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The Walking Dead Season Finale Review: "TS-19"

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The Walking Dead did not go out with the bang I had been hoping for on "TS-19."

The episode started out strong, by showing viewers a flashback of the frenetic moments during the initial onslaught of Walkers at the hospital. Moreover, Shane was telling the truth. He really did believe that Rick had died and there was nothing he could do.

Finale Scene

This gave his character a little bit of redemption because he didn’t simply leave his friend behind. However, after the attempted rape scene, my view on Shane was altered.

I also liked that because of the protection of the CDC, the group was allowed a chance to relax. However, that also meant everyone had time to think about more than survival and killing zombies. There was time to ponder over their fates, their loved ones and the unfortunate transformation of the world. It gave viewers a chance to see the group’s inner emotions and thoughts.

The best example was Rick’s drunken confession to Jenner. As much as he puts on a brave face as the group’s fearless leader, he is just as scared as the rest.

I’d like to add that Andrew Lincoln does a great job with delivery. The writing sometimes comes across as clunky, but Lincoln never really overacts his dialogue. He says his lines with believability.

Noah Emmerich as Dr. Jenner also brought a great performance in an otherwise very short-lived role. Unfortunately, as a character, Jenner was underused and a bit clichéd as the emotionally unstable scientist.

So began my problems with this episode.

First, the CDC could have been a very interesting place to explore, but the group literally entered and exited in one fell swoop. I felt rushed through an experience that didn’t really give me any informational payoff.

Running For Safety

It was also unnecessary to spend a good chunk of time explaining that humans turn into zombies when they’re bitten, when we already knew that. I’d be more interested in learning about what caused the outbreak. Alas, that is simply unknown. So much time seemed to be spent weaseling information out of Dr. Jenner when he really didn’t have anything new to offer.

As much as Jenner became the enemy the group least expected, he didn’t come across as a real threat. Instead, in a frantic moment of everyone shouting to open the door, he simply did so. Even the revelation of his wife as TS-19, which led to his emotional and suicidal breakdown, came a little too late to save this character.

When it came time to escape, why did Jacqui choose to stay? The show hadn’t really divulged anything about her character, but apparently there was a relationship with T-Dog? It’s this lack of background that made me, unfortunately, not really care during her final moments.

But why was it that no one from the group seemed to really care that Jacqui stayed? They at least knew more about her than viewers, but instead it’s Dale that went out of his way to save only Andrea. When did he become so emotionally attached to her that he’d be willing to play a game of “leave or don’t leave” chicken?

I can, of course, forgive the cheesy explosions because of a TV budget, but the final moments seemed too obvious to leave me feeling satisfied. I never really felt the tension and danger that was prevalent during scenes with the zombies of previous episodes. In fact, there weren’t really zombies at all during the hour, although Daryl did have the nicely placed beheading near the end.

As a freshmen show, The Walking Dead certainly had its ups and downs. With plenty of plot possibilities, I hope season two focuses on a more specific story arc and strengthening of the character development. After all, if this show wants to survive, the audience needs to care about its characters.

I’ll leave you with some thoughts that are sure to come up when season two arrives:

What did Jenner whisper in Rick’s ear? Will Rick ever learn of Shane’s relations with Lori? Will Morgan find the group? What is the relationship of Dale and Andrea? Where is the group headed? What will happen when Merle reappears?

We'll find out in 2011. What did everyone else think of the finale?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
  • 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (113 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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At first i thought they'd stay in CDC longer. When the doc accidentally lost the 'fresh living' samples around the same time Jim got bitten i thought it'd somehow turn out that he gets Jims body and continues testing. But even if they did that poof... lights out. It was a pretty harrowing episode. Admittedly not as strong as the others but not bad either. It was good to see some feel good scenes. Plus, the flashback felt like a really great reveal.

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Pick up the Walking Dead Compendium. The TV series is based on a comic book series, and you might get a few answers from the comic book aobut the questions you have on the TV series. Interesting that the negative points you raise in the review are from elements in the TV series that are not in the original comic book.

