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Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5 Episode 3, ‘Four Walls And A Roof’: God Has No Place Within These Walls

Review: 'The Walking Dead' Season 5 Episode 3, 'Four Walls And A Roof': God Has No Place Within These Walls

We pick up right where we left off, with the Termites
merrily chowing down on Bob’s leg as Gareth delivers a long-winded monologue.
Bob interrupts to pull the classic “seem like you’re crying when you’re
actually laughing” bit to inform everybody that he was indeed bitten in
the last episode and the Termites are all eating “tainted meat.” One
panicked Termite rightfully wonders what is going to happen to them, but it
turns out the answer is “You’ll all be dead via violent means by the end
of this episode and we’ll never really find out.” So much for that little
science experiment!

READ MORE: Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5, Episode 2, ‘Strangers’: The Case Of The Cowardly Carver

That little dangling bit of business aside, this was a solid
episode of “The Walking Dead,” and it seems safe to say that the
strong showing of last season is being maintained in Season 5. Bob shuffles off
this mortal coil, and since he’s an optimist I really should have pegged him for
dead meat sooner than I did. On his deathbed, he gives Rick a little advice:
“Nightmares end. They shouldn’t end who you are.” Which is all well
and good, but Rick and some of the others already seem to be heading down a
dark path. When Sasha asks Bob “What good comes out of this bad?”, he
dies before he can answer, which seems to be the universe’s way of answering
for him. I’m genuinely sorry to see Bob go, since the creative team and
Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.’s performance did a fine job of building up his
character for the one season and change that he lasted. At least he didn’t die
alone.

Speaking of optimists, Abraham is still determined to take
Eugene to Washington, and comes into conflict with Rick about whether or not to
have a showdown with the Termites. It’s nice that the show can generate this
sort of organic conflict between characters, and not just regress to petty
bickering. Both men have valid points, and can only settle their differences
when Glenn, Maggie and Tara offer to join their expedition if they help wipe
out the Termites.

This leads to the episode’s marvelously tense set-piece, as
Rick and the toughest Ricketeers head off to take the fight to Gareth, which
was Gareth’s plan all along. The Termites show up at the church and proceed to
stalk the Ricketeers that remain, until Judith cries out, giving their location
away. That’s why you don’t have babies after the apocalypse, people! Of course,
Rick and the others leaving was just a feint, and they return in the nick of
time. One would think that they might kill the Termites quickly, or even let
them go, but no, that was the old team, and in a spectacularly brutal sequence,
Rick, Sasha, Michonne, and Abraham beat, stab and machete the Termites to
death. Before he dies, Gareth tells Rick that while Rick has seen hardship,
it’s nothing to what the Termites experienced, so Rick still has further left
to fall. This season’s major theme of “How far will Rick and the others go
to survive?” continues apace. 

Since we’ll be seeing no more of him, I would like to say
that I very much enjoyed Andrew J. West as Gareth. He was clearly insane, but
didn’t act like a ranting madman. He simply gave a performance with a lot of
world-weariness and pragmatism, with a hearty helping of smugness, all in
service to a completely monstrous philosophy. Just looking at him, he didn’t
scream “bad guy,” but his villainy was well-portrayed when it
emerged.

The episode ends with the group splitting in two (but on
purpose this time). Abraham leaves Rick a map detailing their trip to DC, and
since a promise is a promise, Glenn, Maggie, and Tara go along for the ride. Is
it a coincidence that the Ricketeers joining Abraham are the ones who seemed to
be the most unsettled by the Termites’ massacre? I’m guessing no. In other
news, now I have to come up with another group name. Abrahamites? Would that be
too religious? Stay tuned.

It’s a smart play to split the group again, since even with
the death of Bob, the full team of Ricketeers was pretty unwieldy. This way the
individual characters can get more focus without anyone fading completely into
the background for episodes at a time. At least Daryl manages to return before
the episode’s end with an extremely awkward cliffhanger, so we probably won’t
get three separate narrative strings. Where the season goes from here seems to
be pretty wide open, although I’m hoping the creative team answers the question
that’s been plaguing me: why does Eugene look
so much like Bill Hicks
?

Grade: B

READ MORE: Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5 Maintains The High Bar Of Season 4

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