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Viral pimples? French babies? The glue police? It’s time for another edition of Bad Lip Readings, everybody.

Watch the “Walking Dead” Season 4 cast talk even more delightful nonsense in this latest edition of the ongoing series, in which Hershel voices the only moment of total clarity when he posits the question, “Why can’t everybody be just like Prince?” I know, right!

I’m off to make myself a smoothie now. Enjoy this.

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Poor Bob. Poor, poor Bob.

It’s not often that one of the side characters on “The Walking Dead” gets a nice moment. Usually, all the joy, relief, laughter and romance are reserved for Rick, Daryl, Michonne or a select few other favorite characters. The rest are generally zombie chow.

But in “Strangers,” things seemed to be going well for Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.), the former army medic who has battled his demons in the past, but seemed to have at long last found love with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). Suddenly, Bob was everywhere this episode, smiling and smooching and looking like the love in his heart was enough to fight back the apocalypse around him.

We should have known that he was about to get Mrs. Landingham-ed.

For those who didn’t watch “The West Wing,” Mrs. Landingham was the president’s executive secretary, who was little more than a witty addition to scenes until suddenly in the second season episode “18th and Potomac” she was given her own subplot. Things were seemingly looking up for Mrs. Landingham! Soon she would be a star! But no, by episode’s end, she had been killed by a drunk driver. Our sympathies were built up only so she could be sacrificed to the gods of story.

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The Walking Dead is known for including clever Easter Eggs in episodes. Most of the Easter Eggs tend to be tributes to past horror and sci-fi movies, such as the Robocop Easter Egg in the “Strangers” episode.

While appearing at the Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta this weekend, The Walking Dead executive producer, director, and special effects guru Greg Nicotero revealed an ongoing Easter Egg involving watches and clocks in the series.

In The Walking Dead Season 5 premiere, when Rick and the others are trapped in the train car, Rick is seen using a chain to carve a shiv.

“He’s using Hershel’s watch with the chain,” explained Nicotero. “And then when he leaves, Maggie gets it, so of course if you see Maggie has the chain with the watch. And of course the time is 5:01 on the watch, because that was episode 501.”

Nicotero continued, “So if you look at any of the stuff in the show…even when Carol picks up Rick’s watch off the table, it says 5:01. Every episode that we shoot we adjust the time on the watches and the clocks to whatever episode it is we’re shooting.”

The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights at 9 PM ET on AMC.

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The Walking Dead S05E02: “Strangers”

I’ll say this right up front as a reminder: The Walking Dead: The TV Show is now well past the point I’ve read to in The Walking Dead: The Comics, so I’m no longer able to provide details on how the book and show have converged or diverged. But from what I understand, “Strangers” dipped back into the pages of the TV series’ source material, and from couple different directions. Thus, depending on your pre-existing knowledge or blessed ignorance regarding Robert Kirkman’s comics, your opinion of “Strangers” may vary. 

“Strangers” felt like an appropriate follow-up to last week’s “No Sanctuary,” an answer to the question of “What do we do now?” that arose after the explosive and bloody termination of Terminus. It also gave everyone a chance to take a deep breath and catch up on inter-group politics now that they weren’t worried about being thrown onto a rotisserie. Mostly it was a lot of people leaving things in the past.

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While The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 2 didn’t quite match the ratings numbers of the premiere episode, the show still put up some incredible numbers. According to early numbers from Deadline, the “Strangers” episode of The Walking Dead was only down 12% in total viewers from the previous week.

The Walking Dead Season 5 Episode 2 pulled in 15.143 million total viewers. In the key ratings demo, The Walking Dead achieved a 7.7 rating, which is better than Sunday Night Football’s 7.0 fast nationals rating. It’s possible the ratings numbers could change however when final numbers are released.

But at least for right now, it looks like The Walking Dead will beat Sunday Night Football for two weeks in a row in the key demo. It’s also very likely that The Walking Dead might see even a larger increase than last week in time-shifted viewers. With Peyton Manning throwing for his 509th touchdown pass to set a new NFL TD record, there was more incentive than last week for viewers to watch Sunday Night Football live.

