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There’s a Girl in the Garden.

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…

Warden Freeman. The 'Walker' Atlanta Ranger.

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.”

-Encrazed Crafts

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.”

-GLADoS

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!

6 responses »

  1. I have to disagree with you about Shane in the season finale. I don’t care how much alcohol’s in one’s system, attempted rape is just wrong. I see him going off the deep end – trying to rape Lori is just an overt representation. Although I’m not a fan of rape scenes, I think this was an excellent moment; Lori’s reaction was honest and the scene really sets up Shane as a scumbag.

    I also agree the shower scene was unnecessary and actually insulting. The audience already knows their status and this overly-sentimental scene was trite. I mention in my post that it’s condescending – the audience isn’t comprised of five year olds (especially since the show’s rated TV-14). I felt this episode really played the melodrama card, resorting to cheap sentimentality and mimicking mediocre television drama. It erased all the cinematic quality the show had at the beginning.

    The season finale really damaged the show’s reputation, at least in my opinion. The climax was over the top and out of character. I said before I don’t want a carbon copy of the comics, but this is straying far from the source material. I don’t even feel the characters embody the originals that much anymore. I’m still going to watch next season but I’m not counting the days.
    Good post =)

    Reply
    • Doh! Forgot to hit the Reply button >.< Well, I'll tack some more on here then.

      I can see your reasonings of disliking this episode as there were sizable portions clearly watered down for 'casual' viewers. This happens a LOT in games. Something that was fun and challenging is made progressively easier so more people can have fun with it. Those who are only on for a few minutes a day get the most benefits, while those who enjoyed a bit of a challenge are left with hollow victories.

      The "Hows" and "Whys" did have to get answered, at least to this extent. They are never talked about in movies because it is a one-shot idea. Zombies. You get the idea, on with the head shots and face eating. But here, they have to plan the long game. People, high percentage 'casual', are wondering about the details so they reveal everything they should have known up to this point. You get bit, and you are done. Either an infection, virus, or being full of Rage does not matter. One scratch and it is curtains for all involved.

      These people wanted to know stuff, AND this was the finale. Wait a whole year without the show even attempting to tell the audience a hint as to what started this whole thing? I can see the 'on paper' reasoning that the writing staff had to deal with. I think they did a (fairly in some cases) good job with the requirements. The "This is you" bit and the "there is always hope!!" bit did kinda pull me out of the show, but not so much to ruin it for me.

      The explosions were over the top, but as that stuff takes ages to render on even huge PC teams, I can see why: they had no idea if the season was going to continue after this mini-series initial attempt. Ending it with a literal bang was probably the best idea they could think of, as they had little time to make complicated plots as even if written well, there was no guarantee the second season would be around for them to answer those questions. While there are some glaring issues, I'll still be looking forward to the next season. Let us hope the typical "well, they took too long. I'm kinda…tired with the whole thing…" does not set in as it did with other shows that took forever to come back. ATHF. The Shield. Etc.

      Thanks for commenting, bud!

      Reply
  2. Hmm. My typings did avoid directly commenting about that scene, my bad. In case it came across that way, I was not giving Shane the green light on attempting to get with Lori. Rape is never a good thing. I saw it coming a mile away though, and I think that is what made it’s way into the paragraph. Drunk guy upset after losing his bed partner after saving her life. Not saying it is reasonable at all, just that I saw it coming. Lonely guy sees girl he slept with before; he’s gonna try to make a pass. Add in alcohol into either party…asking for serious trouble. This is kinda like Wayne’s World, where Cassandra asks if the snake is touching her, or the smarmy agent.

    Would Shane still have tried to do something with Lori if neither was drunk? What is only Lori was drunk? Those two questions and their answers, for me, paint why Shane is bad. I’m disappointed they went with the ‘beyond redeeming’ path, though. (Still want to see him team up co-op with Rick and tag team some zombie-baddies, dangit!) Based on an interview I heard mentioned on Feminine Miss Geek’s blog, Shane will meet the same conclusion he did in the comics. They just do not know how, yet.

    Reply
  3. They didn’t actually reveal why or how the zombie apocalypse happens, but they did show the biological process. I’m glad they didn’t go further than that, since I like the ambiguity of these situations. Is it god? Is it a government experiment gone awry? Leaving these political and metaphysical questions open only help a post-apocalyptic piece along. Since life is so random and the end result is unknown, I like this sense of confusion – it’s very post-modern (sorry for the pretentious “post-modern” drop here, but I felt it necessary).

