THE WALKING DEAD Debriefing: Judas Priest

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Previously on The Walking Dead: Our People meet the goofiest zombie apocalypse survivor ever in Gabriel, a Priest with a Secret. Rick, Michonne, Bob, Sasha, and Gabriel go swimming with walkers, which will probably become a big cruise draw ten years after the zombie apocalypse, while Carol and Daryl go after the car that kidnapped Beth in Season Four. Rick (well, Judith) decides that everyone should ahead with their road trip to Washington D.C. And fun fact: Bob’s leg feeds a family of five!

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

The third episode of the season dives right into where the second left off, with the hipster cannibals crowing over how evil they are as they eat Bob’s leg right in front of him. Gareth continues to explain every goddamn thing he’s ever done, because he’s a hipster, and hipsters like to explain things so that the world may bask in the glory of their intellect. He explains that he now has a real vendetta out for Our People because they destroyed their home (which, he notes for the billionth time, wasn’t always the way it was, but SOCIETY, yo). He especially is gunning for “that silver-haired bitch” Carol, who killed Gareth’s mom, Mary. Two things–One: Mary was his mother? Wow. Terminus really was a family operation, wasn’t it? And two: How does he know that Carol was the one who killed his mom? The only people in that room were Carol and Mary, and the horde of walkers who ate Mary, and Mary and the walkers certainly aren’t talking now. Either Carol left a note saying “Hi, killed your mom! Love, the Silver-Haired Bitch”, or Gareth is all-knowing and all-seeing—which would elevate him to boogeyman status, which ugh. As I said before, I’m too old for this shit. Gareth adds that he’s also really looking forward to eating that pretty girl, Sasha, because attractive people tend to taste better. Which, I mean, might make sense, I guess. I’m sure some scientific institute is working on proving that right or wrong. At least Gareth tries to explain the whole cannibalism thing, as he tells Bob that it started when Gareth gave captives a choice: either join Terminus, or be eaten. Which, okay, a sliver of insight, but it doesn’t explain the leap from killing people to eating them. (By the way, the whole “eating Bob while he’s still alive” scenario, while gruesome, isn’t the most disturbing fictional cannibal act I’ve ever happened across—that honor would belong to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I won’t spoil it for you—or make you incredibly depressed—but it’s pretty brutal, and thankfully “The Walking Dead” doesn’t go that far.)

Bob isn’t really listening to Gareth’s diatribe much, as he’s crying the whole time. His sobbing turns to laughing, however, and Gareth is intrigued, asking if he’s really gone crazy so soon. Through his laughter, Bob calls them all idiots (thank you, Bob, you speak for all of us), pulls the collar of his shirt down, and reveals the nasty-looking walker bite that he got from the previous episode. “I’m tainted meat!” he laughs. “You’re all eating tainted meat!” I don’t want to say that Bob’s impending death is worth it if we get to see these stupid assholes freak out—because I actually really like Bob—but it is rather satisfying to see the smug hipster cannibals vomit everywhere and cry their stupid little eyes out. Gareth tries to tell them that they’ll probably be fine because they cooked the meat (did you use a meat thermometer, Gareth?) but he’s clearly unnerved by the implications of eating tainted meat. Bob continues to laugh his ass off, which gets him a kick to the head from Gareth. Let’s hope the folks at your favorite artisanal Williamsburg deli don’t hear about this fuck-up, Gareth!

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

Back at the church, everyone is searching for Bob, Carol, and Daryl. Sasha runs out of the church and meets two walkers, who she quickly dispatches. Understandably very concerned about her boyfriend, she lashes out at Gabriel, asking him what he’s hiding, because Our People have already lost three people since meeting up with him. After Sasha threatens to kill him, Gabriel confesses that when things went to shit, he returned to the church and, frightened, locked the doors. Being good, Christian folk, his parishioners came to the church seeking safety. Being a cowardly asshole, Gabriel refused to let them inside, even after his congregation was attacked by walkers and entire families were slaughtered right outside. After the walkers left he buried the bodies, but really it’s likely that some parishioners survived long enough to write “You’ll burn for this” on the wall of the church. What I’m saying is, Gabriel had to have had a lot of time to potentially open the church doors and let some survivors in, but instead he holed up in his church for months until he ran out of canned good collected for the food drive. So not only is Gabriel a coward, but he made a conscious decision to remain a coward after an initial act of cowardice. He put a hell of a lot of energy into being a coward, and I find that intriguing on a general level. And I like the poetic justice of him being haunted and literally hunted down by the people he deceived. Really, the life he’s been living is a hell of his own making. So I will admit that, at this point, I like Gabriel’s character—he’s not a good guy, but he’s not irritatingly one-dimensional like Gareth. His soul is up for grabs at this point; I can see him redeeming himself, ultimately (as much as I’d love to see a priest, frock and all, mowing down zombies with a machine gun, I can more easily see him being a stoic character who saves people, one way or another) as easily as I can see him doing something awful—either committing another act of cowardice or going off the deep end and trying to murder everyone in their sleep. That being said, I can also see him getting eaten by walkers in the next couple of episodes, because dude is inept as fuck.

