WARNING: If you have yet to watch the recent episode of "The Walking Dead" titled "Strangers," stop reading now, as this article will contain spoilers from said episode.
Episode two in Season five of AMC's hit zombie apocalyptic series, The Walking Dead, considerably slowed the pace that the season premiere (titled "No Sanctuary") set last week. It was to be expected; not every episode is going to be as explosive, action-packed and emotionally-driven as "No Sanctuary" was. Nevertheless, "Strangers" was a great episode, one that focused more on character development and storyline enhancement, correctly setting up what's to come.
We saw the abrupt introduction of Seth Gilliam's Father Gabriel, a character who is definitely hiding a deep, dark secret that could derail the entire group. We saw the group bond in many ways - Rick with both Tara and Carol; although, he still may not fully trust Carol, even though he does respect and admire her for helping them escape Terminus. Sasha and Bob still love each other, while Carol and Tyreese decide what to reveal to the rest of the group, and what not to reveal. Add to this the fact that Rick is officially the leader of the group again, and you have a very potent group. I would not be surprised if he and Sgt. Abraham Ford collide (figuratively and/or literally) soon, seeing as both are alpha-male-type characters with aggressive leadership qualities.
Also, we saw Father Gabriel's evidently trouble-free residence - a church named St. Sarah's. We saw Abraham successfully rally the group to head to Washington D.C., so that Eugene can save the world. We saw Carol and Daryl chase after the same car that Beth was kidnapped in last season. And, we saw Bob have his leg amputated and eaten by Gareth and the rest of the remaining "Termites," officially known now as the Hunters. Oh, and apparently, Tyreese never really killed Tiger Fan, the "Termite" who he and Carol had captured during the season premiere. Let's not forget that Tiger Fan threatened to break baby Judith's neck. Damn it, Tyreese!
And now, it is on to the next episode, "Four Walls and a Roof." Here is a brief synopsis for said episode:
Rick and the others find themselves pitted against a group of nasty people, but may have a plan to gain the upper hand.
So, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that Gareth and his cohorts are once again a huge threat to Rick and co., and an already bigger threat to Bob. Gareth believes that this world defines those who survive as either butchers or cattle. That belief, at least in his mind, must be justified even further by the fact that his home was taken from him, this time, maybe permanently. He is on a mission to finish what he started and kill Rick and his entire group.
On the other hand, the good news is that Rick and his group may find a way to escape Gareth's wrath once more. As you will see in a bit, the group is starting to realize that they are a few members short, and so defensive measures will certainly be in effect. Now, the only clear way I see that the group can outmaneuver Gareth is with Father Gabriel's help. He should know the area surrounding the church very well by now, so he is probably capable of coming up with a clever strategy to get to Gareth first. The question is: is Father Gabriel really capable of that kind of help? Or, could he possibly be in league with the "Termites?" I'll tell you one thing: Rick may be right in not trusting him.
Here are two videos from next week's episode - the first one is a promo, while the second one is a sneak peek:
As we have learned very well by now, no one location is ever truly safe. Sure, the group may have found a church that appears hospitable. But, at some point, we all know that something, or someone, will ravage the place and force the group to leave. This is why I am skeptical about the whole trip-to-Washington-to-save-the-world thing. Eugene assured the group that the buildings in the nation's capital are powerful enough to withstand anything. But, is that really the case? My guess is: most probably not.
Anyway, St. Sarah's might not be so hospitable and safe for much longer, as walkers and Gareth (and Gareth's group) threaten to invade. "Four Walls and a Roof" might increase this season's pace right back up again, as Rick and co. prepare to fight for their lives.
Speaking of which, it appears Father Gabriel really is no good to anyone, despite his utter devotion to religion, and an apparent desire to help those in need:
Hmm... Sasha suspects Father Gabriel similarly to how many Walking Dead fans do - he might be doing business with some very disgustingly evil people. Whether it is Gareth's group, or another sinister group, remains to be seen. But, this guy surely is not as timid and defenseless as he is portraying himself to be. I just hope he is not working with Gareth, because like I said, he might probably be helpful when the "Termites" begin their onslaught.