There was a terrible moment during tonight’s episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead“. It was the moment during the previews for next week in which the voiceover said “…on the season finale of ‘The Walking Dead'”. This first season of the show about the end of humanity via zombie epidemic has been pretty captivating television. The best way I know to judge how great a show is that the hour sure seems to zip by, leaving me craving more.
The fifth episode, titled “Wildfire”, of this initial six episode season picked up after the midnight zombie attack on the survivor’s camp in the hills outside Atlanta. As Daryl walked from body to body, stabbing each corpse through the skull with his pickaxe, Andrea sat beside her sister Amy’s body. Now, I don’t know about you, but each second that passed had me on pins and needles. As we all know, when you are bitten by a zombie, it’s only a matter of time before you become a zombie and sister or not, you will want to eat her face off. Well, eventually, Amy did turn to a zombie. It was a fairly unique way for it to happen, as I expected her eyes to fly open and for her to immediately bite at Andrea. Instead, the transformation went slowly, as she struggled to breath, her eyes slowly opened, and then she began to bite at her sister. It was as if she had just woken up after a nap. Then, Andrea said a few words to her sister, held a gun to her head, and blew her brains out.
Yes, this show is definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s also not for the faint of stomach, as we were also treated to watching Carol bash in her dead husbands head with a pickaxe. It was one of the nastiest scenes I’ve seen and to one up that moment, the shock of discovering that Jim had been bitten during the zombie attack followed shortly thereafter. There is no doubt that many of these characters are not safe and could go at any time.
There are a few characters that are definitely safe, most notably Rick, Lori, Shane, and Carl. I’ve got a feeling that the four of them will be around for quite some time. If anything, the emerging power struggle between Rick and Shane needs to be explored further. After the attack and Jim’s bite, Rick suggests that the survivors head for the CDC in hopes of finding Jim some medical help. Shane wants to travel to an army base that is 100 miles from their camp and will require them to go through potentially dangerous zombie occupied territory. In an episode filled with interesting and intriguing moments, none were more intense than a walk that Rick and Shane took in the woods. After hearing a sound, the two of them split up to investigate and Shane trains the sights of his rifle on Rick. There is no doubt that he gave serious thoughts to shooting him, either to eliminate the threat to his leader role or to eliminate his competition with Amy. Really, it’s probably both. He was interrupted by Dale, who definitely noticed what Shane was doing.
Speaking of Dale, he has definitely become my favorite character on the show. He seems to have a fantastic little monologue to deliver in each episode. Right now, he is first on my list of Characters That Must Live.
It turns out that Rick was right about the CDC. There seems to be a scientist of some kind locked in the building, recording a webcam diary, as he does experiments on what might be zombie brains. This guy is definitely losing his noodle a bit, being trapped underground and all by himself for an undetermined amount of time.
Sadly, Rick was wrong about getting Jim help. After stopping for some repairs on Dale’s Winnebago, Jim tells Rick to leave him there. He sites the reason being that he wants to be with his family, who were killed and are now zombies wandering the countryside. So the survivors say goodbye to Jim and drive off, leaving him leaning under a tree on the side of the road. Mark my words: We’ll see Jim again, but sadly as a zombie.
Once the survivors arrive at the CDC, there is no doubt that there was some sort of large fight outside the facility. There are abandoned tanks and bodies strewn all over the ground, as the overwhelming buzz of flies swarms over them. The gang makes their way up to a locked door and panic ensues. Shane wants them to leave and head to the army base. Lori is asking Rick what to do. Daryl takes out a zombie with a shot from his crossbow. It was a seriously intense situation.
The unnamed scientist watches this hysteria on a security camera. As Rich bangs on the door screaming, “You’re killing us”, the scientist mutters, “Just go away.” He finally relents and the gate slowly opens, with a bright shining light falling on the survivors. Call me paranoid, but I get the feeling that light wasn’t signifying hope. I get the feeling that meeting up with scientists, especially one that just said he was thinking of blowing his own brains out, might be a bad idea. Let’s face it, this show isn’t about zombies, this show is about how human beings treat each other and when the chips are down, some people make bad decisions. Wonder if this show is going to show us the people that make the bad decisions?
So there is only one episode left. It’s great that we already know another season of “The Walking Dead” will be in store for us in 2011. The only question is how long are we going to have to wait and who won’t we see next season?