What follows is an awkward moment where everyone is like, “Well, the dude is a ball-less bastard, but he didn’t kill our people.” Suddenly Our People hear a whistle outside; everyone rushes out to find Bob lying a few feet away from the church. Gareth and the hipster cannibals open fire on them, but run off fairly quickly. As they pull Bob into the church, Rick notices an “A” scrawled in blood on the church wall, which is a nice little artistic flourish on the hipster cannibals’ parts, but serves absolutely no purpose. Fucking hipsters.

Bob is taken to the sofa in Gabriel’s office, where, half-conscious, he tells them that hipster cannibals are holing up at an abandoned building nearby and that they ate his fucking leg, but that Daryl and Carol weren’t with them, so that’s good, at least. Sasha tells him that everything’s going to be alright, but Bob shows them that he was bitten in the neck and, yeah, nothing is going to be alright, Sasha. Glenn mentions that Jim was able to live for two days after being bitten by a walker before turning—hey guys, remember Jim? That was so long ago. No one had beards back then. It was a simpler time.

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

They file out into the rectory and try to figure out what to do. For some reason Abraham thinks this is a good time to mention packing up and moving out, more or less saying, “This sucks and all, but that Aspie gamer ain’t getting to D.C. by himself!” while Rick is like, “Not now, Carrot Top!” I really don’t like this dude. Seriously, Abraham, calm the fuck down. You’re betting on the wrong horse with Guillaume, here. And it seems as though his own party is losing respect for him, as Rosita looks hesitant to follow him in his hissy-fit, and Eugene just tells him flat-out “No, I don’t want to go” when Abraham yells at him to come with them. He wants to stay with his new, competent friends, Abraham! I actually feel bad for Eugene here, and realize that he’s not pushing his importance in the plan to save the world as much as Abraham is. What if one night, early on in the zombie apocalypse, Eugene and Abraham got fall-down drunk and Eugene was just talking shit about mechanized biological chemicals, reciting stuff he’d read in an old Wired article, and Abraham was like, “Holy shit, are you a scientist involved in a super-secret military operation that could potentially save us all?” and Eugene was drunkenly like, “Fuck yeah I am!” and then Abraham was like “THEN WE MUST GET TO WASHINGTON.” And from then on this was a role Eugene has been forced to play? That would be both tragic for Our People, but also rather hilarious, you must admit. In any case, Abraham yells at Eugene to get up and follow him, which Eugene does, like the little be-mulleted puppy dog that he is. Rick tries to convince him to wait one god-damned day so they can avenge their friend and kill the guys who tried to slaughter and eat them all. They almost start fighting, but Glenn finally gets Abraham to agree to wait twelve hours, and if Carol and Daryl aren’t back, then Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene can leave and take Glenn, Maggie, and Tara with them. Rick is against the group being split up, but Tara and Maggie agree to the deal—Tara because she’s now Glenn’s bodyguard, and Maggie because someone has to make kissy-faces at Glenn or he’ll go off his food, I guess.

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

Sasha is sitting with Bob in his makeshift bed in Gabriel’s office. Bob is slowly dying, as the walker bite is catching up to him (and the whole amputated leg thing probably didn’t help matters). But he still manages to smile for Sasha and try to kid around, because he’s Bob, and is too beautiful for this world. As he slips in and out of consciousness, Sasha asks Tyreese to stay with him while she goes with Rick and the others to find and kill Gareth and the hipster cannibals. Tyreese is sort of horrified at the prospect of his sister sacrificing the little time she has left with her boyfriend so that she can kill people. Rick might be the official leader of Our People, but I think Tyreese is the moral compass, and it’ll be interesting to see if he has any more confrontations with Rick on this front in future episodes. For all his good intentions, Tyreese rather tactlessly asks Sasha to forgive the hipster cannibals and focus on what’s important—namely, Bob. He notes that he was able to forgive the person killed Karen (read: Carol), although it was probably somewhat easier to forgive Carol after Tyreese had spent of a month or so helping her protect three young children, as opposed to forgiving a dude who eats people for a living and then ate your boyfriend’s leg, but I can see where Tyreese is coming from. He knows first-hand what anger can do to a person, and he’s seen the brutality that this post-apocalyptic world affords. He wants his sister to stay above that and keep her soul intact. Sasha is having none of it, however, and orders him to stand guard over Bob while she goes with Rick.

