The Walking Dead: Top 100 Moments

80 of 101
Chandler Riggs, Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead (2010). Photo: AMC
Chandler Riggs, Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead (2010). Photo: AMC /

22. Destruction of the CDC

Episode 106, “TS-19”

Original Airdate: 12/5/2010

Submitted By: Charlotte Anne

The highlight of the season 1 finale was the destruction of the CDC. With hindsight, this was highly symbolic of the direction the show was going to take: contrary to our expectations, the series would not be about our heroes solving the mystery of the virus and finding a cure.

The miracle Rick was hoping for would definitely not happen: Jenner was the only scientist left, he had tried to do his best but had found virtually nothing, and was now ready to give up.
It was also one of the most emotionally charged scenes of season 1, as some of the survivors chose to die rather than live on in this new world. While the others were frantically looking for an escape, seeing Jacqui quietly decide to stay with Jenner to face death was a heartbreaking moment.

This was also when Dale shamelessly resorted to emotional blackmail to save Andrea, by insisting to sacrifice his own life if Andrea chose to stay inside. This act showed how much Dale cared for Andrea, but it was also a questionable choice, and Andrea would long resent him, feeling that he had robbed her of that decision.

The end of the CDC killed all illusions of hope for the survivors, but it was also a climactic moment, as it raised so many questions: is a life in the zombie apocalypse worth living? Can you save someone’s life against their own wishes, and is this an act of love or an act of selfishness? These questions are the reason why The Walking Dead is so much more than a show about people killing zombies: it is first and foremost a show about people having to decide what kind of life is worth living, and fighting for.