What about Bob? That was the question we were left with at the end of last week’s The Walking Dead. The question could be scanned purely on the basis that several of the former residents of Terminus captured Bob, cut off his leg and were now eating it in front of him, but there was also the small matter of what happened at the food bank. Was Bob bit? Is that why he decided to take a weepy moonlight stroll outside the church? I postulated that possibility in last week’s recap, and while I love being right, in this instance, I hate it too. Unfortunately for Gareth and Co., their fresh roast Bob leg was indeed tainted meat. But that was only the beginning for the troubles for everyone’s favorite cannibals this week.
First, let us remember that Bob wasn’t the only member of the group to disappear at the end of last week’s episode. Daryl and Carol took off in pursuit of the car with the white cross, the conveyance in which Daryl is convinced that Beth was kidnapped in. The outcome of Daryl’s efforts won’t be known until next week, and only a fleeting glimpse of the man himself left fans guessing right before the credits rolled, but the immediate plucking of key members of the group from the whole made me wonder if the show was finding an excuse to drag out our time at Gabriel’s church. Abraham, as if reading the audience’s mind (or at least my own) doesn’t want to stick around. Creepy church, preacher with a secret, zombies everywhere, cannibals lurking nearby… Who could blame him?
We’re getting ahead of ourselves though. We open with Gareth waxing on the philosophy of cannibalism, how bears eat their young because they could always make more little bears, and the reasons why women might taste better than men. Director Jeffrey F. January juxtaposes a group of snarling zombies in the school house with shots of the cannibals chomping on Bob’s leg, which was a bit heavy-handed, but it got the point across nicely just the same. Just when you think Gareth’s sermonizing is getting to Bob, he starts laughing. Gareth and the others think the pressure has gotten to him, but Bob reveals that he was bitten on the shoulder earlier that day by a walker. And you thought Mad Cow was bad.
Team Terminus drops Bob off back in front of the church. Rick knows that they’re being watched, and he knows that two of his number are still missing and that Bob was taken, mutilated and returned in some kind of sick message. So it begs the question, what is the preacher hiding? With everyone teaming up to intimidate him, Gabriel breaks down. The sin he will burn for, he says, was that he locked the doors to the church and when his congregation came running for sanctuary he kept them locked. The yelling and pounding drew the walkers, and Gabriel was forced to listed as all his parishioners were killed and eaten leaving nothing but bone behind. The revelation wasn’t exactly surprising, but Seth Gilliam did an effective job of selling Gabriel’s guilt and regret.
With Bob a couple of hours from death and at least a few people from Terminus hanging onto some resentment, Abraham wants to bug out and get back on the road to DC, which Rick advices against. Even Eugene and Rosita aren’t sure that leaving at the moment is such a good idea. Despite nearly coming to blows, Rick and Abraham make an accord: Abraham will stay and help Rick and others till noon the next day, at which point he’ll take the repaired bus along with Eugene, Rosita, Maggie and Glen and head out for Washington.