Monday, November 29, 2010

The Walking Dead: Season 1 Episode 5 - Wildfire (Quick Thoughts)

Welcome Walkers! I couldn't let an episode slip by without sharing my thoughts on this fantastic show. It's crazy to think we have only seen 5 episodes and that this 5th episode is the penultimate episode of the season. There was a great cover story in the latest Entertainment Weekly about the story behind the success of The Walking Dead and how they didn't think it was likely they would get renewed. They discuss how 6 episodes was tough to design a season around. I, personally, think it's working really well for them. Every episode resonates and is as important as the one preceding and following it. It almost has a mini-series/movie feel to it. I am actually hoping that the intensity doesn't slow down when they branch out to a full 13 episode order in season 2. But, considering there is plenty of source material to draw from, I don't see that being a problem. I was happy to hear that they are already veering from the Comics in certain areas so the fans of the comic books will not be able to spoil everything for us newbies!
Anyway, all of it is making for some engaging television and it now has taken its place atop my list of APPOINTMENT television right along with Fringe. There is life after LOST folks. Still depressing, but at least there are little threads of optimism to hang on to! As always, here are my quick thoughts for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.

After 4 episodes of dealing with our small group of "survivors" we have finally branched out and showed that there is a larger battle at stake here.   We meet someone that has some knowledge about the outbreak and even has been trying to come up with a cure.  Of course, we met him but our characters will not have that opportunity until next week!   But before we get to that awesome cliffhanger, we had an episode revolving around saying goodbye and plotting the next move.

  • There is a TIE for best goodbye scene in this episode. Andrea shared a little of her past by telling Dale how she regretted missing Amy's birthdays growing up and finally being around to share one with her, only to have her little sister die in her arms. The camp made several attempts to get Andrea away from Amy who was a ticking zombie time bomb. She even pulled a gun on Rick "I'll tell her how it is" Grimes and indicated she knew how to use it. She did more than indicate. We watched our first full Zombie transition as Amy's eyes opened and she clawed her way into Andrea's arms, looking like she was trying to bite her. But Andrea told Amy that she was finally here for her, put the gun to her sister's head and fired the trigger. YIKES....I didn't think she'd have it in her but in her mind she was "SAVING" her sister.

  • There was another shocker with finding out that "I dream up things before they happen" Jim was bitten by a walker! Oh man...these people are dropping like flies! The whole camp was divided on how to handle Jim. Kill him right now or try to find a cure. Okay, well Rick was the only optimistic guy of the bunch. He recalled what Morgan had told him about the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been working on a cure. Their best hope was to take Jim there. It was the best hope for their group's survival as well as their location was no longer safe. Shane argued about heading towards a military encampment 100 miles in the other direction.
  • There was a pretty intense scene where Daryl was going to kill Jim with an pick axe but Rick stopped him. "We don't kill the living" You have to love Daryl's response "Pretty funny coming from a guy with a gun to my head" or something like that. Any show that can balance the dark with some great one-liners is a keeper!
  • Rick almost caught Lori and Shane talking about their previous sexcapades but Shane blew it off. But Lori was torn between which of the 2 men she should side with. Her husband or Shane. Shane and Rick went on a walk to talk about their differences of opinion. Shane was still mad that Rick took some of their able bodied men to Atlanta leaving them vulnerable to attack. Rick argued that without all of the guns they wouldn't have survived. Great 2 arguments. Both of them partly right, as Lori indicated. But Rick went too far by saying he has to do what is best for his family and if Shane had one he'd understand. Shane took it personally as he took Lori and Carl in as his own and protected them. They get interrupted mid argument when they hear a noise...Shane, briefly considers shooting Rick from a distance but then puts his gun down. Uh oh, but Dale saw the look in his eyes! This has to be setting up some future story. So it!
  • Some runner ups to the best goodbyes was Glenn getting emotional about only burning the "GEEKS" but burying their people (after bashing in their brains of course). Daryl didn't like this line of thinking. Andrea indicates that they have to hold on to their humanity. All good stuff.
  • We do part ways with the Morales family as they're going to go find their family in Alabama or something.
  • Oh yeah, and Ed's wife says goodbye to him by smashing his brains up really good.  I think that was a mix of sadness and payback!
  • There were some great scenes of Rick leaving his walkie messages to Morgan giving him updates on Atlanta, their camp and their eventual departure.  He tells Morgan that he needs for him to be right about the CDC.  I think this definitely signifies that we will be seeing Morgan and Duane again.  Maybe not next week but eventually!

