Whew…. we call all breathe a little easier now that The Walking Dead has finished it’s first season. It was by no means the most exciting finale, in fact despite the presence of a large BANG; season 1 went out with more a whimper. It was a smaller more self contained introspective episode.Taking the people away from the danger for a moment, letting them relax was another great way to explore our characters in another environment. Like last week there isn’t exactly much to say in terms of deep analysis but I do have a few notes.
At least he tried… – I think it was pretty much public consensus that we thought Shane lied to Lori in saying Rick was dead. The opening of the finale gave us a flashback to Shane amidst the outbreak in the hospital trying to save Rick – he tried to carry him, he listened to his chest, he blocked him in when he couldn’t save him. I think we can all agree that Shane tried to save Rick – which is nice because after what happened later; we could use a reason to like him. It was a tense scene and Bernthal sold every second of it.
Drunky Brewster – The best scene of the night was the wine drinking in the CDC. It was a very AMC scene, the kind that resonates in an episode of Breaking Bad or Mad Men. I also was a fan of the focus shifting to Carl for a moment, until now he’s been mostly a prop. But more entertaining than the drinking itself was what happened after…
Insane in the Membrane – Unlike its source material we went to the history of the outbreak from Dr. Jenner’s perspective. His story – his tragic story and then we witnessed the transformation of a brain from living to geek, along with helpful Jenner narration. It was insanely cool – until we found out TS-19 was his wife, a brilliant doctor who worked alongside him at the CDC.
Shower Time – There was a montage of the main characters in their first hot showers in a long time. Glenn and T-Dog were all praise, Lori and Rick were all steam; Andrea was sobbing on the floor and Shane was seething with rage with his bottle in hand. It was another nice window into our characters – we’re at our most personal in the shower.
In-shane in the membrane – Shane used his shower time to get drunker which led to a confrontation in the rec room with Lori, where he told her the circumstances of what we saw earlier in the hospital and when she rebuffed his advances – he got a little violent. And Lori got violent back, grabbing and digging her nails into his neck – Carol she is not. I don’t think Shane would have went there – at least not yet. But if Rick’s happy family is rubbed in his face for a while longer I see it happening.
There Will Be (a little) Blood – I knew there was going to be some blood spilt in “TS-19” but I was really hoping to see some zombie killing violence. In the end asides from Dr. Jenner, we lost Jacqui played by Jeryl Prescott Sales (left). I liked Jacqui, and her decision to stay behind in the CDC as it self destructed made perfect sense to me, “the air would be set on fire” there would be no pain and you could tell as they panned and cut from survivor to survivor everyone of them at least considered it for a minute. T-Dog’s face as she said good bye was perfect.
Andrea and Dale – Do I get the sense of a romance blooming? I do! Andrea decided to stay like Jacqui in the CDC and Dale had none of it. Dale had said before that Amy and Andrea were the only people he cared for after his wife died, so he stayed put with Andrea in the CDC. This moment provided Jeffrey DeMunn with his second chance to bust his acting chops this season (the other was Faulkner by the Fire); it was a great moment.
Lost in Translation ending – The stand-off inside the CDC with the impending blast was maddeningly intense. Even though we know that all our characters weren’t going to get blown up – watching the pleas for life just wash over a stoic Jenner’s face drove me crazy. In the end he opened it and let the people escape – but before he did he whispered a secret in Rick’s ear. Wonder how long we’ll have to wait till we figure out what that was.
Grenade – And when they went upstairs there still stood some pretty durable glass – bulletproof, axe proof, general mischief proof – DURABLE! What it can’t stand up against is a grenade. More specifically; the lone old school grenade that Rick picked up in episode 2 (I had totally forgotten about the grenade). At a time when it was needed most, Carol presented Rick with his grenade and therefore a way out of the fortress like CDC. Rick’s face lighting up was kind of exhilarating and soon they were out filing into their caravan. And with a few seconds left, Dale and Andrea jumped out the blast window too and the CDC was blown to bits.
It was a solid ending had it been cancelled after this season, it’s similar to SOA’s ending minus the catharsis, we are free to start next season with fresh hearts and minds.
So now that the first season is complete lets take a moment to think back and remember the people we’ve lost – kind of like the Survivor finale walk through the field of extinguished torches.
Well that’s it for this brilliant but ultimately too short first season – we lost a few good men and women but if you’re like me and comic book creator Robert Kirkman – you wished it was more…
ALSO! A huge big ups to Season one MVP – Daryl Dixon played by Norman Reedus. He is hands down the person you’d want by your side in the Zombiepocalypse, he’s funny and dangerous and quite possibly the greatest addition to source material Darabont has ever done (He’s famous for it – the music scene in Shawshank is the best example). Here’s hoping Reedus gets hired full time for next season.
What did you guys think about the finale? Did you also wish it had more bang for it’s buck or were you satisfied with the theatrics?
See you next season!