AMC‘s The Walking Dead Four Rooms & a Roof TV Show Review. The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 3: ‘Four Walls & a Roof,’ started with a juxtaposing of monsters; one living, the others reanimated dead, all cannibals. Gareth (Andrew J. West) the living cannibal, however, prided himself on still being Human, and that his practice was the new normal. With a window pane of fragile glass separating one group of monsters, from the other, Gareth continued to impart his wisdom to a captive Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.). This amounted to a perverse case of playing with your food; but to Gareth, this was inherent proof that he was still a civil Human being.
All that “being Human” turned out to be gloating, after all; so I guess I’ll take a turn at gloating, a bit. Turns out that Bob was bitten, during the previous episode’s slog with the Water Walkers, and all that uncharacteristic moping, he was trying so hard to keep to himself, was justified. I guess I owe the showrunners a Coke.
Leave it to Bob, however, to find the bright side of his predicament – he got a madman’s belly laugh out of sharing his less-than-grade A rating with the diners. Yes, Gareth’s reassurance, that thorough cooking cures all ills (in the meat, anyway), was likely correct; but fear is a knee-jerk reaction – intellect doesn’t kick in nearly as fast. Their panic only added to Bob’s schadenfreude. The viewers’ too, I imagine; so sing it with me, now –
“Once I ran from you.
Now I’m feeding you.
This twisted spiel you’re giving; it cost me more than if Walkers were dealing it.
You took my leg, but that’s not nearly ALL!
<dant, dant> Tainted meat. Oh, oh, oh. <dant, dant> Tainted meat.
Don’t touch me, please – I cannot stand your brand of sleaze!
I’m usually upbeat, but you hurt me so;
You messed with Team Rick, so you gotta go!”
I’ll stop now. You’re welcome.
Leave it to Gareth, then, to find a tactical use for their suddenly unappetizing captive. Taking a page out of Genghis Kahn’s playbook, Bob was delivered, alive, to Father Gabriel’s (Seth Gilliam) St. Sarah’s Episcopal church, along with a few Walkers – just to ensure that Rick’s party was sufficiently riled up, upon receiving him. I don’t know if any of them noticed, but St. Sarah’s church had been designated the new ‘A’ facility.
This came just after Rick (Andrew Lincoln) had gotten a confession out of Father Gabriel, regarding the sins that had left him so visibly shaken. Turns out, it was an act of cruel cowardice; but the Padre was no threat.
Bob brought the group up to speed, and came clean about his condition. Bob’s bite looked pretty mean. You’d think he would have been sporting noticeable blood stains, to the shirt under his open jacket, even before he was grabbed. Still, the group was sufficiently riled up to miss the question of why Bob was returned
in one piece alive.
Sure enough, there were rifts aplenty, borne of this development. Ty (Chad L. Coleman) saw some parallel to his loss, back at the prison, and sought to head off Sascha (Sonequa Martin-Green) placing hatred of the culprits above cherishing final moments with Bob. Sascha’s solution, regarding her future peace of mind, was to make sure she didn’t miss an opportunity to get justice for Bob. To underscore the fundamental difference, to their grieving process, it would be Ty that secured Bob’s eternal rest.
The more drastic rift was between Rick & Ford (Michael Cudlitz). Ford’s mission parameters demanded an immediate evacuation of Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and that meant taking the recently restored church bus, and any member of the group that wanted out. Rick not only wanted to keep the group together (particularly since Bob confirmed that the two other missing members were just off, somewhere abouts), and keep the bus, he wanted every hand available for payback. I gotta say, the tension alone was scary; but repeated efforts, by Rosita (Christian Serratos) & Glenn (Steven Yeun), kept the matter from coming to what would have been a very violent turn. I was thinking Ty v Rick level of blue-on-blue brutality.
With Ford conceding half a day’s worth of his party’s time, a gambit for dealing with the Hunters was worked out. As the separator window pane cracked, the stage was set for arguably the most nerve-wracking moment since the trough. Rick’s pre-emptive strike seemed to deliver the group’s tenderer bits right into Gareth’s hands. Gareth, of course, made the most of the reversal, by trying to reason with his food – as a cost cutting measure. Problem was, Rick’s gambit was a feint.
