The Walking Dead Season Finale Review & Discussion

Published 3 years ago by , Updated December 6th, 2010 at 3:27 pm,

The Walking Dead full cast image The Walking Dead Season Finale Review & Discussion

AMC’s The Walking Dead is officially a hit, and fans no doubt went into the season finale, “TS-19″, with an equal mix of anticipation and frustration; Anticipation to see what Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors uncover in the mysterious bunker at the Center for Disease Control – frustration at the fact that this sixth episode of The Walking Dead is the last in what now feels like a first season cut painfully short, just as  a promising new show is hitting its stride.

Well, “TS-19″ delivered a story that was at once moving, rich with new possibilities, thick on ominous foreshadowing and yes, slightly pointless in terms of its resolutions.

SEASON RECAP

This season we’ve witnessed officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) awaken from a coma after a shootout gone bad, only to find himself in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. After help from a kind stranger (Lennie James), Rick set off for Atlanta to find his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs). Atlanta did not provide the salvation Rick hoped for; instead he found a metropolis overrun by zombies and would’ve perished if not for the help of fellow survivors Glenn (Steven Yeun), Andrea (Lorie Holden), T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and the not-so-friendly Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker). Rick made it out of Atlanta alive, only to find his wife, son, and best friend/cop partner Shane (Jon Bernthal) waiting at a survivors camp in the woods. The happy reunion didn’t last long: Rick’s group was forced to leave a drug-crazed Merle behind in Atlanta, and little did Rick know, Lori and Shane had become lovers since Rick was presumed dead – an affair Lori is having trouble keeping under wraps.

Merle’s brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) isn’t at all happy to hear his kin was abandoned, so Rick takes a group of men back into the city to find Merle. The group doesn’t find all of him, just the hand the hillbilly sawed off to escape. As the Merle search party returns to camp with a fresh supply of firearms, zombies attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the survivors, including Andrea’s sister, Amy (Emma Bell), who Andrea is forced to put down when she rises as a zombie. Andrea is understandably traumatized, with only surrogate father-figure Dale (Jeffery DeMunn) there to comfort her. Rick and Shane have it out about what the next best move is for their group, and after secretly pointing a gun at his best friend’s back, guilt-ridden Shane concedes that the group should follow Rick to the CDC facility in Atlanta in hopes of finding rescue. When they arrive at the CDC, the group is spotted by a lone doctor still operating the facility – the doctor opens the door and survivors enter into the unknown…

“TS-19″ REVIEW (Contains SPOILERS)

The Walking Dead season finale Rick The Walking Dead Season Finale Review & Discussion

“TS-19″ was a fairly good season finale episode. First and foremost, the episode dangled some new plot points to drive storylines for season 2 forward on both the over-arching and subplot levels. What was it that Dr. Jenner (Noah Emmerich) whispered in Rick’s ear just before the explosion? That question will likely keep fans busy for the next year, pitching speculation across chat room forums. (Was it a word of hope or a warning of doom? I’m betting doom.)

There’s also the bubbling, soon-to-be-boiling subplot of the Rick-Lori-Shane love triangle, which took a pretty drastic turn this week during Shane’s drunken assault/attempted rape of Lori. Flashback to one of the first scenes of the pilot – Rick and Shane’s talk about how to deal with women – and the Lori/Shane confrontation becomes an even more poignant foreshadow of what’s to come. We know Shane isn’t a man who gives up what he sees as his territory – and when Rick finds out that his best friend left him for dead (a great scene that kicked off this episode), slept with his wife, and has since tried to sleep with her again since his return… needless to say, the fallout is going to be epic, and bloody.

The Walking Dead season finale Shane The Walking Dead Season Finale Review & Discussion

This season 1 finale also touched on a  fantastic theme that I hope becomes the undercurrent of this show: how one sustains the will to live in the midst of hell. As much as I care about these characters, Dr. Jenner’s argument about how and when one chooses to die was deep enough to make me totally understand if Rick’s group just decided to end it all there in the CDC, rather than once again face the hell waiting outside. Total head trip. When Andrea stayed behind to die, broken by tragedy and hopelessness, and Dale plopped himself down in a chair committed to die with her, for a second I thought that Darabont and Co. might actually do the unthinkable and kill off two of the best characters, just as they were beginning to develop. Thankfully that was not the case. While I was sorry to see lovely mother-figure Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott) go, I think that we can all admit by now that Jacqui wasn’t really doing much besides taking up space (you too, Morales), so it’s understandable that she would be written out. I’m keeping fingers crossed that Jacqui’s departure is an indication that in season 2 the African-American female character slot will be filled by a rather popular name from The Walking Dead comic books icon wink The Walking Dead Season Finale Review & Discussion .We’ll see.

