Jach Discusses: The Walking Dead 1.05

Posted: June 20, 2013 by Jachelle in General Media, Jach, Recaps, Television, The Walking Dead
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It’s time to watch episode five, “Wildfire,” and nope, everything still hurts.

Previously on TWD: Rick lead a rescue mission into the city to try and save Merle and the bag of guns that he’d left there. Daryl, T-Dog, and Glenn go with. They get the guns but an unseen Merle takes off in their van and made the guys very late in getting back to camp. The camp had been found by a large group of Walkers and they attack unexpectedly. They kill Amy and Ed along with others before the guys show up with the guns and help finish them off. My soul is crushed.

We open with Rick trying to reach Morgan over his radio. The moment turns into a bit of a confessional, and sad puppy Rick returns. He’s clearly struggling with everything that’s happened. Hey, Rick? Buddy? You know what will help you a lot more than talking to a silent radio? Talking to the people around you..you know, the ones who have been dealing with this same stuff for much longer than you, and might have some damn insight? Oh, you’re going to stick with the radio? Okay then.

Back at camp, Andrea hasn’t moved all night. She’s still covered in blood and holding onto Amy’s corpse. Lori approaches and gently tries to coax her into letting them “take care” of Amy. Around them, the rest of the camp is destroying the Walkers by slicing off their heads and burning the bodies. When Andrea doesn’t respond to Lori, Rick tries to “tell her how it is” and she whips her gun right in his face. Rick backs off and THAT WAS AWESOME. I mean, it’s not awesome that Andrea is risking everyone’s lives by not allowing them to handle Amy, but that moment was so loaded (pun intended). And it drew a nice parallel with Andrea and Rick’s first meeting. In the department store she was terrified and frantic, but now she’s total steel and pretty much a BAMF. Losing her sister was her breaking point, and she’s just done.

My feels continue to be assaulted when Glenn refuses to let Daryl burn the bodies of their people and has a small breakdown. Followed right on the heels of Jacqui discovering that Jim had been bit during the attack. He begs her not to tell anyone but she sounds the alarm anyway. As the others grab him, he just keeps repeating “I’m okay” in the most heartbreaking way every and I fall to absolute pieces. You’re not okay, Jim. Nothing is okay, and everything hurts. Daryl wants to kill Jim immediately, but Rick insists that maybe they can save him instead. Apparently no one decided to include Jim on the conversation to decide the fate of his own life. Rick wants to try and reach the CDC. He wants to believe that they are still there and working on a cure. Oh, poor naive Rick. When Daryl threatens to go kill Jim anyway, Rick turns his gun on him and this happens:

Rick: We don’t kill the living.
Daryl: That’s funny, coming from a man who just put a gun to my head.

THANK YOU, DARYL. Rick’s flip-flopping around has been so frustrating for me. I still like his character, I don’t want anyone to think that’s not the case. But he keeps doing contradictory things like this and it makes connecting with him really difficult. Obviously I don’t want Daryl to kill Jim, but I also see his point. They know Jim’s going to turn, and they’re putting everyone at Risk by not handling the situation. Daryl is thinking of the safety of the camp as a whole. It’s the colder, but bigger picture option. Meanwhile Rick  desperately wants to save just one member of the group. And himself. I think that’s where a lot of Rick’s conflict is coming from at this point. He’s trying to save himself and his own morality. He can’t bring himself to be the man who makes cold, calculating decisions for the betterment of the group in the long run. He still has to do everything he can to save everyone so that he can tell himself that he tried, and he’s still a good and honorable person. It’s not a bad quality to have AT ALL. But it is a dangerous quality for a leader to have. And I have the sinking feeling that the CDC is not going to be the last time Rick leads everyone into a certain-death situation because he refuses to compromise his morality.

I keep going off on Rick tangents in these reviews. Back to the episode! Dale comes to talk to Andrea and finally seems to get through to her a little. We find out that his wife died of cancer before the apocalypse, and he couldn’t let it go. Andrea and Amy became the first people he let in again. It’s a touching sentiment, but I wish we could have seen a little more of it in action when Amy was alive. Andrea puts the mermaid necklace she’d gotten for Amy’s birthday on the corpse, while Carol takes a pick-axe to her now dead husband’s head. After years of abuse, it’s clearly a very raw moment for her, but cathartic too. Amy’s corpse begins to reanimated, and the look on Andrea’s face just guts me. She wants her sister to be alive again so badly. You can see it on every inch of her face. So much so that I was convinced she had deluded herself into believing that Amy wasn’t a zombie. I was yelling at the TV and using excessive caps lock in my notes. But that wasn’t the case, however. A now much more calm Andrea needed to say goodbye. Even thought Zombie Amy doesn’t understand a word of it, Andrea tells her that she loves her and apologizes before blowing her brains out. MY HEART. JUST LEAVE ME HERE TO DIE, OKAY?