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@ Piecar
Daryl's crossbow is an important piece of armament for the group. It's quiet and quick. That's why he's carrying it. I'd be carrying one too… Daryl was using a shotgun for the entirety of it. They're not keeping guns from him. Good point. I missed some of Daryl’s shotgun use. Yes, a crossbow is an excellent zombie weapon. My bad in missing that. As for the other characters not carrying guns....that bugs me too. The first thing Rick did in the books when he arrived with the group was get everyone trained up on weapons … It's a failure here, I agree. Yes. I hope it doesn’t continue, but I’m getting pessimistic. Firearms realism started strong when Rick, in episode one, nearly deafened himself when he shot inside the tank. Shooting any firearm indoors is a recipe for temporary hearing impairment. I had high hopes for firearms realism – but they getting crushed with the lack of firearms awareness or interest by any characters.
Another thing: I cannot stand the theatrical racking of a pistol slide (like Andrea did with ONE hand - somehow??? WTF?!?) before shooting her zombie-sister. Or Dr Jenner’s theatrical dropping of the bolt on the M4 when first confronting the group. Cowboy up, Walking Dead Writers! Anyone in a ZA world will keep a round in the chamber… As for the shortage of fuel in a place that is protecting such deadly diseases. I gotta agree with that too. I think they tried to address it with Jenner saying that he couldn't figure out how to shut down …heavy drawing equipment... Ok. I guess I know a little about this topic – and that’s Too Much Knowledge to enjoy a teevee show. 50K gallon underground storage tanks are common – and a six can power 100 homes (100kw) for a 4+ months. The National Science Foundation can power the South Pole’s Amundsen-Scott station for the 7+ month antarctic night without resupply. @Anna Jones
I have to disagree with the previous comments regarding the CDC timetable. Without humans to pack and ship fuel, and then to fill the tanks, it seems entirely reasonable that power should fail and the Final Solution become necessary to prevent th release of the Big Bads the CDC is holding. I disagree about power – I can’t accept that the G is that dumb. See my comments above to Piecar.
I agree that should the power fail, a final solution/bomb is logical. However, I do agree that the weapons issue bothers me. Any fan of survival horror games, or FPS games knows that Rule One is "Weapon up." So I'm hoping this is an issue that's more addressed in the next season. Absolutely. However, I’m not optimistic about this being addressed. Another comment mentioned the series seems more interested in appealing to the emotional ‘shipper’ fans than the “Story Matters Here� fans. That seems to be the case as the series progressed. Hopefully an AMC exec will tune up the writing crew and fix this. A shark jumping moment to watch for next season is an episode on the Incompentent Military Unit that can’t fight its way out of a paper bag. Watch for Incompetent Officer in Charge to be made especially bumbling in order to pump up Rick and The Group’s survival skills. Of course, I think that a good Marine or Army rifle platoon, given sufficient ammo, should be able to hold off any number of slow Zombies indefinitely. The writers may want to add an additional infection vector: The Mosquito. It would add a wikkid new horror element too… Wow. Long post. Pardon the rambling…

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My last two posts were meant to flesh out why I didn't like the show, since McKenna didn't like that I was being merely insulting to him and the people on this board. Which is fine, I was rude and he was cordial as you say, and having vented at least some of my annoyance at something this shitty being so celebrated and popular I have no further beef here. Maybe I'll actually go troll a Glee board instead, I fucking despise that show too. I have a lot of hate in my soul, it seems:(

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@ Anna Jones. I can see several possibilities for Shane's actions without him knowingly leaving a clearly alive Rick behind. 1. He listens for a heartbeat. He can't hear one. He has to conclude that Rick is dead. So what's he gonna do? Carry a dead Rick over his shoulder who awakes and bites the crap out of his back? No. He leaves the body and blocks it off. Maybe he can get back there. Remember, it's an uncertain time. Maybe order will be restored. Hindsight isn't fair in this situation. 2. Rick is dead as far as Shane can tell. But the body is still warm and the Dead are coming...He doesn't want the other dead to defile his friend. 3. Rick is dead as far as Shane can tell. Shane can't bring himself to shoot Rick in the head, or doesn't even know that this is required...But he doesn't want his friend to join the others. Maybe he can be cured. 4. Shane can't tell whether Rick is dead. He listens for a sign...but he can't get one. All hell is LITERALLY breaking loose. The man doesn't know what the machines mean. Are they the only things keeping the man alive? They're off. Maybe Rick is as good as dead. Should he carry out a 170 pound sack of potatoes on the chance he'll survive? What would Rick want? Shane and Rick are good good friends, partners. Rick would want Shane to cover his family. It's a split second decision....One polce officers are trained to make. He decides his friend (AND THIS IS NOT WRONG! RICK WOULD HAVE SAID THIS) would tell him to go and protect his family....And that's what Shane did. Did Shane then calmly walk out of the hospital, quietly get into his car, drive leisurely over to pick up Rick's family? Hell, no, he risked a lot to do this...and succeeded. Shane is an immature rapist scumbag...But I think the man is also loyal. He stuck by his partner til the end. I wanted Shane to buy it at the beginning of this season...I wanted the books' story to take place here...But I don't mind that they didn't do it so far. The man has some depth.....His hidden apology to the wife was heartfelt at that breakfast table...."That isn't like me at all." I'm very happy that they included the flashback in the finale.

