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'The Walking Dead' Season 1, Episode 6 (Season Finale) Recap (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 6th 2010 8:50AM

'The Walking Dead' - 'TS-19'['The Walking Dead' - 'TS-19' Recap]

In fiction, a bright light often signifies hope, or the coming of some greatness. It can also mean the end of one's life, perhaps the light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. For the survivors of the outbreak of the dead, Jenner's light at the CDC meant both of those things.

It also shined brightly upon them, asking them to question their drive and motivation. Their very will to live in such a world.

In a dramatic departure from the source material, 'The Walking Dead' did a fantastic job of setting us up for the remainder of this story by stripping these characters down to their emotional cores to see what they're made of. It's what they faced inside themselves here that will speak to how they can face the world out there.

It also, at least temporarily, created a bond of survival and will among this disparate group that they will need if they are to persevere and forge ahead. And all because one lonely and frightened scientist had himself given up all hope. Why else did Jenner even let them into the facility if he knew it was less than a day away from the decontamination that would kill them all?

Perhaps, after all that time alone, he truly felt he'd be doing them a favor by offering them a painless death. But what he failed to do was offer them a choice. He'd made his and was at peace with it, but just as he almost denied them sanctuary, he nearly denied them even the choice of the quiet death (so to speak) he offered, or a slim chance of freedom.

Jenner had been strong and hung in there after the loss of his wife, the woman who once ran that CDC facility, and who would go on to become "Test Subject 19." His despair mirrored that felt by Andrea over the loss of her sister. And so it was unsurprising that she lapsed into that state of abject misery he seemed to be infecting everyone with. Only Dale's loyalty forced her to follow the others to freedom. Jacqui, it would seem, had no such advocate. I wonder how that felt, seeing Dale fight for Andrea to find the will to go on, while just letting her sit there, completely ignored.

That freedom Dale argued for wouldn't have come at all had Carol not found, and hung onto, the grenade that Rick had on him when he first joined the camp. A little bit of hope and luck, and some well-handled zombie hacking, maybe there's something better out there. Perhaps there are more like Jenner, still fighting for a cure. Maybe they can still find Morgan and Duane on the road and we'll make our way to somewhere safe to hole up for awhile. Somewhere like a prison, perhaps. Somewhere they can rebuild lost hope.

Whether the series goes back to the comic books source for plot direction -- and I suspect it will, as we already know some key characters like Michonne and Tyreese are upcoming -- or it heads in a wholly new direction, I am completely confident that the beautiful quality and complexity of these first six episodes will be intact. And with thirteen episodes in next year's Season 2, there will be time to let some of them stretch and breathe.

This finale was framed very much like a potential series finale. Obviously, they had no idea how this would play to US audiences, so they gave us a finale that would be emotionally satisfying, and it was. We got to see everyone share those brief glimpses of normalcy with over-drinking, clean showers and even a library.

It wasn't a coincidence, I'm sure, that Lori was holding the book 'Reasonable Doubt' when she and Shane finally addressed what she'd been feeling since Rick came back. She was convinced that Shane had abandoned him, and I guess the producers wanted to make sure we knew that Shane had done no such thing. He'd been afraid to unhook Rick from the machines as the zombies began to overrun the hospital, but you could see the anguish on his face as he left his friend. It also looks like he may have truly believed he was dead; he at least told Lori that, and we did see him listen for a heartbeat.

It doesn't forgive his subsequent attempt to sexually assault her, but we at least see some depth to his motives. He's probably been in love with her for a long time -- we still don't know if they were intimate prior to Rick getting shot in the premiere -- and at least for a while, she reciprocated. Then, for her to feel he lied and betrayed her when it's such a wrong accusation for what he truly did for her; it would be a difficult thing for anyone to sit on, much less someone with Shane's unpredictable temperament.

It created a poignant reminder for us, as well, of the very real danger they're facing. When Rick came to bed that night, in a moment of blind optimism, he told his wife, "We don't have to be afraid anymore. We're safe here." At that moment, with the feeling of her nails in Shane's face still fresh, safe was probably the last thing Lori felt. And now they're back on the road and there Shane will be, and all that baggage. We saw it with Ed and with Merle. Their own worst enemies could well be themselves.

We are petty and ugly creatures at times. The zombies, as Jenner pointed out, are little more than instinct and enough brain function to move around. In that regard, they can be forgiven their actions. What are our excuses?

'The Walking Dead' airs Sundays, 10PM ET on AMC.

[Follow Jason @ultraversion21 on Twitter.]

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Did anyone else distinctly hear helicopter rotor blades at the end of episode six, just before Bob Dylan started playing?

Listen to it again, I've heard a chopper or two in my life, and that sounded a lot like a helicopter...

