trailer, right near the beginning. It’s important. It’s a plot-changer.

And, that scene hasn’t happened yet.

But wait…Gareth’s dead…right? But, there he is, in the trailer, in that scene, sitting there in the dark, uttering those words, in that scene that hasn’t happened yet.


I called my WD buddy, and told her all this, and told her the crazy theory I was putting together in my head.  Then. I saw my other WD buddy, Mona, and while we walked dogs together, I told her what I was thinking, and shared my theory with her. They both went back to my “ReEntry”  post, and watched the trailer, again. And yep, there was Gareth, not dead, sitting in the dark, saying that line.

My WD buddy asked me, “Are you sure that hasn’t happened yet? He didn’t say that yet?”  I told her, “It hasn’t happened yet.”  And we were silent, as we tried to make sense of this.

So now, I ask you this, my readers…is there an Evil Twin Situation happening here? Does Gareth have an identical twin brother, a brother who was put in charge of Bob, and the other five Terms in his group, while Gareth went off to capture Carol, or do some other evil shit elsewhere  in the woods, using the markings they carved into the trees to keep track of where they were during their night lurkings?

Or…was Gareth the one who stayed back, because his shoulder was shot (by Rick, in the Season 5 premiere), while his evil twin brother, Greg (?), went after Carol (and was this close to getting her before Daryl’s fine self showed up and foiled his evil plan)?  And, so while Gareth got hacked to death by Rick’s Red-Handled Machete of Bloody Justice, evil twin brother Greg, or whatever his name is, is still out there, in the woods, on the loose, maybe lurking behind Daryl in the bushes in that final scene? (I actually have another guess as to who is in those bushes, a guess shared by many…we’ll get to that later in the post.)



...could it be?

…could it be?  Evil twins? Crazy…or crazy genius? 

An evil twin brother?  I wish I had one of those! (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers...just sayin'.)

“An evil twin brother? I wish I had one of those!” (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers, long ago…just sayin’.)

Welcome to my Evil Terminal Twin Conspiracy Theory, aka the ETTCT.  my WDO darlings.  In the ETTCT, I theorize that Gareth had an identical twin brother, probably Greg, (because Gareth and Greg just sounds right together, like names that identical twin brothers would have, and Gareth did refer to a “Greg” almost capturing Carol, before Daryl showed up). In the ETTCT, one twin brother gets killed by Rick, leaving the other twin out there in the woods, with weapons, and a small Term army, and a plan in the making to mete out some Terminal Revenge on Rick and the gang, probably in the form of making Rick and the gang join forces with them, and going up to Washington D.C. all together, “and cure this thing.”

Crazy? Perhaps…believe me, I’ve been called worse. My WD buddy thinks that maybe the trailer is messed up and that scene with Gareth got cut. Maybe… but the ETTCT could explain why we are seeing a dead man, in the Season 5 trailer, in a scene that hasn’t happened yet, making a deal with (probably) our gang, to ostensibly join forces, go up to D.C.together, and cure the walker epidemic, right?

Maybe I am totally wrong, which is fine, because evil twins are just super fun to talk about in general, as are conspiracy theories.  Maybe you all theorized that Gareth may have an evil identical twin already, and I’m just a step behind, and just now catching up, or catching on. If so, mad props, once again, to the forward thinkers…and to evil twins, and conspiracy theories.

But, before you say nay to the ETTCT, let us remember the Law of Kirkman, darlings….Kirkman will do as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions.

I suppose all shall be revealed in due time…and btw, if there isn’t a band already named Evil Twin, well, there should be.



The opening scene of fourth episode of The Walking Dead’s Season 5, “Slabtown,” shows Beth’s eyelids, closed and still for a moment, then beginning to flutter, and move, as Beth blinks awake.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings. We know she’s thinking, “Where am I?”

The first thing that captures Beth’s attention in the bright, sterile room is the second hand of a working analogue clock, as it moves around the clock’s face. As the camera pans back, Beth sits up in the hospital-type bed she is in, looks around. She has a deep cut across her left cheek, which looks like it’s been stitched closed, and she is hooked up to an I.V.. Beth gets up from the bed and moves to the window, taking the I.V. stand with her.  As she peers out the window, Beth takes in the grim sight of the blasted skyline of Atlanta.

beth sees bombed atlanta 1

As the second hand of the clock ticks from line to line, number to number, Beth moves to the the door, and finding it locked, begins rapping on the door loudly, calling out. When she hears footsteps approach, Beth quickly pulls the I.V. needle from her arm and holds it ready, to use as a weapon if she needs to.

The door opens, and a smallish dark-haired woman of sporty build, wearing a cop’s uniform, strides into the room first, followed by a lanky, bearded man wearing heavy-framed glasses and a white doctor’s coat.  The lady cop’s manner is stern, no-nonsense, aggressive, as she charges through the door, while the doctor’s manner is more submissive, placating, nervous.  He motions Beth down with his hands, as he walks through the door, behind the lady cop, tells Beth quickly that, “Everything’s ok, ok?”

beth meets dawn and the doc

The lady cop isn’t as placating. “Put it down,” she orders Beth curtly, referring to the I.V. needle, poised and ready, in Beth’s hand. “Drop it, right now.” There is no leniency in her voice, or manner, and Beth immediately complies, drops the needle to the floor.

The doctor introduces himself, with a slight, annoyed sigh in his voice at the lady cop’s hardball antics. “I’m Doctor Steven Edwards,” he says, “and this is Officer Dawn Lerner,” motioning towards the lady cop slightly with his head.

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is...his hands are stuffed into  the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready...

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is…his hands are stuffed into the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready to shut down any insubordination, whatsoever.

Doc Edwards asks Beth how she is feeling…Beth asks immediately, “Where am I?” Doc Edwards tells her that she is at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.  Beth asks how she got there, and Officer Dawn answers quickly, telling Beth that “her officers” found her on the side of a road, surrounded by “rotters.”

Doc Edwards adds that Beth’s wrist was fractured, and that she suffered a “superficial head wound.” Beth takes all this in in shocked silence, and my first thought, while watching this, was that those wounds were incurred most probably by Beth’s resisting Dawn’s “officers” as they forced her into the funeral car, against her will, and subduing her by force.  The injuries that Beth sustained don’t seem, (to me) to be the type of wounds one would get by fighting off walkers, although, of course, they could be. But, I’m not really buying Officer Dawn’s story here, and it doesn’t look to me like Beth is, either.

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately,

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately, “Beth.”

Then, hoping against hope, Beth asks, in a shaky voice, if “the man I was with, is he here too?” Officer Dawn replies quickly, “You were alone.  If we hadn’t saved you, you’d be one of them, right now…” ,  and Officer Dawn motions her head towards the window, towards the outside world, full of “rotters.”

And as we watch, Officer Dawn’s eyes narrow, from a look of wide-eyed concern and do-right vigilance, to something darker, harder, angrier…

Officer Dawn looks at Beth, says,”So, you owe us.”  And with those words, another debt meter starts running at Grady Memorial Hospital.

After this scene, the nimble, strident strings of the Bear McCreary opening title sequence build, and it is clear to Beth, and to all of us, what Doctor Edwards, judging from his cowed demeanor, already knows: Officer Dawn Lerner is a crazy bitch, and scary.  If Officer Dawn isn’t crazy, by the court-definition-legal-sense-of-the-word, she has at least four or five serious personality disorders kicking, with a vicious mean streak twisting and winding through it all. If Gareth could hold a grudge for a thousand years, it seems like Officer Dawn could hold a grudge for a thousand light years.

Later, as Beth joins Doctor Edwards on rounds, she follows him into one patient’s room, with the respirator and monitors all hooked up to batteries and generators. Doc Edwards explains that the patient was found on a recent run, under a bridge, suffering cardiac arrest and extreme dehydration. He was brought to the hospital, but, despite Doctor Edward’s efforts, the patient was showing no real signs of improvement.

cardiac arrest goner guy

code red is declared

.”I tried to do what I could,” Doctor Edwards says, resigned, as he reaches over and turns off the respirator.

“Wait,” says Beth, “that’s it?” We hear the cardiac monitor beeping in quick, irregular succession, then flatline. “If a patient doesn’t show signs of improvement,” Doctor Edwards explains. “Dawn calls it.” He walks away, leaving Beth to digest this disturbing piece of information, and gets what looks like the patient’s chart, and a scalpel, which Doc Edwards knifes matter-of-factly into the man’s temple, rekilling him. Beth looks away.

As she helps Doc Edwards wheel the body out of the room, Beth sees Officer Dawn talking with another officer in the hallway.  As they pass, Officer Dawn looks down, eyes the body of the dead patient on the stretcher, prompting Doc Edwards to stop, explain his decision to Officer Dawn as she listens for a moment before finally nodding her approval. Beth  takes this unsupervised moment to peer down the hallway, as if making mental notes to herself as to the layout of the hospital.

It seems Officer Dawn's approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

It seems Officer Dawn’s approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

Beth ventures a little further down the hallway, looks in one of the rooms, sees a young woman inside, dressed in hospital scrubs. The young woman, looking fearful, quickly closes the door in Beth’s face. Officer Dawn strides by, bids Beth to, “Come on, the body’s getting cold.”  Led by Officer Dawn, they approach a set double-doors, and Officer Dawn steps forward, pulls out a large set keys, and unlocks the doors, holding the door open and nodding Beth and Doc Grady through.

As they wheel the stretcher down the darkened, empty hallway, Beth asks Doc Edwards how many people are at the hospital. “Just enough to keep us going,” he replies. Doctor Edwards adds that while some people started here, others arrived later, as patients, and that “everyone has a job.”  When Beth asks if they could just bury this body, Doc Edwards replies that they “only go out when we need to,” and while dumping the bodies down the chute to the basement isn’t the most dignified system, it’s the safest and easiest way available to them.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows of the bottom floor were blown out, and they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers...

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows on the bottom floor of the hospital were blown out, but they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers, so it seems that entry and exit from the hospital is not so easy…

...and if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement

Doc Edwards adds if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement “take care” of some of the mess.

Beth watches the body fall down the tall, dark chute, and then hears the loud crash of the body hitting the basement floor, far down in the blackness below. Immediately, we hear the savagery and carnage of the walkers as they begin to feast upon the dead patient’s remains.

Later, Beth enters a small cafeteria room, and as she cautiously begins to select the offerings from the warming trays and spoon them onto her plate, she is approached by.. Gorman.

Gorman's opening line to Beth,

Gorman’s opening line to Beth, “You’re lookin’ better and better.” Ewwww.

Gorman is disguhhsting

Gorman is a disgusting, creepy nightmare.

Gorman recounts to Beth how he and another officer got a lead on some guns, so one night, they were “way out there” when they saw her, “wrigglin’ around in the road” with a “rotter” on top of her.  Beth continues to focus on loading her tray, does not respond, nor look at Gorman,. prompting him to ask her, “You don’t remember me, huh?”

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black,

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black.

Gorman leans forward, with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter

Gorman leans forward, and with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter “high on her thighs” when he and the other officer found her, but, lucky for her, “I got there first.”

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this creepy statement oozes over her.

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this lewd statement oozes over her.

Watching Beth silently load up her tray, Gorman introduces himself, “I’m Gorman.” When Beth continues to not engage with him, Gorman tells her that when someone does something nice for someone else, “it’s courtesy to show some appreciation.” Beth registers his meaning, but still says nothing, does not look at him.  Gorman adds, “Unless you want me to write down everything you’re taking,” and motions to Beth’s tray, full of food, drink. says, “Everything costs something, right?” Beth looks at him now, wide eyed and totally creeped out,  but says nothing. She turns with her tray, walks out of the room.  Gorman checks out her ass as she leaves, goes back to his business, whatever that is.

I find it a show of real strength that Beth did not cow down to Gorman in this scene. Although Beth is still young, and has questioned her own strength and value in these dire times, she is demonstrating how much she has learned from her father, from Daryl, from Maggie, Rick and the rest of the prison gang.  She is staying focused, assessing her situation, playing the game, until an opportunity arises for her to break free of this hospital of horrors .

As Beth walks down the long hallway, carrying her tray, she hears Officer Dawn’s voice coming from a room, instructing Noah, the young man who Beth saw mopping, earlier, “We’ll find Joan…until then, you’re on laundry duty, and I want my uniform washed,” and Noah echoes Officer Dawn’s next words, words he has heard many times before, “separately, and pressed.” Noah looks through the window, through the slats of the horizontal blinds, out at Beth as he says this, then turns with raised, joking eyebrows at Dawn, who regards him coolly from the recumbent stationary bike she is pedaling.

dawn and noah noah echoes dawn

“Smartass,” Officer Dawn Lerner mutters, and Noah salutes her playfully, with a small smile, before turning back to his task.

Beth steps into Doc Edwards’ lair, finds him spinning some vinyl…

doc edwards listens to some vinyl

A little blues by Junior Kimbrough…Beth says she can’t remember the last time she heard a record. Doc Edwards says playing  records is one of the few perks he gets as the only doctor at Grady Memorial.

doc edwards suffocating in boredom

Doc Edwards tells Beth that at one point in his life, he felt like he was drowning in research, but “now the oceans are dry, and I’m suffocating in boredom.” Beth tells him,”If you’re safe enough to be bored, you’re lucky.”

Beth tries to give her tray of food to Doc Edwards, and when he asks her about her food, she replies, “The more you take, the more you owe, right?” After Doc Edwards promises he won’t tell Dawn, he bids Beth to sit, try the not-quite-delicious guinea pig creation that is constituting the meat entree on Beth’s plate. Doc Edwards cuts her off a bite, holds it out to her…

Mmmm...guinea pig.  I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the there a garden somewhere?

Mmmm…guinea pig. I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the plate…is there a garden somewhere?

Chewing, Beth’s face says it all, but she gives Doc Edwards a good-natured smile of thanks. She turns to notice the large painting to her right, “The Denial of Saint Peter,” by Caravaggio.  Doctor Edwards says that he found it outside of the High Museum of Art, in the trash. Beth remarks on the beauty of the painting, and Doc Edwards regards the masterpiece, says that it has no place in this world anymore…art has nothing to do with survival…art is about transcendence, rising to a higher level.

“We can’t do that anymore?” Beth asks.  Doc Edwards turns to look at her. “I don’t know,” he replies.  Beth tells him she still sings…he smiles at her.  Doc Edwards seems to have a genuine liking for Beth.  She seems to represent a light, a spark of life, that he hasn’t encountered in a long, long time.

Just then, Officer Dawn pokes her head in the doorway, announces, “We’ve got a new one.” As they gather around the new arrival, an unconscious man, a male officer announces they found his wallet, and his identification.  He then goes over to Officer Dawn, whispers something to her that catches her attention, as the female officer recounts how the man dropped from the first floor of a building, trying to get away from…something, presumably a walker (or a rotter, as they say in these parts).

Doctor Edwards is quick to announce that the man’s vitals are dropping, he’s lost a lot of blood, and concludes, “I don’t think he’s going to make it,” Officer Dawn tells the male officer, “I’ve got this,” pushes her way through, and tells Doc Edwards, “You said you wanted to save people, so save him.”

Doc Edwards tells Dawn,

Doc Edwards tells Dawn, “You told me not to waste resources…this guy’s a loser.”

“Well,” replies Officer Dawn, “this time, I want you to try.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Doc Edwards gets to work, asking Beth to plug the ultrasound and EKG into the battery pack.  As he moves the ultrasound over the unconscious man’s lungs, Doctor Edwards sees on the imaging monitor that the man has a punctured lung, which is filling the thorax cavity up with blood, making the man unable to breathe.  The EKG monitor starts to beep quickly, signalling cardiac distress. When Doc Edwards hands Beth a set of keys and asks her to get him a large hollow needle from the cabinet, Officer Dawn grabs the keys from Beth’s hand, shoves her aside, unlocks the cabinet and grabs a needle and syringe from inside, and hands it to Doctor Edwards.  Doctor Edwards plunges the needle through the man’s chest, releasing the blood in a spray.  The man immediately begins to breathe easier.

needle plunge

When Officer Dawn asks Doc Edwards if the man is going to make it, Doc Edwards pulls up the man’s shirt, exposing the severe bruising on his abdomen, suggesting internal bleeding…Doc Edwards is pretty hell bent on pronouncing the man a lost cause, which sends Officer Dawn into a silent fury.  She hauls off and slaps poor Beth, hard, right on the cut on her cheek, reopening the wound, causing it to bleed anew. Bitch!

It's like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by...

It’s like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by…

As Doc Edwards looks on in shock and horror, Officer Crazy-Ass Dawn Lerner looks him in the eye, tells him to “consider the stakes, here.” As Dawn the Devil Spawn stalks out of the room, Beth lifts a shaky hand to her bleeding cheek.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Later, as Doc Edwards tends to her wound, Beth asks him if she, Officer Dawn, is always like that.  “Only on her bad days, ” Doc Edwards replies. “Unfortunately for us, those are the only kind she has.”

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt...Dawn likes things neat.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt, as Dawn likes things neat. “She must love your office,” Beth says sarcastically.  Doc Edwards grins at this.  “We all have ways of making her pay.”

After Doc Edwards steps out to let Beth get changed into her clean shirt, Beth discovers that Noah has left her a gift in the clean shirt’s pocket…a green lollipop, like the kind a doctor’s office would keep on hand to give to children. This brings a small, secret smile to Beth’s face.

Her respite doesn’t last long, because outside in the hall, two officers are bringing in a young woman, who is wearing the telltale blue scrubs of Grady Memorial Hospital and struggling against them.  Joan, the woman who Officer Dawn spoke of “finding” earlier. She has a walker bite on her arm.

So gnarly.

So gnarly.

As they strap Joan down to the bed, Dawn begins by chastising Joan, telling her she doesn’t know what she was thinking, but Joan has two choices now…either they cut off her arm, or Joan does. Clearly, Officer Dawn’s bedside manner leaves something to be desired…

screw you says joan

Joan replies, through clenched teeth, “Screw you!” She then looks at Gorman, and I think she says, “And your little bitch, too!” Enraged, Gorman lunges towards Joan, only to be pushed back and ordered out of the room by Dawn.

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire...

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire…”We are not going to let you die, we are not going to let you turn,” Officer Dawn yells at Joan before Doc Edwards does the deed. “I’m not going back to them!” Joan yells at Officer Dawn. “You can’t control them!” Officer Dawn insists, “I will!”

After this horrific incident, Beth brings some bloodied scrubs into the laundry room. Noah is there, ironing clothes with an old-timey style iron. He introduces himself as the one who put a lollipop in her shirt pocket.  Beth thanks him for that, to which he replies that it seemed like she could use a pick-me-up.  As he takes the bloodstained clothes, he adds that after this day, he should have given her the whole jar.

Beth asks him about Joan, asks if she had just stayed, and worked, couldn’t she have done her time, paid her debt to the hospital, and left?  Noah shakes his head, with a wry little smile, replies that he hasn’t seen it work like that, yet.  Beth asks him how long he’s been there…he replies that he’s been there just over a year.  Beth’s face registers her dismay and horror at this news, as the gravity of her situation sinks in.  Noah shows her a long scar on the back of his leg, tells her that he and his dad were pretty messed up when Dawn’s officers found them…at least, that’s what they told him. They told Noah that they could only save one of them, either him, or his dad.

Noah tells Beth that he believed that story for the longest time…but now, he knows. His dad was bigger, stronger, and would have fought back…his dad was more of a threat. “So they left him behind,” Beth says.  Noah says that Dawn looked the other way, that while she says she is in charge, she is, only just barely…and it’s getting worse. And that’s why, when the time is right, Noah says that he is leaving this place, going to find his uncle, and make his way back up to Richmond to get his mom.

