‘Four Walls and a Roof’
This week’s episode of The Walking Dead felt like a bit of a contradiction, but a good one mind. It was certainly a slow-burner; there were some of the longest shots in recent television – but at the same time, the plot moved forward considerably on a number of fronts.
‘Four Walls and a Roof’ was an episode of departures. Bob’s death was handled well, and affected a few different characters. Most prominently, it forced Sasha into the limelight. Until this series, Sonequa Martin-Green hasn’t had that much to use – she arrived as a warrior-like character, immediately slotted into the group, and hasn’t particularly struggled at any point. Bob’s infection and death seems to have been the catalyst for a more interesting characterisation, with both her tough exterior and ‘look on the bright side’ rapport with Bob gone. Tyreese was also affected, opening up to Sasha about his struggles to get over Karen’s death last series and conquer his recent problems with killing, to deliver the killing blow to Bob himself, making sure Sasha didn’t have to do it herself.
While Bob’s passing was the biggest emotional moment of the episode, it wasn’t the most significant death – that being the shocking killing of the Terminus crew. The way that Rick and co. just hacked into them, saving their bullets, was one of those moments only the best shows manage to pull off – perhaps not a ‘Red Wedding’ or Hershel’s death, but in the same vein. Given that they’ve played such a big part in the first few episodes, with Gareth in particular having appeared a lot, it’s surprising that their storyline wasn’t dragged out a bit longer. Of course, there are a lot of plotlines to handle, but it does make their previous appearances seem slightly less important in retrospect.
Finally on the departure front, we saw Abraham and many others depart for Washington, though this is surely a temporary break from the screen, as there are too many main characters to lose track of. The build up to this was good to watch, bringing out the best in a few central characters. The face-off between Abraham and Rick was something that felt like it was always brewing, ever since Abraham and his mission was introduced; both are such ‘alpha males’ and Abraham has always been portrayed as incredibly self-important with regard to getting Washington.
Glenn stepped back into the fore to act as peacemaker, after slipping into the background recently without a personal arc to be a part of. As for the departure itself, it’s an odd one. Couldn’t Abraham have waited a day longer? When it comes to such an important task, surely the bigger the group, the better? The new setup should allow a deeper focus on each character, but it still stands out as a somewhat forced development.
At the end we saw the return of Daryl and Carol, though the way Carol was hidden from view…has she too been bitten? Next week we’ll presumably find out.