    You also mention Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which I really liked when it came out. Now I think it’s stupid. It’s the kind of show that should end after three seasons, not continue on for ten years. I used to love Tim and Eric Awesome Shot, Great Job!, but now I can’t stand it. It’s not the humor that’s bad; it’s the receptiveness, the constant variations on a theme they’ve already played out. I’m really hoping next season delves into a bleaker aesthetic like the comic books. I neglected to mention it in my post, but the DVD commercials throughout the season finale were a little desperate and obnoxious. They’re so concerned the show will lose steam after a year off the air that they’re hustling where they can, potentially releasing a mediocre DVD box set instead of putting effort into it. I’m sure I’ll pick one up if it’s cheap enough, but it’s not on my Christmas list. =)

    I hope Shane gets his eventually, although I’m sure he’ll last a while longer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it to the end of season two. I also hope they do more than six episodes for next season, since a half season rushes things. With more time they’ll have more room to insert plenty of character development and zombie killing. I really hope they inject more zombies into next season. Even though there are issues without zombies it’s nice when a live action zombie piece features zombies. I’ll admit the zombie deaths in the season finale were excellent (especially the beheading) but I felt ripped off. I wrote that episode five loses all credibility because of the season finale and I firmly believe this. If the episode set up for a wicked zombie battle I’m fine with over an hour of exposition. However, the finale features four zombies (only four!!!), which seems odd for a zombie show. Me wantee zombies! Me wantee zombies!!!

    Reply
    • Me likey breadsticks! haha (I accidentally mistyped that as “breasticks” at first. Dr. Freud, how you doin’?)

      I can see that. I disliked the fifth so pretty much all of that was a wash for me which I left with it. I did not expect this one to be good because that one was bad, but I hoped. Perhaps you letting it slide on the fifth put even more emphasis on the sixth to be out of this world, and since that did not happen you dislike it exponentially? I let the episodes have it if I didn’t like it, even if it was a nitpick. Gotta lot out some of that pent up rage, my bruddah! Gonna pop a forehead vein if you let the man keep you down!

      I too liked ATHF more ‘then’ than ‘now.’ They took like a year-long hiatus while they got Squidbilles started. I do not like that show, but it did grow on me after awhile (nothing else was on other than The Nanny at that time of night, for the record). ATHF I liked right away, and I ate that show up every time it was on. I was also a fan of Space Ghost and both have similar comedy, heck SG is what spawned the idea of ATHF in the first place. After they took that long break, I did not get back into the show since. I do not think it was because I fell out of rhythm with it, but as you suggest for Tom and Eric, the show changed from what it was when I liked it. (I liked Tom goes to the mayor, the blue and white show a little bit. Was kinda…eh…but it was ok, with some good spots. Then the live action stuff started…and…ugh. Painful. Annoying, too, as they regularly get fairly well known actors to play dumb for them, and everyone eats it up. I get it, but I wish I didn’t. >.<) And you were spot on, season 1-3 was their best work. The newer stuff is either completely "meh" or mediocre at best.

      I like not knowing where the zombie stuff started, but I actually did not like the random "it's the wrath of god!" angle they tried to throw in there. I like that it was 'their extinction event' but not the religious angle. Yes, I know dead rising from the grave and all that Ghostbusters, but eh. Very bad territory once you start getting scared people with guns tangled up in religious angles.

      I heard somewhere that the next season will have 13 episodes, which is welcome, assuming they don't muck that up haha Actually, of all topics, I'mma have to disagree with your approval of the zombie deaths, minus the beheading. That was nice. My issue with the others was the friggin' 100% accuracy of headshots. Since Rick started out putting down Biker-Girl zombie in the first episode till the very end of TS-19, every single zombie death has been due to a head shot. Rick missed ONCE and that was a shoulder/arm shot on a zombie as he ran from the tank. That's all. With some twenty zombie deaths, every one has been a gory head shot. The gore does not bother me, it is the unbelievable percentage of accuracy that is infuriating. (Gaming background poking it's head around)

      If everyone involved was completely still, then yes, a good 90% of accurate head shots would be passable. Add in zombies merely weaving back and forth and accuracy should plummet right there to probably 40-50%. Add in, further, that these zombies are rushing them, adding pressure and a sense of urgency, and it drops again. Add in AGAIN that the people shooting are not, in fact, standing still, but full tilt running and dodging, firing off the hip. They should be lucky to hit a zombie at all, even if the road is flooded with them with all that going on. But mathematically over 95% headshot rate? Not even close to buying it.

      You've seen cop chases and shoot-outs at least once. Those cops firing, how accurate were *they*? Odds are a wee bit lower than 'God Like'. (If a Gamer is shouting "Objection!" at the idea, odds are it is not realistic at all is all I'm sayin'.)

      Reply
  4. Pingback: The Walking Dead – Speedy Recap o’ Season One! « Encrazed Crafts

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