The Walking Dead Episode 502 ‘Strangers’ Recap and Poll

by on 10/19/2014


Now that Terminus is, at least temporarily, terminated, it’s a time for new characters and new storylines. This episode we’ll be introduced to Father Gabriel, played by Seth Gilliam, and we’ll see what influence this man of the cloth has on our group. Before we get into the nittgy gritty, remember that you’re invited to discuss the episode in our forum!

The episode begins with a shot of the smoke rising from Terminus. Our guys have recovered the bag o’guns and are resting. Everyone’s happy but Tara, who looks super nervous about how a certain someone who occasionally bites people’s throats out will react to her siding with the governor. Uh oh, here comes Rick now. And he …

Lets her off the hook.

“You didn’t wanna be there. That’s why I tried to talk to you,” Rick says, referring to how he called Tara out before the bloody showdown with the Governor.

He’s thankful she saved Glenn and welcomes her into the group, even accepts her offer of a fist bump. Rick is the coolest.

Carol and Tyreese are filling water bottles from a creek and talking about whether the group will accept Carol for killing Karen and David at the prison. Carol says they don’t have to accept it, but Tyreese insist “they just do.”

However, “We don’t need to tell them about the girls,” Tyreese says, realizing explaining what happened to Mika and Lizzie might be a tougher sell. Also because “I just need to forget it.”

There are lots of shots of the group walking through the woods. They come upon a lone walker. Michonne says she’s got it, and reaches reflexively for the katana that she lost in the finale. Sighing, she takes it out by striking it with her gun and bashing its brain with her gun butt.

Abraham sees this and tells Rosita “Right there is why we’re waiting for our moment.”

The party has camped and Rick thanks Carol for rescuing Judith.

“I owe you everything,” Rick says.

She gives Rick his watch back. He’s sad about its previous owner Sam’s death. He tries to give Carol a watch but she doesn’t want it.

“I still don’t know about what you did,” he confesses. It seems like the conversation is going to be about whether Carol can come back into the group, but Rick turns it around.

“I sent you away to this and now we’re joining you. Will you have us?” Rick asks. Rick is the coolest.

Carol nods and Rick says thanks.

And now Carol and Daryl have a chance to talk about the horrible things that have happened recently. But after a long awkward silence she says she doesn’t want to.

“I just need to forget it,” she says, echoing what Tyreese said.

They both hear a noise and get up to look. Daryl says it’s nothing, but we can clearly see something watching them and moving around.

Walking around in the woods again, everyone heavily armed. The group hears a noise and draws on it but it’s just Daryl with squirrels.

“We surrender,” he says jokingly.

Daryl starts talking to Rick and says he didn’t see any tracks from last night. He felt something, but says there would have been some sign of it if something was watching.

Abraham starts trying to talk Rick into his plan, innocuously suggesting they find a road and go north until they find a vehicle.

Bob and Sasha are playing a cute game “Good Out of the Bad” where Sasha mentions a bad thing and Bob finds a silver lining. For example, “Danger around every corner” equals “Never a dull moment.” She laughs and they kiss, then Sasha explains the game to Tyreese.

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The group hears cries for help. They investigate and it’s Father Gabriel, up on a rock being menaced by walkers. They are dispatched with the customary well-oiled ultraviolence.

Rick tells Father Gabriel he can come down and he does. He asks if he’s okay and Father Gabriel throws up, apologizes, and then says thanks.

Gabriel says he has no weapons and “The Word of God is the only protection I need,” which gets a cynical “Sure didn’t look like it” from Daryl.

But Gabriel says he called for help and God answered with a team of walker killing badasses, which is a hard to argue with point.

He asks for food and Carl offers a meager handful of pecans. Gabriel says Judith is a beautiful child and says he has a church. But he’s still not trusted.

Rick makes him put his hands above his head and starts searching him for weapons, asking him the usual lines.

“How many walkers have you killed?” and “How many people have you killed?” It’s none to both “because the Lord abhors violence” but Rick keeps pressing and says “we’ve all done something.”

“I am a sinner,” Gabriel admits, but says he confesses to God, not strangers. They head to his church.

Rick asks if Gabriel was the one watching them. Gabriel says he keeps to himself because people are just as dangerous as the dead.

“No. People are worse,” Rick says.

Gabriel says that the rock was the furthest he’s been from his church since it started, but then starts defiantly joking that maybe he’s lying and leading them into a trap “so I can steal all your squirrels.”

Not a good idea.

“Members of my flock had often told me that my sense of humor leaves much to be desired,” Gabriel says when he sees the less than friendly reaction to his joke.

He has a rustic, weathered white church in the woods. St. Sarah’s Episcopal reads the sign out front. St. Sarah is the patron saint of the gypsies, which is appropriate for our now wandering group.

