“Wildfire,” last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was another big improvement over episodes 2 and 3. It seems like the show is headed to a strong season finale next week. I’m with Scott Meslow: it’s the best episode since the premiere, hands down.
A lot happened. Andrea refused to let anyone touch the dead-and-about-to-be-zombiefied Amy. We find out that Jim was bitten by a walker during the previous episode’s attack — a sure death sentence. Rick continued trying to contact Morgan and his son (whom he promised to rendezvous with in the first episode). Shane considered (maybe?) shooting Rick. The group headed to the Center for Disease Control headquarters, where it turns out one person was alive and conducting scientific experiments.
I had a few favorite moments, but I think the one that tops the list was watching Amy rise while Andrea sat beside her. When Amy’s eyes finally opened, unseeing, and she reached out and slowly clutched Andrea’s head, it struck me that the scene was probably meant to be read in two ways: tender and predatory. And just as Amy’s demeanor shifted into something more menacing, Andrea shot her in the head.
Leaving the infected Jim (sad!) by the side of the road on the way to the CDC was kind of an odd way of doing things. It was very sentimental, and also a strange set-up since in most television shows it would be likely that we’d see him again. But in the context of this show, it’s obviously really very unlikely.
Another odd, but really interesting, moment was when Rick and Shane were doing their sweep of the forest, and Shane held Rick in his gun sight for a minute or so. We knew he wasn’t going to shoot Shane, but it seemed like it was supposed to be a revealing moment between Shane and the viewer. It was ostensibly a sign of how unstable Shane is. But then the camera turned and the “we” ended up including both Shane and the viewer: we both discovered that Dale was also watching Shane, and Shane is forced to play it off. It was a nice surprise.
I’m pretty excited about the series finale, especially because I think we’ve had enough wandering in the woods and I’m ready for answers and some context for what’s going on in the rest of the country and the world (you’ll remember I mentioned this in the first recap). Hopefully the guy in the CDC’s underground bunker will be able to do that.
Anyway, I think I judge an episode by how much it makes me turn it over in my head afterward. This one has had me mulling it over quite a bit.