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Published on October 28th, 2014 | by Bean

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The Walking Dead – Season 5 Episode 3 Review – “Four Walls and a Roof”

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Given the gains our characters made in the season premiere we were about due some losses. The pot gets a good stirring tonight, as the group, just barely re-formed is already splitting off again. The end of “Strangers” saw Daryl and Carol speed off in pursuit of Beth’s kidnappers and Bob waylaid by the remnants of Terminus’ butchery staff. The Walking Dead thrives on the act of splintering; whilst they always talk of being “better together”, the show runners know that when it comes down to it, the reverse is actually true. Yes, we needed the resolution of their reunion, it gave Season 4 a point, but the show will flourish in the possibilities that multiple story lines bring, particularly with Washington being the new aim.

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If the cannibalism thread that Terminus threw up never properly took hold of the imagination, it certainly served it’s purpose. The zombie apocalypse has a canny way of finding new facets to the depths of human suffering and malevolence, like a grimy kaleidoscope of horrors. The show wisely didn’t linger overlong on this latest vileness, pausing just enough to allow it’s proponents to spout several different philosophical excuses for their behaviour, the goal-posts changing every time their arguments let them down. Bob has the last laugh, as my prediction was correct; he was, as he so succinctly put it, “tainted meat”! It’s a shame the ramifications of this didn’t play out, but better that  we crack on with the vengeance in any case.
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The real reason the Terminus crowd resurfaced was to better prepare our people for this season’s proper baddies; The Marauders, as I shall call them until we meet. Their presence in the flashback sequence that bookended the season premiere was enough to let us know theirs is a next-level nasty; a circle closer to the inferno, as it were, and quite different from the random, vengeful violence of The Claimers. The new big bads seemingly favour a systematic approach, which is something we’ve yet to encounter. Organised sociopathy. As tidy as the Governor pretended his outfit was, he was ultimately a loose cannon, hounded by grief into his inner world of paranoid lunacy. The new guys pose a much bigger threat if they can live up to their hype.

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The spiralling descent into brutality that appeared to be the only path available to our heroes now looks to be more tidal; the violence flairs up, then recedes. Rick and Michonne demonstrate this pattern in “Four Walls and a Roof”; both have experienced the lowest parts of themselves, have perpetrated terrible acts, whether defensive or otherwise. The peace Rick made with the rageful element of his nature in the aftermath of the Claimers attack, looks a little more disturbed in this episode. After he, Sasha, Michonne and Abraham have pulverised the last of the Termini, Rick looks about him, explaining himself to the shell-shocked onlookers with, “It could’a been us.”  Sasha is rocked by her part in the act, but recovers enough poise to sit vigil at Bob’s bedside. Sonequa Martin-Green and Lawrence Gilliard Jr both give beautiful performances here, sorrowful yet somehow strangely uplifting.

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So episode 3 sees the demise of Bob Stookey, the one legitimately upbeat character left in our ranks. A man saved from the misery of addiction by finding a new purpose, Bob manages to remain chipper to the end, giving Rick a remarkably sanguine pep-talk for a man about to begin liquefaction. He offers his viewpoint, that there is hope for a better future, and that their circumstances need not dictate their actions. I like his style, and while it may be comforting to hear, and even a needed antidote to the current of fear and hostility coursing through the leadership, Rick is a practical man, and Bob’s two cents will fade when the next battle commences. But perhaps that is the point; in those moments between carnage, try to be the best man you can. You can only hope this will be the characters real legacy, rather than the question mark left hanging over the alternative fate of his captors.

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Meanwhile, Michonne is reunited with her katana, and it gives her pause. The weapon had become an extension of her identity, and allowed her to be removed, distanced from the violence she doled out. Knowing that whiles this is physically safer, it doesn’t necessarily do the soul any favours, she meditates upon how to move forward when the cliffhanger hits; Daryl is back, acting shifty….and he’s got company. (rubs hands) Oooooh, lovely! Until next week…

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Review by Nina Clark, and the additional contribution of her zombie-know-it-all chap Mark Rowden

Mark’s Zombie Connoisseur Corner
Re. Gabriel Stokes – “I kick ass for the lord” – if only!

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Bean

Director at Nina Clark Music / The Musical Walkabout at Nina Clark Music
Bean is the family nickname of Nina Clark, singer, songwriter and professional musician. Nina's many nerdly passions, aside from music, include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and all things Whedon. (re. GoT, she has NOT read the books, so please be cool - no spoilers!)
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