Monday, December 6, 2010

The Walking Dead: Season 1 Episode 6 - TS-19

Hello Walkers! WO..! (I'm close!!) What a great and unexpected gift this show has been to us this fall season! This 6 episode masterpiece came to us in our great time of need and now has secured its place in the TV Classics Pedestal for years to come. A completely thought out season from start to finish with just enough loose ends to make us wonder what could be in store for these folks in season 2. There is some speculation that there could be a writers room reshuffling in the off-season, but with Executive Producers Frank Darabount (showrunner) and Robert Kirkman (comic-book creator and Exec Producer/writer on show) staying with the show, it's definitely in good hands. It will be a long wait until next October, but there is no telling what kind of schedule reshuffling AMC may be considering to bring us our favorite shows in a timely manner. They have 3 classics on their hand now and all are in equal demand (I would have argued Rubicon should be on that list too but Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Mad Men are definitely class acts). Season 1 is already available for pre-order on DVD and Blu-Ray and will be released on March 8. If you missed it and all of the reairings they have been doing, you'll have your chance then to catch up!

There's nothing left to do for now except dive into my thoughts for the season finale: TS-19! I may as well call it a recap now.  I think it's there!  I look forward to all of your thoughts as well!  Here we go.

The Hospital Flashback

We kicked things off with a FLASHBACK! You know how much I enjoy a well thought out flashback! There were enough seeds planted in episodes 1-5 to make this one connect a few dots. In the premiere we wondered why Rick was abandoned in the hospital, why he was never touched by the walkers, how the bed got in front of his door and we got all of those answers and more. We get a little bit of vindication for Shane's character and the reveal that he told Lori her husband was dead. It wasn't for his personal gain in family. It was because he may have actually thought it was true. It was pandemonium in that hospital. The military was in there shooting anything moving. Well, I think most of them were walkers but I thought I saw some LIVING people being killed.

Shane tried to pick Rick up and get him out of there but he was all hooked up to the machines which were providing him life support. Shane is no doctor and he didn't know what to do. Some explosion outside shook the building and caused a power outage. The life support devices went dead and so, supposedly, did Rick. Shane listened for a heartbeat and didn't seem to hear one. He cried for Rick to wake up but he got nothing. As his last resort, he saw the walkers coming and he put the bed in front of Shane's door keeping him safe from any invaders. It also is interesting to note that the Military came into the room previously. Shane hid from the guy and he just moved on. He didn't shoot Rick who was in the coma. Would he have shot Shane? Or just made him come with him? Not something we'll ever get an answer to. But still interesting to note. So this sets up a confrontation that eventually happens at the CDC between Shane and Lori but we'll get there. I don't think this triangle is quite over yet!


Back in the present, we were left with a lot of uncertainty as our "Walking Living" were faced with a bright light of hope and an open door into the CDC. They make their way in armed for the unexpected and encounter the ONE MAN that we saw living in the underground hatch last episode. Jenner (Edwin/Edward? Eh doesn't matter!). Jenner seems very friendly at first and concerned for their safety. He warns Rick that once he seals those doors shut, there is no getting out. If they weren't trying to avoid the zillions of walkers heading towards them at the time, they may have thought that through a little more. But with Jenner talking in Code and Riddles anyway, it wouldn't have really helped them to think it through.

There was a pause for celebration during the episode. Yes they were tested for infection, which in hindsight, I wonder why Jenner even cared to do that. He wasn't going to last much longer anyway nor was the CDC! But anyway, none of them had eaten in days. So Jenner brainstormed to provide everyone with a plentiful feast of food and wine! Even Carl got in on the action, but didn't really enjoy the wine. Good stuff. I think we caught some of Shane's disapproval as Rick let him drink the wine and Lori was advising against it. I did start to wonder how long they would plan to be in this CDC and how long the food supply would really last for this many people. I'm sure it was stocked up pretty good but nothing is permanent! I also remember from interviews last week that the CDC was a detour from the comics, so I figured they wouldn't stick around too long. Plus, it was a season finale...something EXCITING and SUSPENSFUL had to happen, right?!

