After last week’s hectic and satisfying conclusion, “Wildfire” slows things down and gets back to the characters and how they’re coping with the attack. I felt that the Andrea and Amy story-arc was handled really well. Andrea waiting to shoot zombified-Amy was both inevitable and surprising - it was an oddly moving moment in the show.
Meanwhile, the decision to head for the CDC led to all sorts of chaos as characters debated on the best course of action. Shane, Lori and Rick seemed to always be at odds, leading to a surprising confrontation in the woods. Shane’s temptation to shoot Rick in the back gave us a lot of insight into how things have changed since Rick’s coma.
Jim’s zombie bite added some extra tension to “Wildfire,” too. When the group finally decided to head for the CDC, I liked how one family decided to go in the opposite direction. That whole scene had a lot of momentum going, until their van broke down on the side of the road. I gotta say, it kills me that they left Jim on the side of the road. I know it was his decision and all, but you’d think somebody wouldn’t stand for it. Either way, it made the tone of “Wildfire” a little bit harsher.
And then came the ending. It’s difficult to say if that was a good move or not, but it seemed to place The Walking Dead into a science-fiction genre… and the fade to white gave the conclusion a deus ex machina feel to it. That whole underground laboratory scene felt very Andromeda Strain to me, and had me fearing that The Walking Dead is moving towards what the writers did in the later seasons of Lost. That’s not to say the solo-man in the CDC lab wasn’t effective - it was, and it has me interested, but it was a huge jump in the show; I think it’ll be key to see the way that’s handled next week.
And speaking of next week, that’s going to be the season finale. I’m worried that the show won’t be able to wrap up what’s in the CDC, while also giving the season a proper conclusion. It almost seemed like tonight’s episode could have functioned better as a finale. But that’s just me trying to outguess the writers. We won’t be able to judge the finale until next week.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it.