Review: The Walking Dead "Four Walls and a Roof"

Review: The Walking Dead "Four Walls and a Roof"


The Walking Dead

Season 5, Episode 3

“Four Walls And A Roof”

Rating: A+

“TAINTED MEAT! YOU EATING TAINTED MEAT” is the big shock that comes before the credits in this episode, as anyone who reads the comics knows (it was Dale in the comics though).  Bob, it turns out, was bitten last week, likely by the goofy looking water-logged walker, so our cannibal friends going to town on his leg makes him laugh a dark, sad, laugh as he tells them he’s tainted and they begin spitting out and vomiting up the bits of his leg that they’d already eaten. That’s what you get for eating people in a world infested with zombies.  I also loved the mirror effect of  our cannibals munching on Bob juxtaposed to the ravenous undead clamoring at the windows. It’s a nice way to show that, at this point in survival, it’s really hard to separate out the monsters

Father Gabriel’s truth came out as well, and I’m glad that they kept it basically the same to his comic book counterpart. There’s something divinely human in Gabriel’s weakness, as he breaks down and tells Rick that he locked the doors to the church and never opened them again, despite his parishioners begging for him to let them in. This is why he’s never killed a walker, why he’s got a permanent look of pain on his face. He carries his guilt everywhere with him, and maybe he can find a little redemption with our group of survivors.

Our trio bound for Washington D.C., Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita, are anxious to go. Well, Abraham is anxious to go. This little mission gives our former Sergeant a purpose in a world where there is largely none left, and his own hero complex won’t let him take any moment of respite. Glenn finally convinces him to stay to at least help dispose of the cannibals with the promise that he and Maggie would go along with them for their journey. I was caught a bit off guard by this, as I thought most of the survivors would join them in their mission, but it’s always nice when they subvert the comic fans expectations, and considering they’ve done it quite a bit since that trip the CDC in season 1, I really shouldn’t have been surprised.

I talk a lot about the violence and the gore in this show, not because  it’s overused, this is a world of walking corpses afterall, our definitions of how we watch these things have to change the same way our survivors methods of dealing with them has had to change. However, one type of violence sticks out. In a world that is well over half-dead, which we can assume because boy howdy has society collapsed, it’s our instinct for killing our living brethren that will inevitably finish us off. Whenever this kind of thing happens, though, our group of survivors are generally maneuvered to be outside the moral grey. When Rick shot those two men in the bar in season 2, it was after a conversation long enough to make their intentions clear, to show you what kind of people they were. When the Governor attacked in season 3 and in season 4, we’d had more than enough time to find out just precisely what kind of monster the man was. Now, we have a group of humans that kidnap and eat other human beings as an answer to the food shortage. Our survivors may not be the best of people, but they’ve never eaten people. Well, a few of them may have unknowingly ingested some Long Pig when they arrived at Terminus, but by and large they tend to stick to veggies, deer, and squirrel. The occasional owl.

Our group sets a trap for the cannibals, or Termites as they are being referred to by fans, fall into it and the whole thing went off like clock work. Rick’s first-episode message of “They don’t get to live” comes to full realization in a few brutal moments, watched by Father Gabriel at the church’s alter. “This is a house of God!” He says, as our people lower their weapons, having just quite literally bashed every single Termite’s head into mush. “No,” Maggie replies, with a look of solemn acceptance of this reality on her face, “It’s just four walls and a roof.”

So it is. Four walls, and a roof. With no one there to give it deeper meaning, a church serves as more of a fortress for our survivors than as hallowed ground. With so much about faith in the narrative last season, mostly preached by Hershel, though Glenn had a couple of moments of faith in relation to Maggie’s escape and survival from the prison assault, it was odd that it was Hershel’s daughter that delivered that line. It had so much weight, though, that I don’t think any other character would have been able to carry.

There’s a moment here, though. There’s a moment of no return. As our survivors hack away, slaying the Termites, killing the cannibals, stern determination on their face as they swing machetes and bash the butts of their rifles into their faces, as they take out the frustrations of their existence, of their capture, of the people they haven’t been able to  save, the family they’ve lost, the friends once loved, now dead, there is something that dies in our group. It’s shown and mirrored in the horrified expressions on Maggie, Glenn, Tara’s face, even as they continue to stoically point their rifles, though the point of their being able to run is long since past. It’s shown in Tyreese’s face as he watches his sister brutally kill the man he beat half to death in the first episode, but who he didn’t kill. Something changed, there was a marking passing of something in our group. Something like innocence or culpability. That righteousness that has always been there. That could well be just me, but I saw it.

An overall excellent episode in what has been a string of excellent episodes. There are still lines that need to be tied up. Beth and Morgan being the biggest one, but this show is taking it’s time, yet remaining hugely addicting and entertaining, which can’t be said about season 2.

Stuff And Things

– Is there anything creepier than hearing Gareth’s weirdly calm analysis on how good women taste when cooked? No, no there is not.
– Seth Gilliam’s monologue as Father Gabriel about what it was he did was beautifully executed. You could feel every ounce of pain and regret he has inside him.
– There were some dumb theories floating around the internet about Bob being part of the group who took over Terminus and cannibalized a lot of the residents. I saw many people turn against poor Bob, ignoring all the glaring holes in the theory (why would Bob actively lead them to Terminus if he knew what was there?) so I hope you all feel terrible! Poor Bob. RIP.
– “I need to extract his ass” Never has there been a more perfect casting decision than with Abraham. Truly, truly incredible performance of an incredible character on the part of Michael Cudlitz.
– I liked seeing Gareth’s smarmy little finger get shot off.
This week in awesome Walker kills: Churchyard Walker and Abraham’s big gun.
– In Memoriam: Bob Stookey, we will miss you. Gareth, Martin,  and the rest of the cannibals, we will not.
– Three episodes in and we still haven’t seen Beth. It’s coming, as last week saw Daryl and Carol take off after the car that took her last season. Sure is convenient for them to find a running automobile randomly sitting on the side of the road right as they need to leave in a hurry, but I’m looking forward to seeing the righteous revenge path that Daryl is inevitably going to be taking.


Categories: Entertainment