I thought with Lost being over, I wouldn’t get the chance to experience a classic penultimate set-up episodes. This isn’t a criticism, setup episodes are usually pretty decent; just not much really happens – and that was the case last night with Wildfire, the fifth and second last episode of the Walking Dead this season.
It’ll be interesting to see how Wildfire holds up against more episodes in the future, but even though not much really went down, there were a lot of great scenes last night – which goes to show that if they dispense with action for a week, they make up for it with great character scenes.
Poor Jim, he’s been having a rough week. It took almost no time for Jacqui to notice he was bleeding, and even less time for her to Narc on him – don’t get me wrong, I would have done it too. Within seconds he was surrounded and he lifted up his shirt to reveal a nice clean chomp in his stomach.
Darryl went around pick-axing the heads of anything on the ground, barely hiding his glee, lamenting how they deserved this for what was done to Merle. Carol wanted to take care of Ed “I’ll do Ed, he’s my husband” and Darryl gave her the pickax. Watching Carol go to town on Ed’s head was one of the most satisfying moments of the season, she chopped away at his skull like a rotting melon. I giggled when the blood and brains hit the camera.
As much as I enjoyed Carol disposing of Ed, I agonized watching Andrea with Amy. It was some of the most gut-wrenching stuff I’d ever seen. Andrea stood vigil over her sister, and told Dale how she was never really there for Amy, Dale told Andrea how since his wife passed, they were the only people he cared for – love connection brewing? Anyways Andrea sat by her sister’s corpse waiting for her chance to say goodbye. I agree with Darryl about dispensing with the dead quick, but what is one walker really going to do…
Soon we heard shallow gasps coming from Amy, her arms and fingers started to move and then her eyes opened – her dead, glassy, vacant eyes (seriously good job makeup/effects team!). Andrea looked into her sister’s nasty zombie eyes and apologized for never being there. Amy sniffed and investigated the sobbing Andrea like a baby animal for a few moments before Andrea pulled her close into a hug and blew her brains out.
The rest of the episode focused on body disposal and making their next move, although the latter was merely a back drop to highlight the Rick-Lori-Shane awkward love triangle. Rick wants to go to the CDC which is on the outskirts of Atlanta, Shane wants to go in the other direction to an army base. Lori sided with Rich to piss off Shane, who then also sided with Rick to throw off Lori, it was all very calculating and weird and culminated with Shane contemplating murdering an unsuspecting Rick while on patrol. He probably would have too if Dale hadn’t come along. Shane isn’t handling the crumbling of his cute little post-apocalyptic suburban fantasy well is he?
The plan is set, they’re going to try to go to the CDC, but before they leave, Rick has to speak to his Boyfriend Morgan on the dream phone. Fine – maybe not exactly that, but it’s odd to me how much faith Shane put in Morgan being alive and listening. The dude had the chance to come with you, he chose not to, and now you wake up every morning to talk to him at Dawn. I got it at first, the dude saved your life, taught you the ways of the zombie world, but I think with giving him the guns, you’re even, the dawn walkie dates is overboard.
Here was also when the Morales family disbanded from the group to seek out their kin in another state. Frankly, if it were my family Rick was constantly putting in danger, I might wanna split off and leave too. Sophia saying goodbye to Eliza was actually really touching and cute.
So the caravan drove to the CDC, the music was intense and ominous, and it was right here where the parallels to Lost’s penultimate set-up episodes became very clear. At the close of every season, as it winds down, the castaways would make a trek across the island to some important location where the finale action will take place, this was the exact same thing, and believe it or not, it evoked the same emotional reaction. This is the end people…
Jim had been going through the transformation, dipping in and out of lucidity, bones feel like glass, it looked like hell. When the RV temporarily broke down, he’d had enough and requested to be left on the side of the road. People said their goodbye’s, it was pretty rough… as sure sign that the road ahead on the walking dead will be paved with it’s characters blood. Jeryl Prescott (Jacqui) was especially great in this scene, her breaking down in the doorway of the RV was heart-wrenching, an original character of the TV series (i.e. not in the comics; like the Dixons) I hope she sticks around for a while.
When we came back from the next commercial, we were inside the CDC with Noah Emmerich from the Truman Show, doing his best video diary crazy. We finally got a little time context, 194 days since Wildfire (most likely the outbreak) and 63 days since it went global. We also saw a lab accident that destroyed the best sample of Ts-19 (also the title of next week’s finale), apparently a real tragedy, as the good CDC doctor had been on the verge of a cure. All that combined with roughly 3 months of isolation was enough to have him declare “I think tomorrow I’m gonna blow my brains out… hard to decide… but tonight, I’m getting drunk”
Soon the gang arrived at the CDC and made their way through the maze of rotting corpses to the doors. It looked abandoned. They were screwed. But from the inside the drunk doctor saw them and wouldn’t let them in. The dead started to stagger towards the group and Rick pounded on the door screaming
“YOU’RE KILLING US”. I honestly thought he wasn’t gonna let them in. But in the final moments of the episode, the door opened and an almost god like bright light emanated from inside. They were saved.
Normally I’m able to go on for another thousand words, So I’d have to say this was probably the weakest entry yet, but still better than most TV has to offer. I have a feeling next week will be a huge bat-shit crazy blood finale. I hope so.
What did you guys think of “Wildfire” ?, season’s weakest or future gem?