The Walking Dead 5.2 and 5.3 Discussion: Where’s the Tainted Meat?

TWD season 5 bob

I could argue that the reason why I’m recapping episodes two and three together is because I knew they would be a two-parter to mark the end of the Terminus arc. That would be a lie, of course, but let’s just go with it.

To quickly sum up episode two, “Strangers” before getting to the tainted meat of the story, here’s what happened: Rick didn’t, in fact, leave the group to take care of the remaining Terminans. The last shot of the premiere, not to mention the after-credits scene, was just pretentiously ambiguous. The reunited ragtag gang stumble upon a shifty priest Gabriel (The Wire and Teen Wolf‘s Seth Gilliam), who leads them to his church refuge. Despite the zombiepocalypse raging for over a year, he has yet to kill a Walker or a person, so obviously he’s crazy. He also takes them to a food bank, half flooded with water and water-logged Walkers, where Rick, Sasha, Bob, Michonne, and Gabriel grab stuff, I guess because it’s not molded. (I don’t understand how everything wasn’t molded, inedible, and unusable.) Later that night, Bob leaves the church filled with everyone celebrating life to go outside and cry when he gets jumped. When he comes to he’s surrounded by the remaining Terminans, including Martin (the guy Tyreese didn’t kill) and Gareth. Turns out, they’re eating his leg. Dun dun dun!

And so, the third episode of this so-far uber-violent fifth season starts off with Gareth proselytizing about the cannibal cause to Bob as he eats Bob. (All the Bob’s Burgers jokes on Twitter and elsewhere are pretty great.) He mentions that he was going to offer them a choice to join them or join their digestive tract. Since Gareth’s minions were going through the other prisoners rather quickly, I highly doubt it. Maybe Rick, “the archer,” and “the samurai” would’ve been given a chance but I can’t even finish this sentence because OF COURSE THEY WOULDN’T HAVE GOTTEN A CHANCE TO JOIN THEM. Gareth may be a cannibal, but he’s not stupid enough to allow elements he can’t control into his group.

When Bob went under the tainted flood waters, dragged in by a skeletal zombie, I thought he was done for. Instead, Sasha pulls him up and all seems fine. At first. The look in Bob’s eye is not that of wistful optimism that it usually displays. Instead, he looks worried, even though, no one else seems to notice. He stays quiet, savoring a tender moment with Sasha inside the church, and leaves the group, gun in tow. At first instinct, I thought, “Oh. He really was bit and now he’s going to kill himself.” It truly seems like his end when he’s crying in the cemetery. There’s nothing more depressing than crying at night in a cemetery during the zombiepocalypse.

When the Terminans take him, I felt disappointed. No! That’s a cheap move! He was going to die! How did he avoid a fatal Walker bite in the nasty water?

Turns out, the writers are smarter than I give them credit for. Bob has been abducted, his leg has been eaten, and he has been bitten by a Walker.TAINTED MEAT!

Other recaps have honed in on the notion that Rick has turned a corner towards unflinching, guilt-free brutality. While I agree that it appears so to the group (see: Maggie and Glenn’s horrified faces as he hacks away at Gareth), I think this happened earlier on. I argue his turning point was in killing biker gang leader Joe, literally ripping out his jugular. With Carl in peril, Rick let go of his past restraints and unleashed his full potential for violence. That metamorphosis in his outlook and actions within zombiepocalyptic life was only confirmed to be true when encountering the Terminans.

As such, the main takeaway from the epic (it was pretty sly, no?) church takedown of the Terminans is the reaction of others in the group. Some of them understood and joined in with Rick’s brutality, bereaved Sasha and Tyreese, who finally made good on his word to kill again. Others…eh, not so much. As a result (not really, but emotionally it feels like the break was due to Rick’s violence not their previous promises), Glenn and Maggie join Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene on the bus to D.C.

Meanwhile, Daryl and Carol share many a moment not verbalizing their feelings and thoughts. While catching Carol try to sneak away from the group, they spot the car that abducted Beth and follow it in their new car. Returning to the group after the Terminan takedown, Daryl reveals he’s brought someone back. Could it be Beth?!

I for one will not miss the creeptastic cannibals as much as I do the Governor or Merle. The little insight we received about why they are the way they are did nothing to make them sympathetic. Everyone loses in a world where people eat people. Well, that’s not necessarily true. The Walkers win.

Walker of the Week(s): Water-logged librarian walker reached another level of zombie creepiness for the zombie show. Dripping hair, skin, and ooze all the while maintaining her cat eye glasses as she closes in on Gabriel the priest, water-logged librarian walker is creepy, funny, and an all-around adorkable zombie.

Bad Ass of the Week(s): Bob Stookey couldn’t have gone out more on top, despite being relegated to a slow, anguished death. He found hope, family, and love. He inspired all of those qualities in his fellow group mates. And he got to stick it to the Terminans. His arc was optimistic for the Zombiepocalypse. You can survive countless devastation and turmoil, discover a meaning to live, and die with love (yes, and a zombie virus) in your heart.

All the Questions!

  • Now that the Terminans have been properly dealt with, we can finally turn our attention to what happened to Beth. Janis from FlashForward, Christine Woods will forever be Janis from FlashForward to me, has something to do with her disappearance. And so, hopefully for the last time, I’ll add, what happened to Beth?!
  • Who is behind Daryl?
  • Where is the DC storyline going, really? I have a feeling it’s going to end up like the pre-Terminus road to ruin, and I’m not looking forward to that.
  • When is Gabriel going to crack? Because he’s definitely going to crack.
  • Where is Morgan? Will he encounter Rick and Tyreese’s group or the DC crew?
  • I really liked Bob, but I’m not really going to miss him. Is that weird?
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