“Bears, when they start to starve, they eat their young. If the bear dies, the cub dies anyway.”
Gareth didn’t last long on The Walking Dead, but the character left a mark. Quiet, reasonable, handsome, charismatic: You imagine he was a pretty cool guy before the world fell to pieces. At the beginning of “Four Walls and a Roof,” he has a chat with Bob that is positively amiable, to the extent that anything is “amiable” when a fellow wakes up to discover he’s short one limb. In the last few days, Gareth has seen his entire life explode and implode, his home destroyed, his friends and family most gone.
Yet he can maintain a healthy sense of humor. It’s there when he tells Bob about his brother and, almost as an aside, clarifies that his brother is “also currently dead.” And it’s there when he reveals that he isn’t just a cannibal; he’s a cannibal foodie. Women taste better, you see. (Maybe it’s that extra layer of skin.) Pretty people taste better, too. Soon, the remaining citizens of Terminus will find out just how good the Grimes Gang tastes. Gareth reveals this quietly, unabashedly. He can’t understand why Bob is so sad. Isn’t Gareth going out of his way to make this experience as painless as possible? “I’m being a human being here,” says Gareth. “I’m talking to you.”
Bob has something to say, too. His crying turns into laughter. Horrible, horrible laughter. Insane laughter. The kind of laugh that you used to see all the time in the old EC Comics like Tales from the Crypt, where half the stories ended with someone descending into gibbering lunacy. “Eh…Eh…Eh!” laughs Bob. “You idiots!” He pulls down his shirt, revealing bite marks from the zombie who attacked him during the food run. “Tainted meat!” he screams. “Tainted meat!” (ASIDE: I have no idea if Kirkman intended the line as an homage when he originally wrote it for Walking Dead #64, but there was an old “Crypt of Terror” comic that ended with a wife killing her husband and serving him up to customers, offering up the cannibal treats with the specific term “Tainted meat.” END OF ASIDE.)
And that’s where we began with Walking Dead this week: One of our lead characters about to be killed by the cannibals who were in the process of devouring his leg, only to reveal that he was already dying of a zombie bite. Another cheerful episode of the most popular show in America! (I’m revisiting my old Walking Dead duties this week while your regular Walking Dead recapper, Kyle Ryan, disappears into the forest to chase after a mysterious car with a cross on its back windshield.)
The rest of the Grimes Gang are looking through the woods, trying to find the missing Bob and the missing Carol and the missing Daryl. Sasha is on edge. She turns to Father Gabriel and demands to know what is happening in his Church of Misery. She’s convinced it’s all connected: The people watching them in the woods, the disappearance of three Grimes Gangbangers, the scrawled messages and clawmarks outside the church.
But Gabriel is no mastermind. His origin story, revealed under duress, is one of the more depressing in Walking Dead‘s history. Not long after Atlanta got bombed, Gabriel’s congregation showed up at the church, seeking sanctuary. They knocked on the door; they pummeled the side of the church; they screamed “Let me in! Let me in!” All that noise attracted the walkers. Gabriel kept the doors locked. And everyone outside died, badly. “The Lord sent you here to finally punish me,” says Gabriel. He kneels down in front of his executioners. They don’t kill him, of course. But as Anton Chekhov once said, if you pull out a gun in a church in the first act, then you definitely need to kill a bunch of cannibals in a church by the third act.
At this specific moment, the Terminus remnants opt to deposit Bob back on the front porch. He gives them the short version: “Yes, I’m missing my leg. Yes, those Terminus people really were cannibals, just like we would’ve all guessed a million years ago if we were bloggers. Yes, I’m also dying of a zombie bite. And yes, I’m also totally bummed that we won’t make it to four Wire alumni on The Walking Dead at once.”
Abraham has a big idea. Things have gone FUBAR; it’s time to GTFO. Abraham has a mission: Save the mullet, save the world. Eugene even tells him he doesn’t want to go, and Abraham won’t accept that. Abraham and Rosita fixed up the church bus while nobody was looking; now they’re ready to head to DC. “You’re not taking the bus,” says Rick. They need to wait for Carol and Daryl; they need to get their vengeance. Abraham agrees to stick around for twelve hours, but only on the promise that Glenn and Maggie will come with them. “Come high noon, we’re tail lights,” he explains.
NEXT: High Noon, The Prequel