Well, we’re now three episodes into the current season. These three episodes have clearly shown that the universe of The Walking Dead is a much more brutal one, from start to finish, than the previous seasons displayed. Maybe it’s just that most of the survivors we’ve run across thus far have been forced into darker places to ensure their continued existence, but, so far, the fifth season has made it clear that this isn’t really the zombie show to watch with the kids gathered around on the sofa.
Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same, as the fifth season has also shown us that being elevated from recurring cast member to series regular runs a good chance of either your character not making it to season end, or you’ll spend a good bulk of episodes not getting any screen time. Yes, I’m specifically talking about Emily Kinney, whose name now appears in the opening credits, but who’s character, Beth, has been absent since the tail end of last season. Yes, we’re getting a Beth episode next week, but how am I supposed to get my a capella Tom Waits groove on when she’s been absent? At least the show has made a point of reminding us that she’s still out there somewhere. Which is oddly more than Maggie is doing.
Speaking of Maggie, she’s the one who gave the title drop for this week’s episode, in a quick dialogue between herself and Father Gabriel. So let’s take some time to review some of the dumb moments from this past week, as we enter “Four Walls and a Roof”.
Honestly, it’s a little hard to fault Tyreese for his speech to Sasha. After all, he is someone who fought through his own desire for revenge, came out the other side with forgiveness, and is apparently a better man (one that apparently can’t kill someone who’s about to snap the neck of a baby, contrary to beliefs after episode one). He even tries to point out to her that, should Bob wake up, the only thing he’s going to want to see is Sasha’s face. That said, Tyreese was able to speak of forgiveness for a woman who killed two people out of a (perhaps misguided) desire to protect the group. Even more to the point, that very same woman ended up being a big reason he was able to survive with Lil Asskicker. To tell Sasha to find forgiveness for a bunch of cannibals who decided to eat her boyfriend’s leg, and almost brutally murdered them all? Looks like someone doesn’t really know his sister.
We get it, Abe. You and your bad-ass mustache have made it your life’s mission to get Eugene’s magic mullet to Washington. After all, Eugene uses big enough words to make it sure sound like he knows how to set everything to right again. That said, you’ve seen how much better prepared everyone is when you work as a group. Yes, Bob got nabbed by the Hunters, but remember that he left the church all alone. There’s no way you’d even let Eugene think about doing something like that, so you’re first concern about protecting him from the world at large goes out the window when you’d actively make him less safe. Also, leaving in the middle of the night? On a bus that you fixed, but could easily break down again at any moment? Even if Daryl and Carol hadn’t gone off on their own hunt, there was no way that you’d convince everyone to leave in the dark. Wait until morning, have some coffee and bacon, and make your impassioned declaration with the sunlight streaming down.
Rick actually had some great moments in this episode, and you know that he’s found an extra level of devious that allowed the entire plan to set up the Hunters fall into place. However, the man clearly got a little big single-minded. After defraying Abraham’s “We have to leave now” speech, Rick didn’t really seem to listen to Glenn, Maggie, and Tara saying that they’d go along with, no matter what Rick said. Glenn even got into Rick’s face, pointing out that it wasn’t his decision, but Rick was apparently settling back into a bit of his old Ricktatorship mode. Even when everything came to a head, Rick didn’t seem to notice that three of his number were holding back. In some ways, it almost seemed like the good sheriff was surprised that Glenn, Maggie, and Tara boarded the bus for Washington, but he really had plenty of evidence that he should have caught. I mean, just because you’re pretty sure you’re going to be able to absolutely destroy someone with a machete, that’s no excuse for overlooking your friends’ feelings.
Gareth actually made a couple of big mistakes, although I’m inclined to go ahead and think that one of them was more the group than his own. The mistake I’m talking about here is after it has been revealed that Rick and Co. circled back, leaving just enough time for all of the Hunters to get inside the church and threaten those left behind. Two of the Termites were shot dead on the spot, but Gareth decided it was a good time to express extra confidence, directly threatening Rick and those he cares about. Look, Gareth, you’re in the light, and they’re shrouded in shadow. Even if you think for a moment that only a couple of them peeled back to check up on things (or gather forgotten keys or what not), maybe you should go around threatening your enemies while they have the tactical advantage. Also, clearly Gareth should have remembered the old saying: Every time you point at something, you’re bound to get your fingers blown off by an angry, protective father. Or there are fingers pointing back at you. It’s really up to the translation.
1. The Hunters (aka the Termites)
It was actually quite considerate for this week’s episode to very quickly answer (and confirm) the suspicions of fans regarding whether or not Bob was “Tainted Meat”. Something like that could easily have been drug out for a few more episodes, including one where Bob has a fever dream that excuses the entirely musical singing-and-dancing bottle episode. However, since they made it clear that Bob did in fact get bitten during the raid on the food shelf, it allows us to look at the Hunters and wonder why NOBODY did the due diligence to check and make sure that their dinner didn’t have any suspicious bite marks. Yeah, his leg was apparently fine, but why wouldn’t you have dressed your entire meal BEFORE tossing his shrimp onto your barbie? Yes, you were hungry, but giving yourself just a moment to inspect for wounds would’ve meant that you didn’t have to look like you were all suffering from an eating disorder. Oh, and bonus points go to Martin, who survived Tyreese’s fists a couple of weeks ago, but certainly looked like he was willing to try to take on Rick’s group all by his lonesome.
Next week, we’ll get to learn about what happened to Beth. And maybe we’ll see who it was that Daryl was leading out of the underbrush when Michonne walked up on him. Either way, if the first three episodes are any indication, next week’s episode promises to be another brutal ride.