The Walking Dead - Episode 5: “Wildfire” TV Episode Review
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara
2010, 45 minutes, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on November 28th, 2010
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane
Sarah Wayne Collins as Lori Grimes
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Steven Yeun as Glenn
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
The penultimate episode of the first season of AMC’s The Walking Dead aired this week. After the shocking events of the last episode where zombies literally tore into the camp, the survivors mourn their dead and decide to move on in search of the CDC and hope.
Spez: I have to say right off the bat that I was not impressed by this episode. While the ratings continue to climb for this show, I thought this episode was pretty weak especially after how gripping the previous one was. It seemed like nothing really happened. They buried a few people; Jim got bit; They hit the road. All in all, pretty meh.
Alien Redrum: I know I sound like a broken record, but I have to agree here. I don’t expect zombies in every episode, or tension or drama. But, man, you have to give me something, and in this episode there was very little they were giving. The only thing this episode, “Wildfire”, managed to do is get me more pissed off at Lori. Okay, fine, Shane lied to her, we get it. But she really needs to get off her high horse. It’s unclear how long they were on the move before the two slept together, and, yes, Shane was scandalous, but it's not like he raped her. If she is feeling guilty for laying down with another man a few weeks after the supposed death of her husband, that’s on her. Lori needs to stop projecting because it’s getting old.
Spez: Plus I felt that the way the things that did happen was pretty sloppy. Jim is bitten by a zombie and they decide to take him with them? The guy was going to die and no one asked him what he wanted. They just put him in the RV and took off. It goes against most of what they stood for so far.
AR: Yeah, that felt like nothing more than forced drama. This was just Rick trying to be the good guy, but he was doing nothing more than putting the group at risk (again). I will say, though, the handling of Amy’s death — and subsequent rise — was handled brilliantly. You knew Andrea was going to take care of her own, but even when the inevitable happened, it was still powerful. It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful scene in the entire episode happened within the first fifteen minutes.
Spez: The whole CDC thing threw me off too. I understand that they’re not following the comic book like a bible but this came out of left field for me. The shot of the CDC guy recording his conversation was lame and just seemed like forced exposition. Also the whole setup with his testing looked like it was ripped right from I Am Legend. They couldn’t think of anything better?
AR: This definitely didn’t bother me as much as it did you. Since they aren’t following the comic, the CDC would be a natural choice. However, I will agree that it is forced. The scientist being all alone, looking for a cure (or whatever) and talking to some unknown party seemed very cliched, especially the part where he hints at suicide just before Rick and the rest show up at his door. Where you see I Am Legend, I see The Stand (again).
Spez: Speaking of the CDC thing, I’m starting to warm up to Shane again. Yes, he aimed a gun at Rick but he actually had a good idea to protect everyone by bringing them to a local army base. In the book Shane wants to keep everyone at the camp even though they were just attacked. It’s Rick that wants to hit the road but he doesn’t have a clear destination in mind. When you put it like that, it makes Shane look crazy and weak. In the TV show he’s much more level-headed.
Spez: The one part I really dug though was towards the end where Rick is demanding to be let into the CDC building. Everyone else wants to get out of there but Rick is screaming at the top of his lungs and banging on the doors trying to get in. It showed that even though he always seems in control, he’s starting to crack.
AR: It’s almost as if the two characters have reversed their roles in this episode, where Shane is thinking for the group and Rick is thinking for himself. Although I think the argument can easily be made that Rick is the most selfish of all the characters. Think about it: Everything Rick does is to make himself feel better and not for the group. He went after Merle to assuage his guilt. He gave some of their guns away because he thought it was the right thing to do. He’s going to the CDC because he thinks it might be safe. How many people have died since Rick has shown up? How many before he strolled into camp? Even him screaming at the door of the CDC put everyone at risk. He might be getting things done because of luck or because of right decisions, but either way people are more at risk with him around. I’m just saying.
One thing I really liked about this episode concerning Rick and Shane is when they were in the woods arguing. They are having their back and forth, obviously frustrated with each other, but the moment there’s a possible threat, the debate stops and the two go to work, and it was seamless. There’s work and there’s personal and the two know when to separate it. I just love the synergy these two have, both as actors and as characters.
Spez: With the season finale coming up on Sunday I don’t know where they’re going to go now. The CDC story is such a sharp turn from what I was expecting that the climax that comes at the end of the first story arc doesn’t look like it would happen in the TV series. If this is the case I’m going to be pretty disappointed in all honesty. I just hope they up their game for the finale.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
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