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak,

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak, “But they don’t know shit about me, what I am, what you are…” And as he says this, Beth smiles, the first real smile since she woke up in Grady Memorial.

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, relieves the female officer standing guard. She has a try of food for Beth, bids her eat. Beth replies that she doesn’t eat much, that she’s “not staying longer than you make me.”

Dawn says nothing, sits, pats the spot next to her for Beth to join her.

dawn has a chat with beth

Dawn advises Beth not to look at her stay at Grady Memorial as a sentence, that they are giving Beth clothing, shelter, protection…and when have those things ever been free? Beth tells Dawn that she didn’t ask for their help, and Dawn replies, “But you needed it.”  Beth sits with her hands folded, says nothing. Dawn continues her proselytizing, saying that one day the world will return to what it was like before, and until then, they have to tow the line, and people like Beth, who have been given help, need to give back.

Beth looks at Dawn, asks her if she really thinks that someone is going to come save them…Dawn seems assured that there are “people like us” out there, people who will restore order to the world, and until then, they all need to chip in, to work, and give back.  She tells Beth to keep working, and she’ll pay off her debt, be out of there in no time.  Beth, after hearing Noah’s story, knows better, but says nothing.  Dawn tells Beth in order for her to do all this, she needs to eat, to get strong, and heal.  So, Beth reaches over, spears a bite of food on her fork, and begins to eat in small bites. Satisfied, Dawn leaves.

Later, Beth is in Joan’s room, mopping up blood from the floor.  She is humming a little tune to herself. and Joan smiles, says, “That’s really nice.”

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her,

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her, “Not yet.”

Beth, at a loss for what to say, tells Joan, “I’m so sorry.” Joan replies that she (Officer Dawn) can control them, but she won’t, because it’s easier not to, because “she’s a coward.” Beth asks Joan what he, Gorman, did to her. Joan replies that it doesn’t matter.  She looks off sadly, says, “I guess it’s easier to make a deal with the devil when you’re not the one paying the price.”

The implication here, the way I see it, is that Dawn has the male officers do her bidding, provide the muscle to get her will done, and take on the dirty, dangerous work, like going on runs, and “savenapping” people (Chris Hardwick’s term on Talking Dead for the Grady Memorial officers’ predilection for “saving/kidnapping” vulnerable and injured people), bringing them back to Grady Memorial, and keeping them there against their will, while the poor savenapped people incur debt to the hospital by needing treatment, and getting their most basic needs met…a debt that they can never seem to pay off, to one day leave the hospital.

In return, Dawn looks the other way while the officers harass, rape, and brutalize the female patients, or whomever they want to…and lately, it seems that the balance of power is shifting. Dawn Lerner calls the shots, but she is more and more of a figurehead, while the male officers do as they please, under her nose, without her knowing the full extent of what is really going on.  And instead of confronting the officers, Dawn has taken the path of least resistance, and looks the other way.

Later, Beth is in her room, washing bloodied bandages…she stops, and goes to her bed, feels under the mattress for the lollipop that Noah had slipped her.  It is not there. Beth is startled by a voice behind her. “Lose somethin’?” She turns around to see Gorman, who is holding up her lollipop.  “This is yours, ain’t it?”

Gorman pulls the plastic wrapper off the lollipop and begins to suck on it. “Mmmmm.”

I may never eat another lollipop again.

I may never eat another lollipop again…

After making a big show of eating Beth’s lollipop, Gorman offers it to her, telling her that maybe he’ll let her have a taste…

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless...

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless.

So. Gross.

So. Gross!

Before things can get too much grosser (and things are pretty much at gross max-capacity right about now), Doc Edwards steps into the room, tells Gorman to back off of Beth.  Gorman is pretty pissed at being interrupted, says that “the girl should have been mine.” Doc Edwards replies that nobody is his, and that Gorman isn’t getting Joan back, either.  Gorman disagrees, saying he will get Joan back…he turns to Doc Edwards, asks, “Do you think Dawn’s gonna stop me?” Doc Edwards says that he will stop Gorman.

Gorman, with a little laugh, asks Doc Edwards if he’s stepping up…Doc Edwards steps closer to Gorman, asks him what’s going to happen if Gorman gets sick, or gets an infection, or gets bitten…Gorman points the lollipop at the doctor, replies that he thinks that maybe someone else will be there to help, someone who isn’t Doc Edwards…just then, Dawn appears in the doorway, summons Gorman.

Without missing a beat, as he backs away from Beth, Gorman tells Doc Edwards, and Beth, just out of Dawn’s earshot, that maybe, just maybe, someone else will be in charge, someone who’s not her, (meaning, of course, Dawn Lerner)…

...and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room.

…and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room. Damn!

After Gorman takes his leave, Beth turns to Doctor Edwards, asks him why he stays when he can leave any time he wants to. In reply, Doc Edwards brings Beth to the bottom floor, and shows her…

welcome to the ground floor of grady memorial

“Welcome to the ground floor of Grady Memorial Hospital.”

Doc Edwards then brings Beth up to the roof of the hospital, where we see the rooftop garden, and this…

...the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

…the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that after the turn, after they began to evacuate people from the hospital, they heard the bombs, and the screams, outside the hospital.  All the people they had evacuated were…gone.  They stayed put inside the hospital for a while, until the food ran out. Then, they began to go on runs, and they encountered people in need of help, of healing.  Doctor Edwards wanted to help them, but Dawn told him they couldn’t spare the resources.  One day, Doc Edwards saw a boy, covered in napalm burns and needing medical assistance, so he struck a deal with Dawn…those who were treated at the hospital would stay on, once they were healed, and work to compensate for the resources used in their treatment.

Doctor Edwards tells Beth that it was Dawn who kept them going, kept them alive…Beth asks him, “You call this living?” Doc Edwards laughs a little at his, says that at least they are protected, breathing…not out there.

Beth hedges, says that she should get back. Doc Edwards suggests that Beth go check on Mr.Trevitt, the man who was brought in earlier, and then call it a day. He tells her that Mr. Trevitt is stable, and is due for another 20 mg of clozapine. Tomorrow is another day, and they can start fresh.  Beth agrees, and goes to do as he asks.

Beth prepares the clozapine, crushing the capsules into powder, adding water, and filling the syringe.  As she injects the solution into Mr.Trevitt’s arm, Noah comes by to check on her.  As they greet each other, Mr. Trevitt begins violently convulsing in his bed, the EKG beeping wildly.  Not good.  Beth stares, helpless, unbelieving, saying, “No…no…”

Mr. Trevor goes not good for poor Beth.

Mr. Trevitt goes flatline…so not good for poor Beth.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevor.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevitt.

After rekilling Mr.Trevitt, Dawn whirls to face Beth, pointing the bloody point of her scissors at Beth. “What did you do to him?” she demands.  Beth is at a loss for an explanation.

Officer Dawn says,

Officer Dawn says, “He was fine until you two were alone with him…something happened.”

Noah speaks up, covers for Beth, tells Dawn that while Beth stepped out to get some gauze, he was mopping and accidentally unplugged the ventilator, just for a second, before plugging it back in again…Dawn orders Gorman to take Noah to her office, and Noah is roughly led away.  Doc Edwards tries to step in, telling Dawn it was an accident, to no avail.  She stalks off after Gorman and Noah.

Beth tells Doc Edwards that Noah’s version is not what happened…Mr. Trevitt just started seizing…Doc Edwards furrows his brow, asks her, “You gave him clonazepam, right?”  Beth thinks a moment, says, “Clozapine…you said clozapine.” Doc Edwards looks at her like, poor stupid girl, denies this, says he told her clonazepam (which he didn’t, he said “clozapine,” and set Beth up…what a douche).

Suddenly, they hear the sounds of Noah’s savage beating in Dawn’s office…Beth tries to run to help Noah, while Douchey Doc Edwards holds her back.

Poor Noah!

Poor Noah!

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, closes the door behind her.  She informs Beth that she knows what really happened, that while Noah is one of her “best workers,” he is not a good liar. Dawn tells Beth that they are there to serve the greater good, and that, she, Beth, is “not the greater good.” She tells Beth that she is weak, and when Beth protests, Officer Dawn asks her how many people had to risk their lives to save hers?

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that “the wards work to keep the officers happy, and if the officers are happy, they work harder” at serving the greater good, by keeping the system going.

Officer Dawn says that one day, they will be rescued, and they will then help put the world back together, and while there have been compromises that have had to be made, their system is working…she tries to cut Beth’s self-worth down, telling her that while in here, she is worth something, out there, she is somebody’s burden.

When Beth calls “bullshit” on this, Officer Dawn yanks up Beth’s arm,  showing the scars from when Beth tried to cut her wrists in despair, back in Season 2, at her father’s farm, back in the early days of the turn.

Then, Officer Dawn tells Beth that it’s ok, “some people aren’t meant for this life, but they shouldn’t hold back the people who are.”  And with this shitty proclamation, Dawn Lerner leaves Beth standing in the room, alone, closing the door behind her as she walks out.

Later, Noah, sporting a black eye, tells Beth “it’s not as bad as it looks.” Besides, in an act of contrition, Dawn has been generous with the painkillers.

Noah  shows come compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn's

Noah shows some compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn needed Trevitt for something, that that’s what the whole thing was about.  He says, of Dawn Lerner, that she is “trapped, too.”

Beth tells Noah they're not trapped.

Beth tells Noah they’re not trapped. “I’m going with you,” she says.

Noah looks away for a moment, then they begin to make plans.  Down the chute is the fastest way out, and landing on the bodies below would muffle any noise. Noah tells Beth that he can keep Dawn occupied if she can find the spare key to the elevator bank in Dawn’s office. Beth nods.

Later, while helping Dawn reorganize a room, Noah gives Beth the signal to go ahead…she slips away and stealths into Dawn’s office…

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth finding Dawn's secret porno stash.

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth happening upon Dawn’s secret porn collection as she looked for the spare key.  While Beth doesn’t find any porn, she does find…

...poor Joan's body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out.  So sad, but so kind of badass too...Joan really doesn't seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker...she's like, bring it, bitch, and I'll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

…poor Joan’s body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out. So sad, but so kind of badass, too…Joan really doesn’t seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker…she’s like, bring it, bitch, and I’ll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

Unfortunately, Joan's deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth's need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and  she gets busted by Gorman...

Unfortunately, Joan’s deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth’s need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and she gets busted by Gorman…but not before she scores the spare key…go, Beth!

gorman sez maybe theres another solution

Gorman works the angle that Dawn doesn’t have to know…it can be our little secret. a lil win-win for both of us…”So how about it, Betty? We gonna work somethin’ out here?” Beth plays along, nods…

beth looks to joan walker

…and as Gorman moves in, Beth looks over to Joan’s body, waiting for her to turn…

joan walker wakes

…and right on cue, Joan Walker begins to wiggle her fingers.

Joan Walker is about to go AWOL on Grady Memorial.

Joan Walker is about to go AWOL on Grady Memorial. You go, Joan Walker!

Just as Gorman tells Beth,

Just as Gorman tells Beth, “You’re not a fighter,” Beth smashes the lollipop jar on Gorman’s head. Ah, poetic justice never tasted so sweet…

...especially when Gorman falls into Joan Walker's path...

…especially when Gorman falls into Joan Walker’s path…

Joan Walker feasts on her own flavor of poetic justice.

Joan Walker feasts on her own flavor of poetic justice.

It has always sucked to be you, Gorman, but in this moment, especially so.

It has always sucked to be you, Gorman, but in this moment, especially so.

Beth grabs Gorman's gun, heads down the hallway from the office.  She looks down and sees blood on her Chuck Taylors...I hate when that happens!

Beth grabs Gorman’s gun,  heads down the hallway from the office. She looks down and sees blood on her Chuck Taylors…I hate when that happens!

Beth passes Dawn in the hallway...Dawn stops Beth, asks her if everything is ok...

Beth passes Dawn in the hallway…Dawn stops Beth, asks her if everything is ok…

It takes Beth a moment to recover herself, but she does...

It takes Beth a moment to recover herself, but she does…

...telling Dawn that she just saw Joan and Gorman heading to her office, looking for her...slick, Beth!

…telling Dawn that she just saw Joan and Gorman heading to her office, looking for her…slick, Beth!

As Dawn goes towards the office, Beth and Noah know that now is the time to make a break for it. They head quickly and silently to the double doors of the elevator bank, unlock them, and head down the darkened hallway to the elevator chute.

At the opening of the steep drop, Noah ties the knotted rope of many sheets around Beth's waist, begins to lower her down...

At the opening of the steep drop, Noah ties the knotted rope of many sheets around Beth’s waist, begins to lower her down…

noah and beth escape 2

noah and beth escape 3 beth lowers down

Beth finds a foothold...

noah beth escape 5 foothold

Beth finds a foothold.

As Noah lowers hinself down, he gets grabbed by a walker...

As Noah lowers himself down, he gets grabbed by a walker…

In his struggle to escape the walker's clutches, Noah's grip slips, and he fells long and hard on a heap of bodies, injuring his leg.

In his struggle to escape the walker’s clutches, Noah’s grip slips, and he fells long and hard on a heap of bodies, injuring his leg.

Beth leads the way, and Noah shows her the door to the opening, to outside...

Beth leads the way, and Noah shows her the door to the opening, to outside…

When Noah is attacked by another walker...

When Noah is attacked by another walker…

...Beth fights it off him with Gorman's flashlight.

…Beth fights it off him with Gorman’s flashlight.

Beth shoots the basement walkers in a series of super gory effects, courtesy of Nicotero & Co.

Beth shoots the basement walkers in a series of super gory effects, courtesy of Nicotero & Co.

Finally, they get to the door, letting in the light of the...outside!

Finally, they get to the door, letting in the light of the…outside!

Beth is a badass.

Beth is a badass.

Upon seeing a walker woman on the ground, hissing and reaching up for her, Beth does the Walker Stomp on the walker's head...

Upon seeing a walker woman on the ground, hissing and reaching up for her, Beth does the Walker Stomp on the walker’s head…

...sending the walker woman's blood all over the concrete...and the lens.

…sending the walker woman’s blood all over the concrete…and the lens.

Once they slip through a hole in the chain link fence, Beth and Noah must face...the ATL Walkers!

Once they slip through a hole in the chain link fence, Beth and Noah must face…the ATL Walkers!

There are only so many bullets...and so many walkers.

There are only so many bullets…and there are so many walkers.

Beth must fight off the ATL Walkers hand-to-hand style...she is getting overrun, while Noah continues to make a break for it towards the last fence.

Beth must fight off the ATL Walkers hand-to-hand style…she is getting overrun, while Noah continues to make a break for it towards the last fence.

Suddenly, a shot from behind, and then another...Beth makes a run for it...

Suddenly, a shot from behind, and then another…Beth makes a run for it… Noah makes it through the fence.

…as Noah makes it through the fence.

Poor Beth is not so lucky.

Poor Beth is not so lucky.

Noah feels so awful watching Beth get taken down by one of Dawn's officers...

Noah is anguished, watching Beth get taken down by one of Dawn’s officers…

...but Beth, seeing that Noah made it, smiles a real smile of happiness for him.

…but Beth, seeing that Noah made it, smiles a real smile of happiness for him.

Later, Officer Dawn has Beth in her office, asks Beth…

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

Beth isn’t scared any longer…she is unapologetic, tells Dawn that Gorman abused Joan, and that Dawn let it happen. Beth looks Dawn in the face and tells her that “No one’s coming, Dawn. No one’s coming.  We’re all gonna die, and you let this happen.”

As Beth tells Dawn the hard truth, Dawn looks down at the broken picture frame of herself, and her chief, her mentor, and her leather bully strap...

As Beth tells Dawn the hard truth, Dawn looks down at the broken picture frame of herself, and her chief, her mentor, and her leather bully strap…

...Dawn brings the strap down on poor Beth's head. Ouch, truth hurts!

…Dawn brings the strap down on poor Beth’s head. Ouch, the truth hurts!

Later, in his office, with Junior Kimbrough playing in the background, Doc Edwards gently cleans Beth’s new set of stitches, on her forehead, above her right eye. If that wound scars, it will set off the scar on Beth’s left cheek nicely, because if there’s anyone beautiful enough to rock two righteous facial scars and still look gorgeous, it’s Beth.

Doc Edwards says that she’s healing nicely, tries to end it there, turns to leave.  But New Beth, Unbreakable Beth (Emily Kinney’s name for the New Beth, which I love) has a question for him…how did he know that Trevitt was a doctor?  Because that’s why he had her give him the wrong meds, and kill him, right?  Because then he, Doc Edwards, wouldn’t be the only doctor at Grady Memorial any longer, right?

Stone-cold busted, Doc Edwards admits he knew Trevitt back before the turn. Trevitt was an oncologist at St. Augustine's. Doc Edwards likens himself to Saint Peter, who denied Christ to avoid certain crucifixion.

Stone-cold busted, Doc Edwards admits he knew Trevitt back before the turn. Trevitt was an oncologist at St. Augustine’s. Doc Edwards likens himself to Saint Peter, who denied Christ to avoid certain crucifixion.

New Beth ain't playin. When Doc Edwards walks out, Beth sees he left his sharp scissors behind with the gauze...

New Beth ain’t playin. When Doc Edwards walks out, Beth sees he left his sharp scissors behind with the gauze…

Beth walks down the hallway, scissors ready, ready to take down Doc Edwards first, then anyone else who comes for her...until she sees, being wheeled in on a stretcher...

Beth walks down the hallway, scissors ready, ready to take down Doc Edwards first, then anyone else who comes for her…until she sees, being wheeled in on a stretcher…

It's Carol!



It’s 4:32 am, and I don’t even know what I am doing anymore, so I’m making this quick…this week’s Deadie goes to Beth, who proved herself to be smart, resourceful, loyal, and kind…in short, a total badass. I knew you had it in you, girl, and now you do, too. Mad props and Deadie to Emily Kinney, who delivered an incredible performance.

It is super exciting to see this talented, beautiful young actress, musician, and all around It Girl’s star rise higher and higher these days.

All I gotta say is, Daryl better hurry his fine ass to Grady Memorial and save his two best ladies…and I have a feeling that he’ll have one who knows riding in that car, because I feel certain that it’s Noah, picked up by Daryl on the run to get Beth, who is the one hiding in the bushes…I love Noah and want him to be the newest member of the gang.

Until next week, gang, and enjoy the playlist.


TV on the Radio, “Satellite”

Cold War Kids, “Hospital Beds”

Purity Ring, “Lofticries”

Tom Waits, “Hold On” 

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof”

“Four Walls and a Roof”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Well, my WDO darlings, we have much to talk about with The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof,” do we not?  While many questions were answered within this episode, we WD fans were left with a couple of lingering questions, and a few new ones, by the episode’s end…as Alice in Wonderland said, “Curiouser and curiouser!”

“Four Walls and a Roof’ opens with a grisly montage, layering close-up images of Terminal Mouths biting into, tearing, and chewing greasy chunks of meat from Bob’s leg, as a group of walkers watch them through a window, hissing and pawing at the glass.

terminans eating bob

On Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick referred to the Terminans as “Hungry, Hungry Hipsters.” Ha!

hungry window walkers

Hey, give us some!

terminans eating bob 2

As we watch this gross series of images, intertwined with Bear McCreary’s sinister background music, we hear Gareth’s voice, speculating, “It’s probably pretty stupid to be here…dangerous…I don’t know, maybe not…you can see the threat…that’s something. Looking at them (the walkers) makes me feel better about things. My mom used to say, every day above ground was a win…doesn’t really apply any more, but…you can still get some perspective.”

While Gareth speaks, Bob sits against a metal pole, looking towards the window, at the pawing walkers on the other side of the glass. Around him, Terminans (including Shitty Martin) are intent on chewing their ill-gotten meat, which, watching them eat, looks like it’s really chewy.  Gross.  The walkers appear to be inside a brick building, like a school, while the Terminans are camped outside in an area surrounded by tall, chain-link fencing.

