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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

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Viewer
59
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Episode 3 - Four Walls and a Roof

28 October 2014

Credit AMC

Synopsis: Bob reveals his bite to the horror of the Termites. They return him to the church and Rick prepares an attack. Gareth has anticipated this and enters the church. However Rick's group quickly return and smash their heads in. Bob is lain to rest as the group splits up. Maggie, Glenn and Tara agreed to go to Washington if Abraham would remain at the church. Darryl then appears out of the bushes but we don't see who he is with.

The Good: The pace of the plotting remains impressive. That's not always a positive thing but the benefit is that we avoid some of the television cliches associated with delaying obvious plot threads. So we don't have to wait long to learn that Bob was indeed bitten. And far sooner than expected Rick delivers brutal justice on the Termites as the church floor is trule desecrated.

The Bad:
That pace can rob us of time to become emotionally invested in a story though. Sadly that happened here throughout the episode.

I can't think of many shows who have introduced a major villain in a season finale, shown his backstory in the following season premiere and then killed him off in his third episode. And yet that's what happened to Gareth. There was no emotional satisfaction in seeing him get dispatched because I'd only just begun to get used to him. The dynamics of him outsmarting Rick only for Rick to double back to the church was too cute for its own good. When I saw the Termites enter the church I began to fear for Carl and the others but it wasn't real emotion, I could just see the danger. The scenario just hadn't been constructed well enough for me to really believe that something terrible was about to happen. The longer Gareth gabbed on at the closed doors the more time he gave for Rick to come rushing back.

But it's not just the villains who are missing characterisation. Although we did spend a good episode with Bob last season the show still hasn't cracked how to make everyone more than two dimensional. I would say Rick, Carl, Michonne and Carol have graduated to that level but everyone else remains 2D. So although I like Larry Gilliard Jr I have no particular reason to mourn Bob's passing. Or to feel sympathy for Sasha beyond a very basic level. I still admire Scott Gimple for ploughing on with serious storylines even with characters who lack definition because that is better than treating them like T-Dogg. But ultimately he will be judged on whether he can make us care about them and Bob failed that test.

It has to be pointed out that Gabriel enters the show and Bob dies. I don't think it's deliberate but the replacement of one black man with another is a pattern which the show needs to break.

The Unknown: In the grander scheme of things though Bob's death may not be a bad thing. Characters need to die to maintain the sense that this world is deadly (the only time I became genuinely tense was when Bob died and Sasha remained by his side). Not every character can die in a dramatic or emotional way either so this could be looked back upon as a break from more abrupt trauma.

The break up of the group and Darryl's return seems to confirm the Gimple formula. Or perhaps that should be the AMC budget formula. Presumably next week is all Beth and maybe we'd even get another episode after that with Darryl rescuing her. Then we will be on the road with Abraham's crew and then back to Rick and the core crew for a bit. Then down the road another emotional reunion. It is easier and cheaper to write for a small number of characters and so this could turn into the show's new norm. On the downside it could start to feel formulaic and cheap. On the upside it could lead to more Lost-like focus on individual characters, giving them the opportunity to develop.

Best Moment: Rick's "we didn't want to waste the bullets" moment was nice. It wasn't as satisfying as it could have been had the Termites been given more buildup. Or indeed if we didn't know that Rick always wanted to wipe them out. However what followed was the one moment in the episode which felt like it was moving our characters forward. Rick, Abraham and Sasha brutally beat their enemies to death while Gabriel, Glenn and Maggie look on in varying degrees of horror. I liked the variation in their responses. Glenn looked pretty saddened by what his life has come to and yet Maggie's "four walls and a roof" comment suggests that although some in the group aren't capable yet of dishing it out they are becoming accustomed to living in this world.

Conclusion:
This was not organic enough to make for good television but the overall direction remains positive.

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Comments

  • What's your guess on Daryl's companion? My guess is its Carol. Morgan never met Daryl and given how Morgan treats most strangers he encounters it's unlikely they would be chumming around unless of course Daryl saved Morgan from some of the Termites and earned his trust. Something tells me we will be given a flashback to what happened to Daryl and Carol whilst looking for Beth.

    Posted by Fluids, 31/10/2014 9:07pm (6 years ago)

  • Well-said BenF.

    Yeah, Fluids, that was an interesting turn of events, will Michonne revert to the antisocial, unemotional Walking Dead person she was when we met her? The Katana represents her choice.

    Posted by Yogabon, 29/10/2014 12:56pm (6 years ago)

  • Did anyone else feel that Michonne without her sword was weird? How do you feel about her being reunited with it in this episode? I had mixed emotions with that actually as well.

    I thought she was looking at her sword kind of with disdain. Does the katana represent a side of Michonne to herself of her past "Walking Dead" phase and relapse? Will she keep the katana? She does wield it better than anyone on the show wields a weapon.