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The Walking Dead

After watching The Walking Dead: Strangers episode last night and then re-watching, as it was recorded on DVR, there was something about Bob and the one-sided conversation he was having with Gareth that provided something more than chills as the Terminus survivors nibbled on Stookey’s leg, pardon the pun, but the whole interaction provided a bit of food for thought. Of course there were many questions that needed answering by the end of this episode of The Walking Dead.

Where was Morgan, being the biggest and most urgent since he turned up last week at the very tail end of No Sanctuary looking pretty cool unlike the last time viewers saw the man in The Walking Dead. In true TWD fashion, Morgan was not alluded to once in last night’s episode. Other mysteries, over and above the one dealing with Father Gabriel Stokes and just how much his character in the TV show will be like the one in the comics, still remain unsolved.

For instance, who was in that kidnap car, the one that Daryl saw speeding off when Beth went missing outside the funeral home and the same one that Dixon spied speeding away in Strangers. Looking back at the Beth kidnap episode from last season that particular scenario felt like a precursor to the whole Gabriel set up last night. Of course the inclusion of the cowardly man of the cloth from the comic books does feel like Scott Gimple and co are leaving the door wide open for more characters from The Walking Dead comic verse to make the transition from page to screen. Negan, the Saviours, the Hunters, et al could all be showing up over the remainder of season five. Before even thinking about introducing characters, however, one should take the time to look at Bob Stookey after the interaction between the now one legged man and Gareth, a little chat that should have given viewers a little food for thought.

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October 19, 2014

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow…

For those fearing that The Walking Dead might lapse back into the janky pacing of last spring’s episodes now that our survivors were back on the road, you can breathe easy. Not only did “Strangers” (written by comic creator Robert Kirkman) feature everyone traveling together, but it introduced us to a new character, a new shelter, and brought back Gareth and the Terminus goons for more cannibal chaos. So all in all a solid episode with a satisfying mix of down time and thrills.

First things first though, last week I thought the guy right at the end – the one who smacked Gareth in the mouth – might have been someone from the comics. Being brought out a bit early. I was wrong, But at least I wasn’t alone in my wrongness as other fans considered the possibility as well and Kirkman himself had to tweet exactly who it was. Apparently he was the crazy tattoo-faced “We’re them!” guy that Rick and Glenn let out of that one container (I didn’t catch the tattoos in the flashback darkness). Okay, fine. It fits. Though if I’d been Gareth, that dude would have been the first I’d have eaten once I turned the table on my abusers. Just sayin’. I wouldn’t have kept him around a second longer than I had to.

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The Walking Dead returned for it’s second episode of the season this week, effectively following up what was probably the series’ strongest opening episode with something that could best be described as a disjointed and sloppy slog.

Review By: Clark Thompson

Before anyone thinks they’ve got my whole view pegged here, I am not one of those ‘TWD is only good when there’s tons of action morons’. Quite the opposite in fact. I’ve always been a firm believer that this show is at it’s best when it’s character study first, with zombie mayhem second, as without the former that latter falls flat. And while this episode did go for a healthy mix of the two, it’s meandering pacing and shifty focus made for a truly unappealing hour of television.

The episode did seem to hit the ground running with some fantastic scoring by Bear McCreary and cool slow motion footage of our group, a la Reservoir Dogs. It’s just everything in between these shots that was the problem. The dialogue is stiff and unnatural . Giving me the sensation that the actors themselves didn’t have much faith in the writing, or they couldn’t do much with it. And this only persisted as the episode wore on.

For a show that, in my opinion, usually nails these intimate encounters, the tone was noticeably off here. We had characters repeating each other’s dialogue verbatim in some vague attempt at profundity. Like Carol and Tyreese’s spiels about wanting to forget past events or Abraham’s speech about questing for ‘the cure.’ These both fell flat.

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Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon.
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC—© AMC Film Holdings LLC.

Episode two is a mostly meditative palate cleanser before what will surely be a gory continuation

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Leave it to “The Walking Dead” to lull us into thinking that there might be a moment of forgiveness, unity and peace. But as the horrific final scene of Sunday’s episode, “Strangers,” reminded us, things in the zombie apocalypse don’t stay quiet for long.