  • The caravan ships off to the CDC and breaks down along route. Well, the RV breaks down. I guess Shane finds what they need at the gas station because they're up and running a few scenes later. But, in the meantime Jim has taken a turn for the worse. He claims he is lucid and tells Rick that he wants to be left here. This causes a discussion amongst the camp with Dale leading the charge. He said that when he agreed with Daryl earlier he didn't intend to butcher a living human being. They should, instead, ask Jim what he wants. What he wanted was to be left on the side of the road to die. And that is exactly what they did which tied for best goodbye of the episode. Can you imagine just leaving this guy knowing he's going to become a walker? He said he wants to be with his family. I'm not sure he would ever find them but at least he would be LIKE them. It was a painful shot watching the caravan leave as Jim just sat there.

  • The final segment of the episode showed us the perspective of Jenner who has been living underground for quite some time. We finally get a timeline people! It has been 194 days since "WILDFIRE" was declared and 63 days since the outbreak went global. Hmmm, what is Wildfire? Did anyone else get the impression that this outbreak may have been caused by humans? I know the Zombie-flick purists out there will say that there usually is no cause identified. It just happens. But these comments left a lot of questions for me.

  • We see Jenner experimenting on some brain. I assume it is infected brain of a living person. There is a spill in the lab and he has to be cleaned off and decontaminated. But there was a defense trigger in the lab that blew up all of the samples because of this. All of the TS-19 samples. All that are left are useless as they belong to DEAD FLESH. That is why I assumed the ones he was using were fresh LIVING brain. He was trying to analyze them and determine a cure of the living. The Dead brains are already past their prime.

  • We catch Jenner in his hatch in a very Desmond-like moment. He is considering blowing his brains out after being alone for too long. He doesn't think anyone is even listening to his transmissions (and we are not sure if anyone is yet either). But, just like Locke knocked on that window and gave Desmond hope to live another day....Rick Grimes in his Sheriff hat and the survivors rolled right up to his door step. He saw them on camera and begged them to go away.

  • Shane was arguing that Rick led them right into a trap. It was getting Dark and the walkers were rolling towards them. Rick noticed that the camera moved and knew there was someone inside. He begged for them to open the door. There are women and children!! And right at the last possible moment as they think they are going to have to run for it (and die trying), the door opens with a bright light of possibilities shining!

NICE, the show has moved on to the next step and the next location. What a great episode, what a great show! I have heard that there will be closure in episode 6 because they didn't want to upset fans if they didn't get renewed. Even if there isn't a cliffhanger, I'm sure there will be many loose threads left hanging as they did INTEND for the show to live on to fight another day. Great great stuff. I have not hated one minute of this show and look forward to seeing how they're going to wrap up this mini-season and leave us wanting more!
What did everyone else think of the episode! Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. Also, don't forget my recap of THE EVENT after tonight's episode. And WATCH FRINGE this Thursday! We need to let FOX know there is a big fanbase behind this show and they should not be doing silly things like cancelling it!


MJ said...

Great ep ! I hated leaving Jim at the side of the road. Hate to say it but the humane thing would hav ebeen to shoot him in the head. Loved the woman pick-axing the infected hubby who abused her. LOL

That was very intense with Shane having Rick in the crosshairs and Dale seeing it all. Very smooth attempt at recovery by Shane too.

Very intersting with Wildfire. Obviously very open-ended with what it could be. Either the virus - especially as they get such a high fever - could have been released (accidently or purposely) or Wildfire could the the plan enacted where CDC goes into lock down. Eerie that he seems to be all alone there. Seems that way any way. But if he's so alone how'd he get fresh brain ???

The scene outside CDC we extremely creepy.

I am def going to watch Fringe live on thursdays here on out ! Loving this season.

Anonymous said...

Well, Mike, just wanted to let you know that I finally got started watching, and I love it! Watched episodes 1 and 2 so far, and have read those recaps. Thanks for turning us on to this one -- so far, pretty good! Cajun

Anonymous said...

Also, got caught up watching previous seasons of Dexter, and the show Sunday night was awesome! I really hate that guy pursuing Dexter right now -- such a scumbag! I think Dexter needs to break his code of killing only killers and take care of that one --

Mike V. said...

