The Walking Dead: Four Walls and a Roof (5×03)
Synopsis: Bob returns to the church and Rick’s group clashes with the Hunters.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this episode. Nothing surprising happened, but it did move along the plot to get Eugene to Washington DC and we got some nice emotional moments from the group. Maybe because I was aware of the plot arc from the comics, I really only saw this episode ending one way. At least it was satisfying? I think?
Wherever Gareth and the Hunters have holed up is starting to draw the attention of nearby walkers, though his evil opening monologue doesn’t give the impression that he’s all that concerned about it. Only when he’s done with his speech, and everyone’s had a little more dark meat, does Bob begin to laugh hysterically. He reveals to the group that he’s been bitten, shouting, “TAINTED MEAT!” in homage to the comics before being knocked unconscious by Gareth.
Sasha, Rick, and the rest of the group fail to find any signs of Bob, Carol, and Daryl and emotions are running high. In the church, Sasha turns on Father Gabriel and Rick intimidates him into telling them what happened for someone to carve that message into the church. Breaking down, physically falling to the floor, Father Gabriel confesses that he locked the doors and refused to let anyone in when the walkers attacked. Tactically, the best thing he could do, but clearly it’s been eating away at the poor man and continuously bullying him with the Ricktatorship isn’t getting anyone anywhere. I just really like Father Gabriel…
Suddenly, Glenn notices a body outside of the church that wasn’t there before. It’s Bob! Helpfully returned by the Hunters, they bring him inside and he quickly reveals that he was bitten at the food bank. It was a message clearly meant to rattle the group and it works to an extent. Abraham wants to get the hell on the road right this second, but the Ricktatorship tries to veto that – especially when Abraham wants to take the working van to DC.
To lessen the tension, Tara asks them to stay the night to help them with the Hunters and when they leave in the morning, she’ll go with them. Abraham wants to take Glenn and Maggie as well and before Rick can say no to that – not that it’s his choice – Glenn and Maggie agree. Meanwhile, Bob is slowly dying, having relocated to the couch in Father Gabriel’s office, and Sasha is spending the last of her time with him because he “really liked the middle” and didn’t want to focus on the end. It’s sad, but inevitable.
Rick thinks that the Hunters are underestimating their ability to organize and attack at the moment, so he plans to go on the offensive and take care of this problem once and for all. Sasha wants to be involved in the fight and she urges Tyreese to stay with Bob in her place. We get a lot of callbacks to lost survivors this episode – first Jim, when he was bitten, and Tyreese brings up Karen to sympathize with Sasha.
The group – Michonne, Rick, Glenn, Maggie, Tara, and Abraham – all make sure they’re seen leaving the church. As the camera pans away from them leaving we get a still, silent shot that shows the Hunters creeping up. It’s haunting, harrowing, and gorgeous and probably my favorite shot of the season so far, so good on Jeremy F. January for his directing choices.
Gareth and the rest of the Hunters come into the church, Father Gabriel and the rest of the group left behind – Bob, Tyreese, Eugene, Rosita, Carl, and Judith – in hiding. As Gareth has another monologue moment, Judith starts to cry and they’re almost discovered. Just as the Hunters go to break down the door, two of them are killed and Rick’s group emerges from the shadows. Gareth tries to reason with Rick, after Rick shoots his fingers off and forcing him to drop his gun. At his urging, the rest of the Hunters follow Gareth’s lead.
In a last ditch attempt to spare his own life, Gareth tries to reason with Rick about how they used to help people and save people. They are the desperate words of an already-dead man, who realizes that Rick has never truly been hungry. He promises that they’ll never cross paths again, but Rick isn’t satisfied with that answer. He fulfills his promise from the season premiere – to kill Gareth with the red-handled machete – and Abraham, Michonne, and Sasha also brutally murder the last of the Hunters. Tara, Glenn, Maggie, and Tyreese seem to look on in horror. Rick excuses the behavior by telling them, ‘It could have been us.’ And Michonne is finally reunited with her sword!
Father Gabriel looks almost the sickest of all, upset that such a slaughter had to happen inside of the Lord’s house, but Maggie corrects him – it’s just four walls and a roof these days. Business taken care of, everyone is crowded in to say goodbye to Bob. He thanks Rick, telling him that nightmares end, but they shouldn’t end who you are. I hope this is the start of getting the Rickstatorship back down to a manageable level. Sasha is with Bob in his last moments, but ultimately cannot bring herself to make sure he doesn’t turn. Tyreese steps in to do the job for her.
Sad business aside, Abraham isn’t deterred from his objective to get Eugene to Washington DC. In the morning, he sets off with his newly re-enforced group – now including Tara, Maggie, and Glenn. Unfortunately, everyone else sticks behind for Daryl and Carol, but Abraham left Rick a map to DC and a love not consisting of a ‘Sorry I was an asshole’ apology. The new world’s going to need Rick Grimes apparently (I find that debatable on his current bulldozing path).
Later that night, Michonne and Father Gabriel share a small bonding moment before hearing something rustling in the bushes. It turns out that Daryl has made it back, sans car, and he’s not alone. However, it’s clearly not Carol that he’s brought back with him when he tells the other person to come out. And that’s the end of the episode.
Next week looks to be all about Beth and I’ll warn you now, she’s not my favorite character, so we’ll see how much I enjoy next week. As long as there’s not ‘dear diary’ voiceovers, I might be able to get through it – but not if something’s happened to Carol…