Let’s pause here for the obligatory spoiler alert. If you haven’t yet watched Sunday’s episode and want to be surprised, you know what to do.

“Strangers” — written by “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman — was unusual in giving Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the newly reunited group several moments of calm. Rick forgave Tara for her having been part of the Governor’s group that took the prison. Maggie also forgave Tara — pretty quickly especially considering what happened to Maggie’s father, Hershel, at the hands of the Governor. Rick made peace with Carol, telling her, “I owe you everything,” for her having triggered their escape from Terminus.

But the episode also shows how much Rick has learned about who to trust — those in his inner circle — and who to remain wary of — everyone else. When the group, walking out in the woods, hears screams, Rick hesitates, while Carl urges them to run to find out what’s going on.

The screamer in question is Father Gabriel (played by Seth Gilliam, another veteran of “The Wire,” joining fellow former fictional Baltimoreans Chad Coleman, who plays Tyreese, and Lawrence Gilliard Jr., who plays Bob.) Trapped on top of a boulder, with walkers grabbing at his heels, Gabriel is helpless to fight back, and owes his safety to Rick and the group, who dispatch the zombies in short order.

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Promos for Episode 3 show Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) confronting Gabriel about their lost people, presumably Bob Stookey (Larry Gilliard Jr.) — who was kidnapped by Gareth (Andrew J. West) and The Hunters with his leg used for dinner — and maybe also Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), since they went to chase the cross car without mentioning they were heading out.

In the promos, Gabriel insists he had nothing to do with that. Is he telling the truth?

Gabriel is a character in the comic books, and in the books his big secret — hinted to heavily on TV through the “you’ll burn for this” note, scratches, and fear of that lady in the Food Bank — is that he locked the doors to his church to protect himself. He only had so much food, so he put himself first at the expense of his congregation. He let them die. The guy is a coward. But that’s the comic book storyline, and things are always remixed for TV so we’re curious to know if there’s more to the story than even that. ‘Cause that’s bad, but as Carl said (when did he become Mr. Empathy?) we’ve all done something.

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Read more... (1107 words, 3 images, estimated 4:26 mins reading time)

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It might be the Denver Broncos’ quarterback breaking records this week instead of The Walking Dead, but the zombie apocalypse series still has significant bite. After a record-smashing Season 5 debut on October 12, AMC’s blockbuster based on the Robert Kirkman co-created comics pulled in 15.143 million total viewers and 9.796 million adults 18-49 on Sunday night. That comes as the 10 PM Walking Dead just avoided a surge on NBC’s Sunday Night Football as the Broncos’ Peyton Manning threw his 509th touchdown pass to set the NFL’s TD record.

Last week, a blowout game on SNF helped put Walking Dead in the top spot demo-wise on both broadcast and cable.

Week-to-week, Walking Dead was down 12% in total viewers from October 12, which was what the series did in Week 2 of its fourth season last October 20. Written by Kirkman, last night’s “Strangers’ episode got a 7.7 rating in the key demo. That’s an 11% drop from last week’s premiere but still better than SNF’s 7.0 fast nationals rating and everything else on both broadcast and cable last night. If it holds, that’s two in a row for Walking Dead, though the SNF demo result could change when final numbers come in. Last week, SNF went from a 6.6 to its eventual 7.0.

Related: ‘The Walking Dead’ Ratings: More Cable Records In Live+3 Results

Still, last night’s Walking Dead is now the series’ third most watched show ever after last week’s Season 5 debut and the Season 4 premiere on October 13 last year, which pulled in 16.1 million total viewers. Also, last night’s demo decline is actually 2% less than the drop the show had among 18-49s for the second show of its fourth season last year.

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The Texans visit the Steelers tonight for ESPN’s weekly broadcast of Monday Night Football.  For the wide majority of the last decade, the game would have automatically been a shoe-in for the most watched show in cable television that week.  Since moving to ESPN in 2006, Monday Night Football has enjoyed an unprecedented run of success at the top of the cable world.  For 8 consecutive years, it’s been the most watched show on cable.  Even more incredibly, ESPN claims its primetime NFL series (whether it be Sunday or Monday Night Football) has been the most watched cable series for 27 consecutive years.


