“The glass is gonna break sooner or later; nothing lasts too long anymore.” ~Gareth
Not that the first four seasons were anything to balk at, but we are currently 3 for 3 with season five, hitting these episodes out of the park. This episode was wonderfully executed (no pun intended), and once again the question of faith has surfaced.
Need to get caught up on what happened last night? Click here to read a spoiler-filled episode recap. All set? Let’s do this!
There are so many things that I want to say about this episode. First off, I am going to miss Gareth. Andrew J. West is a wonderful actor. There’s something about a charismatic villain that gets me every time. Gareth was a prime example, again, of whether or not you “get to come back” from the things that you’ve done. The Governor wanted to. Hell, the Governor tried to. But, in the end, he cracked. For a brief moment, Gareth started to explain what had happened to him and his family. But, he quickly stopped himself. He knew that he was too far gone. On this show, they seem to offer forgiveness a little freer if the act was done in self defense. But, as Gareth showed us, there is a big difference between self defense and total lifestyle changes.
We were able to forgive Merle’s atrocities and all of the evils that he committed in the name of survival. Mostly, because he ended up sacrificing himself for the greater good. Gareth…not so much.
“I always lock the door at night. I always lock the door at night.” ~Father Gabriel
Father Gabriel is going to have to learn to forgive himself. He has spent so much time in isolation, assuming that he is forever damned, that I think he feels beyond forgiveness. Spending time with and witnessing this group of survivors, however, will allow him to understand a “new” forgiveness, apocalypse style. You see, the difference between Gabriel and men like Gareth, Merle and the Governor is inaction. The other “baddies” actively committed their crimes. Gabriel woke early one morning to the sounds of chaos. He panicked, frozen with fear. He could have and should have unlocked the doors. But he didn’t. It was his inaction that caused harm, rather than deliberate actions. Gabriel’s confession to Rick and the group broke my heart. The scene was quite moving. Had he remained sleeping, the locked door wouldn’t have been his fault. But, he woke and he heard the screams. He continues to hear the screams in his head.
“Tainted Meat!!” ~Bob
As predicted, Bob met Dale’s fate as laid out in the comics. His cries of “Tainted Meat” caused much laughter and later, some debate, in this household. They’ve never established that eating infected/exposed meat can cause whatever it is that caused the ZA. We know that whatever it is, it’s already inside us all. And, we have seen characters opt out of eating certain cuts of meat, just in case (“That’s MY deer!”) and avoid drinking the water (that well walker is still a fan favorite). One can only speculate that the current thinking is a matter of expediting the process. Without proof that tainted meat causes the fever, perhaps they simply do not want to take a chance in exposing their bodies to something that might cause death to find them quicker. We have seen examples of “turn time” throughout the seasons. Does eating tainted meat sped all of that up? My mind immediately considers e.coli, salmonella, “mad cow” disease, and the like. There’s no guarantee that eating exposed meat will get you sick, yet companies recall packages just in case. Though, I believe “mad cow” might post more of a threat if the meat is consumed. Anyhow, I digress.
“Forgiveness…that’s facing it.” ~Tyreese
As we already discussed, there was a lot of confessing and forgiving going around in episode 2. Sasha becomes enraged when she sees what Gareth has done to Bob. Reality check, sweetie: He was already a dead-man-walking, what with that giant walker bite on his shoulder. All Gareth did was help Bob get there a little sooner. I haven’t been a fan of Tyreese, thus far. But, this episode allowed him to resonate with me. When he tries to talk his sister down, Sasha angrily reminds him of his mental state after Karen was murdered. Tyreese admits that during that time, he was blinded by rage. It took time for him to understand and accept the conditions under which Karen’s death took place. He forgave Carol. He may not have wanted to. But he offered her forgiveness so that they could both move forward. In this new world, things work differently. Time is precious. You don’t get to squander it. Rick seems to have embraced the biblical eye-for-an-eye attitude ever since the Governor first attacked the prison. Whereas, Tyreese seems to be falling more in line with Jesus and his turn-the-other-cheek way of thinking.
Speaking of Jesus…I recently made a comparison of Tyreese to John Coffey from the Green Mile. Mostly because I was poking fun at the character. But, it was brought to my attention that articles have been written comparing John Coffey to Jesus. They touch on his ability to make people feel good about themselves and the world around them, his ability to heal, how he restored people’s faith even in the darkest times, how he didn’t want to hurt people, how he was a big proponent on giving and receiving forgiveness, and how he was persecuted. I’m not sure if I buy into all of that, but when put into comparison with The Walking Dead, I can’t help but ponder…who is the Jesus character type on the show? Is it Tyreese? Was it Bob? Thoughts on that?
