'The Walking Dead': Season 1 Finale

Linda Sharps

First things first: as the title suggests, this article is going to discuss the finale, so don't read on if you want to avoid spoilers.

We started out with some flashback clarification about what happened back at the hospital with Shane and Unconscious Rick, and how Shane justifiably believed Rick to be dead. Also, how Rick managed to survive without turning into oblivious zombie chow, assuming zombies can't shove a hospital gurney away from a door.

In the present, the camp survivors have just been allowed entrance into the CDC by Jenner, who sternly informs them they'll all need a blood test. This is the scene previewed on last week's show that had us all thinking Jenner would be evilly injecting them with the virus in order to cackle madly while bolts of lightning flash overhead, but ... nope, seems like it's just a regular blood test.

Later: everyone's shitfaced! Somehow the CDC has a never-ending amount of red wine and everyone's having a great time and celebrating and then Shane has to totally ruin it by asking stuff like, "What happened here?" and "Where is everyone else?" Jenner reveals he's the only one left; the other doctors either fled or committed suicide.

God, Shane, you're such a drag. That dinner would have been way more fun had everyone avoided reality.

Aaaand sexy shower scene time! There's Lori, all naked and shiny. Hot! And—Shane, darkly slugging from a bottle. Hmm, not so hot. And ... Laurie, shellshocked and grief-stricken. WAIT THIS SHOWER SCENE IS NOT TURNING ME ON AT ALL.

Dale overhears Andrea barfing up her intestines and at first I'm all, ooh, Jenner injected her after all! Did I somehow miss the lightning? But no, it turns out she's just generally upset about some silly thing like zombies taking over the world and the end of humankind. Women! So hormonal.

Lori and Drunk Shane somehow end up alone in a rec room together and there's a really nasty bit of unpleasantness that seems like it's going to lead to Lori's rape, but she scratches the hell out of Shane's face and sends him on his way. Later, Rick comes staggering to bed to find Lori crying, and he tells her not to worry, they don't have to be afraid now.

Right, because for one thing, none of you idiots has bothered to even question the issue of supplies and facilities in this place. HELLO.

The next day everyone's comically hungover and Shane explains away the scratches by saying he did it to himself in his sleep. Not it to share a tent with Shane.

Jenner leads them to what appears to be the low-budget set of a very bad sci-fi movie where he starts showing animations of a brain scan on a giant screen, which he says is recorded from a test subject infected with a zombie bite. Everyone watches as the brain-lights go dark, and Laurie gets all weepy.

"I lost someone too," Jenner says somberly, because 1) duh, at this point everyone has lost someone, and 2) the show now needs to hit us over the head with the fact that the test subject is Jenner's wife.

We see some more cartoonish footage of the reanimation process, which Jenner says is confined to the brainstem and doesn't bring any "human" part of the person back to life. (NITPICK FLASHBACK: so why did Morgan's wife in the first episode keep coming back to the house her family was hiding in?)

Suddenly, Dale interrupts the kindergarten biology lesson to ask why there's a massive doomsday clock on the wall counting backwards with less than an hour to go. Jenner says oh yeah, ha ha, did he not mention that? That's when the generators run out of fuel and everybody dies.

Chaos erupts! The men run off to check the generators, which, sure enough, are nearly out of fuel! The needle is hovering over the "E" and everything! Lori notices the air conditioning stops! OMFG! Hey, maybe you should have run that fascinating brain movie on a smaller screen to save energy instead of the CDC JUMBOTRON!

Everyone confronts Jenner, who says when the building runs out of power, it self-destructs. A computerized female voice explains the process because it's hotlinked to Google and searched "KILL+IT+WITH+FIRE" for them. The doors are locked, Jenner can't do anything, sorry. He's like, dude, won't this be a better death—instantaneous and painless—than what's waiting outside?

Daryl repeatedly attempts to bum-rush Jenner while Shane and Rick hold him back, because that's basically all Daryl ever does. Lori wells up and says they just want a choice. Jenner is swayed and opens the control room doors, and everyone runs off—but not before Rick turns and thanks Jenner. "I'm grateful," says Rick.

"The day will come when you won't be," says Jenner, and he whispers something in Rick's ear. Rick's eyes go wide.

Jacqui says she's going to stay, and everyone's like, whatev. Then Andrea says she's going to stay, and Dale is like NOT THE WHITE GIRL NOOOOOOOO.

In the lobby, they're trying to bust open the bulletproof glass and luckily Carol has a grenade in her purse, because don't we all? Kleenex, lip balm, crushed Goldfish crackers ... grenade. They blow up the glass and make their just-in-time escape, while Dale—who has convinced Andrea to join him because he loves her, dammit—is right behind. Jacqui and Jenner hold hands before the entire CDC building detonates in a ridiculous Michael-Bay explosion.

And ... fin.

Okay, so I kind of hated this finale. Everything that happened once they entered the control room with the Brain Scan TV channel felt corny as hell and painfully rushed. I guess I'm glad they're out of there, though, so next season can start somewhere other than the CDC.

What did Jenner whisper to Rick? I have a theory, but I won't say it because it's a huge spoiler if you haven't read the comic. If you HAVE read the comic, you can probably guess what I'm thinking.

As some of you may know, rumors started swirling last week that Frank Darabont, head executive producer of The Walking Dead, had fired the entire writing staff of the hit show, with plans to replace them with freelancers next season.

Executive producer Robert Kirkman (the comic creator the series is based on) told TV Squad the writing deaths had been greatly exaggerated, and that what really happened was that Darabont's executive producer and writer Charles "Chic" Eglee (Dexter, Dark Angel) chose to quit the series after Darabont decided to stay on for Season 2.

However, if I were a Walking Dead staff writer, I wouldn't be feeling too comfortable about next season's paycheck, as Kirkman went on to say it's too soon to tell if they'll be using freelancers or not.

It's a little premature to be nailing down. I don't know if it's going to be a freelance situation or if we're going to have writers in a writers' room. That's something that's being worked on now.

Freelancers or staff, I still have hopes for this show and I'm crossing my fingers they figure out how to consistently tap into the occasionally-genius moments they came up with this season.

What did you think of the finale?

Image via AMC

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