In “The Walking Dead” Season 1 Episode 6 “TS-19,” the group of refugee humans find a kind of refuge within the bowels of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. But, of course, whatever safety they think they have is illusionary.
The sole inhabitant of the CDC is a researcher named Edwin Jenner. His name is a kind of in-joke; Edward Jenner developed the first small pox vaccine in the 18th Century. Edwin has failed to create anything that can combat the plague that has turned most of humanity into ravenous, flesh-eating monsters.
Everyone else has either died, fled, or killed themselves out of despair. Jenner has a reason to live and try to carry on, but it is one that has made him understandably insane.
But first, our heroes, having endured months of living rough, under constant peril from the undead, are about to experience the fleeting joys of hot food, hot showers, soft beds, and not having to keep one eye open against the hordes of zombies who now wander the Earth.
Jenner shows the group a graphic of an unfortunate he calls “Test Subject 19,” or TS-19, that shows the progression of the disease that turns living people into undead monsters. First, the brain is wiped out, becoming dark. Then, a hint of something arises from the brain stem, not consciousness, but an instinct to shamble about and eat anything living that comes across one’s path. Finally, they see the bullet that enters what was once human.
There is something more. Having seen “The Andromeda Strain,” one thought of a government facility like the CDC as being powered by an emergency nuclear generator. But the CDC was never designed to survive the end of the world. When the power grid went down, it survived for a while on backup, diesel-powered generators. The fuel is running out.
When the fuel runs out, the Hal-9000 style computer will destroy the CDC and everyone in it with a fuel air explosive, sterilizing the area. Jenner has chosen to stay. The end of the world has proved too much for him. For one thing, TS-19 was his wife, the brilliant head of the CDC, who had begged him to go on as long as he could in search of a cure. Jenner tells our heroes that it will be better this way — a quick, painless death than a more miserable one at the hands of the monsters.
But most choose to go outside, to take their chances, for some forlorn hope that there is a future somewhere, somehow for the living.
Which there will be in Season 2 of “The Walking Dead,” sometime late next year.
Source: The Walking Dead, TS-19, TV.Rage