Rick cautiously asks to go in the church first so they can “hold on to our squirrels,” and the group does, guns drawn.

Inside Carol finds a book on a desk that shows Gabriel, or someone, has been copying the Bible by hand. He’s written “Thou Shalt Not Kill” in huge letters on one page. Rick finds empty food cans around the altar. Glenn, who had a good deed bite him in the butt last episode, finds a a picture with the words of Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary of doing good. For in due season we will reap if we do not give up.”

Basically, though, it’s just a church. Rick calls the rest of the people in. Abraham suggests fixing the church’s short bus and taking it to D.C.

“You understand what’s at stake here,” he asks Rick. Rick says he does.

Michonne wants to rest and gather supplies first, though, and Rick agrees. Abraham looks like he wants to object, but Glenn tells them that one way or another they’re following Rick and not splitting up. Tara adds a “What he said” and even Bob piles on.

Gabriel says he’s been living off the food from the church’s annual canned food drive and scavenging. He says he’s cleaned out every place nearby except for one that’s overrun by about a dozen walkers. Bob and Sasha agree to go with Rick to check it out and Tyreese agrees to babysit Judith.

“I’m grateful for it. And everything else,” Rick says. Rick is the coolest.

Rick makes Gabriel go with them because he doesn’t trust him.

Before he leaves he leaves Rick has a talk with Carl in one of the church pew. Carl says he does trust Gabriel because “Everybody can’t be bad.”

But it’s not that easy for Rick. He tells Carl that Gabriel may have friends and he needs him to stay to help Tyreese protect Judith.

Rick has something important to tell Carl, which is a lengthy speech with the theme “you are not safe.”

“Never let your guard down, ever,” he says, and makes Carl promise.

Before he leaves, though, Carl calls Rick back. He tells him that they are strong enough that they can still help people, that they don’t have to be afraid or to hide. But still, Rick believes Gabriel is “hiding something.”

On the way to scavenge are Rick, Gabriel, Bob, Sasha and Michonne. Bob is trying to talk Rick into going to Washington. He notes a double meaning of Rick’s words last issue that the Termites “don’t get to live,” pointing out that when you push yourself too far there are things you can’t get back.

Like he does in his game with Sasha, Bob can see the good side of everything.

“Washington’s going to happen, Rick,” Bob says.

Although Rick is not even sure he’s going to go, Bob is convinced that Eugene can cure the virus and that things will go back to something like the way they were.

“And if you let too much go along the way, that’s not going to work,” Bob says.

Rick says this is the “real world” and Bob says “Nah, this is a nightmare. And nightmares end.” But he also admits his optimism is maybe “just one of those parts of not letting go.”

Carol and Daryl are water down the road. She still doesn’t want to talk about it. Daryl says they can start over and that Carol saved them, but she just says they got lucky.

They come to an abandoned car and Carol checks it out. Dead battery, it won’t start. She checks the trunk, but Daryl interrupts her.

“Whatever happened, happened. Let’s start over,” Daryl says.

Carol says she wants to. Daryl says she can. Inside the trunk Carol found an emergency starter. She pushes a button on it and shows its got a little battery, so she says they should leave the car for backup in case things go bad at the church.

Maggie and Tara are on a separate mission to loot a gun store. The door is kicked in and they both agree the chances of leftovers are super slim. There’s a noise from inside and the draw their guns.

Glenn comes out and admits he tripped over a stack of boxes and mop, which gets a laugh. He found three silencers stashed in a mini-fridge inside.

Rick’s group arrives at what Gabriel says was a food bank that served the whole county. They draw their weapons and go inside cautiously.

There’s a huge hole in the floor. It leads to a basement filled with water and stinky, decayed walkers.

“If a sewer could puke, this is what it’d smell like,” Bob says.

Sasha suggests using some metal shelves in the muck to block the walkers and Rick agrees it’s a good plan. They climb down the shelves and Rick forces a terrified Gabriel to go with. Inside the water is up to their waists.

They move the shelves like Sasha suggested and it just saves them from the horrible, mucky walkers. The gang uses the barrier to safely get some head stabs in, but Gabriel sees a walker that looks like a church lady with big glasses and panics. He tries to get up the stairs but they are rotted and break. So now the gang has to push down the shelves and fight their way through the walkers to save Gabriel.

Michonne show some nice adaptability without her katana in this fight, at one point killing a walker with what might be a beater from an electric mixer.  Rick catches up to church lady walker and busts her rotten head open before she eats Gabriel.

It looks over, but when Bob walks over to get some supplies and confidently says “Yeah, I know which way it’s gonna break” a walker hand shoots out of the water and pulls him under.

