HomeTelevisionTV Recap: The Walking Dead, 'Four Walls and a Roof'

TV Recap: The Walking Dead, ‘Four Walls and a Roof’

The Walking Dead Season 5 poster.

Plot: With Gareth (Andrew J. West) making moves, Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group is torn between fighting or fleeing. Who will survive the night?

Well then, that was fast. After introducing Terminus last season and actually going out of the way to introduce Gareth, The Walking Dead has officially moved on. Whatever remaining members of Terminus were absolutely mutilated on the floor of Gabriel’s (Seth Gilliam) church. Did this happen a bit too quickly? You could make that case. The Walking Dead always does better with a set protagonist and Gareth seemingly fit that bill three weeks ago. Alas, it was not to be. Now we’re moving on to new challenges and conflicts only three episodes in. At least we finished the Terminus story with an extra tense and excellently crafted episode.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The pace of “Four Walls and a Roof” is best described as a slow burn. It opens up with Gareth munching on Bob’s (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) leg meat and reveling at how he believes he has the upper hand. Everything quickly goes into crazy town though once Bob reveals he’s been bit (#taintedmeat). It’s that act of defiance which puts the two groups on a fast track to conflict. Bob is returned as a means to intimidate Rick. Rick, obviously, doesn’t take the action lightly, and immediately decides that he must finally kill everyone involved. But while Bob was returned pretty early in the episode, it isn’t until the very end do the groups actually come to blows. Letting this conflict simmer only to end in an insane manner was really smart. It gave the show an intensity that really isn’t possible in a crazy firefight or walker group attack. This wasn’t adrenaline pumping intensity. It was a deep, unsettling intensity that really rattles you, which is something this show needs to do more often.

I was a little taken aback by the suddenness of it all. Even though I read this story arc several years ago and know how brief it really is, I had the thought that the writers would want to keep Gareth alive a bit longer. They did it with The Governor and Shane, and are now doing it with Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), two people who never left the Prison in print. But the truth is, keeping Gareth alive any longer really doesn’t make sense. After all the shit he’s experienced and the mistakes he’s made, it’s not a surprise that Rick is now willing to do whatever it takes to keep going. And honestly, I’m not ashamed to admit that I was happy to watch Rick live up to his promise to kill Gareth with that red machete.

The setting was especially powerful throughout the episode. I really loved how the entire conflict took place at night. It gave the entire hour sense of eeriness that isn’t possible in the middle of the day. Watching Gareth eat Bob by a fireplace, seeing Rick leave the church as Gareth is arriving, and Rick using the shadows to cripple his enemies are great examples of using darkness as a tool for fear. Gareth looked especially menacing at night and there was no way Rick could attack with such stealth in broad daylight. There’s also the matter that Rick murdered Gareth and his group in a church. In normal society, religious institutions are viewed as a place of peace and compassion. But just like how a Prison can become a safe haven, a church can be devolved into “four walls and a roof.”

Tragically, Bob also met his end. It was clear that something was wrong with him when he ran out last week after kissing Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), but this episode opened up with confirmation: Bob’s bit and his fate is sealed. Everyone naturally doesn’t take this well. Bob is our first major death of the season and it really gives you a sense of the type of family this group has formed. In Bob’s final moments, everyone gathers around him to say tearful goodbyes. It’s almost as if they didn’t just mutilate a group of cannibals. Having Tyreese finish him off for good was fitting though. It’s interesting to see that this is where Tyreese places the line in regards to killing others. When Gareth is sneaking around the church, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) are the only ones ready to fight. Tyreese is hiding away with Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Gabriel, and Judith. By stabbing Bob before he turned, Tyreese proved that he’s not entirely above the harshness of their world. It was a nice touch.

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Of course, now we have to wonder what’s happening next. This is brand new, non-comic territory now. We do know that next week’s episode, “Slabtown”, will finally bring Beth (Emily Kinney) back and it will probably occur at the same time as Rick fighting Gareth. I’m glad Beth is returning too because most of the show was so quick to forget about her. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) never mentions her sister, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) is the only one openly thinking about where she is. Hopefully they’ll actually address this.

There’s also the small matter of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) leaving for Washington DC with Glenn (Steven Yeun), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Maggie, Rosita, and Eugene. I can’t even begin to tell you how stupid this is. I get that Abraham wants to get Eugene to DC quickly, but how will rushing off without their super cohesive group going to solve anything? They’re in even more danger now. Plus, since Maggie and Glenn were pushed onto there for “reasons,” you know they’ll all just get back together again. And they even separated so soon after finally reuniting! It’s errible.

“Four Walls and a Roof” was a crazy episode. Everything about it was set up to give us maximum levels of intensity and eeriness. Now both Terminus and Bob are done for too. Though I didn’t mention this above, we did learn why Gabriel is so rapt with guilt. Seeing as that was so quickly abandoned for the conflict with Gareth I’m sure we’ll return to Gabriel’s past transgressions soon enough. Before we get there, we have to learn about what the hell Beth’s been up to since she was taken away. The next episode preview has her in some kind of hospital within a city. There’s a great chance she’s the one with Daryl (Norman Reedus) at the end too so her hospital stay will probably be cut short. Not going to lie, I am actually looking forward to getting some answers.

Rating: 8.5/10

Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.



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