Enter Shane and his distrust. They came here for hope for a cure. To find out some kind of establishment is still out there providing hope for the living. All they found was one man. What gives??! Mr. Buzzkill (according to Glenn) gets his way and Jenner spills the beans. Many of the workers fled the CDC to be with family. Other people "OPTED OUT" and killed themselves in the "DARK TIME". But Jenner told a white lie and said that he remained hopeful that he would be able to do some good. We find out by the end that he was motivated by something else. I think we all figured it out before the revelation, right? Or at least speculated.

But before we got there, everyone is shown to their quarters which weren't really bedrooms. There were couches and cots that they could use. But there was HOT water. I think we got to see basically every cast member showering. But since this is a family blog, I'm going to show you a picture of Dale in a bathrobe with a towel talking to a drunken Rick. Enjoy!

So, after the showers, we have Andrea puking her guts out. The alcohol? Maybe. But she was devastated by Jenner's report. There is NOTHING left! No Hope! She has experienced first hand what this disease did to her sister Amy and what motivation is there to go on? Dale provides his substitute Dad duties and consoled her. This scene along with last week's scene where he told Andrea he hadn't cared for anyone like he has for her and Amy since his wife died were essential to lead up to the final scenes of this episode. This is storyboarding at its finest!

But there were some fireworks in the GAME/REC Room! Speaking of buzzkill, the kids weren't able to play the video games! Well, knowing how things turn out with "power conservation" this makes sense. But, I really don't know how long I'd last in a bunker without my games let alone kids! But there was a chess board and books to last a lifetime. Well that's all lovely in a facility that isn't BUILT to last a lifetime!

Ed's wife (still have not looked her name up) takes the kids out of the room and Lori sticks around to look at some books. Enter drunken Mr. Buzzkill. This is his big moment to share what he has been wanting to say to Lori. He shuts the doors and forces her to listen. He explains the pandemonium of the hospital flashback that we saw. He tries to explain how he would have given his life if it meant saving Rick's but he did what he had to do. He SAVED Lori and Carl. It really can't be argued that he didn't. Even though he wasn't 100% sure of Rick's death, he told Lori what he needed to to get her away. To save them. That is all true. But acting on carnal desires months after the supposed death of a woman's husband? I think there are 2 people in the wrong in that circumstance! Shane goes one drunken step further and reveals his LOVE for Lori and is convinced that she loves him too. I'm not really sold that she ISN'T in love with him. In fact, it would be a much more interesting show if she remains conflicted between her WRONG fling with Shane and rebuilding her marriage with Rick. And, we have to think after this long hiatus that we WILL see Rick find out what happened in those months that he was gone. In the meantime, Shane tries to force himself on Lori and she isn't having any of it. And we get a nice scratch on the face! Yikes. I wondered how he'd explain that one to Rick. I can't believe he fell for the ol' "yeah...I did it to myself." But it was still comical!

After a nice breakfast feast Dale gets into question mode, fueled by Andrea's fit the night before. "We didn't come here for eggs." Good stuff. Jenner brings them back to the control room and asks the virtual computer to bring up TS-19. We saw Jenner working on the TS-19 brain in last week's episode. On screen we see a recording as they analzed Test Subject 19's transformation to Zombie-dom. After infection they donated their body for study in hopes they could find a cure. Jenner explains how this brain belonged to a really smart person, even compares the person to Einstein eventually. We see the brain activity in the form of pretty blue lights. The lights represent memories and pretty much everything that goes into making you, YOU. We see the infection slowly take over and darken the brain until there is no light left.

It is revealed that the transition is an unpredictable amount of time. It could be almost instantaneous and anywhere up to 8 hours from there. TS-19's transformation was 2 hours, so many minutes and so many seconds. Right there, we were clued in that this subject was someone very personal to Jenner. And he even shares with Amy that he can sympathize with her. We watched the red lights take over but just in the brain STEM. It never fully takes over the darkness of the brain. Everything that made them who they were is GONE. After they all reacted to this we see the bullet go into the brain and shut it down completely. The lights go out.

I do wonder when in this transition they were able to get a "FRESH" piece of "infected but not dead" brain from TS-19. I guess they cut some out before it fully turned?

