"Strangers" is the second episode of the fifth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the fifty-third episode of the series overall. It premiered on October 19, 2014. It was written by Robert Kirkman and directed by David Boyd.
With supplies running low and not knowing whether to trust the people around them, Rick leads a mission where the risk might not be worth the reward.
The episode begins with a shot of the smoke rising from Terminus. The group are on the road once again and decide to take a break. As Glenn and Maggie share a tender moment, Tara approaches Rick. "You didn't wanna be there. That's why I tried to talk to you," Rick tells Tara, referring to how he called Tara out before the bloody showdown with The Governor. He's thankful she saved Glenn and welcomes her into the group, and even accepts her offer of a fist bump. Carol and Tyreese are filling water bottles from a creek and talk about whether the group will accept Carol for killing Karen and David at the prison. Carol says they don't have to accept it, but Tyreese insists that they do. Tyreese states that they don't have to tell them about Lizzie and Mika; he says that he just wants to forget what happened.
The group continue on their journey and come across a lone walker. Michonne says she's got it, and reaches reflexively for the katana that she lost to Terminus. Sighing, she takes it out by striking it with her gun and bashing its head in with the butt of her gun. Abraham sees this and tells Rosita, "right there is why we're waiting for our moment."
That night as the group makes camp in the woods, Rick talks to Carol. "I owe you everything," he tells her. Carol responds, "You owe Tyreese, he was at the prison." Carol pulls Rick’s watch out of her bag and gives it back to him. He tells Carol that he saw the Terminus residents murder Sam. He offers her watch back, but she refuses. Rick admits some regret at sending her away, to which she responds, "you said I could survive. You were right." He notes the irony of kicking her out and then having to live with her on the road and turns it around, asking permission for them to join her, rather than giving permission for her to come back to the group. "Will you have us?" he asks. She nods.
Later that night in the woods, Carol and Daryl are sitting together and have a chance to talk about the horrible things that have happened recently. But after a long silence, she says she doesn't want to. "I just need to forget it," she says, echoing what Tyreese said. They both hear a noise and get up to look. Daryl says it’s nothing. In a different camera angle, a silhouette moves through the trees in front of Daryl and Carol.
Walking in the woods again the next day, everyone hears a noise and prepares their weapons. Daryl comes out of the woods with some squirrels he caught. "We surrender," he jokingly says. Daryl mentions to Rick he didn't see any tracks of what was watching them from last night. Abraham starts trying to talk Rick into his plan, innocuously suggesting they find a road and go north until they find a vehicle.
Bob and Sasha are playing a game called "Good Out of the Bad" where Sasha mentions a bad thing and Bob has to find a silver lining. For example, "Danger around every corner" equals to "Never a dull moment." The two of them kiss, and Sasha explains the game to Tyreese, who is observing happily.
The group hear cries for help, and Carl convinces Rick to help. There, they find a man, a preacher from his clothing, up on a rock surrounded by walkers. The group dispatch the walkers and then forms a perimeter, looking distrustfully at the still frightened man. Rick tells the man he can come down and he does; he is clean and neatly dressed. Rick asks if he's okay and the man throws up, apologizes, thanks the group, and introduces himself as Father Gabriel Stokes. Gabriel says he has no weapons and that The Word of God is the only protection he needs, which gets a cynical, "Sure didn't look like it." from Daryl. Gabriel says he called for help and that God answered with their arrival. He asks for food and Carl offers a meager handful of pecans. Gabriel sees the baby and says that Judith is a beautiful child. When pressed by Rick, he says he has a church. Rick makes him put his hands above his head and searches him for weapons, asking him the Three questions from the prison.
"How many walkers have you killed?"
"Not any, actually."
Rick continues with "How many people have you killed?"
"None." Gabriel replies
"Because the Lord abhors violence."
Rick presses him: "What have you done? We’ve all done something."
"I am a sinner, I sin almost every day. But those sins I confess them to God, not strangers."
As they head to Gabriel's church, Rick asks if Gabriel was the one watching them. Gabriel says he keeps to himself because people are just as dangerous as the dead. "No. People are worse," Rick says. Gabriel says that the rock was the furthest he's been from his church since it started, but then starts defiantly joking that maybe he's lying and leading them into a trap so he can steal all of their squirrels. "Members of my flock had often told me that my sense of humor leaves much to be desired," Gabriel says when he sees the less than friendly reaction to his joke.
The group soon arrive at the church. Rick cautiously asks to go in the church first so they can "hold on to their squirrels". Gabriel unlocks the door and the group enter, guns drawn. Inside Carol finds a book on a desk that shows Gabriel, or someone, has been copying the Bible by hand. He's written "Thou Shalt Not Kill" in huge letters on one page. Rick finds empty food cans around the altar. Glenn, who almost got the group hurt by releasing the crazed man previously, finds a a picture with the words of Galatians 6:9: "and let us not grow weary of doing good. For in due season we will reap if we do not give up." Michonne takes notice of children's drawings. Rick calls the rest of the people in. Abraham suggests fixing the church's short bus and taking it to D.C. Michonne wants to rest and gather supplies first, though, and Rick agrees. Abraham looks like he wants to object, but Glenn tells them that one way or another they're following Rick and not splitting up. Tara adds a "What he said" and even Bob piles on. Inside, Gabriel says he's been living off the food from the church's annual canned food drive and scavenging. He says he's cleaned out every place nearby except for one that's overrun by about a dozen walkers. Bob and Sasha agree to go with Rick to check it out and Tyreese agrees to babysit Judith. Rick thanks Tyreese for his help.
