Last week’s episode ended with Carol and Daryl going after Beth while Bob’s leg got barbequed by Gareth and the Terminus gang. This week, we follow up with one of those plot threads. Is it good?
Remember that gross closing shot of the Terminus people chowing down on Bob’s leg flesh last week? Well the cold open for this one jumps right back into it. And this time, the camera really lingers on the chewing. You would think that eating a man’s leg in front of him would make people have the decency to chew with their mouths closed, but even the most eloquent of cannibals are apparently not too keen on manners.
Speaking of eloquent, Gareth continues rambling on to Bob about what he’s going to do to his friends and how different people taste. He even claims that “prettier people taste better” (which if true, means that Maggie must be absolutely delicious).
But in a moment ripped straight from the comics (albeit with slightly different characters), Bob begins laughing his ass off before revealing that he had been bit. This is immediately followed by him screaming about “TAINTED MEAT” (which is the same way I react after eating at Taco Bell), the Terminus Hunters puking their guts out, and Gareth kicking Bob in the face.
Unable to find Bob, Sasha storms back inside the church and confronts Gabriel on why three of their people are missing. Once Rick joins in on the intimidation, Gabe proceeds to explain what we all pretty much knew: He locked his congregation out while keeping himself safe inside the church.
Convinced by his believable story and unmanly blubbering, Sasha and Rick decide not to beat him up. Before things can get any more awkward, however, Bob is dumped back outside the church.
Operation: Mullet Extract
After hearing Bob’s story, Abraham decides that it’s time to hop on the short bus and get The Mullet to Washington D.C. Rick doesn’t agree with this plan, which leads to an epic collision of testosterone, glaring, and facial hair. But before the two alpha males can come to blows, Glenn steps in and makes Abraham an offer: If they stay for one more day to help find Bob’s attackers, he and Maggie will go with them to D.C.
Now in just about any other situation, I’d completely understand why the prospect of having Maggie/Lauren Cohen along on a trip would be enticing. But beyond her and Glenn being fairly resourceful and competent people, why would their offer of coming to Washington stop what looked to be an all out brawl between Abe and Rick? And besides, there’s no way Maggie would leave when she knows her sister is still…oh yeah, I forgot that she doesn’t give a crap about her.
Anyway, Abraham agrees to stay back and help while Rick comes up with a plan to find the people who tried to make a meal out of Bob.
“It could have been us.”
In what probably constitutes the longest tracking shot of the series, the camera focuses on Rick’s group heading off into the woods before switching over to The Hunters as they made their way towards the church. Tyrese, Carl, Gabriel, and Eugene are all holed up near Bob, which doesn’t seem like a very safe idea considering he’s been bit.
The plan seems even worse when Judith decides to take after her mom and begins whining in the middle of a dramatic scene, which alerts The Hunters to their presence. But before Gareth and Co. can subject us to horrifying scene of baby eating, Rick pops two of the Hunters in the head. Gareth tries to say something, but gets cut off when Rick shoots off a few of his fingers.
That’s when it’s revealed that this entire thing was a trap. The Hunters had been hunted by their prey into a corner. The guy in the Detroit Tigers cap initially doesn’t surrender because he’s a douche, but Gareth immediately begins trying to talk his way out of the situation. He even tells Rick that they don’t understand what it’s like to be hungry, which I really wish Rick had responded to with something along the lines of “Try planting beans instead of eating people, asshole.”
Then to the audience’s sadistic delight, Rick, Sasha, Michonne, and Abraham deliver a very cathartic, gory, and lethal beat down to their tormentors.
Aside from the massive amount of blood and guts, there are a few major things about this scene worth noting:
– Gareth and his group serve as a twisted, funhouse mirror reflection of what Rick and his people could have turned into if they had chosen a slightly different path. I know ‘slightly different’ seems like a gross understatement, but remember that Gareth and his people starting off helping others and taking them in, too. Is it so hard to believe that Rick, a man who at one point was talking to his dead wife and has had to kill plenty of other people himself, could have gone in that direction eventually?
– That being said… I know we’re supposed to be shocked and horrified at how savage the killings were, but damn was it satisfying to watch those people get what they had coming. Maybe that makes me a horrible person, but at least I don’t eat people.
– I was actually a lot more surprised/appalled that Rick was willing to use his two children as bait to trap The Hunters.
– Gabriel needs check his self-righteous indignation about the killings being done in the church. He lost his license to be pious after leaving his congregation to become zombie chow while cowering inside the very same building.
So long, and thanks for the brain stab
The next day, everyone says goodbye to Bob, whose main character antibodies have somehow kept him alive far longer than any bite victim we’ve seen before.
After giving a speech to Rick about what a good guy he is, Sasha stays behind to be there with him till the end (and hopefully to ask why the heck Bob thought it was okay to kiss her when he knew he was infected).
When Bob finally passes, Sasha tries to finish him off, but can’t do it. Fortunately, Tyrese is there for the assist.
The Sword and The Redneck Return
The next day, Abraham and his crew leave, but not before asking Rick to join them soon in Washington D.C. Later that night, we see that Michonne has been reunited with her blade (which was in The Hunter’s supplies bags) along with the brutal nature she’d tried to leave behind.
As she and Gabriel discuss their personal demons, something stirs in the woods. Gabriel runs inside like a pansy, but Michonne heads out to see what it was…where she discovers a very rough looking Daryl. When she asks were Carol is, he motions for someone to come out and the screen goes to black, which caused me to begin throwing things at my television.
As heartbreaking as it was to lose Bob, I’m glad we got to say goodbye to him like this instead of watching him get slow roasted over the next few episodes.
It was also great to watch Gareth, Detroit Tigers, and the rest of the Terminus gang get what was coming to them. Yes, it was brutal and yes, it will probably have some emotional repercussion for the group. But watching that smirk on Gareth’s face get wiped off with his own blood was pretty satisfying.
There were a few things about the episode that bothered me, though.
– We never got a resolution about whether or not eating TAINTED MEAT would turn someone into a zombie (or just give them terrible diarrhea).
– Are they seriously splitting up AGAIN?
– The fight between Rick and Abraham was about much more than the short bus. It was a battle for control between two people with an instinct to lead. Glenn’s weak offer of adding him and Maggie to the Mullet Crew seemed like a lame way to prevent the confrontation from boiling over.
But otherwise, this episode gave us two very fulfilling endings. On one end of the spectrum, we got to say goodbye to Bob in a way that reminded us just why the character had become so endearing. On the other end, we got to see the Hunters taken out in a way they truly deserved…and as much as I enjoyed it the scene was also a chilling reminder that Rick and his people are still susceptible to losing their humanity one day, as well.