Jach Discusses: The Walking Dead 1.06

Posted: June 21, 2013 by Jachelle in General Media, Jach, Recaps, Television, The Walking Dead
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It’s season one finale time! This show has hooked me so much more than I ever imagined it could. I am so grateful that I decided to give it a try in spite of my fears. Big thanks to everyone who nudged me into watching it. And now, it’s time to find out what happened in episode six, “TS-19.”

Previously on TWD: The survivor’s camp was attacked by Walkers and not everyone made it out alive. Amy, Ed, and a few others died immediately, while a bitten Jim slowly succumbed to fever and volunteered to be left behind. The group decided to set off to the CDC in the hope of finding a cure. Andrea struggled in the wake of her sister’s death, and Shane was beginning to have an extremely difficult time giving up Lori now that Rick has returned. The group arrived at the CDC to find it locked tight. They assumed it was empty, but Rick continued to scream at a camera before it the doors were opened by Dr Edwin Jenner, the only scientist left inside.

We open on a flashback scene to the day the hospital was abandoned. Rick is still in his coma, while Shane desperately tries to find someone to help him get his friend out of the building. Soldiers are everywhere, evacuating what staff they can, and executing the infected en masse. Walkers burst through the doors, and it’s pretty much chaos. Shane grabs a gurney and tries to lift Rick onto it, but hesitates when he sees how many machines Rick is hooked up to. He begs Rick to wake up. But before he can figure out what to do next, the power shuts down and all of the machines go dark. He listens for Rick’s heartbeat, and hearing nothing, he abandons the body, and barricades the door with a gurney to keep the Walkers out.

Back in the present, the terrified group of survivors is now inside the CDC where they come face to face with Jenner. He tells them that they have to submit to blood samples if they want inside and they agree. He instructs them to grab whatever they need, because “once those doors close, they won’t open again.” The group is exhausted and hasn’t eaten in days, so they gather together for dinner and a lot wine. Who knew the CDC stocked so much booze? Jenner gives the group a brief explanation as to why he’s the only one there. Most of the staff left to be with their families when things got really bad. Others bolted after the military cordon was overrun. The rest killed themselves in a rash of suicides. Well that was a buzzkill.

But the group’s spirits are back up again at the prospect of hot showers, and a safe night’s sleep. Well, most of the group, anyway. Andrea gets sick and argues with Dale that everything is gone. She has clearly given up on any sort of hope. And a completely drunk Rick wanders in to thank Jenner for saving them and confesses how scared he’s been. Jenner reassures Rick that it’s going to be okay. Meanwhile, Drunk Shane confronts Lori and the two argue. He admits that he really did believe Rick was dead, and reminds her that she never would have left the city if she’d thought her husband was still alive. He got them out and saved her and Carl’s lives. He tells her he loves her, and then demonstrates that love by forcing himself on her despite her repeated attempts to push him away. She has to claw at his neck and draw blood before he backs away. And I can’t tell if he’s upset by what he’s done, or just angry that she’s rejected him again. Maybe it’s both. Either way, scenes like that are so difficult for me to watch.

Back in their room, Rick stumbles into bed with Lori and sees she’s been crying. He incorrectly assumes that it’s because she’s scared and tells her she doesn’t need to be afraid anymore. Oh Rick. You poor clueless bastard.

The following morning T-Dog makes breakfast and everyone deals with their hangovers.  But they aren’t there for powdered eggs, they came for answers. So Jenner leads the group into the control room and has the computer bring up some footage on the screen. He shows them a scan of Test Subject 19. They marvel at the synapses firing away as Jenner explains it’s those impulses that make them who they are. But then he explains how Test Subject 19 became infected and volunteered to let them study her to learn what happens. The group watches as the brain and major organs go into failure and die.  Then the virus takes a hold of the brain stem and reanimates it. The front lobe of the brain stays dead, keeping the Walkers from feeling anything remotely human. Instead they are only walking corpses driven by their most basic needs. The footage ends with TS-19 being shot in the head. Everyone’s feeling pretty defeated when Dale asks why there’s a clock counting down on the wall. Jenner informs them that when it zeros out a facility wide “decontamination” will occur. The group doesn’t seem to grasp what that means just yet.

But the building begins to shut down. The air conditioning and lights go off, as well as everything else while it directs all power to the computers. Jenner sits at his desk and says his goodbyes to a picture of his wife, who we find out was Test Subject 19. She ran the CDC and was a genius. Jenner claims she might have been able to figure out a way to save them if she hadn’t died. The only reason he stayed was because he had promised her that he’d continue to try. With only thirty minutes left on the clock, the building locks down, and Jenner locks everyone in the control room with him. He looses it and forces everyone to realize that they’re going to be blown up. He insists that it’s the most humane way to die, but that doesn’t stop the others from trying to escape.