Well, our survivors are up to speed and there is just one nagging thing left to tackle. There has been a clock counting down to something ever since they got there. And it just happens to be around 1 hour. What did it signify? Yep, they run out of power. Jenner wouldn't explain what happens when they run out of power. Rick asks the computer who is more than happy to oblige. DECONTAMINATION of the CDC will occur. We saw last week that decontamination is not a good thing. This place is going BOOM! (as Desmond or Jin would have said in season 4's LOST finale!)

Rick takes a squad to the power room to scope the scene. Fuel is running low. But they still don't understand what is going to happen. The clock is ticking. Jenner has put on his finest clothes and holds a picture of his wife and is apologizing. The whole crew is back in the control room with around 30 minutes to go and asking Jenner questions about what is going to happen. The 30 minute alarm goes off and Jenner seals them into the room. All hell breaks loose!

They are taking axes to the door and nothing is budging. Jenner says that the doors are built to withstand rockets. You gotta love Daryl's response "Your head ain't!!" Good times!  Shane has a moment where he plans to blow Jenner's brain too, but Rick explains that this won't resolve anything!

Jenner finally explains that the place is going to blow up. The air is going to be set on fire and essentially disintegrate the building. No Pain will be felt. It will be all over in a mili-second. The computer compares the explosion to only less powerful to a nuclear explosion. Woa. Jenner goes on his tirade of how this is best for everyone. There is no hope out there. They have seen the pain first hand of what awaits them. Rick would rather chance it on his own than give up. Of course Rick and Jenner had a moment earlier where Rick told him he knew it was only a matter of time before they all died. He only kept positive for everyone else while he remainted doubtful inside. Jenner used this information to cause doubt amongst the group of chancing it out there. Maybe this will be touched on more in season 2 but for now, the clock was ticking!

Rick eventually assumed his leadership position and challenged Jenner. He insisted that he didn't believe him about there being no hope. Jenner unveils that TS-19 was his wife, the Einstein that could have saved them. But she was gone now and with her all hope. Rick eventually convinces Jenner to open the blast door, but he wasn't lying about the outer shield around the place. There would be no way out.

Everyone makes a run for it. But there are a few stragglers. While Rick thanks Jenner, Jenner warns Rick that he won't be thanking them eventually. He whispers something into Rick's ear which I'm sure is a setup for season 2 or maybe even something bigger. There is something awaiting them out there that is going to be very bad news. Can't wait to find out what it is!

We find out that Jenner does get to a couple of the people. Jacqui decides she is going to remain behind. She doesn't want to run anymore. T-Dog cannot convince her out of it. I'm not sure if she is T-Dog's mother or some kind of relation but I'm sure it was tough for him to let her go there. But with 4 minutes left, there isn't much you can do.

Then Andrea says she's not going either. I think I screamed NO the same time Dale did. Dale found this move very unfair by Andrea. Making him care for her and then she's just giving up. I think we were all saying the same thing to the TV! Dale played a risky game with Andrea and decided that he would stay behind too if she was. She didn't want his blood on her conscience and that did the trick! WHEW.

Meanwhile, Rick and crew are trying to find a way out. Ed's wife, the laundry lady, happened to find something while she was cleaning Rick's clothes. Even that little tidbit of washing his sheriff's uniform came back in this finale. So did what she found in his pocket. THE GRENADE!! Weren't we wondering a few episodes ago why he didn't use that when he found it? Seemed like the rainy day showed up in episode 6! He placed it by the window and blew them a hole to get out!

It was all just a matter of getting away from the building at that point. A couple walkers were still hanging out and they didn't care about going LOUD with the guns. They were all in the cars when they saw Dale and Andrea climbing out of the building.

Jenner and Jacqui were happy they made it out as they held hands and waited for the inevitable.

Rick checked his watch and screamed for everyone to get down. Andrea and Dale made it behind a wall just in time. And then......BOOM...

All that was left to do was listen to an emotional song as our crew lived to fight another day. They drove out away from Atlanta and onward to Season 2. I cannot wait!!