December 11 2010 at 12:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The wife is almost certainly pregnant. Women don't puke on tv unless they are preggers 99.9% of the time.

Also, how long does anyone think Carl has? He definitely has to go... it's Walt all over again. They can't have 6 or 13 episodes per year, which cover a week or two, and have the kid grow by a year between the shows... just won't work... he'll be zombie food in no time.

December 07 2010 at 2:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment

Rick's wife isn't the one who threw up. That was Andrea, the one who just lost her sister.

December 07 2010 at 9:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show has been so predictable so far, I'm with the wife's pregnant theory.

December 06 2010 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jenner's whisper to Rick (and why was it Rick he whispered to?):

It wouldn't surprise me if Darabont and Kirkman themselves at present have not decided what Jenner whispered. They may be considering a couple of possibilities, which they will pick when they convene to map out the second season.

December 06 2010 at 9:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've enjoyed reading your reviews of this terrific show as well as the comments by others.In the flashback to the hospital I am surprised that the soldier who looked in Rick's room did not shoot him.I'm guessing that either the soldiers had orders to kill not only the zombies but anyone they suspected might be infected,or they were in a panic & firing at anyone who wasn't one of them.When Andrea was throwing up at the CDC it made me wonder if she was pregnant? Could that have been what Jenner whispered to Rick?If that was gasoline in those drums powering the CDC,why didn't they scout for more gas to replenish the CDC generators? It will be a long wait until the second season for me.

December 06 2010 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have it on good authority that Jenner whispered the following in Rick's ear:

up down up down left right left right b a select start.

December 06 2010 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to J's comment
Jason Hughes

That should keep them alive a LOT longer if he did!

December 06 2010 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You really think FB is running, and if so they want special effects? LOL

December 07 2010 at 6:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode did answer some of my questions that I had about the show. Mainly if the epidemic was worldwide or just in the US or even just in the Atlanta area. The CDC seemed just as vulnerable in the end as the rest of the world.

I thought overall this was a great episode. I am not sure what Jenner whispered, but it didn't seem to destroy Rick, so maybe it is that his wife is pregnant. You would think that if it was about Rick not being his sons father, that would have slowed his desire to live. He may have not fought so much to get out of the CDC.

Considering that this could have been the series finale, I would have liked them to have clues on how the epidemic all started. We (I) still have no idea on what or who caused it (I am not reading the graphic comic book series). Also, it would be hard to believe that the 20 people or so we have seen in the Atlanta area are the only survivors.

Finally, I am still thinking that their was a helicopter in the first episode. Will they ever touch on that?

December 06 2010 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to noraf's comment

The end of the six episodes was the quintessential Zombie Movie ending. Zombie movies don't end tied up in a bow, they end with uncertainty. Even 28 Days Later was originally with the Zombie Movie ending. Cillian Murphy dies in an abandoned hospital and the two women go off with loaded SA80s, still wearing the frilly dresses they were forced into. That's the zombie movie ending.

I am surprised that anyone could consider the chopper imagination on Rick's part. I certainly never thought it. Rick was too grounded then to imagine it. It's a teaser to other things. To what I don't know, because there's never been a chopper in the books. Perhaps a nod to the DoD's as both have a chopper in them. It was certainly decent motivation for Rick to bring them all into the city. That chopper meant something was still functioning, to him at least. I'm surprised he didn't use it as an argument when he was pitching for the CDC in the first place.

December 06 2010 at 9:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Go listen again to the audio at the end of the last episode.

Just between the last crash of the CDC exploding, and the first strains of Bob Dylan, you get about 10 seconds worth of sound. There are 2 seperate sounds there. 1 is a crackling fire, and the second is, unmistakably, the sound of rotor blades (try listening with headphones on, that's how I heard it the first time, since you get the fire in one ear and the chopper blades in the other.)

Now, it could just be that, for some reason, they used the sound of rotors as part of the sound effects for the CDC explosion, but I've heard a lot of helicopters in my time, and that sound is unmistakable.

December 11 2010 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

..or Jenner told Rick that his wife is pregnant

December 06 2010 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to nick's comment

Bingo! That has to be it, nothing else makes any sense.

December 06 2010 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really hope it's none of that melodramatic shit. I am guessing it's that Jenner saw Shane assault his wife on a monitor and was letting Rick know what was up.

December 06 2010 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Locutus Zero

I think Jenner's whisper has to do with the blood tests. The blood test scene never went anywhere, so I'm thinking it was to set up the whisper. My best guess is that Rick's son is not his son.

December 06 2010 at 9:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm very curious what Jenner whispered in Rick's ear. A great episode!

December 06 2010 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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