The Walking Dead season finale The Walking Dead Season Finale Review & Discussion

Finally, the computer image of “Test Subject 19″ (Doctor Jenner’s scientist wife turned zombie) and Jenner’s speeches about the nature of humanity – while equally hammy and syrupy – made for some compelling television that at least tried to say more about the world than most other zombie tales do. And a big shout out to alcohol, which played a major part in this season finale! It was something that totally felt real to me: if I was stuck in the zombie apocalypse and had one night “off” from scrounging and surviving, I too would be boozing as much as I could. I also liked seeing Rick (in his private confession to Dr. Jenner) be something other than captain positivity and hope; it was good to see that deep down he’s human and real, just a guy scared out of his mind trying to get through each day. That type of complexity is freeing for writers, in that there are no “off limits” areas to explore with a character like Rick. He can truly keep us guessing.

However, for all of its positive aspects, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that  “TS-19″ and the whole CDC detour was a clunky bit of Deus Ex Machina, which didn’t even do a good job of resolving anything. In terms of the overarching story, The Walking Dead still hasn’t really defined itself as anything more than a vague survival story about the human condition – at this point it could be a serialized drama or an episode of the week, major twists at sweeps horror series. This first “season” was truthfully more like one long pilot that left us off in a place where not much ground has been covered, yes, but the road ahead is long, dark, winding and ultimately inviting.

Walking Dead AMC DVD Bluray The Walking Dead Season Finale Review & Discussion

It’s going to be a long wait until The Walking Dead season 2 premieres in Fall 2011, and in exchange for fans’ patience, I hope the writers take time to inject some more objectives into their story, so that we can get more episodes like “Guts”, which feel streamlined, focused and less meandering. However, in turning the zombie-horror sub-genre into the framework for one of the better dramas on TV, The Walking Dead has been nothing short of a miracle, and a refreshing one at that. I may nitpick, but you can be sure I’m one of those Dead-heads already chomping at the bit for season 2.

How did you like the Season finale of The Walking Dead? Have you enjoyed the season/show overall – or was it too short for your liking? What do you want to see in season 2 (which will premiere in Fall 2011)?

If you haven’t already seen it, we’ve put to together an all-star team of TV personalities who could survive The Walking Dead. It’s a great list. If you want to check out the show again in its entirety, keep a lookout for The Walking Dead season 1 on DVD/Blu-ray in the spring of 2011.

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  1. The first twenty minutes of season 2 was scary…

    And then, one episode after the next just drifted off into the land of snoredom…. the fat guy getting sacrificed, a brief sex scene in an empty pharmacy and a single zombie getting pulled from a well on some barn? W-h-a-t-e-v-e-r! Who cares??? It’s like someone said, “Okay, we’ve so much change in our pocket to spend on Season 2, let’s cram as much filler, onerous dialogue and sulking by the woman who can’t find her daughter into each episode as possible, punctuated by other meaningless minutiae (like target practice).” Really, the audience is expecting action and scary scenes- not what we received in Season 2 which was tantamount to biting into a stale biscuit Dale found aboard his camper in his sock drawer.

    • Try looking up the phrase… Character Driven Drama. Once you research this and understand it, then you might have a new appreciation for this show and its masterful first half of its second season. Its the lull before the storm. Its a writing mechanism that gives you this false sense of security that not everything is as bad as it seems, then when you are all nice and comfy, they smack you over the head with a huge revelation followed by massive amounts of anguish, action, and surprise that you never saw coming. Not ever frame or episode is going to be filled with gore and explosions.