I cannot exclaim any more than I already have how great this show was. And if the season 2 premiere keeps this kind of momentum going, I'll add that 3rd letter to the WO_! Season 2 has many possibilities. I have not read the comics, but I may decide to pick some up in the off-season (I have gotten THAT into it). We'll see. I do know there is a villain called the Governor who just happens to be Racist and is missing a limb. Many speculate that Merle will end up being this GOVERNOR. That would be kind of cool. They have confirmed in either instance that Merle will return. And I'm sure it will be in some fantastic way. And we can't forget Morgan and Duane! We're bound to see them again. Of course, we may have a WALT situation on our hands with Duane unless we see some time go by! In any case, I'll be picking up this blu-ray in March and probably enjoying the show a few more times before season 2. (okay, maybe once or twice)
That is all I have for now folks! As I mentioned on the Fringe recap, I am going to be on hiatus for most of December. I have some vacation coming up and I plan on taking full advantage! I'll post something for Fringe so that people can comment, but I'm not going to be around to recap. I apologize! The Event returns at the end of February and I will be there for that. I'll try to find something else to talk about in January as we wait for some shows to come back, so keep checking back for more information! Hope everyone has a great holiday season.  I hope you enjoyed my ramblings as always and I'll see you soon!


Candidate said...

I nominate a new word for TWD..."WOAH." With the time that season 2 has the writers still may go with Lori being pregnant. With Shane's attempt of forcing himself on Lori pretty much blows any chance that Shane may have had. Lori probably wouldn't touch him now if he was the last man on Earth. Normally in this kind of genre I usually lose interest in the love triangle side storylines but this one has me intrigued for some reason..(probably because it's written and acted so masterfully.)

TWD graphic novels are on my list to buy for winter and off season reading. The Lost encyclopedia is on that same list...which I haven't even looked at yet. How is that Mike???

I'm hoping the TWD DVD's will have lots of bonus footage and extras.

I had thought Jenners warning of the door not reopening meant like it was on a lockdown until morning. I had no idea the warning had a permanant meaning. If only there was a reset button to push.

I am so glad to see Andrea changed her mind..yes I too was shouting at the screen...Don't write her out of the show. We lost a few good characters and a few evil ones but I really liked Andrea...phew... her character survives!!

Great show and I'm glad you now officially call it a Recap.

consider Woah...The Fonz used it effectively. lol

Mike V. said...

@Candidate - WOAH is not bad! I think I even snuck in a "WOA" into there somewhere. But nothing really matches that W at the end of a WO! lol Yes, the Fonz used it well. But then there is Keanu and Joey Lawrence to consider too LOL Yeah, a Lori pregnancy would be interesting. Of course, now it would be a "Who is the father?" type of storyline. Yeah, love triangles really add the tension well when they're done right.

Nice on the graphic novels. I'm really considering getting them. I just have to get past the part where I'm reading comics! lol I really am failing on that encyclopedia front. I have loved it when I have picked it up, but it is not something I anxiously get home to read all of the time. But it definitely has some good information and it's a very pretty book, visually. And it's HUGE! I have heard that Lostpedia has found lots of errors in it so some fans are trying to dismiss it as "NOT AUTHENTIC" but it has a foreward (sp?) from Damon and Carlton saying they bless what is in it and that lots of the background information is from discussions in the writer's room. So I count it! For 25 bucks? Definitely worth the purchase to include with the rest of the LOST stuff. Now, I just need time to read more and write about it officially on the LOST blog. I know I've been slacking!
I'm hoping for bonus features on TWD Discs too!

I had no idea Jenners meant he was locking them in for good and for them to die either. I guess, in hindsight, we should have known that meant bad news!

Yeah, I was under the impression that Andrea was one of the main characters on this show.

Looking back, you can kind of see who they wrote deeper character stories for and who they didn't. Jacqui didn't get TOO much screen time which is why I cared more about Andrea when she said she was staying. We had more time to grow to know her and definitely glad she made it out that window!

Thanks for your comments as always Candidate!

MJ said...

Yeah - they were def shooting non-infected folks in that hsp. Interesting little twist they gave us on Shane.

I thought the same thing about the food, wine and hot water - they were not even pretending to conserve. Didn't know that the CDC was not in the original telling until reading an article on TV Guide.

I know that both Shane and Lori were dead wrong (sorry for the pun) but I see how it could happen. I can only imagine the total emotional devastation as you have to run and hide, have to take care of your son, have to assume your husband is dead. Alone and scared yourself and there's this person you've known forever. Everyone is doing things behaviorally to survive that they would not normally do, so I'm sure it's the same emotionally too. But is shouldnot be 'love' this quickly and Shane needs to back off now !