Gareth goes over to the window, puts his hand up on the glass, watches the walkers for a moment. “The glass is gonna break,” he says, “Sooner or later…Nothing lasts too long anymore.”

Gareth then turns to the group… he seems a little nostalgic, whimsical, talking mainly to Bob. Gareth says that he and the others in his group “marked” their way there so they could find their way back, after… Gareth shakes his head at this. “So stupid, right…I mean, back to what?”

Gareth moves closer to where Bob sits, crouches down beside him.  “It wasn’t just a trap, it was going to be a choice, ‘ You join us, or feed us.’

join us or feed us

Gareth continues on this, saying that, in the wild, if a bear is starving, they will eat their cubs…if the bear starves, the cub will die anyway, but if the bear lives, they can always have another cub.  Gareth looks away for a moment, then down towards the ground, purses his lips.  “That was part of the pitch,” he admits.

Gareth continues, saying that Greg and Mike came “this close” to catching the “grey-haired queen bitch” who killed his mother, Mary. (That’s New Carol, to you, Gareth, you peevish little people-eating bitch, and btw, Mary deserved it.)

Gareth continues, conspiratorially, “She drove away with the archerGreg saw them pull away.” Gareth looks off into the distance, muses, “I can’t wait to try her.” He then goes on to tell Bob that he likes (eating) women better, and that his brother, Alex (whom Gareth adds, is “also, currently dead, because of Rick”) had a theory that women tasted better because they have an extra layer of fat, for childbearing.

Pretending to ignore Bob’s pained look, Gareth continues that even the skinny women have that extra layer…like that pretty one…what was her name? Sasha?

bob looks at gareth

Gareth goes on to tell Bob that “pretty people taste better.”

(Hearing all this, I must say that it must have majorly sucked living at Terminus. Aside from all the horrible shit that any Terminan Citizen had to do to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, it seems that all the people who lived there were total social misfits.  If any of the Creepy Comrades had any redeeming qualities at one point in their former lives, the brutality of the Terminal Code, “join us or feed us,” would have obliterated any last vestiges of humanity, or any capacity to feel love, joy, hope, compassion…take those things away from a person, and what do you have left?

Even Shitty Martin called his fellow Terminans, “assholes that I survive with.” There they sit, chewing and chewing and chewing meat from Bob’s leg, staring off into their own twisted thoughts, not talking.  What is there to talk about, aside from making evil, shitty jokes speculating, or remarking, on how someone tastes? I call gross, and lame, and totally unsexy. They probably had the worst parties, ever.)

Anyway, it seems that the only thrill to be had for Gareth at this point is to be cruel, and he works that angle for all its worth.  He pauses, letting the dig about Sasha marinate for a moment, tearing a piece of meat with his teeth, and thoughtfully chewing for a moment, before informing Bob that he, Gareth, and his people are “going to get all of them,” but for now, Bob will do them just fine.

As Gareth continues to give himself and his people props for the “good job” they did on Bob’s leg, Bob starts to make sounds like he is sobbing, Gareth, testy at being interrupted, rebukes Bob for this outburst, telling Bob that he was being a human being, talking to Bob, and that Bob should get some “perspective”, being that he is “above ground” and in a better place than “them” (a.k.a. the walkers pawing at the window).

Bob is not sobbing…he is laughing, laughing more and more, causing the Terminans to rise up from their seats and move in.  Seems like they have seen this before, a victim becoming unravelled, and unpredictable  One guy says, “He’s lost it,” while the woman comrade snidely remarks that he “lasted longer” than she thought he would.  Bob continues to laugh, calling them “idiots”

...then Bob shows Gareth and the others the walker bite on his shoulder.

…then Bob shows Gareth and the others the walker bite on his shoulder. “I”ve been bitten, you stupid pricks…I’m tainted meat!

On Talking Dead, Andrew J. West, who plays Gareth, wondered about what the ramifications of the Terminans eating Bob’s infected flesh would really be, as everyone is already infected. “Can you get more infected?” he wondered.

Who knows, but  it is pretty damn satisfying to see the Hungry, Hungry Hipsters jump up at this, dropping their meat in alarm and revulsion. Terminal Bitch starts pulling the chewed up bits of meat, still in her mouth, off her tongue, while Terminal Albert starts hurling.

You tell ’em, Nelson…

As the Creepy Comrades start freaking the fuck out and playing the blame game with each other (“We may as well be eating one of them!” “Why didn’t you check him?” “What’s gonna happen…are we going to turn?” “No, we cooked him!”), Bob cackles and taunts the Tainted Scenesters with the cry, “tainted meat!” until Gareth kicks him unconscious.

I must give mad props to the forward-thinkers who sleuthed the possibility of Bob being bitten, mirroring the comic series story line of Dale getting bitten, going off away from the group to die, and getting captured by The Hunters (the comic series version of the Terminans), and eventually taunting them as they feast on his infected flesh.

Once I read the online speculation, after Episode 2, “Strangers,” aired, I watched the episode again, but did not come away with any conclusive evidence that Bob had been bitten, save his drunken crying jag, slumped against a tree, before being clocked, and dropped, by a Terminal Hood (probably Shitty Martin, who was wearing a black hoodie like the perp’s). I thought Bob maybe just had been through a lot, and had had too much to drink, and just needed to take a moment and let it all out.

Now we know, and wow.  Bob, I’m so sorry man, but even though you were taken down by Halloween Store Skeleton Walker (who only got you because it had the elements of surprise, and murky water, on its side), and then captured, hacked into, and eaten, while being mocked, by Gareth and the Terminans,  (who had the elements of surprise, and dark night, going on their side) you definitely got the Last Laugh on those cannibal a-holes.

Poor Sahsa, meanwhile, is out looking for Bob, whisper-calling for him, armed with rifle and night scope.  She looks so worried, stops and takes a couple of deep, cleansing breaths, before turning and spying the mark on the tree, the one we saw when Bob was taken…

.sasha looks for bob sasha sees the mark

Upon hearing a noise, Sasha whirls and aims, sees a white figure disappear quickly into the woods through the night scope...

Upon hearing a noise, Sasha whirls and aims, sees a white figure disappear quickly into the woods through the night scope…

...and then, she sees...

…and then, she sees…

...Night Scope Walker! Agh!

…Night Scope Walker! Agh!

Sasha smashes Night Scope Walker’s undead brains into the ground, then must shoot another walker who is coming for her, before Tyrese clamps his hand over her mouth from behind, just for a second, before releasing her. telling her, “It’s me.” Rick is there as well, shining a flashlight into the woods as Sasha tells them that someone was just there, watching them.

“Someone was watching us!” Terminan, or Morgan?

Sasha wants to go in the woods after them, as Bob is missing, but Tyrese holds her back, saying that if they try to go in those woods, now, someone isn’t coming back. As he scans the woods, Rick adds that Bob isn’t the only one missing…Daryl and Carol are missing as well.

Inside the candlelit church, Maggie is sitting in one of the pews, regarding a stack of hymnals doubtfully before moving them aside. Carl sits forward, thinking in the flickering darkness, before the creak of the door alerts them, and Rick, Tyrese, and Sasha come in.  Sasha walks up the aisle, toward the front altar, where Gabriel stands. She faces him, as Rick and Tyrese flank her from behind.

“Stop,” Sasha orders Gabriel, who pauses, surprised and fearful at the menace in Sasha’s stance, and voice. Sasha continues, somewhere between a whisper and a growl, “What are you doing? What…are…you doing? This is all connected…you show up, someone is watching us, and now, three of us are gone!”

Gabriel looks around fearfully, protests that he doesn’t know what Sasha is talking about, that he has nothing to do with any of this. Sasha has no time, or patience, to play around, and she unsheaths her machete, advancing on Gabriel, demanding, “Where are our people? Where are our people??!” Gabriel is majorly freaked, but insists that he has nothing to do with all this.

Rick steps forward for the Tag-Team Interrogation, looking majorly Sexy Detective as he peppers Gabriel with questions. Why did he bring them there? Is he working with someone?  When Gabriel insists that he’s alone, he’s always been alone, Rick brings up the woman walker at the food bank….“What did you do to her, Gabriel? ‘You will burn?’ Why will you burn, Gabriel? What did you do?” 

In classic interrogation room-style, Rick grabs Gabriel’s shirt and shoves him up against the altar, before releasing the shaken priest abruptly.

Gabriel breaks,

Gabriel breaks, “I locked the doors…at night. I always locked the doors at night…I always locked the doors…at night.”

Gabriel tells them that after the turn, after Atlanta was bombed, terrified parishioners, and their families, came to the church for refuge…but. they came, in the early hours of the morning, and instead of opening the doors to let them in, Gabriel stayed where he was, keeping the doors locked…and the parishioners outside.  As the people cried out to him, the noise attracted walkers, who attacked the vulnerable parishioners. Locked inside the church, Gabriel heard the agonizing screams and cries as men, women, and children got torn apart. He heard the dying people to beg him for mercy, then curse him, and damn him to Hell.

Rick and the gang listen in silent horror to Gabriel's confession..

Rick and the gang listen in silent horror to Gabriel’s confession. “It was my choice (to keep the doors locked).”

Gabriel sinks down, in misery and self-condemnation...

Gabriel sinks down, in misery and self-condemnation, sobbing…”The Lord says you’re here to finally punish me.  I’m danned…I was damned before…I always locked he doors...I always locked the doors.”

Mad props to Seth Gilliam (from The Wire), who plays Father Gabriel, for an amazing performance, all around, but especially for this heartbreaking, harrowing scene…when a tortured man of the cloth confesses how he abandoned his people, in a moment of weakness and cowardice, when they needed him most…when their very lives depended on him doing right by them, opening the doors of the church, and letting them take refuge within the safety of its walls.

A noise outside…Glenn sees someone outside, lying in the grass…the gang runs outside, and finds…



Sasha, crying, gets Tara to help her carry Bob inside, while the others rekill the walkers that are approaching.  Rick hears a gunshot, which misses Rick, dropping the walker next to him instead. Rick fires back in the direction it came, from the woods, while ordering everyone inside. As he follows suit, we see the Terminans have marked the outside of the church…

“A” for train car A, the holding car for Rick and the gang…some mind-messing mental warfare going on here, Terminal Style.

At this point in the watching, my WD buddy turned to me and said, “This is the scariest story line, ever.”  We agreed, too, that so far, in many ways, Season 5 is the best WD season yet.

Kudos to Dad, NewDad, Crazy Uncle Greg, and the entire WD cast and crew, for bringing the thrills, chills, and blood spills like none other, yet again.

Back in the church, Bob has come to, and is sharing the details of his harrowing ordeal at the hands of the Terminans…he was in the graveyard, and somebody knocked him out…he woke up at some place that looked like a school.  Bob tells the gang, “It was that guy, Gareth,” and we see a shot of Rick, and we know what he’s thinking…

bob tells sad tale

i knew we should have killed gareth

“I knew we should have stayed and killed them!”

Bob continues, saying that it was Gareth, “and five other ones…they were eating my leg, right in front of me, like it was nothin’…all proud, like they had it all figured out.” (Ugh, it is so awful, sounds so awful, to say it…poor Bob, and the poor gang, poor Sasha, who must listen to this awful tale, and process that this happened to one of their own, just in the past hours, when all seemed so right, everyone all together again, feeling hopeful for the first time in a long while. And, now this…O how I hate thee, Terminal Buzzkills!)

Rick asks Bob gently, softly, if they had Daryl and Carol.  Bob thinks a moment, says that Gareth said they drove off.  The gang exchanges quick looks, like, what? Then, they turn their attention back to Bob.  He seems like he’s in real pain, and Sasha asks if they have anything for him. Rosita does, but Bob stops her, to Sasha’s confusion…and Bob knows that now is the time he must tell her.



Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder.

Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder. He looks at Sasha, tells her, “It happened at the food bank.”

Poor Sasha!

Poor Sasha! She does manage a brave smile for Bob, after a long moment of shock…

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick...

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick… the gang must face losing another beloved member...

…as the gang must face losing another beloved member…

...of their chosen family.

…of their chosen family.

Gabriel steos up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office...

Gabriel steps up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office…

...and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him for, the kind and compassionate offer.

…and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him, for the kind and compassionate offer.

As Tyrese carries Bob to the office, Rick asks Gabriel if he know where the school is, the one Bob was talking about.  After some hesitation, and prodding from Rick, Gabriel says that there is an elementary school close by, about a 10-minute walk through the woods.  You can see the wheels in Rick’s head turning.

Baby Judith starts to cry, and Carl takes her to the back.  Rick asks Maggie if Bob has the fever…Maggie says he’s just warm.  Glenn adds that Jim lasted two days before they left him.  Our gang is doing what they do, putting all the information out there, so they can make a decision about how to proceed, armed with all the facts and factors.

Abraham steps forward on this moment with a “reality check”…it’s time to pack up and leave for D.C., now, as there is a clear threat to Eugene, and they must “extract his ass” from said threat immediately, before things “get any uglier.” Rick replies that Daryl and Carol aren’t back yet, and they aren’t going anywhere until they return.

Abraham replies that he respects that, then tries a “so, if you aren’t coming with us, guess this is goodbye,” and turns with Rosita to leave, when Rick ups the ante on the “Just who is top dog around here anyway?” question, asking Abraham’s retreating back, “You going (to D.C.) on foot?” meaning, of course, “Hope you don’t think you’re taking that bus you found in the back, because that bus belongs to RICK GRIMES & CO., bitch.”

Oh, yes he did!  (And I like it.)

This clear challenge stops Abraham, and Rosita, mid-stride. Abraham turns, reminds Rick that they fixed that damn bus themselves, while Rick strides forward, saying, “There are a lot more of us,”  to which Abraham replies, “You wanna keep it that way? You should come!”  

Rick reminds Abraham that “Carol saved your life, we saved your life,” and Abraham yells, “And I’m trying to save yours!”  Rick and Abraham go back and forth, Rick saying they aren’t leaving without their people, and their people will be right back. Abraham yells, “To what? Picked over bones?”

Rick and Abraham begin to shove one another as their exchange escalates, until Glenn steps between them, yelling at them to, “Stop right now!”  Glenn asks Abraham to stay one more day, and Tara throws in another offer…if Abraham and Co. will stay and help, one more day, she will go with them to D.C,, no matter what. Abraham throws in that he wants Glenn and Maggie as well, to which Rick In Charge says, No way.

Abraham turns to leave, ordering Eugene to come along, like a dad…when Eugene refuses at first, “I don’t want to,” like a teenager, Abraham grinds out, “NOW.”

“Ok,” Eugene says softly, getting up and walking towards the door, without looking at anybody. (Holy dysfunctional relationship, Batman!)

As Abraham turns to leave with Eugene and Rosita, Rick says, again, “You’re not taking the bus.” Abraham turns halfway to Rick, says, “Stop me.” After a long moment, Rick begins to stride towards Abraham, who hands his gun to Rosita, preparing to exchange blows.  But Glenn once again gets between them, telling Abraham that if he stays, and helps them, then he and Maggie will go with them to D.C.

At this, Rick says, again, “No,” and Glenn turns to him, reminds Rick that, “It’s not your call.”  After that, Rick says nothing, and Glenn repeats the offer to Abraham, who gives Glenn half the next day. “Come high noon, we’re taillights,” says Abraham. “I’m not waiting for the other damn shoe to drop.” Maggie agrees, so Abraham agrees. He will give them 12 hours.

Meanwhile, in Gabriel’s office, Sasha is wiping Bob’s forehead down with a cool, wet cloth, while Bob is trying to revive their former game of Pros and Cons, Good and Bad. He tells Sasha the one good thing about getting kicked in the face was that it made him forget the pain in his leg.

“We’re not playing that game any more,” replies Sasha, wringing out the cloth and wiping Bob’s forehead. Bob smiles, replies that he thought at least she would try to humor him a little bit…but Sasha doesn’t. She can’t. She asks Bob why he didn’t tell her, when it happened, that he had gotten bit.

Bob tells her he knew once he told her, it would be “all about the end…and I really liked the middle.”  This, of course, makes Sasha turn away, and blink back her tears. She then lay her head gently on Bob’s shoulder.

So sweet and sad.

So sweet, and sad.

Meanwhile, Rick and the gang are talking strategy…Rick and Glenn agree that Gareth and the Terms aren’t going to expect them to attack first, that they won’t think that Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars will be thinking straight.

Rosita pipes up, “Are we?” and at Rick’s look, she says, simply, that it’s a pretty risky plan.  Nobody says anything.  Rick turns to Tyrese, asks him if he’s up for this, but before Tyrese (who is sitting, looking down at the floor, and not looking like he’s up for much of anything) can answer, Sasha comes into the room, tells the gang that she’s in. She wants to go.



Tyrese tells Sasha that she should stay back, stay with Bob. Sasha tells him no, she’s going. Tyrese follows her into the office.

sasha tyrese bob

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen's death.

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen’s death.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother. “You want me to forgive them? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Sasha continues, “You think we have a choice?” to which Tyrese replies, “Not all of us, just you.” Tyrese continues by saying that the only thing Bob will want to see, when he wakes up, is Sasha’s face.  In response, Sasha stands up, unsheaths her knife, and hands it to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

She says, Take it.

She says, Take it…

...and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple...that's what Bob would want.

…and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple…that’s what Bob would want.

Next, we see a shot of Rick and the Stealth Squad, leaving the church at night, Gabriel peers out after them a moment, before closing and locking the door.

rick and the gang leave the church

Rick, Michonne, Sasha, Glenn, Abraham and Maggie file out of the church….

Then, one of the coolest things I've seen on televsion...a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch,, wait...suspense's like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no...wait, watch...and we see...

Then, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on televsion…a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch, wait…watch, wait…suspense builds…it’s like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no…wait, watch…and then, finally, we see, coming out of the bushes, once all is clear…



As they approach the church, Gareth silently hand-signals his group, and Shitty Martin steps forward, and easily jacks the lock of the church’s front door (if only he had been there, before becoming a Terminan, to let all those poor families into the church, on that early morning, so long ago!). 

One by one, the Terminans file into the church.

Carl, hearing the breach of the door, lifts his gun and holds it steady towards the door.

carl raises gun in gabriels office

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

The following scene was so damn scary to watch, my WD buddy and I were guzzling champagne, hard.  We finished the good bottle and moved on to the cheap one. Thank God for orange juice, makes it so you can’t tell the difference…until the next morning, that is…

Gareth, emerging from the darkness, announces, “Well, I guess you know we’re here…

“…and we know you’re here.” 

Gareth continues, as he and his fellow Terms step silently forward through the church, closer and closer to Gabriel’s office, where our gang is hiding.  Gareth informs them that they are armed, so there’s no point in hiding…when this fails to bring them forward, Gareth continues, saying, “We’ve been watching you.” He says that he knows who is there…there’s Bob, unless they went ahead and put him out of his misery, already…then, there’s Eugene, and Rosita, and “Martin’s good friend, Tyrese”…

tyrese eugene rosita bob

Gareth continues naming: “Carl, Judith.”  Gareth  then tells them that he knows Rick and the others left, with a lot of their guns…

As he talks, Gareth motions his people, all armed, forward, until they are at the two office doors.  A Terminal Goon tries the door of Gabriel’s office, finds it locked. Carl and Rosita hold their guns steady towards the door.

Gareth informs them that he knows they are behind one of those two doors, and that they have enough fire power to blast both doors down. “I don’t imagine that’s what you want,” he says.

One of the things I find so scary about Gareth is that he can sound so reasonable, calm. I could imagine how people would have thought he was a man that could be reasoned, or bargained with, but Gareth’s calm belies a ruthlessness, and probably comes from a deep lack of giving a shit about anything other than his personal agenda. Gareth can sound super calm, and reasonable...while he’s sawing off your leg, or roasting it over the fire, and eating it, right in front of you.

