Scene 30: Outside the RV, Rick tells the group of Jim's desire. Carol wants to make sure he's lucid enough to understand what he's asking, and Rick concedes that he is. Dale suggests that they do what Jim wants. Shane says he's not sure he can live with just dumping Jim at the side of the road and leaving, but Lori points out that it's not either his nor Rick's call... this is Jim's decision.
Scene 31: Shane and Rick carry Jim to a nearby tree and prop him up, as Jim continues struggling for breath against the severe joint and bone aches the fever is bringing. Shane tries once for Jim to reconsider, but his mind is made up. Everyone has their last goodbye.
Rick asks if Jim wants the pistol left behind for him, but he turns that down. He says the group will need it and that he's okay.
Commentary: This whole scene could've been maudlin, but it was so well acted that I found it engaging, respectful, and even a bit emotional - despite Jim's not being a 1st tier character. It was especially a nice moment between Jim and Jacqui since she was the one to rat him out [not that he was hiding his condition for long -- the fever obvs hits fast and hard]. Everyone really sells the scene.
As to Jim's decision to die and turn: I don't know. I tried to put myself in this situation, and I'm not sure I wouldn't have asked for a bullet, instead. It seems like a cruel fate, despite Jim's resignation to the inevitable.
Scene 32: We do a used-to-be-commercial fade and when we return, we're looking at a computer terminal booting up. We're told that we're about to see a transmission from Wildfire. This transmission is a scientist's face staring into the camera. It is Jenner and he reports that it is Day 194 after Wildfire was declared.
[Meaning Rick must've stayed a LOT longer at the camp with the survivors than it looked like, considering he couldn't have spent more than a few weeks -- at most -- in his coma after no one was looking after him anymore.]
Jenner reports no significant progress. He reports on his physical and mental health, which could be termed "strained" and ends transmission.
Scene 33: We join actual Jenner, rather than video Jenner, as he's in a hot suit and entering a secured lab. He appears to be entirely alone. We see him going through preparing test slides, but it's obvious by his transmission and his napping as he sits that he's very tired and overworked.
[Bad feelings, abound.]
He knocks over a vial of caustic solution onto a tissue sample and toxic fumes are detected by the computer. As it drones in a female voice, Jenner runs for the exit. He makes it into the exit, where he's soaked in water to decontaminate. He has a few moments of relief, but then the computer announces that with personnel removed from the dangerous environment, she's activated full decon procedures.
He screams against this and tries to re-open the lab door. The entire lab is flash fried, including - presumably - the only samples of the zombie-cause, which we learn is cellular transmutation of some sort.
Commentary: Okay, let's not do CGI cells turning into spiked-fencepost looking extrusions anymore. Okay? We can just hear some vague-ish descriptors and then we'll work out the rest.
Scene 34: We rejoin video-Jenner with a glass of wine. It doesn't appear to be his first. He tells whoever he's transmitting to that the TS-19 samples are gone.
We cut out from the vid-transmission to See Jenner without the breaking up signal noise. He's in a depressed exhaustion over losing the samples. He admits that he doesn't even know if anyone is listening to his reports at this point.
We skip between vid-Jenner and real-Jenner, but it doesn't matter - the message is the same. He's isolated, he's lost the only working samples he had, and there doesn't seem to be any hope left.
He gets up from the console and announces to the empty room that he thinks the following day, he's going to blow his brains out. He hasn't really decided, but he does know that tonight, he's getting drunk.
We pull back to see a huge computer room with row upon row of stations, but no one there but him.
Scene 35: Back with the group, they've pulled to the curb. They're at the CDC, but it doesn't look good. Bodies and abandoned military equipment surround the building, as it is obvious that the place was overrun.
The gang make it through the rot to the doors of CDC.
Scene 36: Inside, Jenner is surprised to hear an alert from the computer. He sees through the camera system that he has visitors. Seeing survivors doesn't lead to reactions of joy or relief.
Scene 37: Outside, the gang are met with blast doors that have been lowered and locked in place. Try as they might, they won't budge.
But their noise has attracted walkers. Daryl yells at Rick for making the wrong call, but Shane steps in to push Daryl off. With the sun starting to set, Lori tells them they have to get out of the open before night falls, while Shane tells him that they have to start for Fort Benning, immediately.
Andrea complains that they're almost out of fuel and they have no food for a hundred mile trip. As everybody is getting ready to go into a panicked run while they still have light, Rick spots the security camera move.
Scene 38: While Shane is suggesting that it's just an automated device, Jenner is watching through the monitor slack-jawed that there is anyone left in the city still alive. He whispers for them to just go away.
Scene 39: With POV swapping between camera vision and uh-- cameraman vision -- Rick shouts that he knows someone is there listening to him, while a frantic Lori and Shane try to get him to run. In the meantime the walkers' numbers are growing and they're closing in.
Rick shouts at the camera that whoever is watching is killing them.
The CDC blast shutters slide open to a powerful spotlight shining in our gang's faces.
We fade out to white.
The Good: The entire way that Andrea's grief, Amy's turning, and her eventual burial was really well handled.
Ditto for the way that Jim's arc is concluded.
I really some of the acting in this episode: Jacqui's interactions with Jim, Andrea over Amy's corpse, Chandler's cry-face, Steven's "we don't burn them!" freak out and Melissa's taking that pick ax to Ed's prop-head stayed with me.
I love how they play to the cliche of the infected person not telling anyone and the loved one not protecting themselves from their turned family member, but subvert both tropes.
The make up effects on Emma were exceptional. She really did look white as a sheet, and those eyes were really effective and creepy.
The Bad: Some of the filming for this series really bothers me; The close ups are WAY TOO CLOSE. I'm thinking they're trying to get a claustrophobic feel, to put us in the characters' heads, but it's just distracting.
Oh, CGI morphing killer cells --- no more. Please.
Other Thoughts: There a few things that were awkward, to say the least: Why are they burning bodies in the middle of camp?? Also, some of the conflict between Rick and Shane felt really hyped-up and overacted. Jon in particular could use some restraint in his "intense-face" acting. Also, aiming the gun at Rick felt like it was too much for this point in the story and would've worked better next season, after what happens with Lori next episode.
Also, they need to do some toning down of Daryl's character and spread the dialog scenes out a bit so everyone can do something more than stand around in the background -- or continue to whittle down the cast to a manageable level. It's going to start being obvious that a death is coming if the side players only get a chunk of dialog just before they're going to get killed.
The Score: I really liked this episode for dealing seriously and fairly with Andrea over Amy and Jim with his inevitable fate.
4.0 out of 5 stars
Next up: Either SPN's "Bugs" to which I can only say 'oh, dear'.
Or BTVS, S3's "Anne"
Or a movie review for "Carnage" (1983)
Or a movie review for "Atom Age Vampire" (1960)