@MJ - True...putting Jim out his misery would have been better. But I think that would have defeated the purpose of him wanting to join his family...who are also among the Walking Dead. But yeah...the woman abusing ed's brain was fantastic! I love how we still don't know her name. I'm sure it's on IMDB but I still like calling her Ed's wife lol

The key word there is "ATTEMPT" on Shane's recovery part. I don't think he quite pulled it off!

Yeah...I definitely think Jenner was alone in the CDC considering he was ready to kill himself. I wonder if it was intentional that he was left in there all alone or accidental? I think he made some comments that he wasn't an expert with some of this stuff. Interesting that Wildfire could be the Lockdown plan. Didn't think about that!

As far as the fresh brain? Well, they were vacuum sealed...I'm guessing that he was put in there with the brain. Or yeah....maybe he wasn't alone but is now after the other people that were in there were infected and he got their brain samples??? yikes...Definitely would be an interesting flashback if they would ever do such a thing on this show!

Agreed that outside CDC was very creepy. And good to know on Fringe! I'll definitely watch live THIS week. I still don't know what I'm going to do next week. I'm heading to Florida Friday morning so I may not even see Fringe Thursday night. If I don't get a substitute blogger, I may just put a post up for people to comment to their hearts desires! I feel bad ditching Fringe when it needs the viewers but I think Vacation takes priority over TV :-) lol Could have been could have happened during LOST...and it only happened one time then! Season 2 Eko's first flashback ep! I was in Miami lol But I still recapped it when I got home! And yes Fringe is awesome!

Cajun, I'll respond separately to you!

Mike V. said...

@Cajun - So glad you're enjoying the Walking Dead! Did you find them airing on AMC, online or did you have to purchase them? Just curious! Enjoy the "Quick Thoughts" on the first 2. It's a great show. Unfortunately only 6 eps but they have had 5 quality ones so far. I'm sure 6 will be great too!

Great news on Dexter! Unfortunately, I didn't see last night's episode yet but I'm assuming you're talking about Robocop - Peter Weller. Yeah he really is a pain this season. I'm glad Quinn backed off though. We all know what happened to Doakes in season 2! lol I guess we'll see where it all goes. I'll try to watch last night's ep today but I may not get to it until tomorrow.

Mike V. said...

EW Article with Kirkman

Kirkman (Writer and show and Comic Book creator) Dishes on the latest episode.

Bryan said...

I'm paying $2 a pop at Amazon :(... any better ideas?

Anonymous said...

I had to buy the Episodes 1 & 2 on iTunes, but well worth it! I may watch 3 & 4 tonight. Hope I didn't spoil Dexter for you! Glad I didn't say too much! And yes, I was referring to Peter Weller AKA Robocop! Cajun

Mike V. said...

Sorry for the delay guys, but I thought I'd let you know that it looks like they're going to reair all 5 episodes this Sunday prior to the season finale. I actually guessed they'd do it but I just double checked! Starting at 4:30pm Eastern Time and going right until 11 you'll be able to record all 6 episodes.


The link doesn't show the air time of the 6th episode...but that is at 10pm on Sunday. Hope this helps!

MJ said...

You going to Harry Potter then?

Mike V. said...

Yes! 12/10 and 12/11 we'll be in Universal so I'm definitely going to Potter!

MJ said...

OMG it was so great ! Didn't you used to have an email link on your page ? I was gonna email you a tidbit about making it easier on yourself - didn't want to bore everyone.

Mike V. said...

Nice! I guess I did have an email link on the page! Well, it's still on my blogger profile page so you can give that a shot.

Or I could just post my email address. It's not like I get swarms of fan mail or anything :-) lol I appreciate any tips you have!

MJ said...

Will do !

Anonymous said...

So NOW you tell me they are re-running all episodes -- after I bought them all!! :) I will probably DVR them anyway! Really good show -- WAY better than The Event! The characters are great, special effects are stomach-churning, fantastic acting and writing -- this show is really hitting it's stride. Hate that it's only going 6 episodes! Jenner in the blue suit reminded me of Kelvin in LOST! I love stories about a man feeling like the last man on earth, so I definately felt for this guy as I did Desmond. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to having other people around! I wonder what happened to the other people working at the CDC? I guess we'll get that story NEXT YEAR!!!!