Considering how often the Hunters were spooked off, by wary members of the group, Gareth should have accounted for his watch on the church having been accounted for. Failing that, he should have at least left someone to watch his back. Since he knew exactly who he was up against, inside, he could have easily afforded to.
Well, way to do a stupid thing in a smart manner, Gar. Way to earn the loss of your bossy fingers, Gar.
What little respect I had for Gareth was lost to a bit of dignified grovelling; but he, and his, did earn themselves some righteously pre-firearm styled violence. This, after Rick out-bureaucrated Gareth, with a remark about not wasting bullets. Lest you worry that Rick may have acquired the habit of detachment, there was a rather personal promise that he delivered on; one sporting a red handle.
Father Gabriel may have lamented the desecration of a church, but, for all intents & purposes, St. Sarah’s amounted to four walls & a roof – qualities it shares with a killing floor, for instance.
Anybody expecting/ hoping that Gareth was going to be at least one of season five’s Big Bads: well, you’re probably still holding on to that 416-501 episode contact high. Season five hasn’t come into its own, yet, and Terminus needed to be put to bed – much like Woodbury had to, in order to fully wrap up the Prison arc.
– And then there’s Martin (Chris Coy). A blink-and-you-miss-him appearance, last episode, confirmed that Ty didn’t “teach him all the way” (and somebody really should have checked the shack). As the only Terminan to get solo time, for ‘No Sanctuary’ – spent trying to push Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Ty’s buttons – I suppose it was only fitting that he got to play the provocateur, one last time. The ‘hunter & hunted’ aftermath, to the Terminus arc, had been careful to avoid anyone realizing that he had survived his quality time with Ty; but Ty got a good, hard look at Martin being on the receiving end of Sascha’s solution. There may yet be ramifications to Ty falling short, back at the shack.
Anybody else hear a choir, for Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) Excalibur moment? Best prop of the series (take that, Carl’s hat. Sorry, Daryl’s crossbow); but someone with a crossbow – and much less noble intentions than Daryl (Norman Reedus) – could have made short work of her, when she first felt the post-reunion need to draw.
Bob’s final moments were nicely handled. Sascha did get that quality time, but I give the show points for denying her Bob’s final upbeat rejoinder. Of course, now I have to worry about Sascha getting into worse shape than she was in, when Bob finally broke through to her. As agreed, Ty did the postmortem deed. Later, when Rick finally got around to asking him about his time on the road, he claimed it killed him. It seems Ty no longer recognizes himself. Rick disagreed, and I concur. The Martin matter means there’s still plenty of Gentle Ben Ty left. Whether the Martin thing becomes a liability, however, remains to be seen; as it looks to be Ty’s secret, for the moment. There’s also the matter of the girls….
With a kumbaya moment of carnage having brought them back together, Team Rick, and Team Ford went their separate ways. Even though Ford was a notable exception, during the great Hunter hack & smash, his party seemed to consist of the larger group’s gentler souls. Not only did Rosita stay clear of the action, but Glenn & Maggie (Lauren Cohan), as well. The latter pair’s decision, to join the Washington mission, might seem like an abandonment, by some fans, but I had a different take away from it.
With Bob’s passing, Team Rick is likely a bad place for loving couples. Ford had been a burly babysitter, from the get go, and has a thing with Rosita; so it seems perfectly natural that he gets to take a bus load of idealists to jump-start civilization. With the exception of Judith & Ty – and maybe still Carl (Chandler Riggs) – Team Rick may have actually lost some sentimental dead wood – those more interested in “having a future,” than surviving the present. Hopeful fans can focus on the Ford expedition; more hard-nosed viewers get a leaner, meaner, Rick roster.
Fine – there’s a priest to consider, now… and of course, there is still Beth….
I have to admit: I’ve been having more fun with this string of episodes, than any other of the series. Sure, there have been some awesome highlights, like the season four mid-season finale; but I’d be hard pressed to find a such a satisfying run of consecutive episodes (counting last season’s finale), since the series began. We’re only three episodes in, however, and they were spent wrapping up season 4.2. Here’s to hoping the exercise was a warm up for season five, and not a stalling tactic. If season five does not live up to season 4.2’s resolution, I imagine some viewers will be reaching for red handles.