The second to last episode of the first season of The Walking Dead aired last night. Last week I gave a comparison between the first four episodes and the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. Let's take a look at fifth episode.
While Episode 5 of The Walking Dead shared a few similarities with its comic book brother, it’s also the biggest indicator that this television series will be playing out much differently than the source material in the long run. Spoilers ahoy!
Episode 1.05 - "Wildfire"
Reaching out to Morgan at Dawn
Rick stays true to his promises. That’s what we learn from the multiple scenes in this week’s episode where Rick attempts to radio out to Morgan to warn him of what’s happening in and around Atlanta. These scenes continued to show Rick’s dedication and devotion to everyone’s well-being, even those outside his immediate family. Sadly, these early AM radio broadcasts never happened in the original Kirkman comic book. Once Rick leaves Morgan behind in their home town we don’t see, or hear, from him until far later in the comic book series. == TEASER ==Birthing of a Zombie
Talk about creepy, yet heartbreaking. The sequence where Amy is literally birthed into zombiehood is one of those moments that shows how different The Walking Dead is from every other piece of zombie fiction on the planet. I bet most people watching were expecting Amy to quickly turn into a zombie and pop up for one big shock scare before being put out of her misery. Not so fast. Remember: character is the soul of this series and that’s once again made clear by Amy’s slow and sad transformation in the arms of her sister, Andrea. For comparison sake, the original comic book wasted no time on the dead and quickly smash-cut to the burying of the fallen the morning after the camp attack.
Jim Got Bit
This episode we find out that Jim was actually bit during the zombie camp attack. While the same thing happens in the original comic, events play out a bit differently in the AMC series. In the AMC version Jim is shown as being much more secretive about his bite wound than he was in the original source material. However, Jim’s desired fate plays out the same in both the television series and comic, as he’s left by a tree to die and “be with his family.”
Andrea and Dale Share A Moment
Andrea was having a tough time with the loss of her sister. Unsurprising for fans of the comic, the only person able to break through to her was Dale, delivering a heartfelt speech about his late wife’s passing due to cancer. The comic does feature a similar scene, only with far less words, simply showing Dale put his arm around Andrea and offering his services should she need anything. To me, the AMC version is far more powerful and an excellent indicator of the budding relationship between these two characters.
Alone in the Woods
The scene with Rick and Shane patrolling the outskirts of the camp during last night's episode was particularly interesting. While a similar scene happens in the comic, the context that kick-starts the in-your-face argument between friends in the television series shows more than just Shane being at his wit's end with the whole Rick returning from the dead/can't be with Lori situation. It reinforces to the audience that Shane actually did good by his best friend by saving his wife and son, even if it was for his own selfish gain in the end. We needed to be reminded of this so Shane doesn't come off as a complete villain. He's a human being, flaws and all.
Convoy to the CDC
This is completely different than the original book. In fact, we never see anyone drive anywhere during the opening story-arc of The Walking Dead comic. All the action takes place inside the camp. However, I do understand that for an hour-long, six episode series you need to give the characters more to do than sit around a campfire and be sad. Therefore, I’m OK with this diversion from the original comic because it makes complete sense for this struggling group to travel to a place that may have food, medicine, shelter and a possible cure. Furthermore, this plot development continued to stress Rick and Shane’s increasingly hostile relationship.
CDC Arrival and Reveal
Much like the convoy to the CDC, the reveal of a lone CDC Agent alive and breathing is something completely fresh to AMC’s version of The Walking Dead. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I guess I have to see how it plays out in the season finale, but it’s another risky move by AMC to reveal something this big so soon. For perspective, we’re 80 some issues deep in The Walking Dead comic and we still have no solid evidence of a cure being in the works. AMC continues to reveal a larger world of survivors--ones with more worldly importance to boot--and I think it kind of diminishes the value of our main cast.
That’s it for Episode 5 of The Walking Dead. With the surprising turn of events in this week’s episode, I think we can all agree that we should expect the unexpected in next week’s season finale. The same applies to fans of the original comic. But make no mistake, AMC is still delivering a great drama television series. It’s just interesting that they’ve chosen to digress from the original comic so early.