Friday, October 14, 2011

The Walking Dead: Season 1, Episode 5: Wildfire

Rick is trying to contact Morgan on the Walkie-talkie to try and warn him from Atlanta. At the camp there's a clean up going on – bodies to be burned and buried and their brains destroyed to make sure they don't rise as Walkers. Andrea is grieving over Amy's body and won't move – won't talk to anyone. She even pulls a gun on rick when he tries to reason with her. She won't let anyone touch the body but they need to stop her rising. Glenn angrily refuses to burn their own people – burn the Walkers but not their own people, meanwhile Daryl still has his anger about his own brother. It's a profound and powerful scene of grief and loss

And Jacqui discovers that Jim has been bitten in the attack. He's infected – and doomed to become a Walker. There then comes a debate on what to do – Amy's body needs to die and Jim has to be stopped from rising even if it means killing them. Rick and Shane end with different plans – Rick wants to go to the CDC in Atlanta believing that if there's anything left of the government that's where there'd be – as well as any possible cure (especially for Jim). Shane (who isn't dead) wants to go to an army base 100 miles in the opposite direction.

You can really see the difference between these 2 when they debate this. Rick is more emotional, angrier but presents his points as an adult, even if frustrated. Shane (who isn't dead) talks down, patronises and generally treats people like silly – or naughty – children. Even when talking Daryl into putting down a weapon or Jim into dropping a spade – Shane talks to children, Rick talks to adults. Did I mention how much I hate Shane? Because I really do – can something eat him please?

Dale goes to Andrea and talks about his dead wife with her, his own loss. It's a very touching, very moving scene and really establishes Dale as the Wise Man of the group without patronising those around him. His gentle sympathy is far more powerful than anything else they've said to her. Amy rises as a Walker and tries to bit Andrea – Andrea holds her back, apologises, tells her she loves her – and shoots her. Yet another powerful scene. Carol insists on being the one to break Ed's brains so he doesn't raise – her mix of grief and rage even puts Daryl off.

Shane (who isn't dead) is pouting and sulking and blames Rick for going off to Atlanta with so many men – Rick points out they came back with the guns that saved them. It feels to me more like Shane is sulking because Rick won't agree with their next course of action and that he disagreed with him over going to Atlanta more than anything.

Daryl complains at them burying their dead rather than burning them but Lori slaps him down – they need time to mourn,. To bury their dead to hold on to something. This is one of the things the Walking Dead does repeatedly – simple little scenes to show how people hold on to living and their personhood when they're focused on surviving.

Rick looks to Lori for reassurance that he did the right thing but she can't say – and she's scared to go to the CDC and can't validate his decision to go to Atlanta, she seems torn between the 2 men. Another scene about their utter lack of certainty and stability - they have so little that's solid. Contrast with Shane (who isn't dead) who goes to Lori and says she needs to change Rick's mind – because he knows he's right. He's petulant and childish and pouts and have tantrums when he's not getting his own way. And to emphasise this – we see Shane seriously consider shooting Rick.

Morales and his family decide to leave the caravan and head to Birmingham where they have family, alone. I can't see this as anything like a good idea, but I can see hope hanging on

Personally my plan would be to head as rural as possible, but that would be pretty much giving up on civilisation entirely. But you'd have more foraging chance (with city raids) and be far away from concentrations of Walkers

Jim is too ill from the Walker bite to continue. He asks to be left behind, that's what he wants. Rick doesn't want to and Shane says he couldn't live with that – but as Lori and Dale make clear, this is Jim's choice, not theirs. There follows a poignant goodbye scene again that The Walking Dead does so well.

We then see a new character – Dr. Edwin Jenner, the last remaining person in the CDC recording his video diaries as he sinks lower into fatigue and depression. In his fatigue he makes a mistake in the lab destroying the last viable samples (and the lab with it) sending him further into depression. His video diary becomes more a testament to despair.

The gang arrives at the CDC to find it surrounded by a war zone, corpses, weapons and barricades everywhere. The shutters are down, they can't get in and they begin to panic outside, staying in the city after the dark is deadly and they can't stay. Jenner tries to keep them out – but Rick begs the camera – until he opens up and lets them in.