That streak may just be coming to an end as Monday Night Football has been overrun by the zombie apocalypse.

This season, Monday Night Football finds itself firmly entrenched in second place in the cable world for the first time.

Like millions of others around the country on Sunday night, I’m glued to the television cheering and booing and getting off the couch.  But it’s not for the NFL and Sunday Night Football, it’s for AMC’s The Walking Dead.  The reasons are very much the same – the action is enthralling, and I have money riding on it.  (I have Tyreese in my Walking Dead pool as the next main character to be killed off.  I thought I had it during the season premiere last week, but alas, the drama remains.)

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The October 19 episode of

Editor’s note: The following story contains spoilers from the October 19 episode of “The Walking Dead.”

(CNN) — Gross is par for the course when it comes to “The Walking Dead.”

From the zombie autopsy in the premiere episode of season 2 to just general feasting by the undead, the hit AMC series is not for the squeamish.

Season 5 of ‘The Walking Dead’ premieres

But even die-hard fans were a little shocked Sunday night at a scene in which the character Gareth and his group of hunters turn into cannibals and eat Bob’s leg.

Happy early Halloween people!

How do you think that scene compares to these other stomach-turning TV moments?

1) A foot meets a chainsaw on “Grey’s Anatomy”

Back in 2007, the medical series did a Halloween-themed episode that should have prepared us for anything.

Hardly anyone saw it coming when a disturbed patient, who was convinced his left foot didn’t belong to him, got hold of another patient’s chainsaw and tried to take it off. Dr. Callie Torres finished the job for him.

2) Mama Pope gets desperate on “Scandal

Last season, fans of ABC’s “Scandal” watched horrified as Olivia Pope’s mother tried to gnaw through her own wrist in a “suicide” attempt meant to get her transported from being locked up to a hospital facility. It worked and the scene led to some hilarious memes.

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It wasn’t as action-packed as last week’s premiere, but The Walking Dead season 5, episode 2 featured a couple of great surprises, one new character, and one horrible ending.

Our recap breaks down the events of The Walking Dead season 5 episode titled “Strangers.”

The episode begins with the gang walking to an unknown destination. Rick isn’t set on D.C. yet, but he better decide soon because this show is going to get boring fast. During this scene Tyreese asks Carol that they not tell everyone else about the girls (“Look at the flowers!”), Abraham hints at an announcement to the group, and Rick and Carol agree to stick together.

The next day, the hike continues – and a couple kisses are traded between Sasha and Bob – until they hear someone crying for help. It’s a new character, Father Gabriel, who’s being attacked by zombies. Nice timing, Rick and co.! The gang takes out the small herd before introducing themselves to the priest. Gabriel has no weapons but relies on the Lord in times of need (in this case it worked – God sent the prodigal son, Rick, to save him).

Rick gives him his usual opening string of questions (“How many walkers have you killed, how many people have you killed, why?”). Gabriel reveals he has some demons but isn’t about to reveal them. He brings the gang to his church, which everyone sweeps with caution.

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Fans of The Walking Dead should know by now that Norman Reedus is a bit of a wild man. The actor, who plays Daryl on AMC’s hit series, is known for really getting into the role, even practicing archery on his own time and living in the woods while The Walking Dead is filming. So we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Reedus is keeping his co-star’s beard in his refrigerator. Should we?

Reedus and his Walking Dead co-star, Andrew Lincoln recently appeared at Walker Stalker Con to talk about their roles in the drama. When Lincoln popped up, however, he was noticeably missing his beard, causing Reedus to remark about the whereabouts of Lincoln’s facial hair.

“You know what’s crazy is I have his beard in a ziploc bag in my refrigerator. True story.”

So, he could have been joking. In fact, we really hope the actor is joking, unless he has imminent plans for the facial hair, like pretending he is Rick Grimes for Halloween. Which, never mind, would still be really bizarre. The two started quipping about possible cloning on the series, which means he could be joking. Or, he just as easily could really be keeping tabs on Lincoln’s facial hair, sort of like how some celebrity moms keep their baby’s umbilical cords in a drawer.