Bob comes back up fighting a walker that looks nearly rotted away to nothing. It’s all slime. Bob impales it on a pipe and Sasha smashes its head open with a storage container.

She goes to Bob and asks him if he’s okay and he says “I’m fine now.”

The group has loaded up huge carts with lots of food and are leaving. Gabriel apologizes for panicking. Rick asks if he knew the church lady walker she she was alive and Gabriel won’t answer.

“Yeah, I get it. You only tell your sins to God,” Rick says sarcastically.

On the way Rick asks Michonne if she misses her katana. She says it really wasn’t hers anyway, she found it at the beginning. She says she got so good by killing “all day, every day” with it but it wasn’t life.

“Stumbling around in three feet of slime for some peas and carrots, that’s living,” she says, and Rick’s laugh is enough to make Richonne shippers clap their hands in delight.

Michonne says she misses Andrea and Hershel, but she doesn’t miss “what was before” and “I don’t miss that sword.”

Carl has been playing boy detective and show’s Rick he’s found seep scratches that show people had tried to get into the church. He’s also found that someone scratched “You’ll burn for this” into the outer wall of the church.

“Doesn’t mean Gabriel’s a bad guy for sure. But it means something” Carl says.

There’s a party atmosphere as the gang has a supper from the canned goods. Abraham proposes a toast.

He says each and everyone has earned the title of survivor and toasts.

“To the survivors,” and everyone toasts back, but he’s not done.

“Is that all you want to be?” he asks, and makes his pitch again for Washington. He says just surviving is just surrender. Carol considers making a run out the door to that car she found at this moment.

Abraham says Eugene 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.”

Eugene says there’s infrastructure constructed to withstand pandemics even of this “FUBAR magnitude” which means food, fuel and refuge. And a restart that will end the walker plague.

Looking at Judith Abraham asks them to “save the world for that little one” or themselves, or the people out there.

Rick hears Judith coo and jokes “She’s in. If she’s in I’m in. We’re in. Let’s do it,” and everyone cheers.

There’s a sweet scene where Bob asks Sasha for one more kiss, but then he gets up and leaves in a worrying way.

Tara takes this time to tell Maggie that she was at the prison with the governor. She says she didn’t know who he was or what he could do. Maggie forgives her as well, saying “You’re here with us now,” and offering a hug.

Rick thanks Gabriel for the hospitality and letting them drink the Communion wine. Gabriel is drinking it too, he says it’s just wine until its blessed and anyway there’s no one left to take communion.

Rick tells Gabriel he knows he’s hiding something

“These people are my family. And if what you’re hiding ’til now hurts them in any way, I’ll kill you,” Rick says, matter-of-factly.

Carol has made a run for the abandoned car. She’s got it started but the engine noise draws a walker, which she stabs. Then Daryl comes out of the woods and asks what she’s doing.

“I don’t know,” Carol says.

He tries to lead her back to the church and it looks like she’s going to go, but just at that moment they see a car with a white cross in the back like the one that took Beth speed by.

“They got Beth!” Daryl says as he breaks out the car Carol was going to use to run away’s tail lights. They pile in the car and give pursuit.

Bob’s outside, smiling a happy smile that fades as he looks at the church. He then wanders off into the woods and leans against a tree and cries. A hooded figure in a robe knocks him out. We also see a weird symbol on  tree, it looks like a horizontal line with a small vertical line descending from its right edge, possibly related to the marks Morgan saw in last episodes post-credits teaser.

Bob wakes and sees blurry faces and a fire. It’s the remaining Termites. One is Martin, beat up but not dead as Tyreese claimed. We’ve also got who I think is the Termite that kicked Rick after he got him out of the box car. And when Bob’s vision finally clears, it’s Gareth.

“The good news is, you’re not dead yet,” Gareth says.

They have Bob tied to a pole.

Gareth says they didn’t want to hurt them, before, but these are things they have to do.

“You and your people took away our home,” he said. And in order to survive “we have to hunt.”

Gareth gives a speech about how the Termites didn’t start out eating people that plays out over a montage of shots of our group back at the church. One shot shows Gabriel looking at a picture of the church lady, who was a church organist, with him while she was alive.

“We evolved. We had to. And now we’ve devolved into hunters,” Gareth says. “I told you. I said it. Can’t go back, Bob.”

He says he just hopes Bob understands it’s not personal, that even though they put them in that situation they would have done this to anybody.

Gareth says that at the end of the day no matter how much they hate all this ugly business “a man’s gotta eat” and we pull back to see Bob is missing his left leg, amputated about at the knee.

Gareth actually takes a bite of Bob’s cooked leg right in front of him.

“If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would,” Gareth says.

We get some scenes from around the campfire. They’re all eating Bob and we can see his leg roasting on a spit. End of episode.

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