OK, I probably shouldn’t be the one writing this. But no one else did, so…
I’ll give them credit. This was by far the best episode this season. (Even if it didn’t have anything as iconic as the horse ride into Atlanta) I was pretty happy with it.
The episode starts off with a flashback to Shane trying to save Rick from the hospital. Soldiers in gas masks are inexplicably shooting everyone in site. (i.e. non-zombies) It’s not clear if this is because of bites or something else. Shane can’t get Rick out and the power goes off. Shane listens to Rick’s heart and thinks he is dead. A nice bit of backstory to clarify Shane’s point of view and make him a bit more sympathetic. Although as we’ll see it doesn’t last long.
In the present we see that every claim I made last week about the AI panned out. They were aping The Andromeda Strain pretty heavily and the computer was an annoying AI. Yes, it could have been the future. But come on. Didn’t that honestly annoy you? We do find out a little about zombie cognition although it becomes clear that the CDC at least has no idea what is causing things. We also didn’t hear where it broke out nor anything else of interest.
The party, after thanking Jenner for saving them get royally drunk. Shane confronts Lori about trying to save Rick. However losing what little sympathetic qualities he has he attempts a drunken seduction/rape of Lori and gets scratched on his neck. I really wish they made this guy more sympathetic. But it’s one moment where you kind of feel for him and then two moments where you are hoping he’s the nice zombie chowder.
Come the next morning everyone has a hangover. (Maybe it’s just me, but in the zombie apocalypse I’d be afraid of being drunk — especially in an unknown facility) We find out the power is almost gone. No one makes the obvious offer of trying to find more fuel. (Why, I’m not clear — but then I can’t figure out why they insist on driving the same beat up cars when there are cars and fuel left abandoned all over the place!) We find out that the AI is going to basically incinerate the entire CDC. This is apparently a left over from the war on terror in case terrorists attempt to steal small pox. No, it didn’t make any sense to me either – although I did know someone who worked at some military storage facility in the Pacific with a similar failsafe. But somehow I can’t see them building such a device in Atlanta. But hey, it’s one of those moments where you have to suspend disbelief.
We then have the moment of members of the team going suicidal. Maybe it’s just me, but in the zombie apocalypse I tend to think suicidal folks are a bit of a liability. However Dale manages to save Andrea from suicidal tendencies by threatening to stay if the building blows.
All and all a far superior episode than I expected. I really thought we’d be stuck with the creepy doctor wanting to conduct experiments on our party. Fortunately the mad scientist plot never emerged. Instead we find out that the good doctor is just a so-so analysis whose wife was the real Einstein of the CDC. He’s given up hope (as was foreshadowed last wee) and just wants to die.
Let’s hope next season our team will encounter some folks with a combination of hope, plans and intelligence. Because thus far we’ve not seen a lot of that.
So here’s the real question. Did the finale resolve my concerns about the show. Ultimately not. This just isn’t a terribly intelligent take on the whole zombie theme. It also reminds me of the worst of Ronald Moore’s Caprica and Battlestar Galactica. Unsympathetic characters where plot is a distant second to character moments. To which I reply character moments work a heck of a lot better when combined with an intriguing plot and sympathetic characters. Still, I’ll give it an other shot next year. (Unlike say Carprica whose season finale annoyed me so much I never bothered watching this season before it was cancelled)