Episode Title: TS-19
Original Airdate: 12-5-10
The episode opens with a flashback to Shane trying to rescue a comatose Rick from the hospital as the military begins executing both Walkers and humans in the hallways. Unable to save his friend, Shane leaves, but not before securing Rick’s door, so no one or no thing can enter. Cut to the present, and the group is allowed into the CDC by the only remaining scientist, Jenner. They shower, eat, get drunk and sleep without any worry, except for Lori who was almost raped by Shane in the rec room.
The following morning, Dale asks Jenner about a clock that is counting down. Apparently the generators are nearly empty and once the electricity is done, a giant explosion will “decontaminate” the building, killing everyone and everything. Unfortunately, Jenner has locked the group in, sealing their fate. Rick finally talks Jenner into letting them go with only minutes to escape, except for Jackie who decides to die in the explosion rather than take her chance on the road.
The CDC plot was not in the comic, so though it mostly feels like filler, it is certainly necessary, as the source material just has the camp attacked, then the group moving on to the farm. I like the opening that shows what really happened for Shane to leave Rick behind. It actually gives him good points, but then they’re taken away rather quickly when he attacks Lori. But at least we know he did everything he could short of sacrificing his own life to save Rick.
Although this is definitely a world where we’ll probably never really know the origins of the outbreak, watching videos of Jenner’s research and the effects of the virus on the brain are pretty cool. And he outright dashes the group’s hope of there being a potential cure or government safe haven, so we won’t be wasting time looking for those in the future (until Eugene comes along anyway). It’s a harsh reality that some simply can’t handle.
The thing that bothers me about the episode is the group just happens to show up on the CDC’s doorstep with mere hours before it blows up. It’s just too much of a coincidence in timing. It does force everyone to decide whether they want to keep going or have the quick, painless death of the explosion, but it really feels forced. Even worse is Andrea’s decision to stay behind at first, until Dale makes it his mission to change her mind, literally with seconds to spare. But apparently Jackie wasn’t important enough, because he doesn’t even bother trying convincing her. Although Jackie wasn’t in the comic and Andrea was (and still is I believe), this part has always bothered me. At least the episode ends with a pretty amazing explosion once the place does go up in flames as the group moves on to their next destination, and a new season. It had some interesting parts, but not what I was hoping for in a season finale.