Recaps

The Final Course and a Dish of Revenge Served Cold, The Walking Dead “Four Walls and a Roof”

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

I think one of the biggest complaints The Walking Dead viewers had of season 4 was how everything just dragged on and on. Everyone knew the Governor was still out there, but it was almost mid-season before they decided to bring his storyline back into the fold. And the Terminus arc was the biggest drag of them all. It took a full half season before we got even a glimpse of what was behind the curtain (even though most of the audience knew exactly what was at the end of those train tracks, and it wasn’t a sanctuary with flowers and white picket fences). Well, I think the writers heard all of the grumblings loud and clear because in just three short episodes the entire Gareth (Andrew West) storyline comes to a very gruesome end, with everyone ready to move on to the next challenge.

The last episode ended with Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) being captured by Gareth and the Hunters and his waking up to the horrific discovery that they were in the process of eating his leg. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead comics, you probably knew exactly where this was going to go and even if you weren’t, if you have a presence on any social media then you heard about it. In the comic book series, Dale is bitten and after he decides to wander away from the camp to die, he’s kidnapped by the Hunters. Dale had already lost one leg from a walker bite and when he wakes up, he is shocked to see his other leg in front of him roasting on the fire.

Well, it turns out the writers of the television series decided to pull these pages directly from the comics and put them on the small screen — the only difference is poor Bob is the one who drew the short straw since Dale is already dead. What’s more, our suspicions that Bob had been bitten at the food bank are confirmed when he begins laughing hysterically and shows Gareth the bite on his shoulder.

You are such an idiot. I’ve been bit, I’m tainted meat! — Bob to Gareth

If there is a single quote that The Walking Dead comic book series is known for, this is probably the one.  The reveal is also one of the most famous scenes in the comics, so as soon as Bob was taken last week, I think most people knew this is where we were heading.

By this time, Gareth is pretty pissed and in his moment of rage, he kicks Bob in the face and dumps his body in front of the church, all the while whistling and remaining perfectly calm like it’s no big deal at all. Let me correct myself for what I said two weeks ago about understanding and having sympathy for Gareth. I get his pain and everything he and his family had been through, but that’s no excuse for this level of depravity. You can bet there will be retaliation.

Photo Credit: AMC

Photo Credit: AMC

Bob is able to give a pretty good description of where Gareth’s base camp is and Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) immediately recognizes it as a nearby elementary school. Everyone in the group is on board for going after the sons of bitches and killing them all — well, everyone except for Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). Abe is all about the mission, recognizes an immediate threat to Eugene (Josh McDermitt), so he’s ready to hightail it out of there even if it means leaving the rest of the group behind. I’ve always thought that Abe and Rick in the same room creates too much testosterone and sure enough, a fight breaks out. Glenn (Steven Yeun) is the one who has to step up and make peace, offering a compromise that if Abe stays just one more day to help, then both he and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) would go with him. I guess Glenn learned a thing or two about Abraham back in the episode “Us” when he made a similar deal for his riot gear because his little compromise worked. The group now had Abraham and Co. for 12 more hours to track down and kill Gareth and his freaky cannibals.

Rick and every able-bodied man in the group (with the exception of Tyreese, who is tasked to stay behind and put Bob down when he turns) head out for the elementary school, which I thought was a little stupid since they know Gareth is watching them and would see this as the perfect time to attack. It turns out it wasn’t as stupid after all.

Stupidity is also a gift from God, but one shouldn’t misuse it.

This quote was on a plaque on Father Gabriel’s desk and as soon as the camera zoomed in on it, I knew. Like clockwork after Rick is gone, Gareth and his crew come out of the shadows and they are pretty confident that they have won the war and everyone in that church was going to be dinner tonight. Gareth even goes so far as make a very callous (and incredibly stupid!) remark about Judith.

I just may keep this kid. I’m starting to really like this girl — Gareth

Immediately after that, two in Gareth’s group get bullets to the head and then Rick steps out of the shadows. Oops.  Gareth, you are totally f%&^&*^. You don’t stand there and talk about eating a guy’s baby daughter and expect to live to tell about it. But Rick doesn’t show them mercy by simply shooting them. Instead, he does to them exactly what they have been doing to other people — he slaughters them. They had been cutting people up limb from limb for who knows how long and now it was their turn. And the very best part — Rick does it with the very machete he swore he’d kill Gareth with in the premiere.  How poetic is that.

Photo Credit: AMC

Photo Credit: AMC

They’re going to feel pretty stupid when they find out. That they’re fucking with the wrong group of people — Rick in the season 4 finale

It certainly looks like he was right about that. Blood, guts and limbs all over the church floor. Say hello to the new Rick Grimes. I think this guy is here to stay.

The episode ends with Rick keeping his word and giving Abraham the church bus to travel to Washington D.C. and Glenn keeps his word as well with both he and Maggie boarding the bus. I get that Rick feels the need to stay behind to look for Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride), but I also personally think this is a terrible idea to split up like this, even with the stakes being so high and the urgent need to get Eugene to D.C. If there ever was an omen that things are about to go sideways, I think this is it.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

I certainly don’t think this episode comes even close to that of the premiere, but it was still good (of course, a premiere of that magnitude would be hard to top anyways). I like what they did with the Hunter comic-book storyline, pulling out the best parts from the original source material, but giving it the fresh spin with the Terminus storyline. People were expecting “tainted meat” and they got it. They were expecting a blood fest when the Hunters were taken out and they got that too. At the same time, the writing team changed enough to where it didn’t feel like the arc was just scripted from the comics. And while I am a little disappointed that Gareth had to meet his demise so quickly, I think the swift way that the arc was brought to a close ended up working much better in the long run.

Next week, the attention turns to Beth (Emily Kinney). Daryl finally returns to the church and while we didn’t get to see her face, I assume Carol was also with him. If they weren’t able to find and get Beth back, what exactly did they find? If they had to return for reinforcements, whatever it was, it can’t be good.

The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.

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