'The Walking Dead' -- Episode 5: 'Wildfire'
Warning: Spoilers ahead. Come back later if you haven't yet watched last night's episode, "Wildfire."
Just in time for next Sunday's season-ending sixth episode, our ragtag batch of zombie bait has made it through yet another flesh-gnawing gauntlet (well, most of them have) and arrived at Atlanta's Centers for Disease Control.
Before they arrived, though, we viewers got to meet Jenner (played by Noah Emmerich, otherwise known as Truman's best friend Marlon) who appears to be what remains of the CDC staff. As Jen and I noted over IM this morning, and Mike Ryan also pointed out in his Vanity Fair recap, Jenner and the CDC serve as the "Walking Dead" equivalent of "Lost's" Desmond Hume and the hatch -- a mysterious man in a mysterious place who promises to take the story in a new (or is it?) direction.
While we haven't read the comics (we know, we know -- this is an error we plan to rectify as soon as possible), we know that the CDC plot line is specific to the TV show. Which makes Jenner -- who, it should be noted, was gulping down merlot and planning to blow his head off when Rick and the gang arrived -- an entirely new "Walking Dead" creation.
Will he be able to truly conduct his experiments and seek a cure for, um, zombieness, now that he has some folks to help him snag fresh tissue? Is he too far gone to care anymore?
We can't speak for others, but we kind of like Jenner already. In addition to being smart enough to know where the CDC keeps its wine bottles, he's also klutzy enough to ruin important specimens in the lab, which is totally Homer Simpson of him, and delusional enough to record video of him speaking directly to camera, which is totally Aron Ralston of him. His nuttiness also suggests that he could emerge as yet another male character with whom the hotheaded Shane can come to blows. (Either that, or he could totally die next week since Emmerich may be preoccupied with other projects, including the upcoming "Super 8.")
Speaking of Shane, what is up with that "22" necklace? Is that a NASCAR thing or are we going to have to start studying the mystic meaning of numbers here, too? For anyone who is ready to head down the over-analytical path, here's a link to the wiki page for 22, which also popped up in "Lost" courtesy of the book Naomi Dorrit was carrying when she landed on the island: Joseph Heller's "Catch-22."
We're not sure where things are headed for the finale. But given the preview -- in which Jenner shows the gang a fancy-shmancy Power Point called TS-19 and notes that once a person is infected "everything you were or ever will be" is gone -- we're hoping for a nice, "what's really going on inside the Hatch?"-style cliffhanger.
And what about all the other ends left dangling like so many partially gnawed-off limbs? Merle, that racist little charmer who apparently sawed off his own hand, has yet to resurface. Ditto Morgan and young James, who Deputy Sherriff Grimes left behind after a nice, hot group shower. (He has tried to keep in touch via walkie-talkie, also very "Lost-ian.") There's also the matter of that helicopter Rick saw flying over Atlanta. And one of the biggest character conflicts we're being set up for -- Rick vs. Shane -- has yet to hit pay dirt (despite Shane's momentary urge to blow Rick's head off from afar in this week's episode).
Got any theories about what lies ahead or what we'll learn about Jenner and the cause of all the excessive zombieness? By all means, share in the comments section.
Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney
| November 29, 2010; 2:57 PM ET
Categories: TV | Tags: Walking Dead
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