Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 3: Four Walls And A Roof

Another intense and brutal episode this week, as a major storyline is unexpectedly resolved, and once again we see that humans are far more deadly and dangerous than zombies. 

So far I'm very surprised at how quickly the show's moving along. If this was Season 2, these first three episodes would have been dragged out for an entire year.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD, INCLUDING A COUPLE OF MAJOR CHARACTER DEATHS!

The Plot:
We pick up right where the previous episode left off, with Gareth, in full super villain mode, explaining his master plan to Bob before he kills him. As the other remnants of the Termites chow down on Bob's leg, he starts laughing uncontrollably. At first the Termites simply think he's lost his mind (apparently it happens to their victims quite a lot), but he reveals that he was bitten last week in the Food Bank (which I think most of us knew), and they're now eating tainted meat!

Eating human flesh is one thing, but contaminated human flesh, well, that's just too much for the Termites. They promptly dump Bob back at the church. Bob tells Rick & Co. the Termites are still in the area and still hungry. Rick cooks up a plan (heh) to eliminate them.

Meanwhile Abraham doesn't want anything more to do with cannibals and wants to high-tail it out of town now. He and Rick have a big argument to pad out the run time until Glenn and Maggie inexplicably agree to accompany Abe if he'll wait a few hours.

Rick takes a strike team to go wipe out the Termites in their camp. Gareth knew Rick would do this, so he invades the church. Rick knew that Gareth knew he would do this, so he fakes him out, returning to the church and eliminating the Termites once and for all.

Thoughts:
• Once again, this week's teaser was ripped straight from the pages of the comic. Gareth's speech about women tasting better because they have an extra layer of fat, Bob's gleeful admission that he'd been bitten and they'd eaten tainted meat, the Termites gagging when they realized they were eating infected flesh– all that was taken word for word from issues 63 and 64.

Even the jacket Gareth's wearing is from the comic.

The only real difference here is that in the comic Chris was the leader of the Hunters, not Gareth, and it was Dale, not Bob who was on the menu.


• Gareth tries to justify his cannibalism by saying bears will eat their cubs when there's no other food. Based on this story, I'm assuming Gareth and the other Termites probably ate their kids as well. Nice try, Gareth, but I'm still not buying your explanation. Surely to Thor other food sources weren't that scarce. Rick and Co. have never seemed to have much trouble scrounging up a meal.

• When the Termites find out they've eaten contaminated meat, they cough and sputter and spit out the bits of Bob they were chewing on, worrying that it'll cause them to turn. Gareth calms them by saying the meat was thoroughly cooked and any pathogens it may have contained were killed.

I don't know, Gareth. We're not talking about the proper way to cook pork here, we're dealing with a zombie virus. Unfortunately we'll never know if he was right or not.

• Once again, Rick shows where his true feelings lie. When they find Bob in front of the church, Rick asks him, "Does Gareth have Daryl and Carol?" Hey Rick, how about asking Bob if he's OK before you start worrying about the more important characters?

He did the exact same thing last season. In Internment Rick returns to the prison after banishing Carol. He immediately runs up to Maggie and breathlessly asks, "How's Carl and Judith and Glenn and Herschel and all the other main characters?" 

• Funny how when some people are bitten they die almost instantly (like Shane), but others linger for days (Jim and now Bob). I guess how long you live after a bite just depends on the script. And whether you have a lot of dialog to recite.

• When Abraham finds out the Termites are still around, he immediately wants to leave and get his charge Eugene to safety. He can't wait even one more second; he's got to go NOW!

I'd think they'd be safer inside the church rahter than stumbling around in the woods at the dark, surrounded by cannibals.

Rick doesn't want Abe and his group to leave, and the two almost come to blows. Glenn and Maggie diffuse the situation by offering to accompany Abraham if he agrees to stay one more day.

Why the hell does Abraham care if Glenn and Maggie go with him? Yes, Glenn joined his group on the way to Terminus, but never seemed all that chummy. I don't see why Abraham would care one way or the other, unless it's a "safety in numbers" thing.

And it for damn sure doesn't make any sense for Maggie to agree to go to DC! Did the writers forget that Beth is her sister, and she's still missing? Beth is the only blood relative Maggie has left. There's no way in hell she would abandon her to follow some group of nudniks she barely knows. 

This whole "splitting up again" thing was easily the weakest part of an otherwise excellent episode. I don't get the point of sending Abraham and his group off on their own, as this didn't happen in the comics.
This whole sequence made little or no sense, and felt like it was tacked on just to eat up the run time.
 
