Airdate: October 26, 2014
Directed by: Jeffrey F. January
Showrunner: Scott M. Gimple
Written by: TBA
This week’s episode, titled “Four Walls and a Roof,” may at first seem to hint at a new attempt at domesticity coming up for Rick and the gang; but I seem to remember hearing an old saying that goes something like: “Four walls and a roof do not a home make.” For the survivors, home is wherever they are, so long as they’re together. And with the events of last week, with three of them no longer in the fold, home is not feeling particularly safe at the moment. Click through for a look at this week’s preview trailer, as well as some of my observations on where we’re heading.
<<Spoiler Warning: This Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead Season 5, Episode 3 “Four Walls and a Roof” includes promotional material from AMC, and will speculate on future events.>>
Last week’s shock ending turned more than a few stomachs (well, perhaps not Gareth’s nor his crew). In fact, I heard rumblings around work from more than one person that they were considering not watching the show any further. I can respect this choice – violence and its depictions, especially as extreme as they have been the last two weeks, is definitely not for everyone. For me, I see this in a couple of different ways. One, it is an attempt to realign the show more directly with events in the comics – this is not just because Kirkman wrote last week’s episode, but because the level of violence seen the last two weeks is something readers are used to seeing on a regular basis – the comic is rated Mature for some very good reasons. Two, I see this also as an attempt to more accurately reflect the brutality of what life (and death) would likely be in a truly post-apocalyptic world. Rick and co. get out of a lot of very tight nooses, as we saw in the season premiere, and are often relatively unscathed. I sense a tone change in the way the series is being presented, one which suggests that, at least in the near future, no one may be safe – and for the series, I see this as a good thing.
Now let’s take a look at what we know about this Sunday’s episode. The pre-episode synopsis over at IMDB reads: “As Bob fights for his life, Rick and the group take a stand to defend the church against Gareth and his gang of cannibals.”
Two things leap out here (well, not Bob – he can’t really leap): First, if Bob is fighting “for his life,” it suggests that he’s either going to somehow get free of the cannibals, or that there’s something else at work here. My vote goes for the likelihood that he was bitten when the underwater zombie attacked him in the food bank – that’s something he could literally be fighting against, even if he can’t fight Gareth and his friends. Second, Rick and co. taking “a stand to defend the church” more than suggests that things are going to come to a head sooner rather than later with Gareth’s group. This might not be a bad thing. While I do like Gareth as a villain, I’d hate to see him get over-used and stretched out like the Governor did. Finishing things this week gives him a nice four-episode arc stretching back to last year, and another six episodes tagged onto that from when we first heard about Terminus (back in Episode 410, “Inmates”). This means that he’s been a physical presence in a quarter season, and additionally a psychological presence for a total of more than half a season. This is plenty of time for a villain to be established, run his arc, and be dealt with (this is assuming the group is going to deal with him – I don’t think AMC is planning on making this the Gareth show anytime soon). Another indication that this is likely going to be a wrap on the Gareth and the Cannibals (catchy title for a music group – you can have it if you give me credit), is that the episode synopsis for next week’s Episode 504 indicates it will be about Beth.
Now let’s take a look at the preview video kindly provided to us by AMC:
Sasha is – unhappy. It’s a natural extrapolation she’s making: find Father Gabriel, three of the group go missing. This is a classic case of mistaking correlation with causation – she’s jumping to what appears to be a logical conclusion, but she’s ignoring some pretty glaring issues, such as the fact that they’ve just escaped from a gang of cannibals, not all of whom were killed (and she’s not going to think they’re all dead, because the last she saw of Terminus, she was scrambling over a blanket on the barbwire fence). However, her sense of relief at being free from what appeared to be certain death, combined with her quickly developing relationship with Bob – one of the missing and presumed eaten – means that she isn’t seeing things clearly. It looks like the others in the group are going to intervene before she spits the man of the cloth on her knife, but her anger and suspicion are completely understandable. I wonder how stable Rick will be in this situation, with his right-hand man Daryl being one of the missing?
Season 5 has started out very strongly. Yes, the violence has been over-the-top, and Gareth at times almost seems to be sinking into mustache twisting evil (which the Governor fell into much earlier in his tenure as Big Bad), but for fans of the comic and the show, the first two episodes have been something of a treat. Here’s hoping that this streak continues with Sunday’s episode.