The Walking Dead 105 – Wildfire: ‘We don’t kill the living’?

Is there hope in the light? Probably not. You know what kind of show you're watching by now. (Rick's group, The Walking Dead, AMC)
Is there hope in the light? Probably not. You know what kind of show you're watching by now. (Rick's group, The Walking Dead, AMC) /

In episode 5 of season one of The Walking Dead, we’re reminded that zombies like to camp sometimes, too.

Remember:  On the previous night (and previous episode) the walkers came in and really cleaned house.  Among others, they took out Ed Peletier (which many would applaud).  It was an elaborate feast for some hungry walking carcasses.

One walker — looking a lot like Greg Nicotero — chomped Amy’s neck up pretty bad, and left her a dramatic, bloody mess slumped in Andrea’s arms.  After a while, Rick Grimes steps to Andrea, reminding her it’s not safe to keep her sister’s brain in tact.  Andrea, being an emotional wreck, pulls out a pistol and threatens to make Rick’s brain not in tact.  Being reasonably intelligent, Rick backs away and lets her mourn a little while.

But what to do?  The rest of the corpses are given rough treatment — their brains are destroyed awesomely by pick axes, and the bodies put in a pyre and burned.  Andrea obviously doesn’t want that to happen with Amy.
Glenn feels very much the same, as he stops Daryl from burning one of their own.  It harks back to the Night of the Living Dead and the classic “That’s another one for the fire” line.  When it’s revealed that Jim was bit in the attack, Daryl is stopped from killing him by Rick.  Rick says, “We don’t kill the living.”  Well, let’s see how accurate that claim is.

In the previous episode (Vatos), we saw a Rick who was very much prepared to kill the living.  A big shootout was barely prevented by an old woman walking onto the scene.  In effect, it seems Rick really means, “We don’t kill the living who we know and care about.  For everyone else, it’s more like a 50/50 chance.”

Rick Grimes, Andrea and Amy, The Walking Dead - AMC
Rick Grimes, Andrea and Amy, The Walking Dead – AMC /

Rick is still pretty normal despite all that’s happened.  He understands very well that the group needs hope, and he does his best to offer it.  In addition to not throwing away their own dead like trash, he suggests going to the Center For Disease Control facility, hoping to find safety there, and possibly even a cure.  In contrast to that inkling of hope, Andrea cries and shoots her sister in the head.  Bang!  No hope for a cure there.

Then there’s Shane, whose presence doesn’t bode well for Rick’s version of hope, either.  He sees the CDC as a dead end, and tries to convince Lori to talk Rick (and, of course, the rest of the group) out of going there.  Lori dutifully backs her husband, which Shane doesn’t like at all.  In fact, he is rather enraged at this, and the fact that Lori stopped playing family with him since Rick returned.  Shane actually seems very prepared to kill the living, given how he had threatened to beat Ed Peletier to death.  Then, while they are out scouting in the woods, Shane secretly aims his gun at Rick (what I will call his “Evil Elmer Fudd” moment).  Shane probably only resists killing him because the wise and learned Dale Horvath catches him in the act.  Shame on Shane!  But what would a Shane-type say?  In so many words, they’d always argue, “Any who cannot kill the living in this world are probably already dead.”

I don't know if it's wabbit hunting season, but I do know Rick Grimes isn't a wabbit. (Dale Horvath and Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead, AMC)
I don’t know if it’s wabbit hunting season, but I do know Rick Grimes isn’t a wabbit. (Dale Horvath and Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead, AMC) /

Interestingly, the Elmer Fudd moment apparently changes Shane’s mind regarding the CDC.  Now he’s willing to go, probably because of whatever guilt he feels over his actions.

Perhaps recognizing how horrible things will become, the Morales family leaves the group, and, after the group’s van breaks down, Jim eventually decides to spend his final moments resting under a tree by the highway, where he can “be with his family” and probably shoot himself before he transforms into the show’s beloved namesake.  In a sense, he will be killing the living, too (if that’s indeed what his choice will be).

Then, rather abruptly, we meet CDC scientist Edwin Jenner conducting a video diary. He compares the spreading zombie infection to a “Wildfire,” and notes that there’s no progress in curing it.  He then heads to a lab, accidentally spills some chemicals on some zombie tissue samples, and it triggers an automated decontamination process that destroys the samples (and whatever information they may have contained).  Darn!  Jenner is so depressed over the loss that he hints at suicide in his diary.  However, before he can join the reaper, he looks at the surveillance feed and notices the group outside of the CDC.  He opens the door to let them in.  To him, they are possibly a sign of hope, or at least a reason to live a little longer.  Are they?

Next: Episode 6: TS-19

The broader question is:
What waits ahead for our crew?  We know some of them are bound to kill the living now, and be killed merely for living (especially by the already dead).  We also know Jenner does not necessarily represent hope, and has limited ability to save the group from early death (being alone at the CDC now, and with his butter fingers being another bad sign).

Everyone seems to have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.  Death is what’s up, Doc.  Death.