      The story is not about zombies eating people, its about people learning how to live in a world filled with zombies. Thats what the books were about, and thats what this show is about. Granted they think they have found an oasis away from all the terrible nastiness of the world as it is, but thats just a false sense of security that is eventually going to be yanked out from under them. You can count on that. If all you want is just a bunch of zombies munching on body parts and getting their brains splatterd all over a wall somewhere, Netflix has a ton of movies just waiting for you to stream that show just that. This is a television show that has to have more legs than two hours worth of blood, bullets, and brains. This has to reach out and keep an actual story alive that keeps people engaged in he workings of the characters that can do more than moan and slurp gore.

  2. Just watched the finale of season 2. I must say I liked the show up this point. Probably stupid question, but is AMC sponsored by the NRA? What was this stupid sub plot about guns?… I try to never read into TV and real life but this episode was just saying: We need guns, and all the people that don’t like guns are Walker lovers. So Who are the Walkers? Commy’s, Iraq’s, Africans, Islamists etc… Fill in your current hate figure. Propaganda messages in American shows? NO way… Guess I must be bad guy to point this out.

    • Guns are to zombie films, as apple pie is to america. NRA has nothing to do with it. When faced with a zombie apocalypse you have to kill many and kill fast… no other way beyond explosives has that power. And since none of the people in the group seem to be pyrotechnic experts and would be ten times more likely to blow them selves up before being able to set off an explosion big enough and precise enough to kill a horde of zombies… then it seems guns are the next most logical conclusion. Guns equals survival in this world. So yeah gun subplots are not only going to be a forgone conclusion when writing about this genre, they are a must at some point. Oh and you are reading waaaaaayyyy too much into this message…its a simple one. You want to live, then carry a gun and know how to use it. Otherwise your bait.

  3. Something occurred to me last week as I was re-watching my DVR’d episodes.

    Carl is going to age.

    I know that seems like a duh moment. But think about it. In the comics he remains perpetually in his tweens. Never really aging at all. But he goes through a literal hell just like everyone else. So far in the show he has already been shot. Something no kid at his age should have to go through. And now with this ending we see a close friend of his lose their life as well. So already he is living a real hell of a life for someone so young. BUT, unlike the comics, the actor is going to age. So Carl will eventually become a teen, and if luck is with them the show may go on long enough to see Carl grow to an adult if not late teens at the least. This counters a bit of the original story. That is unless the producers and writers think its a better idea to off him so they dont have to tread into that unfamiliar ground with him. Either way this will become yet another major, and in my opinion welcome, departure from the original material. It would be nice to see how someone who started so young in this world, to become tempered by years of tragedy and survival during a zombie apocalypse would eventually evolve into one badasssed zombie killing machine. I can see it now in about 4 or 5 seasons (please let this happen) Carl could eventually grow into one of the best characters on the show. Couple killing zombies with a zen like proficiency (taught by darrel and shane) and an even handed judgment and quick intellect (from his dad and glen) and you have the perfect amalgam of all the character archetypes that makes him the center of the story.

    Here is to hoping for at least 5 more seasons and seeing Carl become the true leader he is likely destined to become.

  4. How can I watch season 2 walking dead, I just woke up from a coma

  5. Great so far the show needs to have tyreese in it from the comics though!

  6. Great so far the show is great although it left out lots of great stuff that was in the comics like tyreese, the good thing is the introduced michonne! She is the girl that saved andrea at the end who had the 2 zombies tied up to her. The better make her just as badass in the show ass she was in the comics!

  7. awesome show

  8. Totally love the Walking Dead-series. Just read all the comics.
    Like I said, I’m a fan but I’ve gotta say the same as a lot of the people here, Tyreese should be in it, also Hershel’s other kids…
    And I don’t think they’ll show what happens between Michonne and the Governor, which I also think is too bad, it was quite entertaining! ;)

  9. This show is awesome. I love it soooooh much.! <3 n u guys have some sexy zombies on the show!! :)

  10. I love Walking dead, cant get enough. Guess what- my phone carrier is also Cable One in a bundle with net & cable. THEY BLOCKED MY CALL TO THE “I WANT MY AMC LINE”. I am furious!!!

  11. Hey Guys, Patch on wrong eye in bedroom scene when Andrea was about to cut the Govenors throat!!

  12. Yes it is on the wrong eye. He had the patch on his good eye, his right. When Andrea woke up and looked at him, his eyehole looked back at her. So why does he have his good eye covered?

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