Rick makes Gabriel go with them because he doesn't trust him. Before he leaves, Rick has a talk with Carl. Carl says he does trust Gabriel because he feels that everybody can't be bad. Rick tells Carl that Gabriel may have friends and he needs him to stay to help Tyreese protect Judith. Rick tells Carl that no matter what, he's not safe and makes him promise to never let his guard down. Before he leaves, though, Carl calls Rick back. He tells him that they are strong enough that they can still help people, and that they don't have to be afraid or to hide. However, Rick still believes that Gabriel is hiding something.
On the way to scavenge the food bank are Rick, Gabriel, Bob, Sasha and Michonne. Bob is trying to talk Rick into going to Washington. He notes a double meaning of Rick's words that the Terminants "don't get to live," pointing out that when you push yourself too far there are things you can't get back. Although Rick is not even sure he's going to go, Bob is convinced that Eugene can cure the virus and that things will go back to something like the way they were. "And if you let too much go along the way, that’s not going to work," Bob says. Rick says this is the real world and Bob says "Nah, this is a nightmare. And nightmares end." But he also admits his optimism is maybe, "just one of those parts of not letting go."
Carol and Daryl are walking down the road with four jugs of water they've collected. Carol is reluctant to talk about what happened when she was separated from the group. Daryl says they can start over and that Carol saved them, but she just says they got lucky. They come across an abandoned car and Carol decides to check it out. The car's battery appears to be dead, but Daryl interrupts her as she's checking the trunk. "We ain't dead. And whatever happened, happened. Let's start over," Daryl says. Carol says she wants to, and Daryl says she can - though she doesn't look convinced. Inside the trunk Carol finds an emergency starter. She pushes a button on it and shows its got a little battery power left, so she says they should leave the car for backup in case things go bad at the church. Daryl offers to carry some of the water for Carol, but she playfully refuses his offer.
Maggie and Tara are on a separate mission to loot a gun store. The door is kicked in and they both agree the chances of leftovers are super slim. There's a noise from inside and they draw their guns. Glenn comes out and admits he tripped over a stack of boxes and mop, and that he found three silencers stashed in a mini-fridge inside. "There's nothing left in this world that isn't hidden," he says, words which stick to Tara.
Rick's group arrives at what Gabriel says was a food bank that served the whole county. They draw their weapons and go inside cautiously. There's a huge hole in the floor. It leads to a basement filled with water and stinky, decayed walkers. "If a sewer could puke, this is what it'd smell like," Bob says. Sasha suggests using some metal shelves in the muck to block the walkers, Rick agrees it's a good plan.
They climb down the shelves and Rick forces a terrified Gabriel to go with them. Inside, the water is up to their waists. Gabriel sees a walker that looks like a church lady with big glasses and panics. He tries to get up the stairs but they break. The others push down the shelves and fight their way through the walkers to save Gabriel. Rick catches up to the church lady walker and busts her rotten head open before she can get Gabriel.
Bob walks over to get some supplies and confidently says, "I know which way it's gonna break." As he's pulling a box of supplies, a walker pulls him down into the water. Bob comes back up fighting a walker that looks like it has rotted away to nothing. Bob impales it on a pipe and Sasha smashes its head open with a storage container. She goes to Bob and asks him if he's okay and he says that he's fine, though apparently shaken.
The group loads up huge carts with lots of food and are leaving. Gabriel apologizes for panicking. Rick asks if he knew the church lady walker when she was still alive and Gabriel won't answer. "Yeah, I get it. You only tell your sins to God," Rick says sarcastically. On the way Rick asks Michonne if she misses her katana. She says it really wasn't hers anyway, she found it at the beginning of the outbreak. She says she got so good by killing all day with it but it wasn't life for her. "Stumbling around in three feet of slime for some peas and carrots, that's living," she says. Michonne says she misses Andrea and Hershel, but she doesn't miss what was before and that she doesn't miss her katana.
Back at the church Carl shows Rick some deep scratches around a window showing that people had tried to get into the church. He also found that someone scratched the words, "you'll burn for this" into the outer wall of the church. "Doesn't mean Gabriel’s a bad guy for sure. But it means something," Carl says.
At night, the group has a cheerful celebration. Abraham proposes a toast. He says each and everyone of the group has earned the title of survivor and toasts. "To the survivors," and everyone toasts back, but he continues, "is that all you want to be?" he asks, and makes his pitch again for Washington. He says just surviving is just surrender. Carol considers making a run out the door to that car she found at this moment.