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling “the priest” that if he lets them in, he can take the baby and walk out the door, and leave unharmed.  Yeah, right.

At Judith’s cry, Gareth turns from the door he was in front of, the wrong door, and heads towards the other door, the right door, saying, “I don’t know, maybe we’ll keep the kid…I’m starting to like this girl.” Bastard!

Gareth gives them one more chance to come out…Shitty Martin turns to him, asks, “Are we done?” Gareth instructs them to aim for the door hinges, and just as they are about to do so, a silencer sounds two quiet shots, dropping two Terminal Goons, their blood splattering the church walls.

We hear a soft voice growl out from the back pews, “Put your guns on the floor.” And even though we can’t see him, yet, we know he’s looking hot, and sounding like the most badass cowboy this side of Clint EastwoodRick In Charge! Yes! He’s back to save the day…or, rather, the night.

Gareth starts talking fast, some shrill shit directed at Rick, pointing his left index and middle fingers like a gun at the office door, and we hear the silencer go off again. Gareth drops forward, and when he comes back up to standing, we see that Rick has shot the two fingers clean off at the mid knuckle.

gareth gets shot

Yes! Take that, Gareth!

Oh, Gareth. meet Rick In Charge...p.s. he's a sharpshooter.

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick In Charge…p.s. he’s a sharpshooter.

 Cue Nelson…

As Gareth tries not to cry, curled up on the floor, we see, emerging from the darkness…

Rick .In. Charge.

Rick. In. Charge.

Rick orders them to put their guns down…two goons do, but Shitty Martin does not. Still knifed over in pain on the floor, Gareth tells Martin to do as he says, that there’s no choice any more.  Shitty Martin disagrees.

“Oh, yeah there is.” It seems that this is Martin’s Last Stand.

Abraham would beg to differ, moving up from the side aisle, assault rifle aimed at Shitty Martin.  “You wanna bet?”  Martin puts his gun down, gets on his knees.

Gareth, meanwhile, is trying to compose himself, despite the searing pain he is in. #karma

Managing to straighten up enough to look Rick in the face, Gareth asks, lightly, “Guess there’s no point in begging, right?”

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word.

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word. “No.”

Gareth asks Rick why they didn’t kill them right away, before, and Rick replies, “We didn’t want to waste the bullets.”

Ah, remember the good old days of shot count, Gareth?

Gareth is not very good at being on the other side of all this, and besides, his hand really hurts.  He tries at first to appeal to Rick’s sympathies, telling him that they used to help people, at Sanctuary, before they were taken advantage of, and brutalized. When this fails, Gareth tries the ol’, “I can tell you’ve been out there, but you don’t know what it’s like to be hungry!”

Rick In Charge just cocks his head at this, observing Gareth like a bird of prey would regard a future morsel, not saying anything.  Gareth then tries to bargain with Rick, saying that he, Rick, can just “let them go” and their paths would never cross again.

Rick cocks his head to the other side, points out that Gareth would cross paths with someone else…right?  And they would do this (i.e., capturing and eating a person) to anyone, right? Rick is quoting Gareth’s jibes to Bob back to him now.

“Besides,” Rick tells Gareth, “I made you a promise, before…”

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick Smash!  P.S. He's got anger issues.

Gareth, meet Rick Smash!p.s. he’s got anger issues.

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch's face, like, oooh, don't hurt me!

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch’s face, like, oooh, don’t hurt me!

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

And then, this happens…

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means...

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means…

Katana time again! Yes!

Katana-time again! Yes!

After the carnage, a dazed Rick says, simply, “It could have been us.” As he and the other heavies file out of the room, a shaken Gabriel enters, says, in disbelief, looking at his now bloodstained church, “This is the Lord’s house.”  “No,” says Maggie, looking majorly creeped out by it all, “This is just four walls and a roof.”

In the next scene, the gang is all around Bob’s bed, and one by one, they are saying their goodbyes.  Maggie gives Bob the sweetest smile, tells him that he will “always be with us.”  She turns, and she, Glenn, Abraham and Rosita, then the others file out.

Bob calls out to Rick, who is holding Judith, and Sasha leaves them to have a moment. Bob thanks Rick for taking him in, and helping him believe, and know, that there are good people left in the world.

Bob tells Rick he's not backing off his earlier stance...don't lose too much of what you really are, and don't stop believing that things will be good again, one day.

Bob tells Rick he’s not backing off his earlier stance…don’t lose too much of what you really are, and don’t stop believing that things will be good again, one day. “Nightmares end…they don’t have to end who you are.” Bob looks at Baby Judith, says, “Look at her, and tell me the world isn’t gonna change.”

Sasha sits by Bob’s side, later, watches him wake up.  “You were out,” she says, as he smiles.  “Why are you smiling?” she asks him.  “I think I was having a dream, and in it, you were smiling at me,” murmurs Bob.  This brings a smile to Sasha’s face, and that smile brings Bob joy. “There it is,” he murmurs happily.

sasha smiles for bob

Sasha asks Bob, “So what is it, what is the good that comes from this bad?” Bob doesn’t answer, and his face goes quiet, peaceful.  He is gone.  Sasha sobs, tries to compose herself. She knows what she must do, and she pulls out her knife…but she can’t bring herself.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha. “Give it here,” he says, and lets her leave before he slips the knife in Bob’s temple, rekilling him.

The next day. Sasha is finishing up the wooden cross marking Bob’s grave, and the gang is saying their goodbyes to Glenn and Maggie, and Abraham and Co. Abraham hands Rick a map, telling Rick that he and his gang know the route Abraham and Co. are taking to D.C,, and if for some reason they veer off the charted course, they know the destination.  Abraham tells them that Eugene will fix things, and when he does, they should be there, too.

It is majorly surreal to see Glenn and Maggie looking out from the bus, with Tara, Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham.

Glenn and Maggie just doesn't feel right!

Glenn and Maggie leaving…it just doesn’t feel right!

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map.

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map, later.

Later that night, Michonne sits on the front steps of the church, looking at the katana she holds once again.  Father Gabriel comes out and sits beside her.  He can’t sleep, keeps hearing the cries in his head from the night before…and from before.  Michonne tells him that won’t stop…but, eventually, it won’t happen all the time.

A noise from the bushes startles them.  Gabriel makes his way back inside while Michonne goes out to investigate…and finds, emerging from the bushes…



Michonne smiles, then frowns, asks, “Where’s Carol?” Without answering, Daryl turns back to the darkened bushes, tells someone, hidden, “You can come out.”


Two things, before I sign off.  First, I would like to say that in my frenzy to get my post written last week, I forgot to award a Deadie, so this week, we are going Double Deadie…I hearby award these two Deadies to (drumroll please), Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (and his character, Bob Stookey, who turned out to be a great guy, and family) and to Andrew J. West (and his character, Gareth). While Gareth wasn’t a great guy, he was a great villain, and I feel like this young, talented actor is going to be wowing us again and again in the future. Cheers, Bob and Gareth, and farewell.

Second, I am honored to have readers all over the world, as we are part of the worldwide community of Walking Dead Obsessed.  Since we have this wonderful network, I wanted to post this picture, and this information, about William Tyrell, a beautiful 3-year-old boy who has been missing for more than a month now.  He was last seen playing in his grandmother’s yard.  If anyone has any information about William, or his whereabouts, please contact the number provided.  Please, let’s try to help bring this baby back home safe.

come home william tyrell

Good night, gang, and until next week.  Enjoy the playlist.


Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Because I really do think Gareth wanted Rick to take him out, there, at the end..)

alt-J, “Every Other Freckle” (For Sasha and Bob, who never got to party naked together…they would have had fun if they had)

Sneaker Pimps, “6 Underground” (Six Terminans, 6 Underground…you do the math.)

Phantogram, “Nightlife” (RIP Bob Stookey

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 2, “Strangers”


It wasn’t until late Monday morning, the morning after the initial airing of  The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 2, “Strangers,” that I realized how hard I was avoiding sitting down to write my post on the episode.  

I tried, I really did.  But every time I went to sit down, focus, and write, I just couldn’t do it. It was like my mind, my body, my spirit were all saying, “Nah….nope.”

So, I did other stuff, productive things. I took my dog on a super long walk.. then, I puttered around outside in my yard, watering my garden, trimming back overgrowth, making a new batch of bio-safe plant spray (2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons mild dishwashing liquid, 1 gallon water…put in spray bottle, and spray on plants, especially on underside of leaves, avoiding spraying in sun or in temperatures 90 degrees or above…spray every 5-7 days…controls aphids, lacebugs, mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, whitefly)  

All good stuff, I know.  Very productive. As I sprayed away the aphids, I kept telling myself, “After I vanquish these aphids, it will be time to sit, focus, and get some key writing done before going to work.” But every time I tried to sit, to write, it was the same thing…I tried, but I still wasn’t really feeling it. “Nope…not ready. Not yet.”

Now, this is all very irregular for me.  While this blog is an act of love, written in the stolen moments between being a busy working grown-up/wife/mom of two, I do hold myself to a rather stringent writing schedule, working long hours into the night, writing, watching, rewatching, picture-taking, picture-loading, reading, rereading, rewriting, until my face feels like it’s about to fall off, and my brain feels like it’s bleeding out my mucous membranes.

When I finally get to click on that magic word, “Publish,” well, that moment is a triumph for me, every time, and I know more than ever now what it takes to get there…so when i have the time, like on Monday mornings, I try to make the most of it.

“Come on,” I told myself. “You can do this.

And I tried. I really did. When all else fails, I go to music. The music always gets me going. So, I put on the playlist I compiled for “Strangers” (which is super epic, if I do say so myself) and had a one-woman dance party in the living room.  But, this time, music did not lead to writing. It just led to more dance party.

Can’t force it,”  I told myself.  So, I did other things. I posted a couple of pics on my Facebook page, tweeted a picture montage of Mary and the Karma Walkers (which I’m sure my four Twitter followers really enjoyed) and checked, and rechecked, all my social media. Then, instead of sitting in front of the laptop and getting to work, I went full-on hooky, curled up in my favorite outdoor easy chair with another cup of coffee, and watched the birds outside while soaking in some morning sunshine and good outdoor vibes. .

Sounds lovely, I know. It was. But somewhere inside, amdist all the loveliness, I was asking myself, “What the hell am I doing?”  I knew what I was doing.  I was procrastinating with life-affirming, self-soothing rituals because I was feeling pretty sick deep inside my gut about the end of “Strangers,” and what is happening to Bob at the hands of Gareth and the Terminans.  

The ending shot of “Strangers” was, to me, the point where the fans of The Walking Dead  television series officially cross the threshold into the “Dark Room” that Andrew Lincoln was talking about, in interviews, when he spoke about where the Season 5 story line would lead us.

I get it. I really do. I know that Kirkman, Gimple & Nicotero, Inc. have been going pretty easy on us Prime-Time Pollyannas thus far.

The Comic Series Set, who are like the elder siblings of us television-series-only crybabies, are probably saying at this point, “Man, Dad (aka Kirkman), NewDad (aka Gimple),and Crazy Uncle Greg (aka Nicotero, of course) never cut us the slack they cut you guys…you guys have had it so easy!

Kirkman’s message is clear:  Time’s up, people. It’s time to sac up, or pack up.

Remember The Law of Kirkman:

The Law of Kirkman states:  Kirkman will do as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman and Co. can, and will, play with our emotions. 

(For more on the Law of Kirkman, Daryl Partners/Daryl Plans, and other coping mechanisms, refer to my Season 4 mid-season prepost, “What Happens ‘After?’“)

Dad, NewDad, and Crazy Uncle Greg have been candy-assing us for long enough. They.Are.Done.With.That.  Now is the time for tough love, and the time for tough love is now.

Dad, New Dad, and Crazy Uncle Greg are proceeding to Go Comic Series on our asses (and p.s., they’re going to get jiggy with it).

They have been gleefully waiting for this moment.

<Mentally insert, here, image of Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero, laughing maniacally in peals of evil laughter>

The end of “Strangers” was a rough one for me, people.  I cannot lie.  And I’ve been a real dick to Bob in the past.  I feel sad, deflated…guilty. I know it’s not real, but as I’ve said before, I still obsess. I’m having some Post-Dick Guilt Syndrome (PDGS).

Bob Stookey. Sigh. ❤  Bob was being so sweet, and so hopeful.  Bob was letting himself believe, and Bob was falling in love with Sasha.  And Sasha was falling in love back. Bob is actually a really good boyfriend.  He listens, he communicates, he’s affectionate. I was rooting for Bob.

I am a big sap, I know.  I told you all this,right from the first, in my “Introduction” post. I have an overactive imagination, and I can’t always shake the things this show puts up on the crazy table.  I have been feeling some big-time Bob Melancholia. I did do my best to make it up to Bob by compiling an epic playlist in his honor.

But, while the music came, the words still didn’t.

I just…couldn’t.  In the words of Shitty Martin, “I don’t want to do this today.” 

So, I did other things, those good, soul-nourishing things, and then, I went to work. And when I got home from work, I didn’t settle in to write, like I usually do on the Monday nights after the episode, until the wee hours…until I collapse in bed for a few meager hours of sleep before the alarm goes off, and I have to be a mom and make it all happen, all over again… and so on, and so on, until I hit, “Publish.”

On this Monday night, instead, I settled in under the covers with my little dog, and we snuggled and shared night snacks and watched Divergent, and I took comfort in the warmth of the covers, and my little dog, and the uplifting tale of two hot young divergents finding love and kicking ass in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. And the next day, after work, after homework, after bedtime, I was finally ready to write.

And so I settled in.

And so, it begins.



(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

(Note: I have been experiencing technical difficulties, and must kick this post old-school, rewatching “Strangers” on the TV and taking pics of the TV screen with my phone…is anyone else out there experiencing difficulty watching this week’s episode of WD on the AMC website? It won’t let me sign in to watch the full episode…just when I learned how to do the “snipping tool” screen shot, too…damn fickle technology!

I will, however, embrace the lesson…sometimes you gotta go back to the very beginning, where it all started.)

In the opening shot of “Strangers,” we see the plume of smoke from the fires of Terminus burning.  The plume is grey now, not black, signaling the fire’s ending stage. The smoke plume is some ways away, so .the gang seems to have covered some ground at this point, putting some miles between themselves and Terminus.IMG_8388

Nest, we see a shot of Rick’s head, coming up over the hill…his stride, his whole aura is focused, purposeful…totally hot.


The gang takes a much-needed rest break in a quiet glenn in the woods. We see Carl, in his father’s sheriff’s hat, bleeding wound on his cheek, quietly and happily feeding his baby sister, Judith, her bottle.


Judith’s bottle is almost drained dry, leaving my WD buddy and I to wonder how much formula for Judith is left on them, at this point.  They are probably rationing her as much as they are able, but my WD buddy and I are moms…we know how much growing babies need to eat, and drink.  We are worried for that baby, on many, many levels.

It has probably been a while since any of them have eaten anything of substance.

On last week’s Talking Dead, Scott M. Gimple said while Gareth and the Terminans did size up certain people who would potentially be viewed as Terminal Assets, and while Maggie, Glenn, Abraham and Co. would have definitely been seen as having Terminal Potential, they didn’t get a chance to enjoy any Terminal Barbeque, as Abraham felt the need to mention the mission to D.C. pretty soon into the introductions, back at “Public Face,” prompting Gareth to give the nod, and the look, sending our gang to Train Car “A” at gunpoint, only after relinquishing their choice items to the outstretched hands of the Hungry Terminans.   No barbeque for you!

Meanwhile, back at the glenn, Glenn is busying himself around the area, bending down to pick up something on the ground beside Maggie, without really looking at her…she puts her hand on his shoulder, and as he looks up at her, she smiles at him, says softly, “Hey…not so fast.”

They kiss briefly, and Maggie pulls Glenn in for a brief, sweet hug, smiling at Tara over Glenn’s shoulder in a silent, “Thank You” to Tara for having her man’s back, and for helping bring him back to her safely.


Tara is looking like she is dealing with some PDGS herself.

Tara is looking like she has been dealing with some PDGS herself.

As she turns away from the happy couple, Tara sees Rick.

Tara and Rick face each other warily, cautiously for a moment.  Rick speaks first, is direct, “You didn’t want to be there (as a part of the Gov’s Army 2.0)….that’s why I tried to talk to you.”  Tara says nothing.

Rick nods over towards Glenn, continues, “Glenn told me you saved his life.”

Tara laughs a little, nods back. “He saved mine.” Rick gives her a sweet smile, says, “Well, that’s how it works with us…right?” He puts the question back to her. Tara gives the sweetest look (she’s so pretty). like she can’t believe he’s being so cool, and says, with a little, shy smile, agrees, “Right.”

The moment shifts, and they step back, slightly awkward again with each other. Tara extends her fist, with a small, “Hey…” Rick looks down at her fist, hesitates, just a moment, before smiling and extending his fist out for the bump.


Rick Grimes isn't one to leave a sister hanging.

Rick Grimes isn’t one to leave a sister hanging.

After pounding it out, Rick gently advises Tara to go get something to eat, they’ll start back at sunup. Seems like they are staying put for the night.

In the next shot, we see Rick’s head coming up over the hillside, then the rest of the crew.  Maggie looking weary, pale, sweaty…it must be so hard, being on the run, being on guard always, barely any food or sleep or rest…grueling, no time to recover from the last terrible thing that happened…and it’s just one long string of terrible things, all the time now. Our gang is having a hard time getting a break.


In the next scene, we see Carol and Tyrese, crouched down, side by side, collecting water from a stream in plastic bottles. They look awkward, neither of them really talking, or looking at each other, but then Tyrese sneaks a look over, tells Carol that he “talked to Rick” and let Rick know that he, Tyrese, knows what Carol did at the prison, that Daryl and Maggie accept it, too.

At Carol’s silence, Tyrese adds, “You wouldn’t be here if they didn’t,” which I guess was meant to be reassuring to Carol, but doesn’t quite come across as the warmest “welcome back into the fold” speech ever.  Carol says nothing. Tyrese continues, offers to “talk to the others, make sure they accept it too.”

“They don’t have to,” Carol points out, quickly.  Tyrese looks over at Carol, quietly disagrees, “No, they do.”  He looks back down at the flowing water. “They just do.”

After a moment, Tyrese looks up, out at the water. “We don’t need to tell them about the girls…I don’t want to.”  Carol looks over at Tyrese, asks, “Why?”




Tyrese stares down at the water. “I just need to forget it,” he says.

The montage shifts back to the gang, walking in loose formation, looking like the badasses they are.




Bob and Sasha walk together, and we see Sasha talking, her hands gesturing, while Bob listens attentively, like a good boyfriend. (wave of sadness, sip of Stella) 😦

Up a ways, the group comes upon Hey, Where’s the Party At? Walker:

Hey, Where's The Party At?

I love Hey, Where’s the Party At? Walkershe seems like she can throw down with the best of them.

With a little smile, Michonne tells the gang, no worries, I got this...and with a little smile on her face, she  takes out some pent up anger on the wanna party?  Let's party!

Michonne tells the gang, no worries, I got this...and with a little smile on her face, she takes out some pent up anger on the walker. You wanna party? Let’s party!

I am coveting Michonne's boots so hard right now.

I am coveting Michonne’s boots so hard.

As Abraham and Rosita stop a moment to admire Michonne's handiwork, Abraham murmurs,

As Abraham and Rosita stop a moment to admire Michonne’s handiwork, Abraham murmurs, “Right there is why we’re waiting for our moment.” Rosita looks a moment, agrees, “Fair enough.

Later, at night, by the small campfire, Rick approaches Carol. “I owe you everything,” he begins. Carol shakes her head, slightly, demurs,  “You owe Tyresehe was at the prison.”  Rick nods, asks Carol if she went back there.

