After the literal fireworks of last weeks season opener of The Walking Dead, the gang was finally back together for episode two’s Strangers.  As we ended last week, Rick and Judith had their loving reunion, Daryl cried with Carol, Tyreese and Sasha hugged probably, and everyone was all laughs and smiles at being together. Though it might have been nervous laughter since most of them were minutes from imminent death just hours before.

But don’t worry about The Walking Dead in Season 5, at least not yet. We might have a slew of great character moments in this episode, but it doesn’t look like we are settling down any time soon, because Gareth, the leader of Terminus, is still around and he is hungry.

In fact, this episode has food all over it. On the road after Terminus, the episode opened with Rick chatting to Tara. It seems she is doing her best to integrate into Rick’s crew and gives him a sweet smile and a fun little fist bump, because this episode is going to show almost everyone with a smile on their face at some point. I’m guessing they might be cramming all the smiles in now, because we are getting nothing but tears for the rest of the season.

Rick sets up our theme by telling Tara to “Eat up,” because they are on the move. And on the move they are, in slow motion no less. After all the individual scenes last season, it was great getting these full crew wide angle shots in an ominous slow-motion. They came towards the screen, confident and fully armed. This is no longer a rag-tag team. They are a dangerous and seasoned crew of warriors who have probably killed a thousand walkers by now.

Tyrese and Carol are trying to integrate into the group, but things are weighing on them both. Tyreese wants everyone to be fine with Carol’s murdering at the prison, but the grizzly tale of Micha and Lizzie is something they both just want to forget.

Poor Michone has lost her sword. What is she without that sword you might ask? Someone who can still kill walkers, that’s for sure, as she kills one on their journey while Abraham watches and comments that they are with this group because of people like Michone. He wants to move onto Washington, but doing it safely is a pretty big deal and this group kicks some serious ass. But while Abraham seems intent on the journey, I’m not sure about Rosita. She had a strange tear as he commented on Michone’s bad-assery. Is she jealous of Michone? Does she not want to go to Washington? Will she survive to the mid-season break?

We continue with our reunion scenes with Carol giving Rick his watch. He doesn’t really apologize for sending her away from the prison, but he does thank her for single handedly saving them all. Rick is nice like that. Carol deflects him for the most part, saying that he told her she could survive and she has. But now it’s Rick’s turn, and they are all on the run now, joining Carol’s banishment.

Daryl has never been the talkative one, and Carol certainly isn’t into looking back these days, so the repeated reunion scenes between these two are filled with lots of lovely tears and stares and knowing looks. And this is a good thing, since they aren’t yapping all the time, Daryl can tell someone is out in the woods and they are being watched.

Rick and the gang are on their merry way when they finally hear some screams. Rick is still in survival mode but Carl, the wise sage and moral compass, speaks up. They can’t be like those Terminus people, they have to be the good guys. And good guys help people. Thus we meet Gabriel, the fine preacher of St. Sarah’s Episcopal Church. The team dispatches a slew of walkers with precision and and rescue Gabriel as we quickly realize that Judith is more capable than him.

At least Judith might be useful as a distraction.

Rick is sure Gabriel is hiding something, but he does have a church they might be able to resupply from. We get another mention of hunger in the Gabriel introduction as well. He asks if they have any food, and the kind hearted Carl gives him a few pecans. We see more hunger inside the church with empty cans stacked behind the altar. They are going to need to eat, and it seems they might be able to stock up in town at the food pantry.

Abraham wants to be on the move, but he is biding his time. Glenn tells him they are going to follow Rick no matter what. He is not into splitting up for any reason. It’s nice to see Glenn turn around like this, since he was the one who left his small rag tag group last season to strike out on his own.

But then they immediately split up as most of the team goes into town for supplies. Rick asks Carl to stay with Tyreese and protect Judith. He still isn’t sure about Gabriel, but Carl the Wise reminds him that they must see the good in people.

On their way to town Bob agrees with Rick’s original position that some people just have to be killed and stresses that Abraham and Eugene are going to save the world. To Bob, this is all just a nightmare that is going to end one day. But I wouldn’t hold your breath Bob. This is your reality. It isn’t going to magically go away.

