Oh Gareth’s monologues…the writers open this episode with some fun imagery, switching between the Termites eating Bob and the walkers clamoring at the window. They have done this before when they show an inside glimpse of the brain when someone is turning (like they did with Shane in Season 2, Episode 12, “Better Angels”) and given what comes next, the imagery is particularly striking. All of this while sitting through Gareth’s irritating monologue, complete with a bear/cannibal analogy and plenty of berating Bob.
But in the end, Bob gets the last laugh, literally, as he maniacally rolls from tears to laughter to a triumphant declaration. You see, Bob has been bitten (in case you didn’t catch that from the last episode) which means that the Terminians are now eating TAINTED MEAT (SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE, anyone?)! And suddenly, the zombies peering through the window don’t seem so different as the Termites begin to panic. But no worries, Gareth to the rescue, reassuring the Termites that you know, it’s all good. The meat was cooked. How exactly does the science work with that though? I mean really. Unfortunately, we never get to find out...
Meanwhile Sasha is out in the woods looking for Bob. Instead she finds some walkers and the group's resident stalker who has been watching them for weeks. Tyreese and Rick find her and they note that Bob, Carol and Daryl are all missing. They believe them to be together, even though we know they are not. Sasha immediately thinks Gabriel is involved.
Rick finally confronts Gabriel about the “You Will Burn for This” etching on the church wall. We find out that Gabriel locked out his parishioners, people looking for shelter and solace and safety. He locked out women, children, entire families “calling [his] name as they were torn apart.” We have seen how heavily Gabriel’s guilt weighs upon him, now we know why.
In the middle of Gabriel’s breakdown, the group hears whistling outside. Running out they find approaching walkers, Bob, still alive on the lawn, and people shooting at them from the cover of the woods. Once back inside, Bob tells the group that a) the Termites are still alive, some anyway, b) Gareth saw Carol and Daryl drive off, and c) good ol’ Bob has been bit. Bummertown USA.
Once Bob is moved to what will be his deathbed, Abraham incites that weird awkward tension between him and Rick. His main m.o. as usual is to get Eugene to Washington D.C., aka "extract his ass." Abraham and Rick argue back and forth Eugene even tries unsuccessfully to defy Abraham, and Glenn steps in twice to break it all up. Eventually, they come to an agreement – half of the group will wait for Daryl and Carol to return while the others will leave for DC in 12 hours. No word from Judith with her stance on the matter.
Sasha is keeping vigil with Bob in the other room. He is clearly in significant pain. When Sasha asks him why he kept being bit a secret, he replies, “I knew, when I told you, it would become all about the end. And I really like the middle.” Awwww <3 Who doesn’t?
Rick & Co are making big plans to attack the Termites. Sasha wants to be a part of it, assumedly to make revenge cakes in Bob's honor. Tyreese tries to talk her out of it, wanting her to stick around with Bob, but Sasha doesn’t roll that way and instead hands him a knife to take out Bob if he turns. So much for that! She takes off with about half of the group, attack-mode go!
We are left with Eugene, Gabriel, Bob, Tyreese, Rosita, Carl and Judith locked in a room of the church. The Termites stop by with a “Hey! How’s it going?” They know half of their group is out and the tension is beyond intense as the Termites threaten those remaining. As we wait for those assumedly inevitable gunshots through the door, Judith cries. Of all the moments to cry, Judith. Get it together, girl! LUCKILY, Papa Rick and the rest of the group jumps in to the rescue.
That rescue mission quickly turns into a massacre mission when Rick shoots Gareth in the hand, dismembering him, and demanding that they all kneel down before God...I mean Rick. Gareth does this weird pitiful begging that he somehow thinks would make a difference? All while looking up at Rick and the stained glass windows behind him. It’s kind of beautiful in a fucked up way. Rick makes good on his promise from “No Sanctuary” to kill him with the knife with the red handle. The rest of the group beats the Termites to death in a wonderful display of splattering blood and and white church walls. OH YEAH, AND MICHONNE GETS HER KATANA BACK!
Naturally, Gabriel is horrified by his newly GORE-IFIED church walls but Maggie, our resident preacher’s daughter-type, has got an answer for that. "It’s just four walls and a roof." Touché!
The group goes in to say goodbye to Bob. Rick and Judith stick around once everyone else has left and Bob thanks him – “Before the prison, I didn’t think there were any good people left. I didn’t know if anyone was left. You took me in, because you took people in. It was you, man.” Throughout these last few episodes, Bob has shared a lot of philosophical wisdom and he keeps at it until the end. He reminds Rick of his humanity (dude needs a lot of reminding apparently) and we have to wonder who is going to fill that role next. Carl has stepped up the last couple of episodes which is an interesting shift from his dynamic with his dad last season. We'll see though!
We cut to Bob and Sasha having a short but sweet conversation before he slips away. Tyreese steps in at the right moment gently pushing the grieving Sasha out of the room. He walks over and gently, lovingly, sticks the blade through a watermelon Bob’s head.
Outside, Abraham gives Rick the route to DC (with which he also calls a truce) and the group officially splits up.
We take a trip down memory lane with the next scene. Tyreese is digging a grave for Bob with assistance from Rick. This is set up visually almost identically to the scene where Tyreese is digging Karen and David’s graves in “Isolation.” With that episode, the tension between Tyreese and Carol began and now, after all of this time, Tyreese is making peace – peace with Carol, peace with the group, peace with this never-ending loss. The mood is so different and Tyreese’s growth as a character is profound. They've come full-circle, friends!
Gabriel can’t sleep that night and wanders out onto the porch of the church where he finds a very disinterested and almost annoyed Michonne. He has clearly interrupted the special bonding moment she is having with her newly reunited katana. Like a good sport though, she tries to soothe Gabriel’s PTSD with a healthy dose of reality – “yeah…that won’t stop, but it won’t be all the time” -- as he again wallows in his guilt and all of th recent horror he's witnessed.
Did it work? Who knows? Michonne hears footsteps approaching and jumps up to investigate. OH HEY! Daryl is back! With mystery guests! Any guesses who it may be? I’m sure we’ll find out next week but I’m guessing Beth? What do you think?
Until next time, friends.