Carol doesn’t answer in words, but her manner seems like she did maybe try to go back to the prison, and saw what had happened to it.  She reaches into her bag and pulls out the watch that Rick had given to Sam, back in Season 4’s “Indifference.”  Rick looks at the watch, then back at Carol. She tells him she found the watch in one of “their storerooms,” back at Terminus.


I actually shot up out of a sound sleep the other night, realizing, “It was the watch Rick gave Sam that Carol grabbed at Terminus, not the Ed watch!”


“I saw them kill him…that kid,” Rick says, looking down at the watch…then, he reaches in and pulls out the watch face that Carol had given Rick to replace the watch that he had given to Sam that day. Rick offers the watch back to Carol, who shakes her head no. 

New Carol say, No way. Later for that shit.

Rick leans in closer to Carol.  “I still don’t know about what you did,” he says. “But, I know you knew some things that I didn’t.”  Rick looks away, pained. “I sent you away…to this. Carol interjects, “You said I could survive…you were right.”

Rick looks at her, then away again, I sent you away to this,” he repeats, “and now, we’re joining you.” Rick looks up at Carol, asks humbly, gallantly, “Will you have us?”

This humility, and gallantry, sent shock waves of Pure Rick Hotness through my WD buddy and me as we watched this scene.

“Will you have us?”

“True blue,” my WD buddy pronounced Rick Grimes, as we clinked glasses together in a toast.  I was in complete agreement.  The man just keeps getting finer and finer, people. Tender, and manly, lethal when he needs to be, kind, beautiful.

Rick Grimes is just killing me right now, he really is.

Carol, who isn’t one to leave a brother hanging, smiles a little and nods.  Rick bows his head slightly, once more, in silent thanks, before walking away.


Speaking of awkward silences...

Speaking of awkward silences…

...and beautiful, tenderhearted men...

…and beautiful, tenderhearted men…

Carol refuses to look Daryl, tells him,

Carol refuses to look Daryl at first, tells him, “I don’t want to talk about it.  I can’t.  I just want to forget it.”

Daryl does not reply. Carol turns to look at him. Daryl looks back at Carol a moment, says, simply, “All right.”  Carol looks away.  Daryl looks down, lost in his thoughts. He looks sad.

A lot has changed from the days before, at the prison...

A lot has changed from the days before, at the prison…

Suddenly, a noise from the woods diverts Daryl's attention...he's so on it, super hot

Suddenly, a noise from the woods diverts Daryl’s attention…he’s so on it, super hot.

Daryl silently springs up to standing, motions Carol back as he goes forward to investigate...

Daryl silently springs up to standing, motions Carol back as he goes forward to investigate…

As Daryl listens, the woods settle down to silence once more.

As Daryl listens, the woods settle down to silence once more. “It’s nothing,” says Daryl, but he and Carol stay still and quiet, waiting listening, a moment more… we see a dark figure creep away into the darkness, from where they had been crouched, hidden, watching Daryl and Carol.

…as we see a dark figure creep away into the darkness, from where they had been crouched, hidden, watching Daryl and Carol, listening. Waiting…

The next day, the group is traversing the woods…they hear a noise, raise their guns, but it’s just Daryl, back from hunting. with a haul of squirrels. Daryl  raises his arms in mock seriousness, says, “I surrender.”  Soooo cute.

IMG_8457 IMG_8459

Rick and Daryl stealth forward from the group, gliding through the woods, keeping eyes and ears open.  It seems that Daryl was not just hunting; he was tracking, to see if he could find traces of someone else in those woods.

“No tracks, nothin’,” Daryl says.  “So whatever you heard last night…?” asks Rick. Daryl tells Rick it wasn’t so much what he heard…it’s what he felt. Like someone was watching them.

Daryl, being a hunter himself, is attuned to the rhythms of the wild, and to his gut sense, his intuition. It’s so hot, one of the many reasons we love Daryl Dixon so.



Abraham jibes Rick with some cop/coffee humor, then slips it in there about how they’re going to keep an eye out, at the next road, for a working vehicle that can take them North.

“Good?” Abraham asks Rick, of this plan. It seems he’s feeling Rick out, seeing if Rick and the gang are in on The Mission to D.C., but Rick simply says, “Good,” like, yeah, whatever you gotta do, man. Rick hasn’t committed himself, or his people, to Team Eugene yet.

Meanwhile, Bob and Sasha are playing an adorable game of Pros and Cons of Walker Apocalypse, Bob, of course, cheerfully providing the pros, while Sasha lists the many cons:

Sasha: Wet socks.

Bob: Cold feet.

Sasha: Mosquito bites.

Bob: Itching reminds you you’re alive!

Sasha: Danger around every corner…

Bob: Never a dull moment.

Sasha: The sun beating down on you!

Bob: C’mon…a glorious tan!

This tickles Sasha’s funny bone, and she licks the corner of her mouth, through her teeth, in mirth.  And joy.  And new love.


Sasha: No privacy.

Bob: A captive audience. (With this, Bob leans in and steals a kiss, as Sasha laughs and beams back up at him.)  

Ouch, knife in my heart! 😦


(It’s only 11:34 am, but I have opened a Stella, and I’ll tell you why.  Number one, the kids are at Mema’s for the night, and I don’t have to work. I do however, need to finish this post, so I can go see my beautiful hubby play some music tonight, and party by the lake, by the fire, with amazing friends, and be an adult for a night.

Number two, I need to raise this Stella to Bob… because I am having a major wave of PDGS right now, yes, but also because I am rewatching this, and I am seeing Bob be this great guy who can make a woman laugh, and be the kind of new boyfriend to keep a woman laughing, far into the night, giggling and cuddling and tussling until she’s like, “C’mon, we have to go to sleep…I have to get up for work in two hours!” And when she does get to work, late, she hasn’t had any sleep, but she does have a big smile on her face, and a spring in her step, much to the wonder and amusement of her co-workers.

To Bob Stookey, ladies and gentlemen. Raise ’em if you got ’em.)

To Bob!  Cheers! 

Surely, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

Suddenly, a cry for help in the forest…

Carl urges, “C’mon, Dad…come on!” for Rick and the others to go see, and help whomever is in trouble. Rick hesitates, looks at the others, then they rush to investigate, and find the Eat the Priest Walkers, who have found a tasty snack on a rock, Father Gabriel.


Eat the Priest! Eat the Priest!



The gang comes to save another day, and mess up some walkers.


I like seeing Michonne employ other weaponry and walker-killing techniques, but I do miss the katana…


New Carol, ever handy with the knife…


Rager Walker comes ambling around the rock...

Rager Walker comes ambling around the rock…

..looking for his girlfriend, Hey, Where's the Party? Walker...seems like they got split up at the last rager in the woods, a night or two back...

..looking for his girlfriend, Hey, Where’s the Party At? Walker...seems like they got split up at the last rager in the woods, a night or two back.

Naw, haven't seen her, man.  Sorry.

Naw, haven’t seen her, man. Sorry.

Once the Eat the Priest Walkers are taken care of, the gang turns to Father Gabriel, who turns out to be a crier…and a puker. (As I too am a crier, and a puker, I do not hold this against Gabriel.)  When Rick asks Gabriel if he’s ok, Father Gabriel lifts a finger, like, a moment, please…and then unleashes his lunch onto the ground, as the group watches in a comic mixture of sympathy, disgust, and impatience.



<Hurl!> Ughhhman.


Rosita’s like, Gross…


When Gabriel finishes hurling, he apologizes, wiping his mouth, before standing back up, thanking the group for saving him, and introducing himself, “I’m Gabriel.

Without introducing himself, Rick asks Gabriel if he has any weapons on him.

Gabriel raises his arms, and his eyebrows, looking around at the group, laughing in disbelief.  “Do I look like I would have any weapons?”

Abraham replies, “We don’t give two short and curlies what it looks like!”  Ha!

Father Gabriel then proclaims: “I have no weapons of any kind.  The Word of God is the only protection I need.”

To this, Daryl replies, “Sure didn’t look like it.”

Gabriel laughs, replies, “I called for help. Help came.


Michonne, and the rest of the gang, are all like...say what?


Is this guy for real?


Rick In Charge thinks it’s all bullshit.

Father Gabriel’s stocks plummet even lower with the gang when he asks them if they have any food, as whatever he had in his stomach before just hit the ground…


Daryl, sporting a black eye, just looks at Gabriel, like, dude…really?

Carl does the Christian thing to do, steps forward and offers Gabriel some pecans, while the others stare on in disbelief at this guy.

Carl does the Christian thing, stepping forward and offering Gabriel some pecans, while the others stare on in disbelief at this guy.

Gabriel then sees Baby Judith, being held by Tyrese, and smiles, comments what a beautiful child she is… At this, the gang instinctively draws in closer towards Judith, eyeing Gabriel menacingly…


Carl’s like, “Oh, shit, no he didn’t...” The look on Maggie’s face is pretty awesome.


Papi Grimes ain’t playing around with this shit any more.


Rick gets Lieutenant Deputy on Gabriel and gives him the pat down (lucky, Gabriel!), asking Gabriel the first of the three questions, “How many walkers have you killed?” Astoundingly, Gabriel replies that he has not killed any.

Gabriel asks them if they have a camp, to which Rick quickly answers, “No,” then asks Gabriel if he does.  Gabriel replies that he has a church.  Rick then asks Gabriel the second question, “How many people have you killed?”  Again, astoundingly, Gabriel turns, surprised, to Rick, answers, “None.”

In a brilliant twist to the usual questions, without missing a beat, Rick asks the third question, “Why?”  At this, Gabriel draws up a little taller, although real fear is in his face as he regards Rick, and the group, who are all vibing him, hard.  

“Because the Lord abhors violence,” Gabriel declares sanctimoniously.

Rick crouches slightly in front of Gabriel, angling himself so he peers up into Gabriel’s eyes, as he whisper-hisses, to Gabriel, “What have you done?”  It’s amazing to me, watching it, that this way of getting down, crouching lower, to peer up into a person’s eyes while interrogating them is actually way more menacing-looking than trying to bow up, be taller.

Gabriel’s eyes are huge as he looks back at Rick.  “We’ve all done something, continues Rick.  Gabriel’s eyes dart from member to member of the group, as he replies that he is a sinner, who sins every day, and then confesses those sins up to “God…not strangers.”

Michonne pipes in, “You said you got a church?”

As Gabriel leads the gang through the woods, towards his church, Rick asks him if he had been watching them, before.  Gabriel replies that no, until today, he hadn’t made it very far beyond the safety of the church’s walls.  He muses aloud that nowadays, people are just as dangerous as the walkers…Daryl replies that people are worse.

As the gang walks, and wonders, about all this, Gabriel starts getting weird, says, suddenly, “Or, maybe I’m lying, maybe I’m lying about everything, and there’s no church ahead at all…maybe I’m leading you into a trap so I can steal all your squirrels…”

Why Father Gabriel would try a creepy unfunny joke like that on a hot, edgy, weapons-toting gang like our gang, I don't know...

Why Father Gabriel would try a creepy unfunny joke like that on a hot, edgy, weapons-toting gang like our gang, I don’t know…

...but our gang is not amused.  As Rick menaces up to a shaken Gabriel, Gabriel quickly adds that he has been told before that his sense of humor left much to be desired...

…but our gang is not amused. As Rick menaces up to a shaken Gabriel, Gabriel quickly adds that he has been told before by a friend that his sense of humor left much to be desired…

Daryl agrees...

Daryl chimes in, agrees…

“They’re right…it does.” Ha!

Gabriel's church, which was built on from scratch on the WD set

Gabriel’s church, which was built on the WD set.

As they approach the front door, Rick holds out his hand for the keys.  “We want to hang onto our squirrels, he tells Gabriel, sarcastically.  The gang enters the church and clears it, room by room.


Carol finds Gabriel's office, with a journal book containing handwritten scripture...THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

Carol finds Gabriel’s office, with a journal book containing handwritten scripture. THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

At the front altar, Rick finds many opened cans of food, which backs up Gabriel's story or not leaving the church and being well-stocked from a recent canned food drive, before the turn.

At the front altar, Rick finds many opened cans of food, which backs up Gabriel’s story or not leaving the church and being well-stocked from a recent canned food drive, before the turn.

In another room, Glenn finds a framed embroidered quote...

In another room, Glenn finds a framed embroidered quote…

...and children's drawings of the burning bush...

…and children’s drawings of the burning bush…

...And baby Moses in the wooden cradle, hidden in the water among the reeds.

…And baby Moses in the wooden cradle, hidden in the water among the reeds.

When they come back out, Gabriel attempts a mild joke again, saying that he had been alone, not leaving the church, for months, so if they had found anyone inside, well, he would have been surprised.

Now, my question right now is this: It seems like at this point, Gabriel could really be telling the truth, but if so, where are the other parishioners?  If an apocalyptic event did take place, wouldn’t a close-knit community church be a logical place for people to go, especially if they had lost family members, had to flee their homes…wouldn’t they have come to the church, to unite with others and take shelter there?  And if so, where are they now?  Why is Gabriel all alone in that church?

Abraham reports that there is a short bus behind the church that he could get running in a day or two. Rick says nothing, smooths his hand on Baby Judith’s head.

Abraham continues, “Looks like we’ve found ourselves some transport.”   Rick says nothing. Abraham continues, “You understand what’s at stake here, right?”

“Yes, I do, “ Rick replies.  Michonne cuts in, “Now that we can take a breath…” Abraham points out that every time they try to stop and take a breath, shit inevitably goes down.

Michonne counters that they need supplies, and rest, and to figure out their next move.  Rick agrees, “Food, water, ammunition.”

And, one by one, the gang agrees before filing into the church… Glenn tells Abraham that they’re doing what Rick does, that their group is not splitting up again.  Tara stops, tells Abraham, “What he says,” before following Glenn into the church.

Sasha nudges Bob, who tells Abraham that they do want to roll with him, but, “What she (Tara) says,” before heading into the church as well, leaving Abraham and Rosita standing outside.

Inside the church, Rick asks Gabriel how he survived this long.  Gabriel explains that the church had just completed their annual canned food drive, and had not yet delivered the canned goods to the food bank.

Then, everything fell apart.  Gabriel subsisted on the canned foods for a long time, but the food supply eventually ran out.  He ventured out more, scavenging and cleaning out all the places nearby…all except one.  Rick asks why, and Gabriel says it’s overrun, with twelve or more walkers, by his estimation.

Rick says they can handle twelve walkers, and Sasha volunteers herself and Bob for the run, saying that Tyrese could stay back and help watch over Judith.

I love how Sasha is being so sensitive to her brother’s needs, and Tyrese smiles at this, says that he can watch the baby any time, and if she needs anything, ever, he is there for her. He really has grown to love little Judith.

Rick thanks Tyrese for this, stepping forward and quietly adding that he too is grateful to Tyrese for “everything else.” True blue, just like my WD buddy said.

Especially when Rick turns to Gabriel, tells him, “You’re coming with us.” As Gabriel protests (“You saw me out there…I’m no good around those things.”), Rick repeats, “You’re coming with us.”

Before they leave on the run, Rick crouches beside Carl, who is sitting in one of the church pews, and tells Carl that he doesn’t trust this guy. Carl immediately asks why. Rick asks Carl why he, Carl, trusts Gabriel.

Carl replies, Everyone can’t be bad.”

Rick nods, pauses a moment, then tells Carl, “Well, I don’t trust this guy…that’s why I’m bringing him with me.  But he can have friends, so that’s why I need you to stay alert, and help Tyrese protect Judith.”

Carl nods at this.


Rick shifts, continues, “Now, I need you to hear what I’m about to say. You are not safe, no matter how many people are around, no matter how clear the area looks, no matter what anyone says…You are not safe.  It only takes one second, and it’s over.  Never let your guard down.” Rick asks Carl to promise he will do this, and Carl promises he will.


As Rick goes to leave, Carl calls to his dad.  Carl says he knows Rick is right, and they they are both strong, they all are, but…they are strong enough that they can still help people. and they can handle themselves if things go wrong. Carl tells his father, “We’re strong enough that we don’t have to be afraid, and we don’t have to hide.”


Once again, Rick is looking like the hottest single dad ever, taking in his son’s words, and his wisdom.  Rick nods, then tells Carl, “Well, he’s hiding something,” meaning, of course, Gabriel.  (And we know it too, but what? Whatever it is, it’s sure to be creepy as all get-go.)

As Rick, Gabriel, Bob, Sasha, and Michonne make their way to the food bank, Bob is telling Rick that D.C., and Eugene curing this epidemic, is going to happen, and when it does, one does not want to let too much of who they were, before the turn, go in the quest for survival.

When the cure happens, Bob says, you don’t want to be in a place where you can’t come back from it. Don’t let go of too much of who you really are.

“You’ll see,” Bob tells Rick. “You’ll be back in the real world.”  Rick counters, “This is the real world.”

“No,” Bob replies, “This is a nightmare, and nightmares end.”  Bob laughs at his own optimism.  “Maybe this is just one of those parts of not letting go.”

Meanwhile, Daryl and Carol are walking down another road, carrying plastic gallon bottles of water.  “I get it, you don’t want to talk about it,” Daryl says, with a small smile on his face.  He turns to look at Carol. “You ok?” he asks. Carol gives him a small smile.

“Gotta be,” she answers.



Daryl says that they need to start over, all of them, with each other. He looks at Carol. “You saved us, all by yourself.” Carol replies that they got lucky.

“We all should be dead,” she announces, dryly. They see a car, go to check it. It doesn’t start, and Carol goes around, pops the trunk, There seems to be some sort of generator, or back-up battery, or charger.


As she does this, Daryl steps up, holding his water bottles, and leans in, telling her, “We’re not dead.  We can start over. Whatever happened back there, happened. We’ll start over.” He looks so open, sweet as he says this, and Carol seems disarmed by Daryl as well.

(At this point, I would have pretty much thrown myself into Daryl Dixon’s arms, sending the water bottles flying, sobbing, “It was so hard…hold me!”)

Carol says, simply, “I want to.”  Daryl is giving her such a soulful look, so open and sweet, says, “You can.”

Carol  looks away, faltering, then gets back to business. She presses the red button on the generator, and the dials spring up, presumably charging the car’s battery. Carol then says that they should leave the car as backup in case things go south at the church.

Daryl starts to ask if she wants him to carry one of her water bottles, but in gesturing towards her, drops one of his own gallons.  Carol smiles at him, as Daryl sheepishly rubs his eye, bends forward and picks up the bottle he has dropped.

Smiling still, Carol says, dryly, “No,” before they continue on.  Pretty adorable.

Meanwhile, in front of the gun store, Tara mentions that maybe these days, a gun store probably doesn’t have anything left on the shelves, and Maggie agrees that it doesn’t exactly look good.  They hear a crash from inside, and instinctively raise their guns. Glenn emerges from the store, a little spooked. At first he tries to say there was a walker in the store, but has to fess up that he merely tripped over a stack of boxes, and a mop.


Tara and Maggie share a laugh, and Glenn deposits three silencers in Tara’s hand. They are shocked that he actually found anything, and Glenn replies, walking away, that,Rule number one in scavenging...there’s nothing left in this world that isn’t hidden.” These words seem to hit home with Tara, and she looks down, troubled.


Meanwhile, Rick and the gang, led by Father Gabriel, have arrived at the food bank. Rick leads the group in, gun raised, and hears sloshing noises, and the telltale hiss and slaver of walkers.  He approaches a hole in the center of the floor, wrinkling his nose at the smell,  looks down, and sees grey, goopy walkers sloshing through chest-deep water in the cellar.




Bob and Sasha approach, Bob attempting to cover his nose with the crook of his arm, remarking, “If a sewer could puke, this is what it would smell like.”  Michonne looks up and sees the holes in the ceiling, remarks that the water’s been coming in here for a while, and it’s “slimed this place up good.”  Yuck.

