Walking Dead 1.06 “TS-19” Recap

“TS-19” opens with a flashback to Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) hospital, where the military is swarming the halls, killing everyone in sight. Shane (Jon Bernthal) races down the hall as several patients are executed at point blank range. The doors open and zombies poor through. Shane enters Rick’s room, picks him up out of his bed to carry him out…until he realizes he won’t be able to take him without unplugging him from the machines that are keeping Rick alive. Shane hides alongside the bed as a military patrolman enters the room, then exits without spotting him. Shane begs Rick to wake up. There’s a huge explosion in the hall, killing the power to Rick’s hospital equipment. Shane believes Rick to be dead, heads back into the hall. On one end the military is assasinating people, on the other, Walkers. He checks on Rick one more time, then flees.

Back to the present. Rick and company enter the CDC. Jenner emerges and asks if any of the group is infected. Rick tells him only one, who didn’t make it. Jenner wants to know what they want. “A chance,” Rick tells him. Jenner will let them in if they each submit to a blood test. Rick agrees.

Jenner tells them they are underground as they enter a large room called “Zone Five”. He’s the only one that’s left, except for Vai (the computer running the building). Jenner begins taking their blood. Andrea nearly faints. None of our survivors have eaten in days.

Cut to a happy feast with much wine and laughter. Even Rick’s son gets some vino, but finds it gross. A toast to Jenner. Shane takes the opportunity to completely ruin the moment by asking Jenner what happened to the rest of the CDC doctors. Jenner tells them that when things got bleak, many tried to make it back to their families. When the military got overrun, the rest bolted or killed themselves. Jenner kept working, still hoping to do some good.

Jenner leads them to their rooms, asks them not to use anything that consumers power. They enjoy the simple, joyous pleasure of showers with hot water. The only ones who don’t seem too thrilled are Shane, who enjoys a bottle in the shower, and Andrea, who sits on the floor with a blank, distraught stare as the water pours down around her.

Walking down the hall, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) hears Andrea retching up wine into the toilet. “Everything’s gone,” she tells him, as Dale tries to convince her it’s a new start. But the earlier look on Jenner’s face has already confirmed to Andrea that there’s nothing left.

Rick drunkenly comes to thank Jenner who tells him everyone’s blood checks out. Rick confides to Jenner that they never had a chance out there, that he kept his desperation a secret from his wife and son. Jenner tells him everything will be okey-dokey but Rick’s empty stare tells us the opposite.

Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) is watching the children in the library as Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) enters. There are plenty of books to keep them reading for years. Carol takes the kids to bed as Lori browses through some books, pulls out a book with “Doubt” in the title. She’s being watched from behind by an inebriated Shane, who looks at her in her nightgown like a piece of meat. She senses him, turns. Shane pleads with her not to treat him this way. Tries to explain that it was chaos in the hospital, that he listened for Rick’s heartbeat and found none. Lori’s not buying it. Shane tells her he saved her life and that if he could have traded places with Rick, he would have. Corners Lori. Puts his hands all over her, tells her he loves her. Tries to have sex her. She strikes him, clawing at his neck, and pushes him away. Shane storms out.

Rick stumbles into bed next to Lori, completely hammered. Tells Lori they don’t have to be afraid anymore. They are safe. But Lori’s face tells us that it’s not the Walkers they have to worry about.

In the cafeteria for breakfast, Rick and company struggle with their hangovers. Shane enters and T-Dog (IronE Singleton) questions him about the scratch on his neck. Shane claims he must have done it to himself in his sleep.

Jenner shows the group a playback of TS-19 on a large screen: a digital image of a brain scan/MRI. An enhanced internal view shows flashing lights traveling across synapses, which Jenner explains “is you” somewhere in all those memories and experiences. It’s a playback of Test Subject 19’s brain, a vigil for someone who was bitten and infected and volunteered to have the CDC record the process of their brain.

Jenner shows the “first event” of the subject’s turning, where the infection invades the adrenal glands and major organs like meningitis until death. “Everything you ever were or ever will be, gone.” Andrea takes this hard. Jenner tells her he also lost someone.

The “second event” shows the resurrection, with the times varying wildly. We see small red lights appearing on the brain stem. None of the rest of the brain, the “you” part, comes back: a shell, driven by mindless instinct. We see through the MRI that the patient is shot in the head.

Jenner admits they have no idea what the infection actually is. He doesn’t know if there are others like him, all communication went down. “There’s nothing left anywhere, that’s what you’re really saying, right?” asks Andrea the optimist.

Dale asks Jenner what the large digital clock on the wall is counting down to. What happens when it reaches zero? The basement generators run out of fuel. Oh yeah, and then the facility will be decontaminated. Sucks to be them.

Rick, Shane, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and T-Dog head to the basement. Shane and Rick separate together from Glenn and T-Dog. A lot of dead generators and empty fuel tanks. The lights go out, emergency lights come on. They’re down to just one fuel tank, almost empty. Lori notices that the air conditioning has stopped.

Jenner cries while looking at a photo of his wife, telling her he did the best he could with the time he had. The power starts to die. Jenner explains the system is shutting down all nonessential power in order to keep the computers alive until the last possible second. There’s thirty minutes left.

Jenner reveals that the French were close to a solution to the infection and were the last ones to hold out in their labs until the end. Alarms sound. Shane orders the group to get their stuff and get out. Jenner swipes a card and locks them into the main control room. Jenner explains there is no way out, all the emergency exits are sealed. Once the front door closed when they entered, there was no way out. “You heard me say that.” The building was designed to keep things like Ebola and chemical weapons from ever getting out. In the event of a catastrophic power failure such as in a terrorist attack, the system will deploy HIT’s: explosives that light the air inside on fire (useful for when the greatest loss of life and destruction is desired).

Shane and Daryl start hacking at the steel door with axes (always effective) as women and children cry. Jenner tells them it’s better this way. Better than what’s outside. Better than what happened to Andrea’s sister. Daryl charges Jenner with the axe but the group pulls him back.

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