Meanwhile, Carol and Daryl are gathering water and come across a car. Daryl is trying to convince Carol that the past is gone and they get to start over. These two are the greatest together. They barely even talk, but say volumes. They do a great job channeling Cormac McCarthy’s The Road,

We aren’t dead.
We’ll start over.
I want to.
We can.

For some reason we get a scene with Tara and Maggie waiting for Glenn as he searches a gun store. They hear a crash and bang inside and fear Glenn has been attacked by a walker. But no, silly Glenn just tripped over some boxes. He did find a couple of silencers though, so at least he accomplished something with his hilarious hijinks .

Back at the food bank Rick and the team see the basement, where the supplies are, has been flooded and there are water-logged walkers sloshing about. It looked like it smelled as bad as Bob claimed,

If a cellar could puke, this is what it’d smell like.

Using shelves as a shield, they make their way in. It’s tough, messy, close quarter work but our team of veterans does well until scaredy cat Gabriel sees a woman he once knew and her rotting corpse sends him fleeing. The team has to scramble and Michone does some nice walker killing in the slosh.

They get the supplies, but not before we see Bob almost get taken out by his love of the bottle. While scrambling for some booze he is pulled under the water, Luke Skywalker style, to fight a walker. But Bob is one lucky dude (so far), and he somehow survive, keeping the walker at bay.

I think we might have seen the last of Michone and her sword, at least for a little while. Rick asks her if she misses her sword, and she says it was never hers. Not only that, but it symbolizes her time alone surviving. This –fighting walkers with friends in a stank filled cellar swamp– now that’s living. What does Michone miss? She misses Andrea, and Herschel. But not the sword.

Returning to the church we see that Carl has been doing some snooping around. There are marks on the boarded up windows outside of the church and writing that says “You’ll Burn For This.” It seems our pacifist preacher might have holed up and not even allowed his flock the sanctuary of his church.

As the night closes, we get a toast and Abraham then tries to convince the team to go to Washington. If they can get Eugene to DC, he can create some kind of bio-weapon that will wipe out the walkers. I have two points to make her :

  • I call bullshit on Eugene. I’m betting he is not really some super secret scientist. Firstly, no single scientist is going to make the difference, unless somehow he created the virus in the first place, which he never implies. Secondly, he gives no real details at all, just general points about it being in his head, and so they must protect him at all costs. I think he is just a coward who made up this story and convinced Abraham of it so he could have a burly ginger protecting his ass. And, finally … MULLET!
  • Decision by Baby. Alright now, I can buy the team agreeing to go to Washington. Perhaps Rick just makes the decision as the leader, or maybe they vote. But no. Rick says that if Judith is for it, then he is for it. Luckily for Abraham, Judith then smiles and laughs, triggering smiles and laughs around as they all agree to follow the decision of baby Judith.

As the rest share in the preachers wine after the Decision by Baby, Carol is out in the dark killing random walkers. She is a bit broken from last years time with Micha and Lizzie, and rightfully so. When he asks what she is doing she says, with a sad tear, “I don’t know.” But their conversation is cut short by a car zooming by and Daryl running to the car. He and Carol jump in as he he screams “They have Beth!”

So Carol and Daryl are off to find Beth, and I can’t think of two characters I want to see split off and get a story of their own more than these two.

But we aren’t done yet. No, Bob has wandered into the dark and is weeping next to a tree. Why? I’m not sure. The booze? Who knows, but it doesn’t matter much as he is bopped on the head by a hooded man and we see a strange symbol on the tree. It is kind of like an upside down “L”. I guess we will have to wait and see about the symbol. But not about Bob.

Bob has been taken by Gareth and the remaining Terminus crew. Gareth goes on a long rant about how they didn’t start out this way. They weren’t always bad guys. They are just surviving. And everyones gotta eat. Gareth bites on a yummy piece of medium-rare and we see they are roasting a leg. Bobs leg. Gareth is eating Bob’s leg, while talking to Bob. Bob screams. You scream. We all scream for leg of Bob.

We will have to wait until next week to see the fate of Bob’s other leg.