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@SMIAI..... I get not liking a show, and then slagging it on a site where people go to like the show. I certainly did enough of that in the the last season of LOST, a puke inducing spit in the face of it's fans. I get not liking The Walking Dead...It's a show where the entire episode isn't dedicated to killing or avoiding zombies. And they've melodrama'd up the hero to attract the "shippers". I hate that myself. I agree that characters should serve stories, not the other way around. That's actor/artiste bullshit.... ....But I don't get you coming back after being pretty damned rude the first time, and trying to goad the author of the review into a fight. The guy was cordial and took your comments in stride. You don't like the show...we get it...I fucking hate Glee, but I'm not bent on debating it with the lovers of it. Find a show you like. Seems like you won't have to be "forced" to watch this show for almost a year anyway. Write your "it sucks" review and let it go.

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Oh, and lol at wishing me "best of luck in finding a show you too can enjoy" like this show is the apex of greatness. Come on.

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Don't give me that just switch the channel bs. I'm allowed to both watch it and dislike it - why do I do that? Because it should have been good, and I kept hoping, episode after episode, that it could at least be entertaining even if it was dumb. But no. Nothing ever happened except extremely derivative, poorly done scenes and plot lines, and incredibly bad dialogue. Who wants a zombie show that plays like an episode of Full House? Honestly. I mean, at times I felt like the show had to be some elaborate joke (that you imbecile reviewers loving it were in on). I'm not missing the point either - sure, I would have loved for there to be more zombies or at least something happening, but I'd have no problem with the show being a slow study of the "human condition" (in quotation marks because the show has nothing to say about the human condition), if only it were well-written or at the very least competently acted. Instead we get scripts seeming like they're written by a 14 year old who thinks he's really deep (incredibly long and terrible dialogue between the two sisters in the boat/old guy answering to why he winds his watch/indignant "we bury our dead!", etc.) and controversial (all the "exploding a stereotype, hey I'm an asian supersmart pizzaguy/I'm a gangbanging vato jk I'm a nursey home saint" etc.), and don't get me started on the actors. This is probably one of the worst acted shows on television. Note that I'm not nitpicking on believability of minor things and actions here (like many negative comments on the show are), my gripe is with the people writing the show just generally either being really dumb - or being really smart in thinking that their target audience is really dumb (seeing as the show has killed it in the ratings). I get that since I dislike the show my thoughts are not insightful, but these are at least the cliff notes of why I think the people loving this are imbeciles.

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Unfortunately, I have to disagree with a few points raised by the reviewer here. I'm disappointed slightly with the reviewer's questions regarding Dale and Andrea. Their connection had been explained previously by Dale, actually. He'd reminded Andrea that she and her sister had come into his life following the death of his wife, and he had come to care a great deal for them. So the father/daughter dynamic is not as surprising as the reviewer suggest. Rather, knowing how they feel for each other, it was a smart play. Either she comes to her senses and leaves, or they go together in the fire. It was a move that would have had an understandable reasoning behind it regardless the outcome. Another point of contention is Shane during the flashback. Clearly, had Shane truly thought his partner dead, there would have been no reason to block the door. Instead, Shane's actions appear to be those of someone fighting a losing battle. With the military sweeper team on one side gunning down all that moves, and the walkers coming from the other side, he saved himself by barricading the door. I have to disagree with the previous comments regarding the CDC timetable. Without humans to pack and ship fuel, and then to fill the tanks, it seems entirely reasonable that power should fail and the Final Solution become necessary to prevent th release of the Big Bads the CDC is holding. However, I do agree that the weapons issue bothers me. Any fan of survival horror games, or FPS games knows that Rule One is "Weapon up." So I'm hoping this is an issue that's more addressed in the next season. As for the doctor's whispered words to Rick... I think someone is infected. Since Amy's death, I've believed it was Andrea. She was covered in Amy's blood. It is not outside the realm of possibility that she got some of that blood in a mucous membrane, or in her mouth, or some other way contaminated herself. Of course, part of me is hoping that there was enough power for the cameras and maybe Jenner caught a peek of Shane's attempted rape of Lori, and put a bug in Rick's ear. All in all, not a very clear review of the episode. The posted comments show more attention and insight.

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Danny Trejo should play the governor in season 2. nuff said.