(Post by nerdbastards contributor Nick Bungay- Twitter @NickBungay)
Here we are at the finish line of AMC’s The Walking Dead. With bodies everywhere, friends lost and relationships in ruin can “TS-19” be our group’s hope for a possible cure. Let’s dive into this season finale with a recap & review.
A flashback of the day the zombies took over started our finale. With Shane trying to rescue the comatose Rick from the hospital while the military shoot innocent civilians. Showing a sense of compassion for Rick he tried to move him, only to remember he was hooked up to machines that are keeping him alive. Having no other alternative Shane had to leave Rick behind, but not before leaving a hospital bed to block his door. Panning towards the bed we reach into our final episode of the season for The Walking Dead.
Back to our current date, Rick and company have seemingly met their salvation at the CDC (center for disease control). Upon meeting Dr. Edmond Jenner they learn a blood test is the cost of admission. Grabbing what they can before the doors are shut they agree. We learn that Rick and company have reached ‘Zone 5’, a voice activated command center and their new home.
The gang is greeted to a dinner, a real dinner featuring whine and some hearty food. A good time is shared, but the joy ends when they learn the fate of what happened to everyone at the CDC. Dr. Jenner explained that people either left to be with their families or “opted out”, killing themselves rather than face reality. After a nice shower a slightly intoxicated Rick speaks to Jenner about the outside, thanking him for letting them inside, but also warning him about what could have been. The Lori and Shane issues finally come to a head with Shane trying to tell Lori about what happened at the hospital. Trying to force himself upon Lori in his drunken state only to be rejected he angrily leaves the room.
The next morning Rick meets everyone in Zone 5’s cafeteria, with a very hungover Glenn wanting to “never drink again”. As Dr.Jenner meets everyone at the table they get straight down to business. Heading to the main control room of zone 5 the group watches a playback of “TS-19”. A subject who was bitten, infected and volunteered himself to be a subject of Dr. Jenner’s research. Showing the stages of infection right up to death showing the survivors that the brain “restarts” after death, a shell of what the person use to be. Questioning the possibility of other survivors Dr. Jenner can’t give them a clear answer on the subject. Dale points out a clock on the wall counting down to zero and asks about it’s purpose. When the clock reaches zero the facility becomes “decontaminated” and we all know that doesn’t mean they get a bath.
Rick, Shane , Glenn and T-Dog head to the basement to find the source the fuel powering the building, finding they’re running on one barrel of gasoline. A casually dressed Jenner reminisces on what’s going on as Zone 5 begins to shut down. Trying to escape Jenner locks everyone inside and begins to record the final minutes. The good Doctor finally shows his true colors about what will happen to the base, a two stage bomb that will blow the building apart.
With death only minutes away the group begins hacking away at a door that can withstand a rocket launcher. The Doctor begins to twist everyone against each other telling them that this way is better for everyone. Shane wants no part of it and begins to shoot at the equipment in the building, until Rick intervenes and stops him. Rick confronts Edmond about his hope for the future and how all they want is a chance. Edmond recalling a promise to his wife, who he revealed earlier was in fact TS-19 opens the door and gives everyone the chance to escape. Before leaving Jenner whispers something into Rick’s ear, the audio unable to be heard.
Jacqui and Andrea decide to stay behind, along with Dale, showing his love for her. Deciding life is better Dale and Andrea make a break for the others outside. Trying to break the glass to the outside Rick uses the grenade he picked up in episode two, blowing the glass apart and heading for freedom. Only feet away the building erupts in a firestorm but not before Dale and Andrea make it to safety. With no other option the convoy of vehicles head out into the great undead unknown.
As far as season finales go, “TS-19” was a compelling hour filled with brilliant character work. It was tough watching these characters enjoy small comforts of their old life — hot showers, red wine, pajamas, beds— only to have hope ripped away from their hands moments later with the threat of being set a flame.
Regardless all I can say is “Yawn”. Yes, there was some action and some good character progression, but this episode didn’t feel like a finale. Oh, and what about all the plot threads that have been left hanging? Like Merle, for instance; where is he? And while Shane’s relationship with Lori progressed to a darker path, there wasn’t a serious confrontation between him and Rick, as there is at the end of the first arc of the “Walking Dead” comics.
All this episode did was make people ask “is this really how you want to go out?” If I was the wife of this episode I’d tell it to turn around and put some action on. This was actually a weak way to end what could have been an outstanding season. The Walking Dead “TS-19” was a solid 7 out of 10, a great opening but finished off weak. Hopefully season two brings it’s A game to the table or else their already dead on their feet.
Tell us what you thought of the season finale of “The Walking Dead” in the comment section.