Abraham says Eugene will make the dead die and the living will have this world again and that is not a bad takeaway for a little road trip. Eugene says there's infrastructure constructed to withstand pandemics even of this "FUBAR magnitude" which means food, fuel and refuge and an end to the walker plague. Looking at Judith, Abraham asks them to save the world for that little one or for themselves, or for the people out there. Rick hears Judith coo and jokes, "she's in. If she's in I'm in. We're in. Let's do it," and everyone cheers. Bob asks Sasha for one more kiss, and then he gets up and leaves, clearly consumed in thought.
Tara takes this time to tell Maggie that she was at the prison with the Governor. She says she didn't know who he was or what he could do. Maggie forgives her as well, saying "You're here with us now," and offering a hug. Rick thanks Gabriel for the hospitality and letting them drink the Communion wine. Gabriel is drinking it too, he says it's just wine until its blessed and anyway there's no one left to take communion. Rick tells Gabriel he knows he's hiding something. "These people are my family. And if what you're hiding til now hurts them in any way, I'll kill you," Rick says.
Carol has made a run for the abandoned car. She's got it started but the engine noise draws a walker, which she stabs. Daryl comes out of the woods and asks what she’s doing. Carol, slightly confused, states that she doesn't know. He tries to lead her back to the church and it looks like she's going to go, but just at that moment they hear and then see a car speed past, Daryl runs towards the road it passed by to investigate and notices its a black car with the distinctive white cross in the back, similar to the one that took Beth. "They got Beth!" says Daryl, as he hastily breaks the lights of the car. They both pile in the car and give pursuit.
Bob's outside, smiling a happy smile that fades as he looks at the church. He then wanders off into the woods and leans against a tree and cries. A hooded figure in a robe then knocks him out from behind. A symbol that looks like a horizontal line with a small vertical line descending from its right edge, possibly related to the marks Morgan saw, is seen on a tree.
Bob wakes and sees blurry faces and a fire. They are the remaining residents of Terminus. One of them is Martin, beaten up- but not dead as Tyreese claimed. "The good news is, you're not dead yet," Gareth says. They have Bob tied to a pole. Gareth says they didn't want to hurt them, before, but these are things they have to do. "You and your people took away our home, and in order to survive, we have to hunt." During a montage of the group celebrating and eating, Gareth gives a speech about how the Terminants didn't start out eating people or doing the things they've done. One shot shows Gabriel looking at a picture of the church lady, who was a church organist, with him while she was alive.
"We evolved. We had to. And now we've devolved into hunters," Gareth says. "I told you. I said it. Can't go back, Bob." He says he just hopes Bob understands it's not personal, that even though they put them in that situation they would have done this to anybody. Gareth says that at the end of the day no matter how much they hate all this ugly business, a man’s gotta eat. Bob is shown to be missing his left leg, amputated about at the knee. He begins panicking out of shock.
Gareth takes a bite of Bob's cooked leg right in front of him. "If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would," Gareth says. The Terminants feast on Bob's leg, now roasting on a spit.
- Charlotte & Clara Ward as Judith Grimes
- Karin Justman as Church Organist
- Chris Harrelson and Stephen Vining as Walkers
- Church Organist (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- First appearance of Gabriel Stokes.
- First appearance of Theresa.
- First appearance of Mike.
- First appearance of Albert.
- First appearance of Greg.
- Starting with this episode, Seth Gilliam (Gabriel Stokes) is credited as a series regular. He is listed under "Also Starring".
- Emily Kinney (Beth) is the only member of the main cast to not appear in this episode.
- The title of the episode, "Strangers", comes from a question of "How will Rick's group deal with strangers now?"
- It might also refer to Fr. Gabriel's statement "I confess my sins to God, not to strangers."
- Robert Kirkman revealed that "a new iconic location that's a big deal from the comics" will be seen in this episode, referring to Fr. Gabriel Stokes' Church.
- This episode marks that Tyreese did not actually kill Martin as he is seen in the end of the episode eating Bob's foot.
- There are five bible quotes on display in the church (Romans 6:4, Ezekiel 37:7, Matthew 27:52, Revelation 9:6, Luke 24:5). Most are references to dead returning to life.
- "And the tombs broke open. the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life." (Matthew 27:52)
- "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." (Revelation 9:6)
- Rick officially accepts Tara into their group despite her originally being, albeit a reluctant, member of The Governor's Militia.
- Daryl and Carol being watched during the night is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 61, where Andrea is watched instead.
- Gabriel being rescued by the group is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 61, where he presents himself instead.
- Gabriel saying the word of god is his only protection and offering safety in his church is adapted from Issue 61.
- Gabriel explaining his weird sense of humor is adapted from Issue 62.
- The group arriving at the church is adapted from Issue 63.
- Rick telling Carl that he isn't safe is adapted from Issue 54.
- Bob being bitten on his shoulder is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 62, where Dale is bitten instead.
- The group accepting Abraham's offer of traveling to D.C. is adapted from Issue 54.
- Bob leaving the group at night and being kidnapped by the Hunters is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 62, where Dale is kidnapped instead.
- Gareth giving a speech to Bob about their current situation is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 62, where Chris gives a speech to Dale instead.
- Bob discovering Gareth and the Hunters eating his leg is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 62, where Dale discovers Chris and the Hunters eating his leg instead.