Sasha has the idea of using the shelves to block the walkers, because of course, where the fetid waters, and walkers, are, so is the food, sitting in sealed cans and jars on the shelves in the cellar.

Rick agrees that Sasha’s idea is the way. They must go down, and as they prepare to do so, Rick turns back to Gabriel, reminds him that “you’re coming with us.” Gabriel’s look says it all, but wisely, he doesn’t complain.

Once down in Hell’s Slimy Basement, the gang starts moving the shelving together, creating a barricade against the walkers, who reach and paw at them. There are many large cans of food on the shelves, so it is definitely worth it to be down there, but oh, god. So gross.

Great kill scenes, with grey goosh shooting out of the walker’s heads when Rick and the others stab them with their machetes, knives, through the shelving.


Gabriel then sees, through the shelving, a once familiar face: Friends With Benefits Walker, who was once a cute church lady in cat-eye glasses, is sliming her way towards him, hissing and snarling.

Gabriel panics, splashing and slipping in his haste to get away, pulling the rotten wooden staircase into the water as he tries to scramble up the steps…in a last resort, Gabriel reaches back and drapes his arms out on a horizontal wooden beam behind him, looking like Christ on the cross.


Miss me, sugar?

Miss me, sugar?

Awww...come on, don't be that way!

Awww…come on, don’t be that way!

Gabriel definitely has a flair for some dramatic posturing.

Gabriel definitely has a flair for some dramatic posturing.

Gimme a kiss. lover.

Gimme a kiss, lover.

Rick of course must go save Gabriel’s sniveling ass, and the others are forced to push the shelving barricade in front of them down, submerging the walkers, some dead now, some not, while Rick makes his way towards Gabriel and his full-on wack attack.

As the others grapple with the other water-walkers, Rick reaches Gabriel’s FWB Walker, grabs her by the back of her head, and smashes her goopy head into the wall, where it explodes apart in a sickening display.

Bob makes his way to a floating box of canned goods, smiling, until Halloween Store Skeleton Walker grabs him from under the water, pulling Bob under.  Sasha screams for Bob, lunging towards where he went under, and suddenly, Bob and the Halloween Store Skeleton Walker surge back up, the HSSW snapping its teeth at Bob.  Sasha ends up bashing its head in with the corner of a plastic container, before checking on Bob, who is shaken, but tells Sasha he’s ok.



The scene between Bob and the Halloween Store Skeleton Walker wasn't really doing it for kind of just looked like Lawrence Gilliard, Jr., who plays Bob, was just pretending to wrestle a...well, a Halloween store skeleton.

The scene between Bob and the Halloween Store Skeleton Walker wasn’t really doing it for me…it kind of just looked like Lawrence Gilliard, Jr., who plays Bob, was just pretending to wrestle  a Halloween store skeleton.

Sasha checks Bob over, as he tells her he's ok.

Sasha checks Bob over, as he tells her he’s ok. “I’m fine, now.”

As the gang wheels their haul of plastic container boxes of canned food on dollies back to the church, Gabriel apologizes to Rick for panicking back at the food bank. Rick looks at Gabriel, asks him if that woman walker back there was someone he knew before. Gabriel says nothing, and Rick narrows his eyes, says, “Yeah, I get it. You only tell your sins to God,” and walks away, leaving Gabriel speechless.

Later, Rick asks Michonne if she misses her sword. She replies that it wasn’t really hers to begin with. Rick asks her how she got so good with it, and she tells him that for a long time, it was just her, and them, and that’s all there was.  Michonne says that she isn’t sure what that time was, but it sure wasn’t living…not like now, she adds, smiling…chest-deep in slime, all for a haul of canned peas and carrots…now that’s living.

Rick laughs, a real laugh, at this, and I thought to myself, “Are they flirting?” I would really love that!

Carl has something to show his father, upon their return.  On the outside of the church, there are punctures, scratches in the wood and paint, as of someone was trying to pry their way in with a knife.

Did Gabriel lock himself in the church, closing its doors to the parishioners outside, refusing them refuge inside?

Did Gabriel lock himself in the church, closing its doors to the parishioners outside, refusing them refuge inside?


Carl has something else to show Rick.”It doesn’t mean Gabriel is a bad guy, but it means something,” Carl says, as they take in the message carved into the side of the church: “You’ll burn for this.”

That night, our gang is enjoying a rare feast, complete with wine, and laughter.  Abraham has chosen this moment to bring home The Epic Speech: 


“I’d like to propose a toast…I look around this room, and I see survivors.  Each and every single one of you has earned that title.” He raises his glass, “To the survivors!”

Glasses raise, voices call, “To the survivors!”

Abraham wipes his mouth, continues by asking, “Is that all you want to be? Wake up in the morning, fight the undead pricks, forage for food, go to sleep with two eyes open, rinse and repeat…cuz you can do that…you got the strength, you got the skill…the thing is, for you people, what you can do, is just surrender…for, when we get Eugene to Washington, he will make the dead die, and the living will have this world again, and that is not a bad takeaway for a little road trip.”

Carol, as Abraham says all this, is looking at the door.  Abraham asks Eugene what’s in D.C., and Eugene said it real fast, so I didn’t really get it, but the words “pandemic” and “infrastructure” came through.  Abraham translates for the group…walls, and protection, and however long it takes Eugene to flip the switch on this walker pandemic, the gang will be safe there, safer than they’ve been out here.

Abraham drives it home. “Come with us…save the world for that little one,” and all eyes, of course, go to Baby Judith, who is getting sleepy in her father’s arms.


Baby Judith sits up and makes a sweet noise that sounds like, “Yeah!” and her father laughs, says, If she’s in, I’m in…We’re in!” 

Cheers and smiles follow this sweet pronouncement.  Bob’s eyes are soft as he looks at Sasha, with wine, and emotion, and love.  Sasha tells him that her brother isn’t going to be the only one who gets to hold that baby, Before she gets up, Bob pulls her back down, for “one more.”

They kiss (probably for the last time), and look at one another for a long moment, before Sasha goes to scoop up Judith and Bob shuffles off through the church, lost in his thoughts.



Meanwhile, Tara has come over to sit beside Maggie.  Looking into Maggie’s face, Tara comes clean about being with the Governor’s army. She tells a shocked Maggie that she didn’t know who the Governor really was, or what he could do, and she certainly didn’t know Maggie and the rest of the group at the prison.

Tara tells Maggie she didn’t want it the be “hidden” any more, that she was with the Governor’s army, back at the prison.


Being the angel goddess that she is, Maggie hugs Tara, tells her that “you’re with us now.”

Rick approaches Gabriel, who sits alone in a pew.  He thanks Gabriel for the hospitality, lightly remarks that he’s surprised that Gabriel didn’t drink all the communion wine, being holed up in the church, alone.  Gabriel replies that there is nobody around, any more, to take communion.  “The wine is just wine, until it’s blessed,” says Gabriel, before taking a big swig of it, straight from the bottle.


Rick watches this, says softly, “You’re hiding something, and it’s pretty obvious it’s something you can’t hide from….that’s your business.  But these people, these people are my family, and if what you’re hiding hurts them in any way, I’ll kill you.”


Meanwhile, Carol has found her way back to the car they had found earlier. It sounds like she has gotten it started, when a lone night walker lurches towards her. She steps forward and rekills the walker easily, then whirls at another noise.  It’s Daryl, looking majorly fine as he emerges from the darkness. He asks Carol what she’s doing, and Carol shakes her head, answers that she doesn’t know.


Follow that car!

Suddenly, the screech of tires…Follow that car!

Suddenly, the roar of another car startles them, and they duck behind the Carol car to hide. Daryl stands when he recognizes…the black car, with the white cross painted on the rear window. Daryl runs to the Carol car, smashes out the real taillights.  “What are you doing?” cries Carol.  Daryl tells her “that’s the car, they got Beth! Come on!” And Daryl and Carol speed off after the dark funeral car, to get Beth. (Was not expecting that one! Could get interesting…)

Meanwhile, Bob is buzzed, outside, looking in the windows of the church, at his friends inside, happy, smiling. Then, he shuffles to a tree, leans heavily against it, and breaks down in tears.  And of course, behind him, comes the hunter, who bashes Bob’s head from behind, dropping him.

There was some speculation that Bob had actually gotten bitten in the Hellish Basement of Grey Goo Walkers by Halloween Store Skeleton Walker, but I do not think that is the case.  I think Bob was just buzzed, and feeling emotional, and thought he had a moment to indulge himself in a little drunken crying jag.  But, Bob thought wrong. So wrong.

I have a terrible habit, sometimes, of fussing at my kids when they come to me after getting hurt.  I clean their wound, kiss their boo-boo, but sometimes I get so freaked out when they get hurt that I kind of yell at them, like, “Sweetie, I’m so sorry that happened, but why were you running in the car port with the dog? She can trip you, and you can get hurt if you fall on the concrete! I’m so sorry sweetie, so sorry you got hurt…but you know you shouldn’t run on the carport!” 

I know, terrible, and even more terrible is that you now have to indulge me a moment while I act out this terrible parenting on Bob right now, because I am so freaked out that he is getting hurt: “Bob, you know that while you like to catch a good wine buzz, alcohol is not exactly your friend…you tend to get in trouble when you get a buzz on, you know that!  And if you needed to take a leak, fine, but then you go back inside, not stay outside, weaving and lurching and getting all weepy on a tree…nothing good can come from that, Bob! And now, they got you, and I’m so sorry that happened to you, but what were you thinking?

I am a terrible person, I know..truly a flawed human being.  I hate myself.

But what I hate, even more, is this:

Blurred, dazed, Bob’s perspective as he begins to blink awake…we see some dude, poking at the fire, and we see Shitty Martin, who Tyrese apparently did not kill, and then we see, and hear, Gareth.


“Waking up…ahh, you’re back with us.  Good news is, you’re not dead yet. That’s a relief, right? Try not to read too much into the word ‘yet’ there, It’ll just drive you crazy, Bob.”

Bob looks around, the fear and  horror of what is happening sinking in as he looks, realizes, takes it in.  Gareth, meanwhile, crouches down beside Bob, tells Bob that he wants to “explain himself.”


“We didn’t want to hurt you…before. We didn’t want to pull you away from your group, or scare you…these aren’t things that we want to do.  They’re things we gotta do. You and your people took away our home.  That’s fair play…now we’re out here like everybody else, trying to survive. And to do that, we have to hunt.”

Shots of the group, inside, talking, laughing, relaxing. Shot of Gabriel, looking down at a picture of himself and his special lady friend, before she became Friends With Benefits Walker.


Gareth continues, “It didn’t start out that way…eating people. It evolved into that…we evolved. We had to.  And now, we’ve devolved into hunters. I told you, I said it, ‘You can’t go back, Bob.'” Gareth wags his finger at Bob, then smirks at him. “I just hope you understand, that nothing happening to you now is personal.. Yeah, you put us in a situation, and it’s kind of a cosmic justice for it to be you…but, we would have done this to anybody. We will.”

Gareth looks off for a moment, saying this, “At the end of the day, as much as we hate all this ugly business, a man’s gotta eat.” And the camera pans back, and Bob looks down at where his left leg used to be, and is now only a bloody, bandanged stump. Bob starts to hyperventilate, as Gareth holds up a finger, and after taking a bite of meat, says,

“If it makes you feel any better, you taste a lot better than we thought you would.”


And we, and Bob see, the group around the fire, quietly eating meat that has come from Bob’s leg, which is shown burning on the grate over the fire.


Dude, even the Gov’s like…

They eat people? Man, that's fucked up.

They’re eating his leg?? Man…that’s fucked up.

Due to technical and emotional setbacks, and due to the fact that there was a lot of life happening in between the bouts of writing this post, this post is super late, for which I apologize. The playlist, as I said, is pretty great, as some of my faves are in it for sure, and even though Gareth is the damn Cutter, I will not let him be a song ruiner for what may be my favorite Echo and the Bunnymen song.

You may have gotten Bob’s leg, Gareth, but you don’t get the song!


The Temper Trap, “Sweet Dispostition” (for Bob and Sasha <3)

Radiohead, “Optimistic” (and for our sweet gang..)

Mastodon, “Aqua Dementis” (for all the fugly water walkers…poor Sweet Walker Pete’s prolly not looking too good these days, either)

Lykke Li , “Possibility” (Bob, I am so sorry, man. 😦 )

Echo and the Bunnymen, “The Cutter”  (Ok,..dammit, Gareth, I probably am going to think of you now every time I hear this song….but I’m still gonna love it.  Maybe even more so…damn you.)

A Flock of Seagulls, “Space Age Love Song,”  (for Sasha and Bob) 

Review: Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion

Book Review: Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion

Ranger Martin cover

In a cold cemetery just outside American Fork, Utah, zombie slayer Ranger Martin sets his trap, four gas drums strung together and the barrel of his shotgun acting as the fuse. The undead crowd erupts in a blaze of body parts. If only all of Ranger’s enemies would die this way. What Ranger doesn’t know is his greatest foe may not be a hungry horde after all, but a vicious fiend bent on destroying the planet…

Jack Flacco’s second installment of his Ranger Martin series, Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion, begins where the first book of the series, Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, leaves off…with Ranger chin-deep in zombie-mayhem, battling snapping, frenzied “death harvesters”, armed usually with his last few bullets, tenacious will, and a flair for last-minute improvisation and ingenuity.  Lucky for Ranger, he’s also got a solid team of young, soulful, streetwise tagalongs guarding his back, keeping his heart open, and keeping him honest.

Good thing, too…the man’s got a world to save!

Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion is a madcap ride, a rollicking read, that will keep you turning the pages well past bedtime.  Flacco weaves a tapestry of imagery, dialogue and intrigue in his tale of zombie apocalypse and world’s end that I find endlessly compelling as a reader, and truly inspiring as a writer.  To convey the dire nature of the state of a post-zombie apocalyptic world, a writer must be fearless when writing about death, gore, sorrow, and the darker, more sinister elements of humanity that emerge when the prognosis of life of earth becomes more and more grim.

Flacco tackles these challenges like a champion.  He is not afraid to dive in and get shoulder-deep in blood, tears, and slime green zombie gore.  Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion delivers, again and again, the kind of shots to the gut, and to the heart, that we zombie junkies need to feel the real.  The action is nonstop, as Ranger and his crew keep finding themselves on death’s door, surrounded by insatiable flesh-eaters, and must rely on their wits, survival skills, and each other time and time again.

In addition to the world being overrun with flesh-eating death harvesters (or chewers, rot suckers, decaying flesh rippers…Flacco seems to have a knack for coming up with endlessly entertaining new names for zombies, a trait I personally find quite admirable in a human being), Ranger and his can-do team of young rotslayers find themselves facing two other big (huge) problems: There seems to be an alien invasion happening, as our team of good guys are forced to dive for cover again and again to avoid detection by the hovering silver spheres of death, and the ungodly, deadly purple light that beams down mercilessly upon our embattled planet and the ragtag human survivors… and while one would think the government would have stepped in by now to shut this mess down, alas, there is a strong stench of goverment corruption and complicity in the highest ranks of both the military and country’s leaders.

Flacco shows his skill as a writer and a storyteller as he weaves these fantastic elements together in a way that is enthralling, believable, and quite simply, unforgettable.

My favorite aspects of Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion are all to do with the characters Flacco has created, and the human relationships and interactions between them.  Flacco has an ear for dialogue, and the back and forth between these characters, and the challenges they face as they negotiate both the travails of a post-apocalyptic world and their relationships with one another, are quick-witted, at-times poignant and profound, and give the characters a depth and realism that bonds the reader to them..  Be warned, however… just because we connect to a certain character, it doesn’t  mean they are going to survive in this dark new world.  Flacco’s ability to create such strong characters, and make us open our hearts and minds to them (even if they may not be long for the story), gives Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion a depth and complexity that lingers with the reader long after he/she puts the book down.

Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion is a real treat to read…I look forward to the next installments of the Ranger Martin series, and hope one day to see it on the screen, as I feel it would translate beautifully to either a television or movie series.

Bravo, Jack Flacco, on a true feat of science fiction!

Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion comes out October 21, and is available on Amazon.


R.E.M  “It’s the End of the World”

Stealers Wheel  “Stuck in the Middle With You”

Radio Citizen  “Everything”

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 1, “No Sanctuary”

“No Sanctuary”

(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

First, came the First Four Minutes

AMC released The First Four Minutes of The Walking Dead’s Season 5 premiere episode, “No Sanctuary,” earlier in the day on Sunday, October 12, 2014 on AMC’s official website and Facebook pages.  My WD buddy texted me in the late morning:  Did you watch the first four minutes of tonight’s show they released? Intense. I’m stoked. 

I had not, yet.  I was still in the midst of Sunday chores.  It wasn’t until later that afternoon that I had a chance to sneak away with the laptop, find a quiet place, crack open a Miller Lite (for courage, and because, you know, it was time to start celebrating), and watch.

Four minutes and some later, it was a little hard for me to catch my breath. I was glad I had brought the Miller Lite.

Hours later, my WD buddy came over, bearing champagne, to watch the Season 5 premiere episode together.  It was such a treat for me to have her there.  We toasted Rick, Daryl, and the gang, and when 9 o’clock came, we rewatched the First Four Minutes:

First, we see a black screen, bearing one word:


The opening shot of “No Sanctuary” shows us the figures of about six young men and women, huddled miserably in a dark train car, sitting braced against the car’s walls, or in the center of the tiny, cramped space. Each person has his/her knees drawn up towards their chests in a self-protective measure. As the camera pans over the huddled figures, we hear a woman’s agonized screams pierce through the walls and the darkness.  All falls silent for a brief moment before the terrified screaming starts up again.

We can see how each scream resonates, and registers, through the body of each person who sits in the small, dark box, as he/she awaits his/her terrible, unknown fate.

As the poor woman’s screams stop, then start afresh, one young man’s head sinks lower, and lower, into his arms, crossed at his knees.  Another young woman sits quiet and still, and stares listlessly down at her hands in the brief, dark silence…then. a fresh wave of screaming begins again.

One bearded young man, huddled in the darkness, laments, in a shaking voice, “We should have never put up those signs…What the hell did we think was gonna happen?” Screams fill the silence that follows his words.

The camera pans to the profile of the young man speaking…we recognize him as Alex, the bearded, squirrely sidekick who met his fateful demise in the Season 4 finale, “A,” in the first moments of the standoff between Rick and the Train Car Superstars and the Terminans of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.

Alex concludes his lament, saying simply, miserably, “We brought ’em here.”


Across from Alex, his brother, Gareth,  leans forward from the darkness. Gareth’s voice shakes too, with earnestness and conviction, as he whispers back to Alex, “We were trying to do something good

At this, Alex laughs, softly and bitterly, shaking his head at his brother in disbelief.

Gareth leans forward until he is face to face with Alex, asserts, “We were being human beings.”


In this first glimpse of Gareth, we see how he was before, with a softness and compassion still in his eyes. Gareth Before…

Alex laughs thinly at this, hisses back, “What are we now, Gareth?”

Gareth says nothing.  He closes his eyes for a long moment…


And when he opens them again, we see:

Gareth After.

Gareth After.

Next comes:


We hear Abraham’s voice as we watch images of our gang’s hands, as each member creates and modifies his/her own makeshift weaponry from whatever items are on his/her person:

“They seemed nice enough, but I was ready to go.  We had just got here, but, damn. It was time to go. When I told them about D.C., a wink and a nod from the head asshole in charge, they pulled their guns, and it was right back to our regularly scheduled shitstorm.”