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“I’m going to go back to super disgusting. I mean, super disgusting stuff,” is how showrunner Scott M. Gimple described “Strangers” to our Dalton Ross in his post-premiere interview. “I used the rotisserie-chicken description—with the meat sliding off the bones,” is how executive producer, director, and effects maestro Greg Nicotero described it to Dalton in EW’s September Walking Dead cover story. Dalton noted that kind of talk makes Nicotero “giddy.”

And, finally, we have Bob’s description: “If a sewer could puke, this is what it’d smell like.”

Last week’s explosive (literally) episode piled on the gore, pyrotechnics, and emotion so relentlessly that what followed it couldn’t help but slow the pace considerably. But that doesn’t make “Strangers” slow or easy to watch: The gross-out scene Nicotero giddily anticipated delivered in suitably nasty fashion, and the ending pulled a nice fake-out with Bob before delivering him to the former Terminans, now all but officially known as the Hunters.

What happens after the initial joy of reconciliation passes and you have to return to the grim business of survival? “Strangers” opens with the fading afterglow, still negotiating the painful past they share: Rick helps ease Tara’s guilt over siding with the Governor. Tyreese proactively defends Carol as the group learns about what she did (but he’s unable to tell them about Mika and Lizzie). Rick not quite apologizes to Carol for expelling her, but seeks her blessing to join forces again. Carol can’t tell Daryl what has happened to her.

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Despite all of the zombies that wander around trying to eat people on a regular basis, all of the character drama developing from one episode to the next sometimes causes us to forget that The Walking Dead is a horror series. Horror, after all, is relative. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the close of tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead was legitimate horror. The kind of horror that makes my stomach turn as I blurt out curse words and try to process this incredibly disturbing scenario.

And it’s at this point that you want to stop reading if you haven’t seen Episode 2 of Season 5, “Strangers.” We’re about to get into major spoilers.

A man’s gotta eat.

Poor Bob. Seriously, not since Carol took Lizzie out for a walk have I been quite so shocked by something on The Walking Dead. And I wasn’t sure anything could be quite as disgusting as the sight of partially butchered human remains on meathooks at Terminus. But tonight’s final scene takes the cake.

Carol and Daryl were both suspicious that they were being followed in the woods, and it was no surprise that they were. It wasn’t even all that surprising that the followers turned out to be Gareth and some of the remaining Terminus survivors (including the guy Tyreese was supposed to have killed? Was that him?). It also wasn’t shocking to see Bob get snatched up by the “mystery” stalkers. What was shocking what happened after Bob woke up. It started with Gareth droning on about how this wasn’t personal and how they’re just doing what they have to do. It seemed like your typical villainous monologue. In my mind, I’m thinking, worst case scenario, they kill Bob, which would be a shame, as he and Sasha seem so happy right now.

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Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded with a scene now permanently etched into millions of traumatized brains: Gareth (Andrew J. West), leader of Terminus, forcing Bob (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.) to watch as he takes a bite out of his newly amputated, charred-crispy leg.

“We didn’t want to hurt you before,” Gareth tells Bob, who’s just woken to find himself chained to a post. “We didn’t want to pull you away from your group or scare you. These are not things that we wanted to do.” He reminds Bob that “your people” destroyed Terminus, forcing its batch of psychos to survive “out here like everybody else.”

“In order to do that,” he continues, “we have to hunt. Didn’t start that way. Eating people. It evolved into that. We evolved. We had to. And now, we’ve devolved into hunters. I told you. I said it—can’t go back, Bob. I just hope you understand that nothing happening to you now is personal. Yeah, you put us in this situation and it is almost a cosmic justice for it to be you. But we would’ve done this to anybody. We will. But at the end of the day, no matter how much we hate all this ugly business, a man’s gotta eat.”

Then comes the kicker: “If it makes you feel any better,” Gareth says, biting off a piece of Bob’s flesh, “you taste much better than we thought you would.”

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