One by one all six walked out the front door of the church that night. They were Glenn, acted by Steven Yeun; Maggie, acted by Lauren Cohan; Sasha, acted by Sonequa Martin-Greene; Abraham, acted by Michael Cudlitz; Michonne, acted by Danai Gurira; and of course Rick, acted by Andrew Lincoln. All six looked grim, yet silent and purposeful as they took their time leaving the church in a group, all sharing a resolve in the finality of knowing what had to be done. Which was, to kill the cannibalistic Terminans now living at a nearby abandoned elementary school.
Thirteen point eight million U.S. viewers on October 26, 2014, Sunday night, had watched their TV sets during The Walking Dead season five episode three titled, "Four Walls and a Roof." And as they watched those six, let's call the six 'Team Rick' as all carried assault weapons, the group seemed to gradually disappear into the night to the left of the image shown on the TV screen. Whereas a little off to the right of the full screen image, hung a white wooden church sign in the foreground that read, St. Sarah's Church - Episcopal - West Poplar Creek.
The image, as the six had slowly vanished into the night at the left into the background, and with the hanging white wooden church sign in the foreground a little off center to the right, had paused. The image seemed to pause long enough, where a viewer may have expected a commercial break. Only this was obviously planned to build tension of whatever was expected to come.
But the patience of the 13.8 million viewers across the United States, and also around the world, as written about from my previous HuffPost blog titled, "The Walking Dead: Its' Domestic and Foreign Fan Reach," was rewarded. For now a different group of six gradually emerged from the right background of the night image, only now walking towards the church. Carrying also assault weapons, yet their resolve was far different from the previous group of six.
This different group of six, comprised of Martin, acted by Chris Coy; Theresa, acted by April Billingsley; Albert, acted by Benjamin Papac; Mike, acted by Chris Burns; Greg, acted by Travis Young; and of course leader Gareth, acted by Andrew J. West. And they were the Terminans.
Within the church were seven combined surviving members from both Rick and Abraham's group since last season four. And they were Rick's son Carl, acted by Chandler Riggs; Carl's baby sister Judith; Tyreese, acted by Chad Coleman; Tara, acted by Alanna Masterson; Eugene, acted by Josh McDermitt; Rosita, acted by Christian Serrratos; and Bob the injured boyfriend of Sasha, acted by Lawrence Gilliard Jr. And it was the injured Bob, whose lower left leg was eaten by the Terminans at the abandoned elementary school earlier that night.
Those seven in the church were with another person, Father Gabriel, acted by Seth Gilliam, who harbored not only the secret of abandoning his church flock during the zombie apocalypse, but also had known about the people of Terminus. And those eight were about to be attacked.
In season one episode six of the fantasy drama Game of Thrones, master swordsman Syrio Forel of Kings Landing, hired by Lord Ned Stark, teaches Ned Stark's daughter young Arya Stark the deadly art of swordsmanship. In that episode titled, "A Golden Crown," while both practice with wooden sticks, he asks her, "Do you pray to the gods?" She then replies, "The old and the new." He then says to her, "There is only one god and his name is the god of Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death... Not today."
But to Rick and Abraham's combined group, they all could have just as well not only have said, "Not today," but also, "Not tonight."
For nevertheless it was a short while ago when Gareth gave his monologue to the captured Bob, saying women were the best to be eaten. It was he who explained that perhaps women taste better because of their extra layer of fat... for childbearing, and that even skinny girls have it too. Then Gareth says, "Like that pretty one... Sasha. I think pretty people taste better too," all while he and his group dined on Bob's severed left leg at the abandoned elementary school. But then Bob lowered the boom, saying he'd been bitten. And that ended Gareth talking smack.
So as the six Terminans entered the church, waiting after Rick's group of six had left, Gareth taunted those hiding within, calling each by name, Tyreese, Tara, and the rest. He even called out to Father Gabriel, saying he could leave and take baby Judith. And then it all began to happen.
Of the six Terminans, Mike and Albert were hit first, killed instantly. The remaining four were startled as they turned around to see the front of the church, which was still dark. But all four heard that familiar voice out of the darkness, saying, "Put your guns on the floor." Then Rick and his group emerged from the darkness.
It was then apparent, that Rick and his group had done a cunning dipsy-doodle. By neglecting to go to the Terminan lair at the elementary school, all six had reconnoitered back and hid, waiting together in darkness at a discrete yet observable distance from the church. Masterful!
"Put your guns on the floor... and kneel," Rick said next, as he, Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, Sasha, and Michonne all emerged from the darkness with weapons ready. Of the remaining four Terminans, Martin remained defiant. Remember him? For it was he who threatened to snap baby Judith's neck in the fifth season premiere, if Tyreese did not go out the cabin to face the walkers. Perhaps everyone was surprised Martin had showed up again, thinking he died in that episode, after Tyreese rushed back inside and gave him a pummeling. That episode, which could be called a 'Magnum Force' episode, drew 17.29 million U.S. viewers. The highest rating in the series thus far. But as Martin was defiant, Abraham changed Martin's mind quick.
While channel surfing on a day off, I saw a classic western, Last Train from Gunhill. It began, when a beautiful Native-American woman and her son were riding in a horse and buggy through a wooded countryside. Two drunken cowboys saw them, with eyes on the woman. Of the two, one was the spoiled son of a prominent cattle baron, and he was the one that was lashed at with a buggy whip by the woman, before he and the other cowboy raped and killed her. The boy managed to get away and told his father, U.S. Marshal Matt Morgan, played by Kirk Douglas.
After retrieving the body of his beloved wife, Matt Morgan meets his Native-American father-in-law. About the two cowboys, he says to his son-in-law, "Kill them slow, the Indian way." To which Matt Morgan replies, "I'll kill them, my own way."
"Still you could have killed us when you came in," says Gareth. "There had to be a reason for that?" the leader of the remaining Terminans had asked.
"We didn't want to waste any bullets," says Rick. And then Rick hacks at Gareth, Sasha hacks at Martin, whereas Michonne and Abraham finish the rest as Glenn and Maggie watched. All was done, their own way, absent Daryl and Carol as both had driven off earlier to find Beth.
These devious yet marvelously creative writers, my guess, are hedging their bets by splitting up the group at the end of that episode. Still, I have faith in them. And despite the fact that this series still not has been granted any Emmy nominations now after beginning its fifth season, I still say The Walking Dead has high caliber writing, and high caliber acting. And I'll even now say high caliber directing, and will continue to say it is Emmy-worthy.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the wrong character when referencing a death in the episode.