That night, Rick, Michonne, Abraham, Sasha, Glenn, Maggie, and Tara leave the church to go to the elementary school where Gabriel said the hipster cannibals were most likely staying (thankfully, they leave Gabriel at the church, because no one has time for making sure he doesn’t get his sorry ass killed on another mission). Tyreese, Gabriel, Carl, Rosita, Eugene, and of course Judith stay behind at the church with Bob. So, pretty much, the A Squad is going off to fight the hipster cannibals while the B Team stays put. We watch as the A Squad walk away from the church, into the woods. Almost fifteen seconds silently go by before we see another group sneak out of the woods on the other side of the road. I just think this was a really cool shot, is all—the beginning of a super tense scene, you spend it wondering if a pair of headlights will suddenly turn on in the darkness of the road, or if a horde of walkers will appear, or what. It turns out to be the hipster cannibals, fully armed and not dead from eating Bob’s tainted leg (was there a reason for the whole eating-Bob’s-leg thing? Was it just for the shock value?) And they’ve successfully led the strongest members of Our People away from the church, leaving the rest with limited ammo, a baby, a useless priest, and a dying man. So this isn’t good.

Gareth leads the hipster cannibals inside the church. Our People are huddled together in Gabriel’s office with Bob, trying not to make a noise as Gareth—what else?—talks non-stop, telling them how clever he is, how he knows they’re alone, how you’re either the butcher or the cattle, probably. He tells Gabriel that they’ll let him go if he just comes out and tells them where everyone else is. He can even take Judith with him. In Gabriel’s defense, although he is obviously losing his shit, he stays quiet and doesn’t move. There are only two doors for the hipster cannibals to choose from anyway, and Judith gives everyone away when she starts crying. Grinning, Gareth remarks that maybe he’ll let the baby live after all. “I’m beginning to like this girl,” he says.

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

Gareth and his crew huddle around the door to the office, ready to burst in and great everyone with a big ol’ howdy-doo, when two nameless hipster cannibals’ heads burst open from some perfectly aimed gun shots. Gareth turns around to see Rick and the A Squad behind them, ready to shoot. Did they realize they were walking into a trap and double-back to the church? Did Glenn forget his keys? Who knows? What matters is that they’ve got the drop on the hipster cannibals, thank God. Rick tells the hipster cannibals to drop their weapons. Gareth has no intention of doing so, so Rick shoots the gun out of his hand, blowing off two of his fingers in the process. Because in case you haven’t noticed, Rick doesn’t have the patience for this shit anymore. He’s mad, mean mad, and probably wishes that they’d just gone back to Terminus and killed the survivors while they had the chance. The others put down their weapons (Martin takes some goading, but Abraham’s gun to the back of his head does the trick) and Rick has them all line up together and kneel before him. Gareth still thinks he has a shot at surviving this, and, again, tells Rick that Terminus was supposed to be a utopia, but it was ruined by marauders and just a totally shitty world in general. Which, you know, okay, gold star for you, Gareth, for attempting to create a utopia in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. But Jim Jones also tried to create a utopia in Guyana where everyone could live in peace and harmony, but he ended up poisoning hundreds of his followers, and no one is giving him a pat on the back for that first part. He tries to make a deal with Rick: if he lets them go, he’ll never see them again. Which is bull shit because: 1) It’s obviously not true, and 2) Most likely the hipster cannibals will just catch, kill, and eat other innocent people once they’ve regained their bearings. There’s really nothing else Rick can do, but he still seems to take a certain amount of sadistic pleasure in pulling out the red-handled machete that he’d told Gareth he’d kill him with in the season premiere. As Glenn, Maggie, and Tara stand back, apparently vaguely disturbed by what happens, Rick, Michonne, Sasha, and Abraham kill the hipster cannibals. And I mean show-no-mercy, hack-them-up, Gabriel’s-gonna-need-a-new-carpet level of slaughter. I hate to say that this was intensely satisfying to watch, because it really is brutal and throws Rick and the others into a very gray moral area, but—yeah, this was incredibly satisfying to watch. Because these guys were assholes with no chance of moral retribution whatsoever, and it also means that we won’t have to deal with them for the season like I’d initially feared.