Abraham is sharpening something metal down, on the floor, as he talks, Rosita is wrapping her belt around her hand, wrist, and arm…she has taken her earrings, perhaps, and has fashioned them into sharp spines that stick out from the belt she has wrapped over her knuckles. Glenn stomps on a belt, breaking off the top rounded part of the buckle, laces his fingers through the metal spines so they protrude from a closed fist, and proceeds to wrap the belt around his hand.

Michonne’s hands are testing the strength of a leather lace, snapping it taut, as we hear Sasha’s voice ask, “Before they put you in here, you didn’t see…Tyrese?

Michonne’s voice answers, “No.”

“Good,”  Sasha sighs.

We hear Daryl’s voice next, talking about Beth’s abduction, “Black car, with a white cross painted on it. I tried to follow it, I tried…” (We know you did, Daryl Dixon, you beautiful, sweet man.) 

Maggie’s voice asks, “But she’s alive?”

“She’s alive,” Daryl answers. We hear Maggie and Daryl’s whispered exchange of smiles, sighs, and laughter at this news.

Rick is using the chain of Hershel’s pocket watch to saw at a corner of a wooden support beam, fashioning himself a sharp blade.

rick fashions a knife

Outside, the voices of Creepy Comrades escalate, barking orders and telling poor, protesting people to “shut up” as they begin another horrific roundup.  Daryl peers out a crack in the door. “Alright,” he says, “There are four of them pricks, comin’ our way.” He looks up, his eyes meet Rick’s.

4 pricks coming our way

sweet daryl d look

It’s go time.

Rick tears the blade he has fashioned from the wooden beam, reminds the group that “You all know what to do…go for their eyes first, then their throats.”  Outside, a Teminan barks out the order for our gang in the train car to, “Put your backs to the wall at either end of the car…NOW!”

go time in the train car

sasha dukes it up

Rick looks back at the gang, nods silently as they crouch in ready stances, facing the door…but nobody comes through there.  The gang then hears a noise from above, looks up as a light shines down from an opening above them. A canister drops down onto the floor.

Abraham yells, “Move!” and shoves the others back as the canister erupts in a cloud of noxious gas.  Enter, stage left, The Dicks With Gas Masks.


The following sequence is a nightmarish series of images and events, seen from Rick’s point of view as he is dragged across a large concrete floor.  The piercing shriek of a chainsaw screams, then lulls, and winds through the black, sinister hum of the Bear McCreary score that simmers and pulses as if it were alive, breathing…

Rick's head slams on the concrete...

Rick’s head slams on the concrete…

He looks up, dazed, before a Creepy Comrade smashes his boot down on poor Rick's face.

He looks up, dazed, before a Creepy Comrade smashes his boot down on poor Rick’s face.

All goes black…and then we see:


We knew they were cannibals!

We knew they were cannibals! #thoseterminalbastards

First Rick, then Daryl,,and Glenn are dragged to the large metal sink, bound with zip ties at the wrists and ankles, gagged, and forced to kneel, along with others, at the long, gleaming trough.  Bob is brought last, and forced onto his knees to Rick’s right side. To the left of Glenn, there are four other men, bound,  gagged, kneeling.

One of the butchers, clad in respirator, baseball cap turned backwards, goggles, and bloody plastic apron, calls, “Hold up,” to his comrade.  He pulls out a fresh knife, then proceeds to sharpen the long, shiny blade in loud, scraping strokes. The other butcher, a tall, strong fellow with gleaming shaved head, clad in bloodstained plastic apron, grips his bat and begins to warm up his swings a couple of feet behind the kneeling men’s heads.

At the trough.

At the trough, Rick sees his refection in the shine of the metal sink, probably the last image the poor victims of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op see of themselves before their heads are bashed in from behind with the butcher’s bat.

One by one, struggle or not, a line of men are bound and kneeling, gagged, at the long metal sink.

One by one, struggle or not, a line of men are bound and kneeling, gagged, at the long trough.

It is a truly terrifying scene, the horror of watching the butchers warming up their swing with the bat and sharpening, wiping their long butcher knives.

It is a truly terrifying scene,  watching the butchers warming up their swings and sharpening their butchers’ knives,  while the bound, kneeling men try to manage their growing panic as the horrible realization of what is happening sets in.

As the camera pans down the long line of bound, kneeling men, we see

As the camera pans down the long line of bound, kneeling men, we see a young blond man at the end…He looks familiar. ..his eyes connect with Rick’s

OMG...Sam, of Sam and Anna, the cute hippie couple Rick and Carol found, and lost, back in Season 4.

OMG…it’s Sam, of Sam and Anna, the cute hippie couple Rick and Carol found, and lost, back in Season 4.

At first, Rick looks at Sam...

At first, Rick looks back at Sam…

...but then must look away.

…but then must look away.

From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed...

From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed…

The butchers walk to the end of the line, where poor Sam is first on the chopping block.  The First Four Minutes end with Sam's panicked last moments before his head gets bashed in from behind by one of the butchers.

The Terminal butchers stride to the end of the line, where poor Sam is first on the chopping block. The First Four Minutes end with Sam’s panicked last moment before his head gets bashed in from behind by the bat-wielding butcher.

The blow from the bat sends poor Sam forward into the trough, then the knife-wielding butcher steps forward, grabs Sam’s head back, and slices his throat in one quick stroke, then releases Sam’s body back forward into the trough just in time to catch the first gush of blood as it sprays from Sam’s throat into the gleaming metal sink.  This ritual is repeated with the next young man, as the bound, gagged men who are next in line begin to scream and plead into their gags, all the while trying vainly, desperately to free themselves, to flee what is happening. But they cannot.

Greg Nicotero has outdone himself once again, directing this episode (pretty much the most epic WD episode thus far, am I right?) and setting the bar once again with unprecedented effects.  Bravo, Greg Nicotero, bravo!

Greg Nicotero has outdone himself once again, directing this episode (the most epic WD episode thus far, am I right?) and setting the bar once again with unprecedented effects, like this amazingly realistic scene.

As the butchers move down the line…bash, pull back, slice, release, next, Glenn watches the dark blood drain closer and closer towards him…the butchers are now at the man to Glenn’s left…once they finish with him, Glenn is next in line.

glenn blood trickleblood drain

Rick pulls his shiv out of his boot, grips it, and waits.

Rick eases his shiv out of his pants leg, grips it, and waits.

As the butchers step behind the man next to Glenn,  Gareth strides into the room with a ledger book and pen. As usual, his manner is an interesting blend of testy officiousness and casual indifference as he flips open his ledger book, clicks his pen, and asks the goons in the bloody aprons, without looking up from his calculations, “Hey guys? What were your shot counts?”

It is some dark humor being wielded like the bald goon’s bat as the goon winds back, bashes the man next to Glenn’s head in, and answers easily, “38.”  This guy obviously knows the routine, knows to count the bullets as he corralls the panicked human cattle or mows down walkers. Gareth makes a note of this number in his ledger as the other butcher releases the freshly slit man’s body into the trough. The man’s life’s blood sloshes into the catch sink and gurgles down the drain.

The butchers line up behind Glenn, who clenches his teeth, anticipating the blow.

Once again, the  Terminal Batman winds back, and Glenn clenches his teeth, anticipating the blow, but before the Terminal BM can connect with Glenn’s head, Gareth interrupts…“Hey!” At the goons’ questioning looks, Gareth looks pointedly at the new guy, who didn’t answer the question. Gareth’s  pissy. his hand turned up in a silent rebuke. “Your shot count?”

The new guy takes a moment to remember his shot counts...grim hilarity.

The new guy squirms under Gareth’s withering look. “Crap, man, I’m sorry.  It’s my first round up.” It is some weak sauce, and they all know it. Even Daryl knows it.  Look at his face.  The other goon’s body language at this admission slumps, like, Dude, what, you didn’t take the shot count? Sheesh, fuckin’ new guys.

Gareth doesn’t really have time for this shit.  His Testy Level is at like 11 right now. He exhales, and as if explaining to a particularly stupid child, he instructs the new guy, “After you’re done here, go back to your point and count the shells.  Ok? We won’t be gathering them until tomorrow.” As Gareth goes back to writing, Bob begins to call out to Gareth through his gag, managing to convey that he wants, needs Gareth to “Lemme talk to you!”

Gareth tries to ignore Bob, counting the slumped bodies and confirming with the goons, “Four from A, four from D?” At the goons’ affirmative noises, Gareth notes this too in his book. Bob continues frantically calling out to Gareth through his gag.

Annoyed, Gareth walks over and yanks the gag off Bob’s mouth.  “What?” 

Bob doesn’t have much time. He makes it count.  He fixes his gaze on Gareth, unwavering. “Don’t do this,” he begins. “We can fix this.”

“No, we can’t,” Gareth replies. He goes to pull Bob’s gag back up over this mouth. But Bob is quick. You don’t have to do this!”  he yells, surging forward and taking Gareth back a step. Bob looks up at Gareth earnestly, continues, “We told you there’s a way out of all this. You just have to take that chance!” Gareth, unmoved, goes back to his ledger, continues his calculations.

“We have a man who knows how to stop it.  He has a cure. We just have to get him to Washington…you don’t have to do this, man! We can put the world back to how it was!”

Gareth’s Testy Level is inching up to 12 now, as he regards Bob with no small amount of annoyance.  This day is really shaping up to be one for the crap books.  He steps forward, ready to shut it down. “Can’t go back, Bob,” he says easily, pulling the gag back over Bob’s protests.  Bob tries another moment, then falls silent. Mad props to Bob for trying, though…he really gave it everything he had.

Gareth steps over to Rick, kneels down, and  pulls Rick’s gag from his mouth. He and Rick regard each other for a moment.  “Saw you go into the woods with a bag,” Gareth informs Rick, “and come out without it. I had to pull my spotters back before they went to look for it.” (So they did know Rick and the gang were coming! Those crafty, creepy people-eaters!) 

Gareth looks away as he says this, then looks back at Rick.  “So, what was in it?” he asks Rick.  Rick says nothing. “You hid it, right?  In case things went bad?” Gareth looks at Daryl, then back at Rick.  “Smart,” he nods briefly, then shrugs. “Still, we’ll find it…but…it’s too dangerous to go out there right now.” Gareth pulls out a knife, pulls Bob’s head towards him across the trough, and holds the pointed blade to Bob’s eye.

He turns back to Rick. “What was in it? I’m curious…and, it was a big bag.” Rick just looks at him, and a touch of Gareth’s former annoyance returns.  “You really gonna let me to do this?” he asks Rick, motioning with his blade towards Bob.  Rick’s voice is hoarse as he replies, “Why don’t you let me take you out there?”  Rick leans back, looks at Gareth.  “I’ll show you.”  Rick’s eyes shine with pleasure at the thought. Ha, how about it, motherfucker?

Gareth shakes his head. “Not gonna happen.” He pulls Bob’s face closer to the point of his knife. “This might.”

Rick speaks up quickly, “There’s guns in it.  AK-47, 44-Magnum…automatic weapons, night scope.”  Rick looks up, as if doing the inventory in his head. “There was a compound bow in it, and….a machete with a red…red handle.”  Rick looks at right at Gareth, now, as he says, pleasantly, “That’s what I’m going to use to kill you.”



Gareth is surprised, then laughs, sheaths his knife, and pulls the gag back up over Rick’s mouth. He gives Rick’s shoulders a couple of quick pats, mocking,  says, “Thanks,” before standing back up.

Gareth turns his attention back to his butchering flunkies, informs them, with pointed finger and arch tones, “You have two hours to get them on the dryer…I want to go back to ‘public face.’ Now’s the time we can get messy, but I want to dial it all in before sundown.”  The goons “gotcha’ and “yes’sir” Gareth, and as he turns to go, his departure is interrupted by the sound of gunshots.  He pulls out a 2-way handset and tries to reach “Chuck” as the Terminal BM winds back, once again ready to brain Glenn, when another gunshot pings off something metal outside,stopping him mid-swing. Strike Two. Again, dark hilarity ensues.

The gunshots are followed by a huge explosion, which sends the standing men flying and shakes the rafters of the warehouse, sending bits of plaster and ceiling raining down upon them all.

I transcribed, and deconstructed this scene in great detail because, one, I love it so; and because, two, I feel many key elements and questions were answered in that first nine minutes.

We see the origins of Sanctuary, that once Mary and her sons, Gareth and Alex, (wrong about other predictions but nailed the Gareth-Mary son/mom connection…yes!) and their community did start out as peaceful, idealistic folk who seemed to have established a good thing, and wanted to share it with others, and got preyed upon and brutalized for their efforts.

In the blink of an eye, locked in a darkened train car, Gareth seemed to reach inward and invoke a deeper, darker side of himself….and with that, the transformation of Sanctuary began, led by Gareth, to becoming a cold, predatory, brutally efficient system that lures vulnerable outsiders into its lair with the promise of safety and sanctuary, only to imprison them, dehumanize them, and harvest everything that can be gotten from them, right down to the flesh on their bones.

We see the scope of Sanctuary…they are placed in a ideal location, Terminus Station, where all the rail lines  around Atlanta converge. They are large in number, and they are well-armed, well fortified…well-fed.  They are brutal, ruthless.  The only way for their system to work is to decide quickly if there are newcomers who may be of value to them, and who could perhaps be persuaded to subscribe to the Terminal Method.

For those who do not rate, they must be stripped down, locked up, and harvested, quickly. I can only imagine that most people who cross the Terminal Gates are put in this latter category, and not regarded as potential members by the Terms (Scott M. Gimple’s  and Greg Nicotero’s name for the Terminans, which I really love).  Sadly, those who do not make the cut, get cut…and it doesn’t matter if they are men, women, children, elders…as the creepy slogans on the walls say, “We first, always.”

We get a glimpse of Gareth as a leader.  He is pissy (and can probably hold a grudge for about a thousand years), but he is smart, and meticulous.  Everything is accounted for, down to the very last shotgun shell used in roundups or for defense.  It has to be, as Gareth is running a veritable human processing factory, open 24/7.

Sanctuary has its weaknesses, too, as we see in this episode.  As Rick and the gang see Sanctuary’s weaknesses unfold, they exploit them as the opportunities arise (Hello, New Carol!).

While Sanctuary has the numbers, the arms, and the technology on their side, Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars & Co. have three game-changing elements on their side: Love, Luck, and Loyalty.  And a shit-ton of sex appeal.  So, suck it, Terminans.

Outside the false Sanctuary, somewhere down the tracks, Tyrese, Carol, and Judith are following the railway lines to Terminus. Carol tells Tyrese they are close, and she’ll make sure that he and Judith get there safely, but that she is not going to stay. Tyrese looks at her, and kind of nods in agreement, but says nothing.  A walker (who looks so much like the Tore-Up She Walker Abraham impaled into his truck last season in “Claimed”… could it be?) makes her way up to the tracks and spots them, hissing.  Poor Judith begins to cry, and Tyrese turns and takes the baby, telling Carol that he “can’t, not yet.”

Carol gives Tyrese a long look, saying, “Soon, you’ll have to be able to,” and rushes forward to kill Tore-Up She Walker 2.0. Carol hears hissing in the woods to her right, turns, and sees that they have another problem…


more on the tracks


more hear shots

The horde of walkers are making their way straight for where Carol, Tyrese, and Judith are crouched, hiding…until the gunfire from the Rick Standoff rings out through the forest…the walkers turn to follow the noise, shuffling down the tracks.

After the horde clears, Carol and Tyrese, holding Judith, step out onto the tracks. Tyrese wonders if the gunfire came from Terminus, and Carol muses that either someone was attacking them….or they were attacking somebody.  When Tyrese asks Carol if they want to find out what is going on at Terminus, Carol’s answer is clear and immediate: Yes.  She suggests an alternate route that will get them to Terminus.

“We’ll be real careful,” she assures Tyrese. “We’re gonna get answers.”

Now, I have had my doubts about Carol in the past,  but make no mistake…I am a big fan of New Carol, especially since Season 4’s “The Grove.”  New Carol is kicking ass, taking names, and getting it done, all day, every day. Much love, and mad props, New Carol.

It is especially awesome when Carol and Tyrese stealth up to the crappy little Half-TermMartin, who is setting up explosives around a cabin (to detonate and divert the walkers who will surely be attracted by the sound of gunfire from Terminus).

As he sets up the explosives, Martin indulges in some back-and-forth shit-talking with some woman comrade on his 2-way radio. Martin disses Alex for not recognizing that “the chick with the sword was bad news…bitch was like a weapon with a weapon.” The woman comrade agrees that Alex was always a “sloppy-ass motherfucker.”

Laughing, Martin then says he told “Albert” that he called dibs on “the kid’s hat, after they bleed him out.”

Nice. Martin realizes he has been stone-cold busted uttering this shitty, callous comment when he feels New Carol’s gun behind his ear.

Carol tells Martin to keep his finger off the radio’s button and drop it.  Martin complies, tries some of his Sanctuary welcome-wagon sloganage on Tyrese and New Carol, but Tyrese tells him to shut it. Martin wisely abides.

New Carol informs Martin, “We’re friends with the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat.”  First New Carol zinger of this epic episode…drink one if you got one!

Murton, you dumbass.

Martin, you dumbass.

Inside the cabin, Martin is trying to lie his way out of the mess he’s gotten himself into, but New Carol isn’t buying his line of shit. After Carol finds Martin’s bag of flares, explosives, and weapons, she informs him that a herd of walkers is heading towards Terminus, which works nicely with her plan to head there too, armed with Martin’s weapons, and get her people out.

Martin tells her she’ll never make it. Tyrese asks her how she’s going to do this…Carol looks right at Tyrese and informs him that she’s “gonna kill people.”

New Carol zinger #2, people…toss it back!

As Tyrese is left to babysit two babies back at the cabin, Carol goos herself up with walker blood, guts, and even a little mud mixed in, giving herself a nice walker-guts & mud facial…all natural ingredients, and very exfoliating!

carol goos up

Back at the cabin, Martinn is trying to get into Tyrese’s head.  He asks Judith’s name, asks if she’s his daughter.  Tyrese replies that she’s a friend.  Martin muses aloud at the now-alien concept of friends.  “I don’t have any friends,” Martin admits. He says the people he lives with are “assholes that I stay alive with.”  When Martin asks Tyrese if the lady who left was a friend, Tyrese looks at him, then down, like he doesn’t really know how to answer that question.

Martin continues, saying he used to have friends…he used to do a lot of things…watch football, go to church. I found it hard to focus on that Martin was saying at first, because I noticed he was chewing gum as he said it, and who the hell has luxuries like gum these days?  Terminans do, but at the cost of their souls, it seems.  Martin then muses that it’s hard to tell how much time has gone by, as horrible shit just seems to stack up, day after day, in these times.

“You get used to it,” sighs Martin.  Tyrese looks up at him, replies,  “I haven’t gotten used to it.”  “Of course you haven’t,” Martin says.  “You’re the kind of guy that saves babies…kind of like saving an anchor when you’re stuck without a boat in the middle of the ocean.”

Martin continues to size up Tyrese, guessing that he’s been behind walls for a while, and hasn’t had to get his hands dirty yet. “I can tell,” Martin says. When Tyrese retorts that Martin doesn’t know the things he’s done, Martin stands firm on his take.  “You’re a good guy,” Martin says. “That’s why you’re gonna die today…that’s why the baby’s gonna die.”

Tyrese stands up to his full height at this jibe, prompting Martin to quickly offer Plan B:  Or, take the car, take the baby, and go, keep on being lucky.  Tyrese growls out, “You think you’re gonna kill me?”  In response,  Martin asks Tyrese, point-blank, with a bemused smile, “Why haven’t you killed me?  How does having me alive help you? Why are you even talking to me?”  Tyrese has no answer for this, and Martin urges him once again to get the baby, get in the car, and go.  

“I don’t want to do this today,” Martin says.