    Posted by Fluids, 28/10/2014 5:19pm (6 years ago)

  • I haven't read the comics but am aware that the TV show is apparently rushing through the comics plots, and I have to wonder if the producers are simply trying to "get those done with", perhaps in time for the spin-off. To my knowledge we still don't know the spin-off's plot, and it would be very typical of AMC to use both TWD and Talking Dead to promote the heck out of the new show...

    Posted by Matt E., 28/10/2014 1:53pm (6 years ago)

  • I believe a bitten Bob being eaten was a wasted opportunity to discover if the Termites would have turned into Walkers.

    I had hoped that some battle would come where our gang was prepared to do as they did here but discover the Termites are gravely ill and about to turn.

    I also think a more poetic end would have been to have tied the Termites to the 'marked' tree as bait for the Walkers and maybe a distraction as the entire group drove away, leaving Gabriel alone in his four walls and a roof.
    (This would have nicely broken the black character exchange syndrome Robin noted in his review)

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 28/10/2014 11:11am (6 years ago)

  • If I had to sum this episode with one word, it'd be: Predictable.

    While not a bad hour of television, I spent the majority of the time saying to myself "knew it". I knew Bob was a dead man the instant Gabriel showed up last week, for some reason the writers have installed a diversity quota for the cast.

    I thought Gareth was a decent villain and he was disposed of rather weakly here. The "battle" at the church was weak, and no mention of Tyreese's spareing of "Terminus guy with hat".

    On paper I like the idea of splitting up the cast for different episodes, but I feel it works better for a show like Lost that has a full 20+ episode season, because it restricts what the writers can accomplish in a half season or full season of TWD. Especially since the cast is so large at this point, I feel like the majority of the cast has been severely underdeveloped, especially Maggie/Glenn. Their decision to leave for DC with Abraham came out of nowhere, and Glenn breaking up Rick and Abraham's fight didn't feel right either. I don't see how Maggie/Glenn volunteering to go with him would convince Abraham to stay any longer at the church.

    Since at least the next episode will focus on Beth (and maybe Carol/Darryl), it seems most of the gang won't get any development for awhile.

    Best moment: Bob yelling "Tainted Meat"

    Viewer score: 55 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 28/10/2014 1:04am (6 years ago)

  • Good:

    • The writers have figured out a way to make the most traditionally moral man in the show (who we just met) into an untrustworthy; unforgiveable human being in some ways. The moment we heard that Father Gabriel locked out his flock, the church became four walls and a roof instead of the Lord’s place for me. I have to admit that I was measuring my reactions to the way EVERYONE was treating Father Gabriel. I am personally not religious, however I was at first disgusted by the way they treated him even though I empathize with their behavior. (I wonder if that manipulation of the audience was intentional. If it was set up to evoke those feelings in me then that’s breaking down the 4th wall again; great writing.)

    • It made sense that Bob was bit due to his behavior of crying outside the church in S5E2 during the party.

    • Beth obviously is with yet another group; not the Termites or Father Gabriel.

    Bad:

    • Why did Rick make a big deal about Abraham taking the school bus? That didn’t make too much sense to me. There are probably tons of other vehicles they could get their hands on.

    • Why would Glen and Maggie agree to go with Abraham? I don’t see any compelling reason for going to Washington DC, especially Maggie of all people when her sister Beth is still out there in the area. That doesn’t make sense to me. This lack of caring about Beth has been a little consistent I am afraid. (Not to be funny, however I know the audience doesn’t like Beth too much as a character; now the cast?) Maggie didn’t ask Glen when she was reunited with him in the train tunnel about where Beth was in Season Four. Maggie did ask Daryl in the railroad car and so she knows Beth is in the area this season. So knowing her sister is out there close why would she agree to go with Abraham?

    Unknown:

    • Why is Eugene reluctant to go to DC with Abraham? Wouldn’t he want to get to DC asap? What’s going on with him?

    • Why isn’t some assuring Maggie they will find Beth (when she says she will go with Abraham)?

    • Are there more Termites out there?

    • Was the brutal savagery displayed on Gareth and the Termites a bit heavy handed (although not graphically shown)?

    • Why did Father Gabriel lock out his flock? Was he afraid of getting bitten? Was he afraid one of them might be infected? Did he not trust their motives?

    • Do Rick and group despise Father Gabriel for what he did to his flock?
    Do they think he’s suffered enough (or not enough) with having to bury the remains of those who he didn’t help? Is Father Gabriel a danger to the group by not being a fighter and a selfish coward?

    • It isn’t clear from what we saw that Gareth’s group was infected from eating Bob’s leg or not. (Good to know for the future shows.)

    • Were the Termites going to turn into walkers due to eating Bob?

    • Is Maggie being anti religious by saying the church was just four walls and a roof?

    • Was Father Gabriel right for turning away innocents (mothers, children and the elderly) who sought security from God? Is he worse than anyone we have seen for his actions?

    • Where is Morgan?

    • Is Carol right behind Daryl? If so, do they have Beth?

    Viewer score: 61 / 100

    Posted by Fluids, 27/10/2014 5:04pm (6 years ago)

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