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

And I genuinely don’t believe Rick had any other choice than to kill them all. Season One Rick might’ve let them go, but Season Five Rick knows what people are now capable of. For all of Gareth’s butcher and cattle talk, he seemed surprised by the fact that adopting the role of butcher has consequences—namely, being hacked to death once you’ve lost control of the situation. With that being said, the question here is how such an act will change Rick and those around him. Glenn and Maggie were obviously unsettled by what they witnessed, and there’s a slippery slope from killing those who deserve it to killing those who you’re pretty sure deserved it to killing people indiscriminately, full-stop. This seems to be the theme for the season, and it doesn’t bode well for Rick or the others. After the massacre, Gabriel leaves his office to find five people very much dead in his church. Appalled, he tells them, “This is the Lord’s house.” Maggie replies that, no, it’s just four walls and a roof. And, really, it’s true—even if you believe in God and whatnot, that church lost all sanctity when Gabriel shut its doors and refused to save his parishioners. From then on it became the refuge of a coward.

As they look down at the hipster cannibals, Michonne sees the handle of her samurai sword sticking out of Martin’s backpack. Yes. Thank you, God. Fuck morality and slippery slopes—this makes it all worth it. She takes her sword back, angels sing, a ray of light shines down upon her. “You’re welcome,” God says as he gives her the thumbs-up sign. All is well in the world.

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

The next day, everyone says their goodbyes to Bob, who’s obviously not got much time left. He has a nice long talk with Rick, who’s holding Judith all the while, thanking him for letting him into the group and showing him that there are good people left in this world. Aw. It’s a sad scene for a multitude of reasons, but the saddest fact may be this—for the sham that Eugene most obviously is, it was Bob who genuinely believed him and his promise to save the world—not necessarily because Bob is gullible, but because he had to believe that there was hope for this world—and it’s sad that he won’t be able to continue on that journey with them. Really, it’s sad in general that Bob has lasted this long, both on his own and as an integral member of the group, only to get taken out relatively late in the game. What is touching, however, is the fact that Bob is given such a quiet, relatively peaceful manner of death, ultimately. True, being bitten in the neck and having your leg chopped off is likely not particularly pleasant, but in the end he’s able to slip away quietly, in a nice warm bed, surrounded by the people who love him. It’s the kind of death that I imagine everyone in the group wanted for their loved ones, and really, the type of death all of the dead members of Our People deserved. (Except for Shane, because fuck that guy.) Eventually everyone files out to leave Bob alone with Sasha. Bob is still insistent that life is precious and that he was a lucky guy, even if he has to leave them all. “So what’s the good that comes out of this bad?” Sasha asks, but before she can finish her question, Bob passes away. Ugh, this scene kills me. Sasha sits with Bob for a while before Tyreese comes in and offers to stab a knife into Bob’s brain so that he doesn’t turn into a walker. She leaves as Tyreese very quietly and nonviolently does the deed, although I hope someone double-checks his work this time, considering how well his handling of Martin ended up being.

Later, Glenn, Maggie, and Tara follow Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham onto the church bus. Rick promises Glenn, Maggie, and Tara that they’ll meet up again in D.C., but Glenn and Maggie still look like they’re kids being sent by their parents to the Summer Camp from Hell. So once again Our People are split up, which is something that feels inherently wrong and almost never ends well. If Beth were here then she’d probably be singing “May the Circle Be Unbroken”, but oh, yeah, no one knows where the fuck Beth is. Rick opens the may Abraham gave him showing the long, probably perilous route from Georgia to D.C., with the message “Sorry for being an asshole earlier. Come to Washington. The new world’s gonna need Rick Grimes” scrawled beside the star of D.C. Rick walks over to Tyreese, who’s been tasked with the job of burying all those dead bodies, and helps him dig. He asks what happened to him, Carol, Judith, Mika, and Lizzie on the way to Terminus. Tyreese, understandably, doesn’t want to tell him. “It killed me,” he finally answers. Rick thinks about this for a while before replying, “No, it didn’t.”

Courtesy AMC

Courtesy AMC

That night, Gabriel (who’s probably wishing he’d never screamed for help on that boulder and had just let those walkers kill him, at this point) goes outside to sit next to Michonne, who’s keeping guard with the help of her best friend, Sword. Gabriel tells her that he can’t sleep. Gabiel. Are you just now having trouble falling asleep? Even after allowing your parishioners to be slaughtered by walkers? Okay. Whatever. Michonne tells him that that feeling never goes away, but it lessens with time. Suddenly, they both here rustling in the bushes not far from the church. Gabriel, of course, gets the hell back inside (and yeah, sure, he’s a coward, but he also ain’t no fool) while Michonne and her trusty sword inspect the bushes. She smiles as Daryl walks out into the clearing. Yay! Daryl! Daryl might be the one character whose death would cause me to riot (well, him and Michonne. You don’t get to kill either of those two, Show). Michonne asks Daryl where Carol is, and his face darkens (or…darkens more). He looks back into the bushes and tells someone that they can come out now.

And then the goddamn episode ends. Because God is dead.

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