I have to give it up for Chris Coy, the young actor who plays Martin, the Half-Term, for a standout performance in this episode. I call Martin the Half-Term because even though he has definitely lost much of his former moral code, he is still just a young man, one who has survived the horror of the walker apocalypse this long by adopting the brutality of the Terminal Method.  Still, he grapples with these choices, remembering better days.  Martin is on the fence, it seems, about it all.  It seems to piss him off to see Tyrese holding onto his humanity this long, having friends, saving babies.  It makes Martin mean, and say, and do, shitty things.

Meanwhile, Walker Stalker Carol, slimed in walker goo, approaches the outskirts of Terminus.  She hears the Terminal Goon ordering the gang to get up against the walls of the train car, and then we hear the canister go off inside the car.  Carol peers through the fence to see a group of Terms dragging Rick to the processing house.

walker carol at the fence terms take rick.

With Martin’s duffel bag full of ammo, Carol stealths around the perimeters of the fence. Using the scope on her rifle, she spies two Terminal Bitches culling walkers at the fence… then she spies:

Big ass propane dirt!

propane tank

…a big ass propane tank. Pay dirt!

As Carol continues to scope around, she sees the Terminal Bitches running from their culling posts at the fence, calling out in alarm.  She turns and sees the Hungry Herd, coming en masse, towards the Terminus compound.

Here comes the Hungry Herd,  just in time for dinner!

Here comes the Hungry Herd, just in time for dinner!

 New Carol knows the time to act is now.

new carol time is now

Carol loads up a large firecracker and aims it at the propane tank, props it against the fence…

new carol aims

…then Carol aims her gun at the tank. The first two shots, which we heard in the processing room, don’t pierce the tank. The third shot, which interrupted Terminal Batman’s lethal swing at Glenn’s head, connects with a loud “ping.”

walkers like the gas

The walkers are drawn to the movement and hiss of the escaping gas.

carol covers her ears

Carol shoots the firecracker towards the propane tank and covers her ears…

thar she blows

New Carol is going full-fucking Rambo on Terminus.

walkers go boom

Walkers go BOOM

walkers gonna party at terminus

The walkers who survive the blast are ready to party at Terminus, and show the Creepy Comrades what cannibal is all about…

Back at the cabin, Tyrese and Martin hear the explosion. Tyrese peers out the window and sees the black cloud rising over the trees. Martin, still bound and sitting, asks Tyrese if that’s Terminus.  Tyrese tells him it is.  Martin takes a moment to process this. He muses that maybe Tyrese and his people are going to win today, or maybe..maybe the woman who left was the one who got capped.  Martin continues, saying maybe it’s him that’s gonna get capped when she, the lady, friend, whatever, comes back.

Still looking out the window, Tyrese says that nobody’s gotta die today.  Martin snorts out a derisive laugh at this idealistic sentiment.  “Man, if you really believe that,” Martin tells Tyrese, “then it’s definitely gonna be you and the kid…even if that place is burning to the ground.”

The scene shifts to back inside the processing rooms, where the butcher goons are starting to rouse themselves after Rambo Carol’s blast. We can hear a voice on Gareth’s handset radio asking, “Man, what the hell was that?”

Gareth is losing it, ordering the goons to stay back with Rick and the others. When the bald guy questions this, Gareth screams at him to stay put while he finds out what is happening.

This is the opportunity Rick has been waiting for, and he continues to slice away at his zip-tie binds at his wrists.

The scene shifts outside to show Mary, who too has been knocked down by the explosion (no doubt while getting the front grill area all cleaned up and ready for “Public Face” later).  Mary looks up in horror to see burning walkers streaming through the hole that was one of their fences.  “Oh, shit!” she says.  Yeah, Mary. “Oh, shit” is right.

mary is shocked

Didn’t you know, Mary…

walkers on fire at terminus

… that karma’s a bitch…

...a bitch that will eat your face?

…a bitch that will eat your face?

While Walker Stalker Carol strides into the Terminal Blast Hole with the rest of the Hungry Herd, New Guy is freaking the hell out.  He’s trying to radio for Gareth, to no avail.  “Don’t  you smell the smoke?” he asks Terminal BM.  “The whole place could be going up!”  

Terminal BM blathers on about “protocol,” how their job is here, not there, spouting forth a bunch of bureaucratic blah blah blah.  

When this compelling spiel fails to derail New Guy’s freakout, Terminal BM  tries out some of the new management skills he learned last weekend at the Mary’s Sanctuary Effective Management seminar. (Lesson Three: Use the Voice of Authority, even when utilizing The Personal Approach, which is discussed in full detail in Lesson One.  For more on Lesson One, please refer back to page three of your course outline.) 

Terminal BM tries a combination of Lesson Three and Lesson One on New Guy : “Hey…look at me!”  New Guy turns to look at Terminal BM, just in time to see Rick Grimes teach Terminal BM a lesson of his own…

hey look at me slice!

This lesson’s called Eat My Shiv, bitch!

buh bye new guy

Here, let me show you close up.   Buh bye, New Guy.

Before going to cut Daryl, Glenn and Bob loose, Rick sees Alex's body laid out on the metal processing table.  Way to keep it in the family, Gareth, you sick bastard.

Before going to cut Daryl, Glenn and Bob loose, Rick sees Alex’s body laid out on the metal processing table. Way to keep it in the family, Gareth, you sick bastard.

Meanwhile, back inside Train Car “A”…

Abraham is chomping at the bit, and Eugene isn't exactly inspiring confidence in his mental acumen, or anything else, in the moment.

Abraham is chomping at the bit,  wondering what the hell is going on out there, and Eugene isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in his mental acumen, or anything else, in the moment. Sasha gets it, says that it sounds like “somebody hit them,” and maybe “our people got free.”

Carl comes forward, flanked by Maggie, and reminds everyone that his dad, Rick, said that they would be back, so they will be back. Maggie backs him up, adding that they just need to wait, stay ready to fight, when the time comes. Maggie then looks at her father’s pocket watch, thinking, no doubt, of Glenn…and Hershel.  She kneels and resumes using the chain, as Rick did, to saw a wooden blade for herself.

Michonne peers out the crack in the door, sees walkers roaming through the compound. A walker’s hand grabs at her through the crack, but of course cannot get at her.

Karma is slapping Terminus up like the bitches they are.  It is truly satisfying to see the Creepy Comrades of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op get feasted on by the undead:

walkers go cannibal on terminus

Doesn’t feel so good to be other side, does it, Terminal Bitches?

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

When Carol hears gunshots, she ducks around a corner and peers through her scope. She sees a Terminan shooting walkers with an assault rifle, so Rambo Carol takes him out, sniper style.  Her gunshots attract the attention of a couple of nearby walkers, and she ducks behind a heavy door and shuts herself away from them.

Back in the processing area, Rick cuts the righteous dudes loose, and as they gather knives and whatever other weapons they can find, while taking in Alex’s dead body and the carnage around them. Daryl goes to rekill one of the dead butchers.  He is stopped by Rick, who tells Daryl to, “Let him turn.”

The men wander into the “dryer” room, where sections of human carcasses hang from meat hooks.

carcasses dryer room

As Daryl, Glenn, Bob, and Rick take in the horror of the grisly room, Rick instructs them, “Cross any of these people, you kill them.  Don’t hesitate. They won’t.”

I love when Rick Grimes goes all Lieutenant Deputy.

After arming themselves with knives, cleavers, and other butchering apparatus, the dudes peer out to see a group of walkers pawing at a locked train car as the poor people locked inside cry out.  Rick suggests that they can run by, as the walkers are distracted, but Glenn says that they need to free the people in the train car.

At Rick's questioning look, Glenn says,

At Rick’s questioning look, Glenn says, “That’s still who we are…it’s gotta be.”

So, the good guys go and battle the walkers, and their heroics are rewarded with one wild, hairy dude running out, laughing maniacally and exclaiming, “I’m saved!  I’M SAVED!”

Ragin' Face Tat Tweaker paws at Rick like a sloppy drunk pawing a cop at an Insane Clown Posse show.  Rick shoves him off, and Ragin' Face promptly gets tackled by Juggalo Walker.  Freedom's a fleeting  thing at times, Ragin' Face.

Ragin’ Face-Tat Tweaker paws at Rick like a sloppy drunk pawing a cop at an Insane Clown Posse show. Rick shoves him off, and Ragin’ Face promptly gets tackled, and chomped,  by Juggalo Walker.  Freedom’s a fleeting thing at times, Ragin’ Face.

Judging from the grimly hilarious moments that run throughout this episode,  it seems that Kirkman & Co. had a blast filming “No Sanctuary”.

Meanwhile, Stealth Carol finds the goods room, with items fleeced from the victims of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.  She first sees Rick’s watch, the one he gave to Sam…

carol sees her watch

and daryls crossbow

And then Carol sees Daryl’s crossbow…

carol picks up daryls crossbow

After Carol takes the watch, and Daryl’s crossbow, and turns to leave, she sees the heartbreaking sight of stuffed animals and children’s toys piled up on a table…each toy represents a child that was butchered by the Terminans.

Meanwhile, Glenn, Rick, Bob, and Daryl outside in the mayhem, stuck between a train car and a hard place.  Trying to go forward, there are countless walkers and Terminans, armed with assault rifles, systematically mowing the invading walkers down.  Rick tells them to wait there, and runs low to crouch behind an abandoned car. He monitors the oncoming Terminan shooters through a rear view mirror on the ground:

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

Daryl saves the day by spearing a walker that sneaks up behind Rick, after following Rick to the car.  So hot, and then this happened…

After watching the wave of shooters cross his threshold, Rick jumps out and nabs the last shooter around the neck...

After watching the wave of shooters cross his threshold, Rick jumps out and nabs the last shooter around the neck…

...and grabs the shooter's gun...mmm hmmm, that's right, Rick Grimes.

…and grabs the shooter’s gun…mmm hmmm, that’s right, Rick Grimes.

Rick! Blast!

Rick Blast!

I thought before it was some enemy peeps on a bridge, but it's Terminans that Rick! Blast! is mowing down.

I thought before it was some enemy peeps on a bridge, but it’s Terminans that Rick Blast! is mowing down.

 And that just makes it so much hotter...

And that just makes it so much hotter…

Sigh...the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps <3

Sigh…the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps

With the shooters out of the way, the Terminal Walkers are free to go nucking futs on Terminus...

Later, haters.

Later, haters.

Meanwhile, Carol has found Mary’s creepy candlelit ritual room, the one with the SCC slogans painted on the walls (“Never trust,” “We first, always,” “Never again”). As Carol takes all this in, there is a click behind her, and Mary’s querulous voice telling Carol to drop her weapons, and turn around.

“I want to see your face,” Mary says.

Carol spies the shadows of walkers underneath at a closed door.  At Carol’s hesitation, Mary screams, “Now!”  Carol’s wheels are turning in her head as she slowly shrugs off her bag, and Daryl’s crossbow.  Carol still, however, has the assault rifle under her poncho, and she whirls and fires on Mary, getting a shot into her and forcing Mary to drop her gun.

Mary drops to the floor, wounded, then in a burst of matriarchal fury, tackles Carol. They scrap hard, throwing each other into ornate candelabras and basically trashing the place in an epic Top Mama Tapout Beatdown (“Who’s Top Mama? I’m Top Mama! Say it, SAY MY NAME…TOP MAMA!”) 

top mama tapout carol bests mary

Carol, of course, is clearly Top Mama, and soon has Mary looking down the barrel of her gun.  Mary looks around, her eyes tearing, and tells Carol that the signs were real, that it was a real Sanctuary…but then people came and took this place, and they raped, and they killed…Carol tries to shut her off, and find out where her people are, but Mary needs to unburden herself, and so Carol lets her keep talking.  The abuse happened over a period of weeks, but they, the original Sanctuarians, fought back and reclaimed their home, by hearing the message: “You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”

Mary is super into her moment, but Carol has other things on her mind.  “The men you pulled from that train car, where are they?” she demands.  Mary doesn’t answer, so New Carol busts a cap in her leg, dropping Mary to the floor.

mary got a cap in her leg

Mary, who still refuses to answer New Carol’s question, lay panting on the floor, then orders Carol to point the gun at her head. Oh, you think so, Mary?

Now Mary’s just going on all crazy, lying wounded on the floor, telling Carol that she “could have been one of us…you could have listened to what the world was telling you!” New Carol don’t think so, Mary.

You lead people here, and take what they have, and kill them? Is that what this place is?” she asks Mary, still pointing the gun at her.  Mary tells her not at first, but that’s the way it had to be, and they’re still here because of it.  Carol looks at Mary a moment, then says, “You’re not here…and neither am I.”

And with that, Carol lets the walkers in to go cannibal on Mary.

And with that, Carol lets the walkers in to go cannibal on Mary.

Back at the cabin, Tyrese watches the black plume of smoke continue to burn.  He hears, then sees, a handful of walkers coming toward the cabin. Tyrese rushes from one window, to the other, taking his eyes off Judith.  Martin seizes this opportunity to run to Judith’s makeshift crib and grab her, one hand on her head, the other near her neck.  One twist, and she’s gone. He warns Tyrese to back off, orders him to put his weapons down, and as the walkers outside paw at the windows, Martin orders Tyrese outside, where the walkers are.

Don't you hurt that baby, you Terminal A-hole!

Don’t you hurt that baby, you Terminal A-hole!

martin tyrese window walker

Tyrese begs Martin not to hurt Judith…Martin yells back, “Don’t make me!  It’s one twist, man!  Go outside!

Tyrese must do as Martin says…and the scene ends with Tyrese charging out the door, right into a press of walkers. After the commercial break, we see Martin trying to radio Cynthia, his 2-way buddy, but Cynthia does not copy.  From outside, it looks like there is some serious mayhem happening, crashing indentations into the cabin’s thin walls.

It would be easy to assume that the walkers were having the upper hand on one lone man, but then Martin hears a bellow, and two quick, crashing blows.  The hissing and slavering of the walkers stops for a moment.

Martin steps forward, then looks at Judith, pulls his knife.  But before he can do anything else, Tyrese charges him through the door:

tyrese tackles martin

You may have watched football, Martin, but Tyrese probably played football.

tyrese knife to martin's throat

You keep poking a grizzly bear with a stick, you’re going to get mauled, Martin.

tyrese walker carnage

Just sayin’…

Back in train car “A”, our gang is putting the finishing touches on their makeshift weapons.  Michonne’s weapon is particularly badass, a double-bladed katana with dual wooden blades.  Sasha asks Eugene point-blank what the cure is.  Eugene immediately answers that it’s classified. While Abraham tries to shoo the ladies away from Eugene, the sisters aren’t about to be dissuaded.  They want the deets.

Eugene spouts off some mumbly jumbo that sounds like a bunch of bullcrap, ending with the fact that if he goes “red rain,” the cure dies with him.  Abraham is placating, telling Eugene that he won’t let that happen. Eugene is uncertain, saying again that he isn’t one to be able to negotiate the physical threats of walkers and bullets if they do get outside.  Michonne answers that while he cannot, they can.  Sasha adds that they just want to hear it, the cure.  Rosita pipes in, telling Eugene that he “doesn’t have to” tell them (why are Abraham and Rosita enabling Eugene so hard?).

Pressed, Eugene stands, and tells them that he was part of a ten-person team with the Human Genome Project that created human pathogenic diseases to fight human pathogenic diseases…biological warfare. Eugene tells them that he personally knows the delivery mechanisms to unleash disease that could kill every person on the planet…he tells them that he believes “with a little tweaking on the terminals in Washington” that he can “flip the script” on the walker epidemic, and “take out every last dead one of them.”

Sasha looks wordlessly at Eugene.  Maggie steps up and prompts them to get back to work.  It sounds like both a plausible explanation for the walker epidemic and a reasonable scenario for a hope of a way  to combat this thing…biological warfare.  But can we believe Eugene?  I want to, I really do.  Eugene is a likeable enough guy, and I am obsessed with his mullet, which is looking really full and amazing in this episode.

I just don’t know, people.

Just then, the door to the train car opens, and it’s Rick and the dudes, holding off walkers and getting the rest of the team out of there.  It’s a great scene, with our gang going to town, in their inimitable Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstar-style.  I just love our gang, people.  They are such total badasses.

rick hold off gareth

Rick hold off walkers, first, then Gareth and goons, shooting Gareth in the leg? shoulder? while the rest of the gang goes over the fence.

gang slashes rick hold off walkers fence

Later, Terminus.

Later, Terminus.

In the woods, outside of the fences, Daryl leads them back to the place where Rick and he buried the weapons.  Abraham wonders loudly why they are still hanging around these woods.  Rick’s going a little Rick Smash! at this moment…he is instructing the others to set up posts at the fences.  He still wants to fight.

At Abraham’s, “Um, what?,” Rick turns to look up from his digging, tells Abraham, “They don’t get to live.”

Bob, Blenn, and the rest of the gang are like, ummm....maybe we go now? Rick?

Bob, Glenn, and the rest of the gang are like, ummm….maybe we go now?  Rick?

The gang voices their dissent, and desire to go…Rick insists that it’s “not over until they’re all dead.”  I do understand his point, and I feel certain that we will be seeing Gareth and the Terminans later on…Gareth does know now where the gang is headed, and like I said, that guy isn’t one to let go of a grudge anytime soon.

As we we see in the end, when “No Sanctuary” comes full circle, back to Then, when Gareth and Alex’s mother, Mary, gets thrown back in the train car after being raped and brutalized, and another poor woman gets chosen, and pulled away, we see that how Gareth and his people suffered at the hands of brutal degenerates.  It took much strength, and resolve, to fight back, take back their home, and survive, even if the methods employed to do so were unspeakable and evil.

Gareth isn’t going to let this one go, and he’s not dead.  If if were up to Rick, they would stay, fight, and make sure he was.  But it’s not just up to Rick, not anymore.

But enough of that, because coming through the woods is…

Carol in the woods


Daryl sees Carol 1

Daryl sees her…

best hug ever

…and runs in for the Best. Hug. Ever.

best hug 3

Totally crying again, watching this, posting this.

tears of joy daryl carol

Awwww, such a sweet, sweet man!

Rick approaches next, smiling, tearing up, being cautious, respectful, asks Carol, “Did you do this?” meaning of course, killing Terminus.  Carol is crying, smiling, nodding, and Rick gives her a big hug as well.

Now, remember this moment, you are friends, remember that!

Now, remember this moment, you two…you are friends, remember that!

Carol tells Rick and the others, “You have to come with me.”  And so Carol leads them back to the cabin, where Tyrese is waiting for them, holding Baby Judith.

ricks sees judith

Rick sees his baby girl and rushes to her.

sasha and tyrese

Sasha reunites with her big brother, Tyrese.

The Grimes

The Grimes

Top Mamas <3 <3

Top Mamas

Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita watch as the gang is reunited. Rick says it’s time to go. “To where?” asks Daryl.  “Far away from here,” answers Rick.  Rosita looks at Abraham significantly, and he assures her quietly that he’ll “talk to him, not now, when the time is right.”  They follow the gang, and before Rick slips off with the rest into the woods, he makes a change to the Sanctuary sign:

no sanctuary

After the credits, we see another traveller, who has found Rick’s modified “No Sanctuary” sign.  He regards it for a moment, then pulls his hood, face mask off…


Morgan! I’ve been waiting a long time for you, bud…most awesome to see you again!

Before the epic playlist, I would like to award this week’s Deadie to Carol, MVP of Season 5, Episode 1, “No Sanctuary.”  And in honor of Sam, who came up with awesome names for walkers, and who was a sweet soul, I included a little love offering for you all this week, to bring the funny, like Sam did.

They call him Carl Poppa, bitches. ❤

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist.


Led Zeppelin  “Battle of Evermore”

Nirvana  “School”

Bad Brains  “I

Wipers  “Just a Dream Away”

Motorcycle  “As the Rush Comes” (Gabriel & Dresden Chillout Mix)