“That could’ve been us.” ~Rick
After the brutality of the execution scene, Rick’s words stood out to me. Was he consoling Sasha by reminding her that this was a self defense move? Kill or be killed? Or, was it deeper than that? Was this an acknowledgement of how far a good person can be pushed. We have seen examples of what happens to people pushed to desperation point on this show. I’d like to think Rick was making a nod to that, but honestly, it was probably the former. Rick is a little far gone–not too far gone–but a little far gone. He was making crazy eyes all up in that place. And, he still looked like he wasn’t taking Bob’s final words to heart. Bob has been reminding Rick all season that you don’t have to end just because the world did. Don’t lose sight of who you are.
Maggie contemplating the Bible, combined with her shared disgust with Glenn and Tara over the executions showed me that the three of them have not forgotten who they were or who they are. They went along willingly and tear-free with virtual strangers Abraham, Rosita and Eugene. Sasha was blinded with rage at losing Bob, Abraham enjoys violence (smiling through walker kills, holding Rosita back and preventing her from stopping Sasha coming at Gabriel with a knife), Rick had the crazy eyes, like I said. Then, there was Michonne. Oh, Michonne. What happened there? She spent last week’s episode (which was pretty much the day before the execution) telling Rick that she did NOT miss the sword, nor did she miss what it REPRESENTED: being alone. She hated that life. And yet, here she was, just slaughtering the living. Watch the expression on her face when she yields the sword. It’s not one of reunited joy. There is a hesitation. The sword is her soulless cross to bear. It was one thing around the campfire with Joe’s gang because, as we discussed, it was a self defense thing. But, in this moment, this was a slaughter thing. This wasn’t the Governor killing in order to gain something like weapons or land. This wasn’t Gareth killing for sustenance. This was killing because they could. They gained nothing from doing it so brutally. A line was crossed. Their friends saw it. Never again. Never trust. We first always. Sound familiar? Rick and his little group are teetering on becoming exactly like the very threat they have been evading. Officer Friendly no more.
I did love the plan that they devised. Up until now, most of Rick’s moves have been similar to those of the Governor; a chess game full of militaristic strategies. The Hunters, however, maneuver like a pack of animals. They led us–and the Hunters–to believe that the survivors were headed to the school to strike while the iron was hot (a plan they used on Woodbury). Thankfully, they anticipated that the Hunters would expect such a move and doubled back to eliminate the threat at hand. Well played.
This really has become a godless place, hence “Four Walls and a Roof” as the title dictates. I find it interesting, not only the appropriateness of Gabriel’s final sermon as I posted last week, but also in the church itself. Saint Sarah, the mythical patron saint of the gypsies. I say mythical because there are no accurate biblical accounts and conflicting origin stories exist as to exactly whom this woman was. Some say she was the “Dark Lady” of Egypt who greeted Lazarus and the three Marys when they arrived in France. Some say she was a maid to one of the three Marys. Others speculate that she was the daughter of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. While others say that Sarah is a Christian adaptation of the Hindu goddess Kali. Regardless, she is celebrated as a Saint to the gypsies, nomadic people much like our family of survivors. Which origin story or Sarah is true seems to matter not, as people still chose to believe. They have faith in the very idea of her. While here we find our survivors struggling with their own faith in themselves, one another, humanity, and a higher power. It’s kind of poetic. Well done, writers!
Side notes: I love that Rick kept his promise about the red machete. I love that this episode made me tense up over a walker like the show used to do consistently (Sasha using her night-vision scope on the rifle to scan the woods put me in knots!). The Hunters painting the letter “A” on the side of the church as a nod to the boxcar. I find it fascinating that Eugene displays traits of Asperger’s Syndrome, though, like Big Bang Theory, they’ll probably deny it and never fully own it. I think it would make a nice touch to “diagnose” this character, given the prevalence of spectrum disorders in modern society. Statistically, at least one of them should be on the spectrum. I’m still trying to figure out at what point Sasha got a hold of Han Solo’s pants.
And, finally…Who is in the woods with Daryl? Well, upon returning to the church, Daryl would have noticed that the bus was gone. This would cause him to approach slowly and cautiously, instructing anyone with him to hang back. I’m hedging my bets between two options: A) it is a small group of people, including Carol, Beth and newcomer, Noah. Or B) it is just Noah and Carol is still in Atlanta with Beth. Someone online tweeted that they couldn’t have gotten to Atlanta and back so quickly. Well, excuse me, Magellan, but they can and they did. They have been traveling north for quite some time. The prison was north-ish of the farm. Terminus was north of the prison. And upon leaving Terminus, they’ve been walking north intending upon a DC destination point. Gabriel mentions the bombing of Atlanta just before the congregation arrived, denoting (to me, at least) that his flock was just a rural suburb of the city. And, Daryl and Carol were in a car. I can make it from Charlotte to Atlanta in 4 hours driving. Surely, Daryl can make the trip there and back to the church in 24 hours.
Have a little faith 😉