(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 5, Episode 3 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” entitled “Four Walls and a Roof.”)
It was too good to last, and we knew it. “The Walking Dead” managed to get Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew through Terminus and back on the road without losing a single person. Yes, they’re good, but this is the world of “The Walking Dead.” They’re not that good.
We got the first hints of things going south for the group with Bob’s (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) capture by Gareth (Andrew J. West) and the other Terminus survivors. Without even a chance to regroup and consider what their plans might be, we see right away that they’ve just gone ahead and started eating Bob.
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What was hinted at proved to be true, though, as Bob revealed that he is “tainted meat.” Bitten at the food pantry, he was already on his way to turning into a zombie. A dead man walking, he wasn’t all that concerned with what they might do to him.
But Bob’s imminent demise wasn’t nearly the biggest surprise of the episode. That was saved for the encounter at the church.
Gareth gave Bob back, knowing he could use him to lure Rick and the group’s heavy-hitters to the school where Gareth had made camp. With the muscle of Rick’s group away, he figured it would be easy picking to take out the rest of them.
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Rick and his people are very savvy to the wicked ways of this new world, and Gareth isn’t the first inhuman person they’ve come across. The world is crawling with them these days, so Rick out-maneuvered Gareth.
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Once the Terminus group was inside the church and about to make their capture move against Carl, Tyreese and the few who stayed behind, Rick showed up in the darkness of the church’s aisles and quickly dispatched two of Gareth’s men.
When Gareth tried to play hardball, Rick didn’t even give him a chance to finish speaking before shooting his hand. He no longer saw Gareth and his people as even human really … certainly not worthy of his time or compassion.
But then, Rick raised some questions of his own, along with a few members of this group. He’d promised to kill Gareth and anyone else who’d survived among their cannibal group, and he proved a man of his words.
While we were expecting Gareth to stick around as a main character, and even perhaps join the group this season, that proved to be all misdirection. There was no question he died in the most savage display of butchery we’ve yet seen from Rick and some of the members of his group.
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Witnessing the savagery, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) looked more disturbed than supportive of what had just happened. Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) then passed quick judgment on the brutality saying, “This is the Lord’s house,” leading Maggie to respond with the episode’s title.
“No, this is just four walls and a roof.”
Four walls and a roof that Gabriel used as protection from the zombie hordes, and that he refused to open and allow his own parishioners in. His cowardice was another big reveal in the episode, and the reason he was able to survive on the food stores within the church. He kept the doors locked as zombies tore into the parishioners who came to his church seeking sanctuary.
The next big surprise came at the end of the episode when Daryl (Norman Reedus) returned. He and Carol (Melissa McBride) had left in the previous episode, chasing another vehicle that may have had ties to the still-missing Beth (Emily Kinney). Daryl returned, but there was as of yet no sign of Carol.
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When asked where she was, Daryl said, “Come on out.” We’ll have to wait until next week to see who comes out, but scenes from next week’s episode show that we’re finally checking back in on Beth to see what her experience has been since she was taken from Daryl’s company last season.
It’s odd that Maggie was willing to head off with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) so easily as the group separated after their encounter with Gareth and his crew. Abraham and his original team took the bus to head off to Washington, with Maggie and Glenn agreeing to go to keep the peace.
Rick says he and the rest will follow, but we’ll have to see how that plays out. Last time the group separated it was for half a season and they all wound up at Terminus, where their reunion was in a box car.
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The big question on the minds of many fans, though, is why Maggie doesn’t seem all that concerned about the whereabouts of her sister, Beth. Has she just assumed that she is dead? It’s an odd omission of character on a show that’s done a pretty good job of keeping these personalities well-rounded.
Granted, everyone was separated after the prison debacle, so maybe she figures Beth didn’t survive the escape. Maybe she’s asked everyone about her sister off-camera. But considering their reunion is likely inevitable — unless one of them is going to die before that time — shouldn’t she at least acknowledge that she’s aware her sister is missing and has feelings about it?
“The Walking Dead” airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.