I'm wondering if they're splitting up the group to temporarily thin out the herd for a while? There's still around fourteen main characters on the show right now, and it's impossible to give them all something to do each week. By having a group temporarily leave they can get a few characters out of the way for a while without killing them off.

• This week Father Gabriel spills his guts (figuratively, not literally) and we find out why he's always so jittery. He confesses that when the zombie apocalypse began, his congregation arrived at the church and began pounding on the door, begging to be let in. Apparently he was afraid he couldn't save them all so he decided he'd save none. The angry crowd kept beating on the door until he heard them all being torn apart by walkers. Wow. This guy's a priest? That's pretty hardcore.

• Funny how Gabriel's flock couldn't force their way into the church even when being chased by walkers, but when Gareth and his gang arrive they simply kick in the flimsy wooden door. 

Didn't any of the churchgoers ever think of that? Or were they reluctant to vandalize a house of worship?

• Gabriel says once his congregation was killed, he disposed of all the bodies. That seems unlikely. Most of them probably turned into walkers and shambled away. As for the ones who didn't, how'd he manage to bury them without being attacked?

• The Termites taunt Rick & Co. by painting a large "A" on the side of the church. I'm assuming that's a callback to last season's finale, when the group was being held in a boxcar marked A in Terminus.

• Rick and his covert ops team leave the church under cover of darkness, heading towards the Termite's camp. A few seconds later, Gareth and his crew arrive at the church, figuring only the weaker members of the group are inside.

Kudos to whoever set up this scene. It was beautifully shot, and a nice bit of misdirection on the part of the creators.

• Gareth taunts the group inside the church and just as threatens Baby Judith, Rick returns and easily captures him and the rest of the Termites. Gareth wets himself and begs for Rick to let them go, promising they'll never eat any of his group again.

Gareth's bargaining sounds very much like what Rick said when he tried to reason with him in the Terminus Kill Room.

• A few weeks ago when Rick was a captive in Terminus, he made a promise to Gareth, telling him that he'd kill him with a particular red handled axe.

Rick's a man of his word, as this week he chops Gareth into fun-sized bits.


• So I guess that's that! After building up Gareth for half a season, I assumed he was going to be this season's Big Bad. And just like that, he's snuffed out within three episodes. I gotta say, I wasn't expecting that.

I think after five seasons the producers know we've figured out the show's patterns and rhythms and have started playing with our expectations.

• Michonne gets her sword back! Huzzah! She just wasn't Michonne without her sword.

• Sasha comforts Bob in his final moments. He dies in mid-conversation, and then she just sits there beside his body, practically begging him to turn and attack her. I'm sure they filmed the scene that way on purpose, and it worked. I was screaming for her to hurry up and stab him in the head before he turned.

• Abraham gives Rick a map of his route before he and his group leaves. Rick reads it a few minutes later, and it contains a hand written apology from Abraham. The only thing missing was an "XOXOXO! Love, Abraham" signature.

• At the end of the episode, we see Tyreese digging a grave near the church, presumably for Bob. Rick, trying to get him to talk, picks up a shovel and appears to start digging a second grave. Was he just absentmindedly digging for the heck of it, or was he really digging a another grave? If so, who was it for? Bob's the only member of his group that died this week, and it seems unlikely that they'd take the time and trouble to bury the Termites.

• Daryl returns at the very end, with a special mystery guest waiting in the bushes.

So who's with him? Based on next week's trailer, it's probably not Beth. I doubt it would be Carol, because why would she be shy about coming out? My money's on Morgan, Rick's pal from the very first episode. I'm betting Carol's probably behind him with a gun jabbed in his back until Rick vouches for him.


• Lastly, there's apparently a large contingent of fans out there who've concocted a bizarre theory. They believe that Rick is still in a coma, and everything that's happened on the show since Season 1 is all in his mind.

Wow. I have to say that thought never once occurred to me. I don't understand why anyone would even think that. Has there ever been even the tiniest, most minute clue that this is all a dream? If so, it sailed way over my head.

This cockamamie theory has spread across the interwebs like, well a zombie plague. Series creator Robert Kirkman actually had to take to Twitter and assure fans that everything on the show is indeed happening, and is not a figment of Rick's imagination.

Thank Thor! I can't stand the "It was all a dream" scenario and that would be the absolute worst thing that could happen on the show.

2 comments:

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