Posted on December 11, 2010 by Eric Pollarine
After the other reviews, I don’t really have much to say concerning this episode of AMC’s, The Walking Dead. In fact, I don’t know how much more I can say, which brings me at a place that I never thought I could really be. A place where zombies, walkers, shamblers, runners, etc, etc have sufficiently taken their toll on my psyche.
I know, I know-you’re thinking, “Surely Eric, you jest.”
I can assure you that I don’t, and to prove my point, well, OK, not so much to prove my point but more to keep these posts going, I will explain why. Also I may have signed a contract while drugged, you never know about such things, as they are (contracts and random druggings) arcane in nature.
But maybe I can spin this feeling, maybe I can sit down to write the shit out of this piece and make it happen on the screen. No, I know, I sincerely doubt it too. But let’s have a go at it. Because I’m tired and tonight is the season finale of The Walking Dead, and I know that Rick and Lori, Shane and Andrea, Glenn and Daryl are all tired too.
Caution: PLOT SPOILER, though you’ve probably already seen the episode by now.
After the events in episode four “Vatos,” the group are burying their dead in the holes that lovably weird mechanic Jim has previously dug. Andrea’s sister, Amy(see previous reviews/episodes) was killed in the walker attack along with several others in the group, and she, Andrea, not so quietly mourns the death of her baby sister.
As the group dispose of the decaying bodies’ tension arises over what they should do about Andrea and Amy. Daryl begins yelling about burning the bodies, Glenn insists they bury them, and Rick gets a gun pulled on him when he attempts to talk to Andrea about Amy’s body. Queue very, very tense scene. After Andrea puts a bullet through her little sisters head and buries her body with the mermaid necklace that she stole from the department store where they first encountered Rick, Rick then proposes that they should go to the CDC center in, of all places, outside of Atlanta.
Shane however does not support his former partner’s decision and try’s to plead with Lori, Ricks wife and his now former lover, to see things his way. Tension further rises among the two friends while out on a patrol of the surrounding area, Shane tries to talk to Rick about his idea and nearly shoots his “best friend,” in the back with one of the shotguns that Rick risked his life to get. The group calls a vote, one family decides to risk it on their own and head out to Birmingham, Alabama while the rest, including Shane, follow Rick’s hunch that the CDC might have survived the fall of civilization.
Cut to the CDC, where a lone scientist is working on his only sample of the “walker,” virus in the abandoned or purposefully locked down complex, he drops some form of acidic substance on the sample, which destroys the tissue, along with the only possible hope of finding a cure. He then contemplates suicide.
The group rolls out, and during the trip, the infected Jim pleads to be let free, and be with his family. They move on again once they say goodbye, only to find that the area around the CDC is more of a wasteland than they had expected to find with bodies, both reanimated and lying still stacked up and piling around every corner.
The group begins to realize that the building might be abandoned, or completely lost moments before scores of zombies begin to zero in on their position. With more and more walkers approaching as every second ticks by, the group become disillusioned with the idea that there could possibly be any reason to stick around while they wait for thousands of zombies to eat them. Rick notices a security camera move and jumps out of Shane’s grasp, runs to the camera and pleads for the groups life.
The episode ends with the doors of the CDC opening like the gates of heaven, revealing a blinding white light.
This episode delivers on all fronts, don’t get me wrong, every episode of this series has delivered. But this one left me feeling tired. It could also be the fact that I have been scrambling to get these reviews done the night of the series finale. So I have no one to blame but myself in the matter. However I also think that it was the intention of the writers, producers and director of the show to make this episode feel tired, to feel worn down. The group’s been through so much in the last four episodes that this was like the eye of the storm, the quiet moment of a book or movie that then signals the beginning of the next part. In short this episode this episode tied up some loose ends. And I could feel it. It didn’t have any less meaning or punch, but it was clearly the “segue,” episode. Which is fine because I want the season finale to be the big moment, it would be more of a disappointment, and also a disservice to the story itself if this episode would have been filled with more than just making amends.
So maybe it’s not me after all that’s tired with zombidom, maybe everyone, even the walking dead, need a break every now and then? It would stand to reason that you can not have a “Wildfire,” without a spark and a spark without oxygen, and this episode was clearly the breath of fresh air that was needed before the big bang.
Review by Eric Pollarine