Mike V. said...

Well Cajun, I did post a comment once I found out on last week's blog!! lol But I'm sorry you had to buy them all. You just never know if and when they'll do those marathon airings. But, it makes sense that with a 6 episode season they'd do it on Finale day. Especially when the word of mouth is so strong on the show. Get as many eyes on it as you can and come back into season 2 stronger than ever!

Well, we may found out more about the CDC folks in the season finale! I did read an interview (referenced above) with Kirkman (comic book creator and one of show's exec producers/writers) and he said the CDC was never part of the comics because he didn't even know it was in Atlanta. So this was all Frank Darabount's idea. They may stray from the comics from one episode to the next but they'll always return to the path in some way or another. But just because a character dies in the comics doesn't mean they will in the show. Apparently one of our main characters died within this first series of books but will continue on in the show. Don't want to say who in case he/she does die eventually lol

I never read the comics but I'm really digging the show. Yeah, no doubt there was a Desmond/Kelvin feel to the CDC scene. And Kelvin and Jenner do have a similar look about them. Great stuff. I'm sure people are going to start getting tired of us comparing it to LOST at every turn. It definitely is a show that stands on its own. My comparisons to LOST are complimentary!

If a show even makes me feel a percentage the way I did when watching LOST, then it's doing its job!

Candidate said...

I get that percentage of feeling as well with TWD. Does anyone know when they plan on airing season 2. The CDC is a deluxe version of a Dharma station and is a sneak preview of The Zombie season 7 of Lost

yeah what a great show and a wealth of franchise that I didn't even know about...books and comics. I think I may dive into this universe of reading TWD novels while I wait for season 2 (knowing that I won't be spoiled.)
Ed had to be killed. Last episode when Ed wanted his daughter to keep him company, I knew he was gonna get it. There was no way a character like that could be redeemed.

This next episode I think is gonna be off the chain. I bet we see Morgan and son teamed up with the one armed bandit

Mike V. said...

@Candidate - I think season 2 won't air until next October unfortunately. I think they want to keep it a show that premieres on or around Halloween. Though, I'm guessing it will be earlier than Halloween since they will have a 13 episode run and don't want to hit the holidays. So...maybe a september premiere? I guess it depends when they're planning to air Breaking Bad and Mad Men. They may have to branch out of this whole Sunday at 10pm prime time slot and air some of their good shows at the same time. We'll see!

I might be interested in checking out the comics as well. I think the books that have come out are compilations of the monthly comics that were released. I could be wrong about that.
Nice call on Zombie Season ironic is it that a successful zombie show would air following season 6 of LOST? lol

I read in that article (referenced above) also that Ed was never in the comics. The wife was and it only referred to her abusive husband being eaten by a zombie or something. So Frank thought that would be a great thing to SHOW in the TV show. It's really great to have such a seasoned Writer/Film maker such as Frank Darabount serving as the series showrunner on this! It's almost like the show cannot fail. But I don't want to jinx it!

Yeah, I would hope to see Morgan and Son in this next episode. As for Merle...I've already read too much about if he will return in this season or I'm not going to go into it! But the information is out there in EW's various articles and interviews with Kirkman.

Loving this show!!

MJ said...

Walking Dead rumor that all the writers have been let go !

Mike V. said...

Um...whaaaaaaat!?!?!? I'll trust that Frank knows what he's doing...and if he stays heavily involved maybe it won't matter. But I just complained about The Event not keeping minor tidbits accurate from one episode to the next. Freelancing Writers from episode to episode? That'll sure be difficult to oversee stuff like that! IS only a rumor right now, so we'll see. Thanks for sharing MJ!

AUStarwars said...

I'll write more later, but I do want to start off by saying that the whole "guy in the hatch" thing seemed like an utter and complete "homage" to me lol

Mike V. said...

Hey, you won't catch me arguing! It may have even inspired me to rewatch Season 2's "Man of Science, Man of Faith" again! lol

Mike V. said...

Update on the Writer's Situation with The Walking Dead:

I feel better!

MJ said...

I'm excited for the finale on sunday ! The episode name is intriguing, thinking your were right Mike on what wildfire was ..... don't look spoilerphobes


Mike V. said...

@MJ - We'll see!!

Mike V. said...

And yes...I'm excited too!