Tensions are running high and Rick and Shane get into a tiff when Shane tells him that the camp’s losses wouldn’t have been so bad, if Rick hadn’t run off to Atlanta with half their forces. Rick maintains that if they hadn’t come back with the guns, that things would have been even worse. Separately, the guys each drag Lori into it. Rick wants her reassurance that he was right, while Shane wants her to talk some sense into her husband. Lori backs Rick and shane gets a worrisome glint in his eye. While they’re off together in the woods, Rick makes a passing comment about how Lori and Carl aren’t Shane’s family and Shane looses his cool. I don’t like Shane at all, but even I feel for him in that moment. That was a dick thing to say, Rick. Rick backpedals and tries to say that Shane just took things the wrong way, but I’m not so sure he did? What other way can that even be taken? Whatever. But however justified Shane may have been in his anger in that moment, he takes things WAY to far when he considers shooting Rick. Rick is off scouting around for Walkers and we see Shane line him up in his rifle’s scope. And the expression on his face tells me that he’s not messing around. But before he can make up his mind, Dale catches him. Shane tries to turn it into a joke, but Dale clearly knows something is up. Awwwkward.

The group makes the decision to try and reach the CDC together, but Morales and his family decide they don’t want to go. Instead they are going to travel to Birmingham where they have family. The group says their tearful goodbyes to the Morales family and everyone loads up into vehicles and roll away from the camp.

But they don’t make it very far before the Winnebago breaks down. Meanwhile Jim is just about done. He’s been feverish and hallucinating for hours and the bumpy ride has been excruciating for him. In a lucid moment, he tells Rick to leave him behind. He wants to be with his family again. Again, Rick talks to the group (and still doesn’t include Jim in the process?) and he and Shane aren’t sure they can live with themselves if they leave him. Lori rightfully tells them that it’s not their damn choice. Thank you, Lori. So they prop Jim up outside against a tree, which is beautifully reminiscent of Jim’s arc in the previous episode. A fact which is not lost on him as he remarks about “another damn tree.” The group says their goodbyes to Jim and my heart continues to shatter into a million pieces.

After the caravan drives off, the screen switches to some sort of transmission. We see Dr. Edwin Jenner recording a log from inside the CDC. It’s been 194 days since “wildfire” was declared and 63 days since the disease went global. He has no progress to report. Of course he doesn’t. We see Jenner in a lab, studying some samples. But an accident ends in the lab and all of his tissue samples being blown up. Jenner is distraught by the loss, and records another log. He’s clearly lost hope and doesn’t believe that anyone else is still out there to receive his reports.

Our group reaches a military checkpoint that is littered with corpses. I mean, those babies are EVERYWHERE. It’s pretty damn disgusting. They move past as quickly as they can to get to the CDC, where Jenner’s scanners pick them up. Outside the locked building it’s getting dark and the group is loosing their cool. They know the walkers will be on them when the sun sets and they’ll be as good as dead. But Rick refuses to give up on the hope that someone is inside. He starts screaming at a camera and is on the verge of total meltdown when the doors opens. DUN DUN DUN.

Opinion of the Episode:
This was one of those chess pieces episodes. Where I can see the pieces being moved into place for what’s going to come next. I think this episode is a lovely example of doing that well. I’ve seen a lot of television episodes where this happens, and things fall kind of flat because nothing is really happening. Not here, though. In addition to moving things into position, we also get some excellent plot and character development. We had our emotional moments with Andrea, Jim, and Dale. And a little taste of things with the Lori/Shane/Rick love triangle heading toward their breaking point. I definitely didn’t find myself loosing interest any any point. I was completely invested start to finish. So much so, that I immediately had to start the finale afterward because I’d be damned if I was going to wait to find out what happened next.

The acting on this show continues to be a breath of fresh air. This is an extremely high tension, high emotion series. If the actors aren’t careful, the line over into melodrama is a very small one. But they are doing such a bang up job of bringing the right amount of tension and emotion to these characters. I can only hope that the series will continue to play to that and won’t skimp out on character development and growth in favor of cheap tricks to bring in viewers.

While “Vatos” continues to be my favorite episode of the season thus far, these series hasn’t delivered a bad episode yet. Or even a lackluster one. They’ve all been fantastic so far, and it makes me so excited to see what’s still to come. Onto the finale! Am I prepared? No I am not.


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