Created by: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies,Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs
Synopsis: Now that the survivors have entered the CDC, they look forward to a life that is not one spent always looking over one’s shoulder. There is even hot water for showers to enjoy, and plenty of booze to forget some recent worries and losses. However, their host, Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich), does not share their enthusiasm, and is hiding a secret that can have dire consequences for them all.
This episode completes Season 1 of The Walking Dead, and largely due to the fact that this story does not come directly from the source material is its greatest asset. It bears a similar nature to a lot of other stories in the saga, that being the survivors finding a refuge only to discover that it is not as safe as they had hoped, yet how we get there could in no way be predicted on the basis of prior knowledge of the graphic novel. As such, it creates a tense, “how will they get out of this one?” scenario that generates high quality drama for the entire audience.
The character of Dr. Edwin Jenner was a fantastic creation for this episode. Emmerich performs the role admirably, finding that right mix of benefactor with a hidden secret that Rick and his colleagues only find out way to late. Having another personality within the group also permits other dramatic angles to be examined. One moment he shares with Rick is a particularly enlightening character moment for the latter. Jenner’s actions also allow other characters emotions that had been bubbling under the surface to burst forth in new ways, which are true to character despite perhaps being of surprise upon first viewing.
The newly extended Shane story also continues to evolve. It has been made clear in the comics that Shane was a good man, Rick’s best friend, however his darker side showed forth purely as a result of the extreme situation in which he has been placed. Believing in there being some level of safety, there is one hard to watch moment as Shane bears his soul for Lori, though clearly shows the he is gradually becoming unhinged. It is very clear now his fate in the series will not be the same as he had in the graphic novels, and though this irked me early in the season, now I am coming to terms with it given how the character is now evolving.
For a season finale, the end of this episode is fittingly epic. It certainly succeeds in whetting the appetite for season 2.
4.5 stars out of 5