WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
Say goodbye to the cannibals of starving wood.
Normally, when we’re three weeks into a new season of TWD it becomes a worry that the show is succumbing to its worst habit – poor pacing. It’s a trait that ran rampant throughout the first three seasons but has gradually improved from season 4 onwards. Thankfully, ‘Four Walls and a Roof’ demonstrated that the writing team have successful addressed this as this opening trio of episodes have been by far the most consistent of any season so far. However, that doesn’t mean to say it was perfect as a couple of clumsy narrative elements spoilt what was a very gratifying third episode.
Bob’s “tainted meat” opening quickly confirmed our suspicions about his condition and avoided any chance of an obvious twist limping its way through the episode. That’s all well and fine but one thing the show managed to avoid was the question of whether eating tainted meat made you turn. In theory, everyone is already infected (if this is a disease) so would eating meat containing the same infection have any effect?
As for the fate of Bob’s, I thought it a tad unnecessary to drag his death out till the morning after the attack, even though Tyreese putting out of his misery was a well executed scene. Stookey’s a popular character but he’s not one of the big hitters on the show so prolonging his death didn’t add that much to the story.
What did add to the story was the utter slaying of Gareth and the rest of the fine young cannibals. The fake out to draw them into the church was text book and a similar idea to what happened with the Governor at the prison. Emerging from the darkness with the silencers Glenn picked up made this sequence extra special as it gave a metaphorical middle finger to the sorry crew of hunters. Seeing Rick, Sasha & Abraham rip apart Gareth and the others gave a real sense of satisfaction and laid rest to the Terminus chapter.
Elsewhere we finally found out Gabriel’s secret – he’s a coward, and an enormous one at that. The horrific irony that a priest looked the doors of his church whilst 100s of his congregation were eaten alive outside is all what this show is about. The humanitarian arguments are starting to fade from the dialogue and instead we are seeing the ugly stories of survival populate conversations.
Outside of the destruction of the terminus inhabitants (termites, perhaps?), the main hindrance in this episode came with Abraham’s rushed decision to ‘extract’ Eugene from danger. Last week the judgment was made that they’d all travel to D.C together so why did Abraham suddenly put a clock of 12 hours on that when Carol & Daryl had only been gone a few hours? It just didn’t make any sense for the character to do that. The group needed splitting up because…plot. Glenn and Maggie’s decision to go with them as some sort of bargaining tool was again a silly move. If this was the way the story was going to go then it would have been wiser and much more authentic to start the debate last week.
Regardless, the two sub-groups now have the chance to explore different settings on the road to the capital, which gives the writers a lot more to work with as the follow in the footsteps of the comic. Next week, we’ll find out what happened when Daryl and Carol went for a drive and why Daryl was apprehensive about bringing out whatever was in the bushes.