Below is my synopsis of The Walking Dead episode six. If you haven’t seen it I suggest you don’t read on. Buy The Walking Dead Season 1 and enjoy!
In the series up until now Shane’s character has been called into serious question. As well as telling Lori that Rick was dead and then starting a relationship with her he has been shown as a man who cannot be trusted to hold his emotions in check. In the first scene of The Walking Dead episode 6 we are shown a very different side to Shane. It’s a flashback to the day Shane tries to rescue Rick from the hospital. As the zombie outbreak takes hold far from helping the doctors, nurses and other survivors in the hospital the army is systematically killing everyone they come across. I didn’t understand why, I guess the situation was seen as hopeless, and the army was preempting further contagion. The zombies in turn are attacking the soldiers and everything is chaos. The fact that Shane’s there at all is pretty heroic. When the power goes down in the hospital and Rick’s life support goes down Shane listens for a heartbeat and honestly thinks that Rick is dead. Outside Ricks room with soldiers killing at one end of the corridor and walkers roaming around at the other Shane still does what he can to try and barricade Rick’s room.
This is an interesting piece of character development. In the original comic book series Rick and Shane confront each other pretty early over Lori and Rick kills Shane. Clearly in the TV series it is intended that Shane remains, at least for the time being, one of the major characters. This scene at least goes someway to helping us sympathize with Shane’s nature and choices.
Back at the CDC the introductions are made between Dr Edwin Jenner and the survivors. Jenner reveals that’ it’s only him left and demands that each member takes a blood test if he’s going to let them stay. Jenner is courteous and there is a sense that finally the group can relax for a moment. They haven’t eaten in days and soon they are sat round a table enjoying food and wine. Over dinner Jenner sits apart looking despondent and Shane asks him what happened here at the CDC. Apparently when things got bad most left, others committed suicide. After dinner Jenner shows them to some rooms and there follows a montage of everyone enjoy the rare pleasure of a hot shower (well some enjoying, others not so much). It’s the second time in the series that the importance of hot water, after the apocalypse, has been highlighted. Personally a good mattress would be my priority!
Dale discovers Andrea throwing up in the bathroom and she rains on his parade of hope, saying that she can tell from Jenner’s expression that everything’s over, there’s nothing left!
Rick, a little the worse for wear, goes to chat with Jenner. He reveals a weaker side to his character saying that he kept all his fears and anxieties bottled up and away from his family. Jenner says it will all be OK.
Meanwhile poor old Shane, drunk and resentful at the way he’s being treated by Lori, confronts her to explain the situation back at the hospital when he tried to rescue Rick. And while he makes a strong case for himself he blows it all by losing control, declaring his love for Lori and then almost raping her before she fights back and he storms off. Later Rick stumbles to bed and assures Lori that they’re safe now. Hmm.
The next day they ask Jenner to tell them more about the outbreak and possible cure. Jenner pulls up the x-ray footage of a test subjects head and brain. Someone who was infected and agreed to have the process of dying and coming back as a walker recorded for research. Jenner talks the group through the process, explaining that after re-animation the frontal lobe is completely destroyed so that nothing of what the person was exists anymore, “just a shell driven by mindless instinct”.
Then Jenner drops the bombshell, he doesn’t know what’s caused the infection and all communications have been down for a month so he has no knowledge or expectation that there’s anybody else out there who has a better idea. More importantly Dale notices a clock ticking down to zero, there’s an hour to go. Jenner reveals that when the clock runs down the generators will run out of gas and the CDC’s main computer reveals further that this will lead to “facility wide decontamination”. A fancy way of saying “self destruct”. As the center starts to power down, and we see Jenner talking to a photo of his wife, say he did the best he could; it becomes apparent that Jenner hasn’t saved the group at all.
In fact his idea of salvation is that they die a quick and painless death when the power finally stops and the center wipes itself out in one quick blaze of glory. Rick tells everyone to grab their stuff but Jenner locks them into the main chamber. They try to break out but it’s impossible, Jenner tries to bring them round to his way of thinking. Better to go now painlessly then suffer a short brutal life and hideous long death. Shane tries his usual subtle way of trying to get Jenner to open the door by losing it and threatening him with a shotgun before blasting random objects in the room and screaming. Also as usual Rick calms him and then turns the focus on Jenner. If there’s no hope for anyone then why did Jenner hang around in the first place? Jenner stayed because he made a promise to his wife, the test subject they watched die earlier, and who Jenner had to kill. Turns out his wife was the brains of the outfit!
Anyway the group tries to persuade Jenner that while his wife had no choice he, Jenner does, and that’s all they’re asking for, a choice as to how they die. Jenner restates that he can’t open the outer doors but he does at least release them from the main control room. Rick thanks Jenner and then Jenner whispers something in his ear! With 4 minutes left the group starts to rush for the exits, but Jacqui and Andrea won’t leave, they’ve been convinced by Jenner. Dale refuses to leave Andrea. The others make it to the front doors but can’t get out until good old Carol gives Rick the hand grenade that he took many moons ago from the tank in Atlanta (GO CAROL!). They blow open a window.
Meanwhile cunning Dale guilt trips Andrea by refusing to go himself unless she goes, but will it work?
Outside the group rushes to their vehicles fighting zombies on route, particularly good axe work from Daryl. With seconds to go they spot Andrea and Dale leaving the building. Inside Jenner and Jacqui take each others hands and then…kaboom. And that my friend is that, the group of survivors, considerably smaller now, is saved…for now. The last shot is the pitch black smoking sky.
So that was The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 6. Roll on The Walking Dead season 2! Now check out my article on what we might expect from season 2.