Walking Dead: TS-19

NewImage.jpgOK, 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)

11 thoughts on “Walking Dead: TS-19

  1. Until halfway through the episode I was sure the doc would join the misfits crew and we’d have a real Gilligan’s Island analogue. I also thought that would mean the first half of next season would be about acquiring new meat samples to test on, but I like this resolution.

    Once again, not how real people act, but I liked watching. Your right, though, Clark. They work so hard for the guns and cars they have, then run right past better guns and cars than the ones they have.

    I read this post the first time thinking it was by MCQ, then noticed the byline. That was a little trippy.

  2. I had mixed feelings. It was definitely a better episode than any of the others (except the first one). I could have done without the Shane/Lori soap opera rape subplot, but it did provide background to explain Shane’s unexpected rage when he learns Jenner locked them in.

    I don’t know why the show is intent on setting up a Shane vs. Rick conflict: it could have easily been resolved with Shane telling his story about the hospital and Lori being understanding. Thus, they could resolve the hostility and move on to the most important goal, staying alive in a world full of zombies.

    One major plot hole that really bugged me, however: if Jenner knew that he was down to his last day on earth, and planned to have the group die there with him (implied when he said to Rick “I told you that the doors would not be opened again”), then why bother testing everyone’s blood for the zombie disease?

    For that matter: since Jenner said he never figured out the cause (viral, bacterial, something else), how can he have a blood test for it?

    Overall, the episode was better, and the season certainly ended with a bang. I suspect this show will become a template for future episodes: the rag-tag group lands in a place where they encounter a person/thing that can provide shelter/relief/a way back to normalcy, and it all ends in tears; leaving the group to move on to the next oasis. Kind of like “Lost in Space” with zombies.

  3. I like this show. It’ll last for a number of seasons. There’s been a lot of bellyaching about it on this blog, but everyone’s kept watching it. There’s a word for bellyachers that keep watching…fans.

  4. I missed two episodes and it didn’t matter. It’s one of those shows I might watch every once in awhile when there’s nothing else to watch, just to see if there’s finally any zombie action.

  5. Mudhead, I think it was because it’d be a day or so before he ran out of power and he didn’t want to get eaten by a zombie. Just incinerated.

  6. No speculation on the whisper? I’ve read hints that it didn’t have anything to do with character specifics (i.e. someone being pregnant), rather with the nature of the zombie infestation or some other larger condition affecting the group’s future.

    One speculation I’ve seen is that everyone is infected on some level, such that any cause of death leaving the brain intact will ultimately result in reanimation. My problem with that, if it’s even a problem, is that I already assumed that’s how it worked, zombie bites only being a fast track to zombification, and not the only way to become a zombie. Proper handling of the deceased being required in all cases seems the safest approach, anyway, given the slightest uncertainty on the potential for new zombies.

  7. I was curious but they made it so there were no hints about the whisper. I figured it was something about the source of the zombies.

  8. I think a good post season wrap-up post would be a prompt on survival in an apocalyptic event. I’ll write it if you think that fits here.

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