Wish they had told us how the brilliant Mrs Jenner got infected though.

And damn them for that whisper !!!

If I forget - have a great vaca and enjoy Harry Potter.

Damn I wish you watched Supernatural - it was fab on friday.

FYI - I think I saw on the tv that AMC will be airing all the Breaking Bads in order starting this week. I think once a week, 2 a night. If you have not seen this show I highly recommend it.

Mike V. said...

@MJ - Thanks for clarifying on the military folks. Yeah Kirkman did a weekly interview with and he talked about the CDC thing, so he probably brought it back up in the TV Guide article. I've been trying to get to it and just haven't had a chance!

Oh yeah...I agree on Shane and Lori...none of us can really identify with how we would act in a zombie apocalypse! And they're spending time with each other 24/7 for how ever many months. yeah...definitely possible. But it sure makes for some crazy situations! Agreed, Shane needs to back off but I'm not sure that is what they have in the cards!

I didn't even think about how Mrs. Jenner got infected. Guess she wasn't THAT brilliant :-)
I really wish I watched supernatural too...but there is just way too much to catch up on!!
Maybe one day. But I say that a lot!

Yeah, I saw and retweeted the Breaking Bad recommending to all. Really is a fantastic show!

Thanks for the well wishes on the trip! I plan to have a fantastic time!

Candidate said...

MJ good call on Breaking Bad. I saw that add during the finale and set my tivo. I've never seen BB so from the beginning is gonna be a real treat. I think 2 shows back to back weekly.
On the military shooting...I would also say that some of those people were non zombie's getting blown away. Some looked like hospital seemed there was more civilians than zombies getting shot. Not sure though...maybe I will rewatch that in slo-mo.

As Mike was saying Shane might not back-off. Remember that he had Rick in his sights with that "Look in the eye." guess we will have to wait for 8 or 9 months for season 2.

Mike V. said...

Enjoy BB Candidate. I watched over the summer and it quickly became one of my favorite shows. This has been a pretty long and agonizing wait for season 4! At least you'll be running right into it probably. And 2 shows at one time will be nice. I could never watch just one!

Yeah, I think this Rick/Lori/Shane stuff is far from over. But, it is interesting about all the speculations from the comic book on Shane's character. I don't want to get into it too much, but Kirkman keeps insisting that they may not always stick to the Comicbook plot when it comes to character arcs. I'll try to find those links to the EW and/or TV Guide interviews for anyone who wanted to read up more on it.

Mike V. said...

Here are the links. Sorry i didn't make them clickable. I am a little busy right now!

Bryan said...

Found this kinda funny... Comparison of the season finale of TWD and Lost's season 2:

TWD Finale = Lost Season 2

Mike V. said...

Yeah...that's pretty fantastic Bryan. LOL Just seeing those pictures from LOST is making me amped up for a Rewatch!!

Candidate said...

Bryan just checked out that page. Woa! lol just looking at that was so much fun..a great way to start the day. Mike I'm getting close to ready for a rewatch (Lost) maybe to celebrate netflix streaming it and thanks for posting those articles.

Mike V. said...

Candidate - Yeah I'm pretty excited about the Netflix streaming. They used to have seasons 1-5 on there but then took 1-4 off recently. Now they added them all back and put season 6 on there too! I know I have all of the blu-rays but having it on netflix is so convenient!

my flight tomorrow is going to have free wireless on it...if it lets me...maybe I'll swing some LOST episodes! My first plan is to try and download tonight's fringe to my phone to watch on the plane. We'll see if I can swing that! lol

Anonymous said...

I was watching Afterlife a while ago and decided to play around with my Google TV, that’s when I discovered The Walking Dead! This show is truly amazing and I’m glad I found it. Being that I am an employee and customer of DISH Network, I got the Logitech Revue with Google TV right when it was released. Now I can’t live without it. This episode was the best and I can’t wait until season two!

Mike V. said...

For anyone wanting to catch up, Netflix just got the rights to stream The Walking Dead! 6 episode first season and season 2 begins next Sunday!