The sixth and final episode of the Walking Dead has come to a close. Took some time to actually get to start typing this out today as Comcast managed to lose my internet pretty much all day, along with the rest of the midwest. Add in decking the halls for a few hours, finishing up the tree, then cleaning up the mess in the process, the whole day was spent. (Would have been nice to know Comcast was to blame, as I spent a good two hours cursing bitterly that I would not be able to enter the Shuffle On zombie role contest once the show started. Luckily we got it back just before they stopped taking the code, which was NIGHTMARE today.)
But enough about us! On with the spoilers!
The opening was great! We got to see familiar scenes way back from the beginning of the series not so long ago, as well as seeing how the hospital ended up the way it did. The military killing any and all in a full blown slash and burn purge of any contamination was an interesting choice, albeit cliche, but still passable. Adding in gas masks made them jump for oppressive jar heads to full-on Umbrella Corp, but it was so brief in this scene it is of little consequence. This scene also had some strong vibes of the original Half-Life: harsh and dimwitted military willing to kill anything tied to a failed mission. Which provides a funny mental image…
I did enjoy seeing a military person shoot up the ceiling, which explains what caused the wires to sag as Rick walked past. (Not that I was wondering, but it was a cool detail to see.) This ‘death hall’ that Rick passed through so long ago (to us, anyway) has a feeling of Metal Gear Solid when Cyber Ninja was fully revealed to the player and Snake. Guards shooting randomly as they make a failed attempt not to get killed off. A genius commenter left this message on one of my posts that I thought I should bring up here:
“One idea I like, is that when Shane said the hospital was real bad when Rick regrouped with them; how would he know? Also, Rick living that long with no nurses helping him for up to that whole month is a stretch. …Unless Lori was holed up for a week or so at her house, Shane checked up on Rick and got him new fluids etc, then left him when zombies gained the upper hand, possibly blocking his door off with that gurney that Rick had to push out of the way.
Shane, in that scenario, would have known Rick to be alive when he last saw him, making the lie he told Lori still beneficial to her well being, but damning to Rick in more ways than one.”
Oh wait, that was me! Ha-HA! I am a mighty prognosticator of prognosticators, my friends! Ok, ok. Enough gloating. While not every letter was mirrored perfectly in the scene, I do take a level of satisfaction calling out several things on the dot. Shane was there, he did tell Lori Rick died to save her and Carl’s lives, and he put the gurney where Rick had to push it out of the way when he finally came to. Shane didn’t know that he was still alive, but at least he saved his friend from getting gnawed on.
The way they handled Shane this episode was for the most part flawless. He was a little crazy/rowdy when he first got there, and I can see him being pissy that Rick got his way, but that’s minor. Once alcohol and seeing him chug a bottle in the shower was shown, a confrontation with a drunken and scantily clad Lori was quite predictable. This too was handled well, showing Shane wanting what Rick has, showing he did want to keep them safe, and showing that he really did think Rick was dead, and being wrong about that is eating him up. Being drunk is a perfect excuse for him trying to get another shot at Lori, and allows him to be cast as the ‘poor guy’ next season. He did right, but it was taken away from him. I hope they leave the crazy out of him next season as it didn’t really fit and came across as forced every time it showed up. Shane and that shotgun of his. Oh, that rascal!
Seeing Rick drunk and candid was a surprise, and actually made me wonder if the CDC guy ran out of water to serve, turning the place into a Pirate ship. (Later we find out it was more of a last hurrah, of course.) Hearing Rick’s inner thoughts under the influence was a nice admission on his character’s part. He knows they will most likely die out there, but will not show any signs of weakness around his family and friends. He takes up that burden to save them even more grief; now that is a courageous thing to do. Again, this is how to properly show character traits without degrading them in the process (Andrea pointing a gun at Rick [twice], Shane doing the same, Rick nearly openly weeping to the surveillance camera, etc.).
