The Walking Dead Review: “TS-19”

The first season finale begins well, and develops in directions not charted by the source material. The final bang, alas, proves something of a whimper.

Title: “TS-19”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Guy Ferland

Written by Adam Fierro and Frank Darabant.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Noah Emmerich as Dr. Jennar
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jon Bernthal as Shane
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Adam Minarovich as Ed
Jeryl Prescott as Jacqui
Steven Yuen as Glenn
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Norman Reedus as Darryl Dixon
Melissa Suzanne Mcbride as Carol
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.


At the CDC, the survivors learn a little about the origin and nature of zombies, and the state of the world.

High Point

The episode gave the series a change of pace and a significant change from the source. It wasn’t consistently successful, but aspects worked, and it means we cannot predict where the next season will go.

In a series which emphasizes survival and suspense, this (fore)bodes well.

Low Points

The final bang proved a bit of a whimper—and the accompanying effects didn’t help.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 While the new direction doesn’t add anything terribly original for a zombie story, it does represent a deviation from the source material. Next season can go pretty much anywhere.

Effects: 4/6 CGI goes kaboom!

Story: 4/6 This may be the weakest episodes of the series, with uneven pacing and a disappointing conclusion. It did provide an intriguing glimpse at what has been happening elsewhere, and some explanation for aspects of the pilot.

Acting: 5/6.

Emotional Response: 4/6 The Walking Dead gives us the best new show of the year, and I look forward to its second season. This week may be the first time, however, my attention lagged significantly.

Production: 5/6

Overall: 5/6.

In total, “TS-19” receives 30/42

8 replies on “The Walking Dead Review: “TS-19””

  1. I enjoyed this ep and feel like it was what it had to be. Spoilers the rest of this paragraph: You can’t do a road trip zombie story in the Atlanta area and not take a detour thru the CDC to see what the hell is going on. At the same time, you can’t let the action or plot or cast get stuck there. Taken together, the logical storyline is a homage to the traditional biolab self-destruct end scene, which is exactly what we got. They played it just right, I think: people get eaten and headshot thruout the entire (miniseries) season and then you get a choice – give up and be painlessly incinerated, or man up to struggle onward. Choose the latter, and you drive off into the sunset to the strains of a funky Bob Dylan for further adventures next season. Perfect ending to this season of TWD as far as I’m concerned.

    For you Breaking Bad fans out there – exact same psychological ending from a storytelling standpoint as the end of BB Ep 6, which is where Tuco’s HQ self-destructs and Bryan Cranston gave out The Heisenberg Scream In The Car that won him the first of his three dramatic actor Emmies in that AMC show. As you may have noticed, AMC heavily promoted BB during TWD commericals to shoot for some well deserved audience crossover and is going to start telling whole BB story over from Ep 1 every Wed night til the season 4 premier next summer. Gentlemen, start your DVRs – it’s gonna be a long year til we get more TWD, might as well pass the time right.

    Interestingly, I read that the exec producer Darabant originally proposed a CDC scene to TWD creator Kirkman while laying out the season arc and Kirkman was like, the CDC is in Atlanta? If he had known that, he’d have put it in the comic years ago! So here we have an example of why a writing team deviating from one guy’s older storyline can be a plus sometimes…

    And best of all, Rick now has Mythic Secret Knowledge…Jospeh Campbell would approve.

    • That’s really good information about the original storyline and the author’s knowledge, or lack thereof, about a specific detail. I guess I liked the concept of the episode better than the execution– but even with my reservations, I still prefer this to 90% of what television has to offer.

      • Absolutely agreed, AMC knows how to put on a story. Well, Rubicon was a semi-flop altho it had its moments. I hear that AMC wanted to show Season 2 TWD eps earlier than next Halloween but are stuck by having both Mad Men and Breaking Bad coming up along with Rubicon’s replacement, The Killing – apparently a small-town whodunit. They gotta make room to get those out of the way before TWD can come back.

        BTW, the BB recap marathon starting on Weds has the first TWO eps this Wed, set your DVR accordingly. Again, I cannot overstate how great BB is, give it a try and see.

        One more spoiler – maybe. I was thinking that the doc told Rick some key secret about what the CDC had learned, and I was guessing to myself that it was that EVERYBODY is destined to become a zombie eventually, that in addition to bites and scratches, there’s slow acting airborne infections. Then I read in somebody’s blog that no, its that the doc realizes from the blood tests that Carl is not Rick’s son, but Shane’s, from a long-term affair with Lori. Huh, explains the bonding scenes in the camp very well…and will be a major factor in continuing to hammer at Rick’s motivation to continue. If true. We’ll see.

  2. Ratings were spectacular. Over six million watched the premier airing of TS-19, and over 8.1 million watched one of the three showings Sunday night. The cast has all been signed on for multiple seasons – guess Shane’s gonna be around awhile.

    You know, as a southerner I am sure “Rick Grimes” is legally named “Ricky James Grimes”, that’s kind of a regional thing. I sure would like to see Lori call him Ricky in the dialogue sometime…

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