By Combat Jack
Ever since I watched George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead when I was four years old, frozen in terror as I viewed the black-and-white death tale unfolding on that Zenith screen, I've loved zombies (and been effed up in the head). I picked up the first black-and-white issue of The Walking Dead back in 2003, and it was nothing less than banana bread and horse meats, meaning very dope. I've been bigging it up since way before it became AMC's hottest show ever, and when the Complex boys—for whom I spilled true stories about classic rap songs—peeped my zombie swag on Twitter, they invited me to do a weekly review of the show. So here I am, getting all up in your brains. If you're not watching the series, go kill yourself, come back to life, then kill yourself again. Or just catch up and walk with me as I walk with The Walking Dead...
PLOT: The season's finale kicks off with a dope-ass flashback of Shane in the hospital trying to rescue a very unconscious Rick in the midst of a military vs. zombie free-for-all on what appears to be the first day zombies went buckwild. Fast forward to the present, we find our merry band of survivors at the gates of the Center for Disease Control. The group meets Dr. Edmund Jenner (Noah Emmerich) who welcomes Rick and gang in, feeds them, and cracks open mad wine bottles. Afterwards, Jenner explains that the other members of the CDC all either left or killed themselves because they were too bitch-assed to face reality. (Rule #1 to self: There is no bitchassedness in the wake of a zombie apocalypse). The group gets treated to hot showers (nothing sexual), drunk Rick builds with Dr. Jenner, and drunk Shane explains why he thought Rick was dead and tries to tap butterface Lori's ass. This time around, Lori's no longer game for side meat and scratches the shit out of Shane's neck.
The next day, Doc Jenner explains the virus that causes the dead to walk and shows everyone a digital playback of TS-19 (test subject #19) going through the stages of infection, but even though we learn how the virus attacks, everyone is still clueless as to why the dead won't stay the fuck dead. Jenner then goes all mad scientist and reveals that the CDC is running out of fuel and how he's put into motion a self-destruct device that will destroy the premises and everyone up in the piece. Some drama ensues, Andrea and Jacqui decide they've had enough and wish to die alongside Jenner, the rest desperately trying to find a way out. After conceding their escape, Jenner whispers some shit into Officer Ricky's ear before he and gang leave. The season's finale ends with Rick and crew (Dale talks Andrea into manning up and leaving) evacuating the building and going toe to toe with some tailgating walkers, Jaqui and Jenner inside holding hands all emo-like right before the CDC building goes BOOM!
ACTION: A nice big scene of the CDC going BOOM! A tense moment of Shane going at Lori in what looks like it will end up as a rape scene. Daryl, Shane, Rick, and T-Dog get involved in a quasi chest bumping brawl as Darryl and Shane bully Jenner into letting the group of survivors go. Shane, by the way, is really starting to lose his marbles. Once outside, we get some good old fashioned human vs. zombie action.
EFFECTS: The voice activated technology inside the CDC was top notch, almost as if the crew were aboard a spaceship. The CDC's explosion looked a little too CGI for my liking, but it is was effective in demonstrating how destructive the explosive blast was. And, as always, we get some great zombie mauling, especially a zombie beheading.
GORE: A quick zombie decapitation is the most we're treated to in this season's finale.
COMICS VS. SHOW: The whole CDC story plot is a complete deviation from the book. Shane starting to lose his marbles is consistent. At the end of the episode and season, our group of survivors are back on the road, left to fending for themselves, which brings us back to the earlier issues of The Walking Dead comic book series.
COMBAT JACK'S FINAL ANALYSIS: "TS-19" was a great way to end the first season. As the CDC subplot was a complete deviation, it was cool that I didn't know how the episode was going to end. Although the source material has more than enough material for the show to have to add new story lines, season one felt like a mini-intro to what looks like the beginning of a very cool ride down The Walking Dead highway.
BONUS GIVEAWAY: You already know I'm a big fan of comic books. When in Brooklyn, I buy my books from the best shop in BK, Bergen Street Comics (@BergenStComics). Proving just how cool they are, the good folks at BSC blessed me and Complex with the entire 13-volume set of Image Comics' The Walking Dead for a giveaway that's worth over $150. No shit, B. The monthly black-and-white comic book written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard debuted on comic book stands in 2003 and illustrates how screwed up humans are and the foul things we'll do for self-preservation for just schitz and giggles. The series won the 2010 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series and remains one of the most popular comic book titles out. The set will make a great holiday gift for you or the luckiest of your zombie-loving loved ones. The rules to this contest are simple:
2. Leave a comment on this post answering this question: If you woke up in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, wtf would you do to ensure your survival? Make sure you let me know what your Twitter name is when you leave your comment.
3. Retweet this: I entered the @Combat_Jack x @ComplexMag x @BergenStComics #TheWalkingDead Twitter contest. You can also enter here: http://bit.ly/h2A1sK
The contest will end Friday, December 10th, 2010 and will be announced on Complex, Bergen Street Comics, and my twitter page. The best comment wins! Thanks for participating, and good Luck!
• Combat Jack Reviews The Walking Dead Season 1, Episode 2 "Guts"
• Combat Jack Reviews The Walking Dead Season 1, Episode 3 "Tell It to the Frogs"
• Combat Jack Reviews The Walking Dead Season 1, Episode 4 "Vatos"
• Combat Jack Reviews The Walking Dead Season 1, Episode 5 "Wildfire"
• Complex's Interview With "The Walking Dead" Creator Robert Kirkman
• The 15 Best Ways To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse
• Combat Jack Presents: True Stories Behind 25 Rap Classics