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‘The Walking Dead’ Season Final Recap ‘TS-19’

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Everything ends, including the first season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Shane (Jon Bernthal) is running through a hospital, when chaos breaks out and he sees some sort of infantry executing anyone moving.  He runs back to Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), still in his coma, and begs him to wake up but an explosion knocks out Grimes’ monitors and he appears dead.  Shane is left to shoot his way out, taking aim at both the infantry and zombies. Do you empathize with him now? Me either.

After the credits, we’re back to present day, with Grimes leading the way inside the CDC. Dr. Jenner lets them stay as long as they all consent to a blood test.  Jenner leads them to “the big room” which is where he was drinking and blogging on the last episode. Jenner calls to “Vi” to say welcome and the computer intercom system says hi.

Jacqui shares that none of them have eaten in days, which is hard to believe considering how many times they jaunt into town. Jenner sets them up with a feast, and he is tepidly accepting of his guests.  Shane ruins the party by asking Jenner what his story is, and how one lone man is left in the complex.

Jenner explains that most people left to be with their families. Of the people that stayed, everyone was either infected or ended up killing themselves. The gang gets a small tour of the facility and learns there will be hot showers. It cuts to a rather uncomfortable shower montage: Shane drinks alone while Grimes and Lori nuzzle, T-Dog dances and Andrea zones out. After Dale’s shower he hears her coughing and checks in.  She either caught the zombie flu or is pregnant. Since she declares it the end of the world, the smart money is on the former.

Jenner tells Grimes there were “no surprises” with the blood work, which is obfuscating at best. Grimes shares some war stories from the outside world and Jenner awkwardly says it will all be ok. Fishy, no?

Shane and Lori have a state of the union while she is in her pajamas. Shane tries to explain that he didn’t knowingly leave Grimes alive at the hospital. He also admits that he loves her and gets frisky, but Lori shoves him away. (Remember, Grimes still doesn’t know about the two of them. Lori apologized in the tent, but only generically.) When Grimes comforts the crying Lori in bed, she says nothing.

The next morning, Glenn has a disastrous hangover, but T-Dog makes eggs for everyone. Jenner shows everyone a human brain scan. The brain belongs to Test Subject 19, who was bitten and agreed to be monitored through the walker transition.  The brain goes black and quiet but then the ‘resurrection period’ begins. During this period, the brain stem is reactivated, though no other parts of brain light up.

Jenner has no clue as to what kind of virus it is, and has been isolated from any and all other researchers still living when communications went down weeks ago. Dale notices a clock counting backwards, which Jenner explains is when the power generators will go out. Computer Vi chimes in that at that time, the building will be decontaminated—a euphemism for self-destructing.

The boys explore the compound and find rooms full of dead generators with no fuel. Meanwhile Jenner talks to a picture of a lady (probably his wife, probably TS-19), when the lights go to minimal power. The crew’s panic level rises and isn’t helped by Jenner trotting around carrying a bottle of Jack. As they plan for escape, Jenner locks them inside and starts recording. Grimes demands that the door to be opened, but Jenner yells that it is better this way and that the building houses all sorts of terrible viruses. When the building decontaminates, it will do so by essentially setting the air on fire, burning them all alive.

The gang doesn’t take this news well. Jenner reasons that there is no point in going back to the outside world, just to die slowly. Grimes calls Jenner’s bluff and states that Jenner would have died long ago if there was really no hope. TS-19 was indeed Jenner’s wife, and he confesses that he promised to keep working in her memory.

Once they simply ask to be responsible for their own fate, Jenner pushes a single button and the door opens. Before they leave, Jenner whispers a lengthy thought to Grimes which we are not privy to hear. Andrea and Jacqui opt to stay. Despite Dale’s protests, they hunker down and Dale joins Andrea in the incineration option. Those that chose life try and break out through the front entrance. Thanks to a grenade stashed in Carol’s purse, they’re free and make a run back to their vehicles. Just before they pull away, Dale and Andrea emerge from the building to join them. Jenner and Jacqui brace for impact and when the building explodes, it takes out a few nearby tanks but leaves the caravan unharmed.

Everyone is a bit shell-shocked, and the music kicks up to signal the season finale’s montage of the caravan driving away from the CDC. They take off on the empty road as the building burns and the screen fades to black.

Bonus Thoughts:

*An explosion that large would attract every walker in the eastern timezone. Since they were low on gas when they arrived, they should refuel asap.

*Your last chance for a stagger-on role is here: amcdead.com “Nightmare” would be the magic word.

*Jenner is a jerk for not mentioning the power running out the second they were inside. “You can stay but tomorrow you are either being incinerated or on the road again” would have been nice.

*There is no way to piece together what Jenner told Grimes, so don’t sweat it. Though my best guess is something like: “whatever you do, don’t ride another horse into town, your wife cheated on you but didn’t mean it, and you guys need to pack snacks.”

*The first season of the much-touted AMC series is over. While it was picked up for a second season, no dates have been set and it doesn’t sound like it will be airing anytime soon. It sure had idiot moments in each episode, but served as a good reminder that if you watched the series and rolled your eyes at least once, you’ll do just fine during the real zombie apocalypse.