Eventually they convince him to let them out of the control room, though he reminds them that the rest of the building is locked up just as tight. Before Rick leaves, Jenner whispers something to him, and Rick looks stunned. While the others bolt, Jacqui and Andrea decide they want to stay. They’re tired of running and fighting and want it to be over on their terms. But Dale won’t leave without Andrea. After failing to convince her to leave, he decides to stay with her instead. With only a few minutes left, the group tries to escape, but the glass windows and doors won’t break no matter what is thrown at them. Carol saves the day by giving Rick back the grenade he brought with him into camp that first day. He uses it to blow out the window, and the group sprints toward their   vehicles. Just as they’re about to leave, they see Andrea and Dale hurrying toward them. It seems Andrea wasn’t willing to let Dale die along with her.

Time is officially up and everyone has to dive for cover as the entire CDC erupts in a massive explosion with Jacqui and Jenner still inside. Everyone is in a state of shock, but they know they’ve got to keep moving, and they drive off, leaving the ruins of the CDC behind them.

Opinion of the Episode:
First of all, remember how cute and innocent I was back during episode four? Where I naively thought that I was starting to get over my fear of zombies? HA. THINK AGAIN. After watching episodes five and six back to back just before bed, I can confirm that is completely wrong. I lay in bed staring at the ceiling just waiting for my immanent death. The sound of the sprinklers going off made me yelp in fear, and I became absolutely convinced that my cat walking around was actually a Walker who had found it’s way inside my apartment.

But all my scaredy-catness aside, I feel like this was a really solid ending to the season. I think I was expecting to see a big showdown with the Walkers in the finale, so I was a little thrown that they barely made an appearance at all. But once I adjusted my expectations, I thought it was a good way to end things. We don’t know a great deal more about the virus, but a few questions have been answered, at least.  The group no longer has their camp, so they have to move on and keep searching for new places and people. This should give us some great new material for season two. And the group was confronted with the fact that Rick is just as scared and hopeless as they are, which should hopefully cause some tension and growth. I feel like the episode had a really nice balance of wrapping up the storylines from season one, while paving the way for season two.

Season Review, Predictions, and Hopes:
Like I said in the beginning, I am still so glad that I decided to try out this show. I’ve had such a blast watching it, and writing these reviews is helping me to get even more out of it. It’s causing me to think a little harder about certain things, and examine others more closely. So I definitely intend to continue these as I watch.

I went into this season with almost no knowledge whatsoever, and that’s been a lot of fun. Especially with a show that’s as popular as the Walking Dead is right now. I basically got to opportunity to dive into a completely new world, and I love that. Yes, the zombies still scare the pants off of me, and I don’t see that letting up any time soon. But I’ve become so immersed in these really excellent characters with all their struggles, that it makes the terror worth it. And lets be real, the being scared out of my wits part is a little fun too. There was not a single episode of this season that I didn’t enjoy. I felt like the show started out strong and just kept going. Even though the season was only comprised of six episodes, I still think that’s pretty damn impressive. I’m really looking forward to seeing the series stretch out over a full season now.

I know we’re going to be introduced to some new characters in the coming season, and if they’re as well done as the characters in these first six episodes, then I know I’m going to love watching them as well. I’m excited to see how they’re going to interact with  our core group. I’d love to see more backstory and growth for all the characters. Glenn in particular, as he’s still my current fave. But I’m also interested in seeing more of Daryl. I want to see how Carol is going to develop now that she’s away from her husband. And I absolutely want to see some stabilization of Rick’s character. I’m not sure if I’m ready for a full season of him jumping back and forth between being the moral hero and the ruthless badass. I’m hoping that will come as he has more time to adjust to this new world. I know you can do it, Rick! I believe!

And as far as predictions go, I already know we’re going to meet new characters. I’m also pretty sure Merle is going to pop back up within the first few episodes. Something serious is going to have to happen with the Lori/Rick/Shane love triangle, and will probably center around Rick finding out about what happened between them. Rick and Shane’s friendship has been strained already, and I’m not entirely sure it will last. But they do make a good team, so I think they’re going to have to find a way to suck it up and work together for the safety of everyone. And I’m going to guess that at least four or five notable characters will die before the finale.

And there it is! Onto season two! I’m so EXCITED.


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