Tonight gave us the scientific explanation of the Dead, provided by Dr. Edwin Jenner (nearly the same name as Edward Jenner, in our real history the creator of the small pox vaccine). Jenner (Edwin - played by Noah Emmerich) is the last person alive at the CDC in Atlanta, which our band of survivors make it to. Jenner shows what happens when the virus - or whatever triggers the zombies - gets hold of a human. The human turned zombie subject of the mini-doc turns out to be Jenner's wife (I figured as much - or perhaps Jenner's son or daughter - when he told our people that the subject was someone very "close" to him.)
But there's no good news in this demo or anything else that Jenner has to reveal. The French said they were on the verge of a breakthrough, until they got over-run. This is the big extinction event for humanity, Jenner believe and avows.
But Rick and Shane neither believe nor accept it. We finally see how it happened that Shane left Rick in the hospital - it wasn't his fault - and the two and most of the team manage to break out of the CDC, set to self-destruct, to live another day (or as long, at least, as the first episode of the second season). Andrea and Jacqui (for different reasons) want to stay in the CDC and die along with Jenner, but Dale is able to talk Andrea out of this by threatening to stay in the building and die, too, if she doesn't leave with him. This was one of the best scenes of a powerful hour.
And the hour left us with a tantalizing clue to something - Jenner whispers it in Rick's ear, and we can't hear it. All kinds of theories are already abounding about the content of the whisper - some taken from the comic book series, which the TV series has already diverted from - but I'm guessing it's some sort of qualification that the future is not utterly hopeless, maybe the French communicated some information to Jenner that could be of value.
As I said in my review of the first three episodes, I'm not usually a big fan of zombie stories. But The Walking Dead is a big cut above the rest, and I'm glad it's shambling proudly along to another season.
See also The Walking Dead 1.1-3: Gone with the Wind, Zombie Style
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The Plot to Save Socrates
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