“Stupidity is also a gift from God but one should not misuse it.”
That simple statement reveals so much of this episode and the conclusion to Hunters storyline. I was not expected such a sudden end to this particular story. My guess would be that Scott Gimble learned from the previous seasons that dragging a storyline out too long can lead to viewer exacerbation. The first prison arc and the second season are prime examples of stretching a storyline far beyond its natural limits. But what a way to end the story of Gareth and the Terminus cannibals.
The stupid arrogance of Gareth was the undoing of both Terminus and its survivors. This character probably saw himself as an arch-villain but was little better than a sideshow act. He saw what he wanted to see, slim pickings, not remembering that this group has already shown how dangerous they can be with their escape from Terminus. The smart play would have been to tuck tail and run away, find others who weren’t nearly as formidable. But pride made him go after Rick’s group. Pride in his “master plan” made him go into that church.
It was a simple plan: deposit the wounded Bob back at the church. In a dizzying moment of emotional trauma, Rick’s group would make a stupid move and charge out to the school, leaving the rest at the church as easy pickings. Arrogance can make someone overlook the obvious, even when it’s right in front of them. The director and writers tried to introduce some tension in those closing moments but I found it to be half-hearted. There was no doubt in my mind that Rick and the others were returning. The violent carnage that followed is exactly how I expect Rick and the others to deal with the situation. I think deep down Glenn might not understand that, given his expression when watching Rick keep his promise to Gareth.
Poor Bob. He was one of the more likeable, moral characters in the show but that’s become a “tell” for the Walking Dead writers. His moments with Sasha were just the right pitch, conveying all that we could ever want of the nascent relationship that would never be. Tyreese finally seems to be coming around, understanding that death is often necessary. His talk of forgiveness rings hollow to me. It is a wish for a simpler, more refined age of humanity. It is not a realistic expectation and I’m not sure where the writers are going with this. My guess is that they feel there should always be a moral compass in the group, someone who holds to the old world values that are so dissonant with the new reality. Back to Bob, though, whose presence I will certainly miss in the coming episodes.
As a side note, I gave a little cheer when Michonne removed her katana from the backpack.
The almost-throwdown between Abraham and Rick was to be expected. You have two alpha male characters, both legitimate badasses in their own right. A struggle for control and dominance is exactly what should happen. Glenn stepping in, trying to keep the peace is in keeping with who he is. If anyone can be said to be the most level-headed in terms of morality, it’s Glenn. The note on the map at the end reminds the audience that while Abraham’s mission is clearly important to him, he recognizes that Rick and his group are needed and valuable, which is a validation that group sorely needs after their recent experiences.
I’m not certain splitting up the group again is the right choice, from a storytelling standpoint. Too many balls in the air and the writers might shortchange one group in favor of another. The storyline regarding who took Beth can now move forward, with the return of Daryl and his mystery companion. The cliffhanger was executed perfectly, leaving the audience to wonder is it Beth or Carol that has come back with him. Since this is a deviation from the comics, I’m not entirely sure where they’re going from here. Truthfully, I find that most appealing. The Hunters may be dead and gone but there are still others out there. And the group may soon find out that the Hunters and the Governor are not nearly as awful as humanity can truly be.