‘The Walking Dead’ Review: “Four Walls and a Roof”
‘The Walking Dead’ season 5 brings to life its 3rd episode with “Four Walls and a Roof,” as Rick and the others realize the threat of the surviving Terminus cannibals, Bob shares a surprising revelation about his departure, and Father Gabriel confesses his sins before encountering the group.
Last week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ episode, “Strangers,” saw the group taking shelter with the mysterious Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), before making a decision about Abraham's proposed plan for D.C., while Bob discovered a new horror lurking in the woods from the ashes of Terminus. So, what does the latest episode of season 5 bring? Does Rick show Gareth and his men who they're screwing with?
Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘The Walking Dead’ season 5, episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof!”
From the perspective of someone long-versed in ‘The Walking Dead’ comics, the cannibalistic hunters story arc has always been a curiously short one. Where the books spent upwards of three entire volumes on the Governor and Woodbury, the entire arc of the cannibals, from beginning to end, takes place only across a few issues. They stalk through the woods, pick off someone long enough to eat their leg and spit out some tainted meat, ultimately returning the body. Rick takes the fight directly to them in the span of an afternoon, easily overtaking the group, and butchering the hunters as revenge for what they’d done. In a way that was even the point, to show just how savage and powerful Rick’s group had become, to barely break a sweat in committing such horrific actions.
And where AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ showed some surprising momentum in returning Gareth’s group and confirming their cannibalism just after the premiere, the series keeps up the trend tonight in ending its menace across the span of a solitary episode. Don’t get me wrong, the entire conflict proves every bit as gripping as it read on paper, though perhaps lacking in some of the brutality, and curiously displacing the threat just as quickly. We had the time spent at Terminus, and at least an episode to breathe in between, though now season 5 has essentially returned us to neutral, at least until the next threat picks up.
So while their brutal dispatch didn’t’ fill in any gaps on the Terminus crew’s descent into cannibalism, the short-lived villains still brought about some intriguing developments along the way, including the full explanation of Gabriel’s survival within the church, and a rather sweet goodbye for Bob. The series doesn’t often allow the chance to linger on its departures, but it was important that Bob’s eternal optimism rub at least something off on Rick and the others, if only a brief reminder that all nightmares come to an end eventually. Also effective was Gabriel’s breakdown over damning so many innocent souls by his own cowardice, a moment nicely handled by Seth Gilliam, while both Rick and Abraham got some strong conflicted agendas to play after their initial discourse last week. Now that Abraham’s group seems to have split off from Rick however, while the returning Daryl clearly has a tale to tell, it remains to be seen just how long it will be before Bob’s words truly come to weigh on Rick, or Gabriel’s confession affects any of the group dynamic.
The series seems to have developed a tendency to split its group apart, if only to keep a reasonably level of threats and challenges in play. Gareth’s group only moved in with Daryl and Carol taken out of the equation, and then again with Rick and the others seemingly splintering off. It can be understandably difficult to service so many characters in one location, though at least it seems that next week will fill us in on what Beth’s been up to all this time, and allow us to get our bearings before the back half of the fall season. There wouldn’t have been very much story to be had by Gareth and Rick trading threats back and forth for more than a few episodes, so the group's dispatch at least keeps the momentum of season 5 moving along nicely.
About the only thing that didn’t quite work from the hour was the thread with Tyreese being woven into some of the larger moments, even with a nice pit of point-counterpoint between he and Sasha over how to channel her anger at Bob’s fate. Season 5 hasn’t made entirely clear thus far why Tyreese has become so gun-shy about killing, at least no more so than it had by the end of season 4 in March, and his apparent sparing of Martin in the premiere didn’t quite pay off before Sasha got the final word on the cannibal. Tyreese clearly braved up enough to be the one to finally put Bob down for good, though it’s hard to say exactly what ‘The Walking Dead’ wants us to make of his current emotional state just yet.
I do my best to put aside comparisons of the comic for episode review purposes, though I doubt even from a fresh perspective Gareth’s attack on the church would have unfolded with a tremendous amount of uncertainty, what with the way Carl and the others seemed to fully anticipate some kind of breach, and our knowledge of Rick's strategic mind. The final resolution to Gareth and his men still proved plenty exciting from a visual standpoint at least, though in the end I’m left wondering somewhat if “Four Walls and a Roof” delivered anything truly unexpected.
Lawrence Gilliard got some great moments to play as Bob, from his deranged laughter leading up to the “tainted meat” line, as well as his ultimately optimistic goodbye, and the entire ordeal at least brought about some great conflicts for the group. The hour didn’t waste any time setting up the season’s next push either, as Daryl returned to the church alongside an unseen figure, and Abraham and others set off on their own, though for the moment at least, tonight’s episode seemed to taste just a little off going down.
AND ANOTHER THING...
- The hour definitely brought with it a few strong visual touches as well, between the juxtaposition of Gareth's group eating with the hungry walkers outside, or the long fixed shot of the cannibals slinking out of the shadows after Rick's band departs. Like a polarizing 'Sopranos' finale, I had to wonder if perhaps my screen needed adjustment.
- Do I remember a shot of the walkers cracking the glass at the hunters' hideaway? If so, what would that have served to establish, given the attack took place in the church?
- I was about to say how suspiciously quiet Judith seems to be at inopportune moments.
- So, guesses on who Daryl's companion in the woods was, or what potentially happened to Carol?
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of thrilling zombie killing? Were you surprised by Bob's confession? Will Rick be able to out-think Gareth and his hungry friends? Stay tuned for more coverage of the ‘Walking Dead’ season 5, and join us next week for another all-new episode review of episode 4, "Slabtown,” on AMC!