Humor was present this episode, and gladly appreciated. The sense of dead-pan (no puns, no puns!) timing was pretty tight as well, either based on lights turning off or suggestions the audience at home knows that the characters to not. Saying the timer ticking down is when the plant is ‘decontaminated’ instantly brought back how the test chamber was explosively ‘decontaminated’ in the previous episode. This was of course then made blatantly obvious to the viewer at home after seeing about fifty different mechanical objects covered in the explosive logo in the basement section of the CDC building.
Andrea’s ‘infection’ hinted at in the previews last week are a clear example of how editors like to swing controversy into everything possible. (Just a minor note/gripe.) Daryle was once again the funny yet overly-aggressive everyday man this episode, and his line about wanting to use a fire axe on the CDC worker was a gem. Seeing him continue to beat on the door with the axe fruitlessly in the background also provoked a laugh out of me, but that could just be my sadistic tendencies surfacing.
The CDC guy was handled wonderfully, and this man has proved he has quite the acting chops. (Acting chops being a variant of Slap Chop, I presume?) He was scientific, but not cold. Calculated, yet emotional. Telling Rick everything is going to be ok was a heart-felt scene, a man that is reassuring a stranger he just met (a drunken one to boot) was a nice thing to say. But there is at the very least a hint of darkness there, as we know later on they were all scheduled to die within 24 hours when the timer finished counting down. I felt for him, especially after finding out it was his wife that was the person seeing get turned into a zombie, that he put her down, and that she was the source of the flesh he was testing on. He also turned into GLaDOS at the end when he warned Rick of what was to come next.
“Are you trying to escape? Hahaha. Things have changed since the last time you left the building. What’s going on out there will make you wish you were back in here. I have an infinite capacity for knowledge and even I’m not sure what’s going on outside. All I know is I’m the only thing standing between us and them.
Well, I was.”
I think the only real negative thing, at least the most negative scene I can comment on this episode, was showing everyone showering. I just do not find this to be that big of a draw. We saw Rick, Morgan, and Duane all showering in the first episode. Was it merely a throwback to that setting, as the beginning of this episode did as well? Nothing was really revealed, other than seeing Shane booze-out, which made me both chuckle at his current state, while wag my finger at him for watering down perfectly good spirits. Seeing people shower didn’t really show anything new, it did not reveal character details we did not already know, and I thought the idea of showering was handled enough back in the first episode. I dunno. Could just be me. Gamer’s are not exactly known for our hygiene, after all…
Killing off the black chick this episode was a bit…I don’t want to say “nice,” but it was at least a sign of atonement for Jim. Also she apparently is connected to T-dog? Never really explained that. (Dale wanted Andrea to come with him as well, but they aren’t dating yet, so can’t really use that a comparison.) The Misses told me she’d probably prefer to go out that way as well in a zombie situation, but I disagree to a point. Willingly letting yourself get blow’d up should only even be considered when there are no other alternatives. They had plenty of ammo, hell they made their own way out. (Though that nade should have done a lot more than just merely shatter glass, in my opinion.) If the horde was rushing them and they had only the option of “die fast, fairly painlessly” or “die extremely painfully due to nom-age and then turn into one of them” I’d probably opt for the first one.
Hearing Mr. CDC calmly describe how fast and painless it would be was pretty neat as well. Locking them in was a little bit forced, though. If they could not get out up top, why arbitrarily lock them in downstairs as well? Why not promote the idea of them going to bed and waiting? Why lock them in at all if you *know* there is no way out? To funnel the drama into one room and make actors say their lines, of course. Minor gripe, though the Misses caught me by surprise again:
“If it self-destructed because it ran out of fuel…why not let them out to get more gas?”
Well, dang. First with Merle’s rusted pipe versus his hand, now this. You win again, superior logic! Formidable opponent, indeed.
In terms of episodes…I’d have to say this was a close second to Vatos. Vatos, this, first, third, second. That’s my order. Great show, great season (barring few annoyances/conflicting ideas in the script), and can’t wait until next. I should probably do an over-all review of this season as a whole, but that will have to wait (till probably this Sunday). Thanks for readin’, yall!