45 min., 2010
Written by Adam Fierro/Frank Darabont
Directed by Guy Ferland
My rating: ★★★★★
TS-19–It’s not a new game system or a boy band…I promise.
* * *
Sheriff Rick Grimes wakes from a coma and struggles to find his family and any survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie infested world. He attempts to lead his family and survivors to the CDC in search of a cure.
The following review is rated SIN (Severely Impressed Negro). It contains an actual coherent story line, a seasoned actor, and overall general kickassishness. View discretion is NOT recommended.
Ok, let’s get down to it people. When we last left Rick and company they were begging to be let into the CDC to have the doors open and the light shining on the them all close encounters of the whatever kind. Dr. Jenner, whom we got glimpses of in episode 5, is played by Noah Emmerich is one in a long list of actors on this show that have been able to be fully immersed in character. This, despite the fact, that he has all but one full episode to truly let you in to who he is what his role is at the CDC and give you an intimate glimpse into his life in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. I for one am proud to say he does it seamlessly and without missing a single beat.
Anywhore, back to the review. After Jenner lets them in, blood tests them, and everyone comes back clear, they proceed into his underground lair. Mwah ha ha haaaa. Just kidding people, the facility is underground and though it would have been interesting to see the story line play out where he only let them in so he would have fresh test subjects, this does not turn out to be the mad scientist episode. They get a tour of the very nice underground digs but only after he explains to them that he is the last researcher there due to deserters and mass suicides. We get this tidbit of information when after days of them surviving on no food, Jenner sets out a spread for them including wine and Shane goes to ruin to occasion by grilling Jenner on why he is the only one that stayed behind. Long faced, everyone is ready to call it a night until Jenner advises them that there is hot water and showers. From then on, it seems like everyone is able to enjoy themselves. The kids play board games, Carol finds a library full of books, Darryl gets alcohol, Rick and Lori finally get some alone time, while Shane sulks in the shower cradling a bottle of Wild Turkey. Everyone seems to be settling in just fine until for the second time this evening, Shane corners Lori in the rec room and drunkenly pleads with her not to do him this way. This is all, of course, before the attempted date rape. You know, I don’t know if you can actually call it date rape since she did dump his ass the second Rick waltzed into camp. In any case, it all ends with some pretty deep scratches to the neck. A drunken Rick in the meantime is confiding in Jenner how he thought it was only a matter of time before everyone he loved was dead. He continues professing his undying thanks then passes out next to a traumatized Lori.
The morning after Jenner has the computer give a little visual demonstration of the before and after on subject TS-19. There is a very eloquent speech in here by Jenner talking about the brain and how it makes up who we are. The visuals after are of a zombiefied brain showing no activity other than basic movement. Ending this little slide show was a bullet to TS-19’s brain. Dale notices a timer on the wall, which turns out to be almost a doomsday clock. Turns out the facility is counting down to total power failure at which time in order to kill the viruses contained there it will be blown to smithereens. Jenner locks every in and waits for the clock to count down to their overall destruction. When he claims this is for their own good and it saves them from the eventuality of being gruesomely killed or turned into zombies, Andrea and Jacqui opt to stay behind while Jenner agrees to let everyone else go. Dale decides to stay behind with Andrea triggering her to choose life and they both flee the facility moments before it goes up in a mushroom cloud of destruction. So, it looks like it’s back on the road again for Rick and the camp, less one camp member and a helluvalot worse for wear.
I’m going to say that this episode and the first episode are by far my favorites. They captured what the show is truly about, at least for me. This show walks a very narrow line between drama and horror. One would normally call this suspense, but I can’t quite give it that classification. I’m tempted to call it survival horror, but it really seems to me like they’re not trying to survive. It honestly seems like their trying to live. I don’t mean simply exist or maintain a heartbeat. I mean truly live, as in find joy, comfort, strive for normalcy, nurture friendships, hell even properly parent a child. While it may seem the main threat to this are the zombies they can typically be dealt with via a bullet to the brain. It would seems the more direct threat to their strive for life are the other thinking, breathing people around them. Shane’s resentment poses more of a threat than anything if you couple that with Darryl’s volatile nature, Rick’s need to appease everyone, Lori’s skepticisms, and the children’s need to make a show for their parents of being ok. Everyone seems to be walking on eggshells and the realization is that they have to. This isn’t the world they once knew where an argument and letting things cool off for a few days can’t really be a plan of action. They have to stick together and watch each other’s backs. Knowing these insecurities are directly below the surface and having to share such close quarters, it’s a powder they all know they can’t let explode. Jenner not only gave them food and shelter, he offered them a sense of normality again and to have that stripped away was I think the most painful thing they had to endure this season. Seeing as this is the finale for season 1, I thought would just lay it plain for you as a lot of you already know season 2 has already started and is already at their 7th episode. This show is taking a brief hiatus and then coming back in February.
I am a guest reviewer and as such I can’t commit to or promise to bring you more review in the future. Oh come now, don’t be that way. Its not like its somebody else baby. Honestly it’s me, not you. It was fun while it lasted though right? Don’t give me that look. Sigh…OK, OK. Here’s a compromise. If they’re willing to have me back to do season 2, then we can talk and feel things out and see how it goes from there. No promises and no expectations.We can just keep it light and try to have fun with it. Daddy needs his freedom. In the meantime, may all your films bring fright. It’s been an honor and pleasure and I hope to read from you guys real soon.Have You Read...?