After last week’s action-packed season premiere, which had about as happy of an ending as Walking Dead could have, it was still hard to believe that the group would continue in that vein. But in the end, even understanding that couldn’t prepare me for what happened in “Strangers”.
Truthfully, though it had some interesting moments, a lot of this episode seemed forced. It quickly became clear that they were using the changing color of the smoke at Terminus in the background of the awkward semi-slow-motion shots of the group traveling to show the passage of time. I can understand them using the smoke that way, but the slow motion shots and weird music that accompanied it eventually felt a bit ridiculous.
And although the many one-on-one conversations in “Strangers” seemed to be meant to tie up some loose ends, plenty of them felt out of place. Moments that were probably meant to be humorous–Rick fist bumping Tara, for instance–weren’t exactly apropos. I was also surprised at how much emphasis they were putting on everyone’s reunions with Carol, though it was soon obvious they were working toward her leaving the group. And though this is getting a bit ahead of myself, when she finally tried to leave, her attempt was quickly overshadowed by other events–namely her and Daryl rushing off in pursuit of the car with the cross on the back.
This episode did bring a new character in: Reverend Gabriel, who is an adaptation of another character from the comics (and who, despite theories to the contrary, doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Beth’s disappearance). Usually I’m a fan of the writers’ decision to more closely follow a comic character’s storyline, but I’m not too sure about it this time. At the moment I’m thinking that this would have been a case where they should have put their own spin on the Reverend’s characterization.
As I mentioned, there were a lot of awkward moments in “Strangers”, such as Glenn’s sudden clumsiness, Daryl trying to hand a water jug to Carol when she had full hands (seriously, was that a blooper?), and Bob being way too happy all of the time. In fact, I’m not surprised that Bob’s chances of survival seem so slim. This is The Walking Dead, after all!
Clearly Bob was having issues after being attacked on the supply run, no thanks to the Reverend. I have to say, though, I was less bothered by his reaction to the zombie coming after him when we were shown that “she” was someone he’d known, someone he’d been friends–and possibly more–with. Not that this does Bob much good, when at the moment he’s in a really rough spot, as Gareth and the other Terminus survivors are literally eating him alive. That was definitely not something I expected the writers to pull from the comics, and again, I find myself uncertain how I feel about them taking that road.
Between Bob’s situation and the scene in the flooded basement, “Strangers” wasn’t lacking in gross-out moments, though in a different way from last week’s blood-and-gore-fest. As for Rick’s decision to accompany Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene to Washington, while I wasn’t a big fan of the ‘celebration’ scene, Abraham’s speech, and Rick’s general reaction, for now I’m glad they aren’t just holing up somewhere. One thing is for certain: so far this season The Walking Dead is proving that, perhaps now more than ever, it’s willing to push the envelope.
I just hope that the Gareth doesn’t turn into another Governor-type villain, around for far longer than he should be.
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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