This is the third episode in a row of The Walking Dead that picks up almost exactly where the previous episode left off and it helps to push a sense of urgency and immediacy that refuses to let up (and is going to pay off huge dividends when people start binge-watching). And it ends mid-action, too, so next episode should continue the brisk pacing — unless it does the unexpected and we jump directly to Beth’s (Emily Kinney) story before concluding with Daryl (Norman Reedus) asking someone to “Come on out.” It’s an interesting conscious decision on the powers that be, to set a recurring structure to each episode (although the first episode did have that wonderful post-credits scene — but that’s been an anomaly so far) that hasn’t really been kept up during previous seasons. Oh, we’d have a cliffhanger here and there, but by choosing to allow time to pass in-episode, it has a psychological effect on the viewers. It draws us in and suggests that we’re privy to most important plot details; that everything is vital; every character development is laid open and exposed. We’re watching breathlessly as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) embraces his brutality and tries to walk a line the Governor couldn’t. Personally, these last five or six episodes are the only times I’ve ever watched anything to do with Rick breathlessly. Exasperatedly, yes; breathlessly, no. It’s nice to finally have a main character who lives up the responsibilities of a main character. Meanwhile in the rest of the episode… The obvious plot point that Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) had been bitten is dealt with before the titles even run, and if there was one thing everybody should take away from this episode, it’s an appreciation for the enthusiasm with which Gilliard cackles “TAINTED MEAT!!” I just want to go on record here, if I haven’t elsewhere, that I didn’t give a shit about him before the last couple of episodes. Once the writers decided to build up a relationship between Bob and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), they finally had a handle on the character and were able to give Gilliard something good to work with. And now I give a huge shit about Bob. So huge that I cried a little when he died. But he was trying so hard to stay positive we probably should have known he wasn’t long for this world. What it really drove home was the difference between the last season or so and the first three, where there seemed to be some sort of mandate that the show could only have one black dude (and Michonne (Danai Gurira) was the only black woman who was safe) at a time — and they wouldn’t get many lines, any real character development, or even actual people names — I’m still embarrassed about T-Dogg). While there is a bit of a trade-off with Father Gabriel just showing up, Bob had actually been built up and made into a real character, rather than just killed off with barely a look back. It was a bit of a surprise, though, that eating “tainted meat” was really a red herring with no real effects other than grossing out the people who’d eaten it. Lead cannibal Gareth (Andrew J. West) pretty much summed it up by saying they cooked it out and that was that. Which makes sense, given how everybody is already infected anyway. I suppose there could be some sort of bacterial infection possibly passed on, but cooking should make Bob’s leg safe enough. Doesn’t mean they want to keep eating him, though, so they take him back and dump him on the church lawn. One of the benefits on cutting back on the monologuing and letting the actors play, is that when it comes time for a dramatic monologue, it carries more weight. Which Seth Gilliam demonstrates as Rick and the crew press Father Gabriel to reveal his secret. And as with Bob’s secret, it was pretty obvious all along, but Gilliam sells the hell out of it. If the scene of him describing keeping the doors to the church locked while the walkers slaughtered the townfolk trying to find safety doesn’t end up in his sizzle-reel, I’d be surprised. Those few minutes right there should get him work for years to come. When it comes to Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita (Christian Serratos), though, I’d be happy to never see them again. If there was a real misstep with the past season and three episodes, it was introducing them when they did. I’m sure all three of them are perfectly fine actors, but there hasn’t been time to really give them the attention they deserve, so their stories have suffered; suffered so much that when they split up this episode to go on their merry way to Washington, I couldn’t care less. I’m pretty sure the only reason Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are being sent along is so the audience might actually care about that now-separate story thread. If “Tainted meat!” doesn’t become a catch phrase among fandom, “I already made you a promise” might. We all knew — WE JUST KNEW — back in the season premiere, that when Rick promised to kill Gareth with his red-handled machete, it was going to happen sooner or later. The real surprise was that it happened so soon! Gimple and Company are powering through this season, not letting loose threads dangle for too long before they get clipped (which makes me long for a long-lost season with the Governor under Gimple’s hand). The moment where Gareth goes under the blade is going to be one that fans talk about forever. And it’s another moment this season that I’m amazed made it past the censors (the first being the throat-slitting scene in the premiere). I’m totally convinced that if this had been season two or three, when the gang headed out to the cannibal stronghold they would have actually been going there. They may have made it back in time to save most of the others, but it would have been an epic collapse in judgment. With Gimple and the new and improved Rick, however, there was never any doubt that leaving a few people at the church — including baby Judith!! — while the dangerous ones left on a mission wasn’t a trap. It’s refreshing to have our heroes setting the traps for a change. Of course, if they’re the ones setting the traps, that means they’re the truly dangerous ones. I thought we were going to get to this point back at the start of Season Three, when the gang had spent the winter becoming a unit, but I’m glad it’s happening now, under a competent regime. I won’t lie and say watching Rick hack the living shit out of Gareth wasn’t disturbing. That’s the point. This is a whole new world, and the people who are going to survive need a whole new set of moral guidelines. And from where I’m seated, executing a cannibal who just tried to kill a baby is perfectly within those guidelines. Which means I naturally have some concerns about Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman). He didn’t kill the guy who threatened Judith after all, and tried to preach forgiveness to Sasha after the cannibals ATE BOB’S LEG. Sure, he was able to step up and put Bob out of his misery, but he’s turning into the weak link here. And we all know what happens to the characters who try to maintain some sort of pre-apocalypse moral code… I mean, when Father Gabriel says,”This is the Lord’s house” as though he’d forgotten what he’d done there, and Maggie replied with a depressed, “No. It’s just four walls and a roof,” it was one of the most brutally honest and devastating moments in the series. Boom. The Walking Dead 5.03 "Four Walls and a Roof"4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.