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

Prologue

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.

_________________________________________________________________

“Strangers” 

(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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 walker...you 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.

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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!”

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“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.

Later…

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…

...as 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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 😦

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(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.

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Eat the Priest! Eat the Priest!

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

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

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New Carol, ever handy with the knife…

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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.

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Hurl!  Ughhh...man.

<Hurl!> Ughhhman.

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Rosita’s like, Gross…

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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.

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

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Is this guy for real?

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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…

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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…

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...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?

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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: 

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

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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!

 Playlist:

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) 

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:

then

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.”

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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.”

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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…

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And when he opens them again, we see:

Gareth After.

Gareth After.

Next comes:

now

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.

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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:

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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.”

IMG_7993

IMG_7992

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!

more on the tracks

More!

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 tank...pay 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

Carol!

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 two...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!

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.

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)