A flashback starts this episode at the onset of the Wildfire Global Outbreak. Shane is visiting Rick in the King County hospital, wearing his officer's uniform. Army personnel are evacuating hospital staff and executing the infected. Shane begs a nurse for help, but she runs past him screaming.
He draws his gun and heads to the door. He watches fearfully as the military execute terrified people in the hallways. He tries to lift his comatose partner, but hesitates because of all the tubes and wires attached to the machines that are keeping him alive. Shane asks him desperately to tell him what to do, but Rick is unresponsive.
He ducks behind Rick's bed just as two army personnel arrive to sweep the room. When they leave, he begs his best friend to wake up, but the power goes out and Rick's monitors die. Fearing the worst, Shane puts his ear to Rick's chest. After hearing no heartbeat, Shane reluctantly leaves Rick in the room. However, he barricades the door with a hospital gurney before he flees.
In the present, Rick and the other survivors file in to the CDC lobby in Atlanta. Dr. Edwin Jenner meets them at the door with an automatic. "Why are you here, and what do you want?" Jenner asks them. "A chance," Rick says simply.
"That's asking an awful lot these days," Jenner replies, but he agrees to allow them in - provided they all submit to a blood test. "Grab your things," he tells them. "Once this door closes, it stays closed." Rick agrees, and they follow Jenner to the building's basement control center.
Daryl asks if doctors always go around packing heat like that, and the doc deadpans, "There were plenty left lying around. I familiarized myself. But you look harmless enough."
Carol notes that she's claustrophobic underground, and Jenner advises her not to think about it.
He leads the group in to the control room. "Vi, bring up the lights in the big room," he says, and the lights go up. "Welcome to Zone 5," he tells Rick and his group.
Looking around, Rick questions the absence of other doctors. "I'm all that's left," Jenner replies. Lori asks about Vi, and Jenner introduces her in which they realize she is the CDC's computer system.
As Jenner takes a blood sample from Andrea, she asks him what the point is. "If we were infected, we'd all be running a fever," she scoffs, but Jenner asks her to humor him. When she stands, she wobbles. "She hasn't eaten in days. None of us have," Jacqui explains to Jenner as she helps Andrea stable herself. Jenner seems struck with a sudden idea.
Later, the group feasts in the CDC cafeteria, joyfully drinking wine and liquor from the fully stocked fridge. They are beyond happy about finding a safe place to stay and a good meal. Glenn is drunk, much to Daryl's satisfaction.
Carl tries his first sip of red wine. He hates it, to Lori's delight. Rick toasts Jenner for his hospitality, and the doctor quietly raises his glass.
Shane isn't interested in celebrating. "When are you gonna tell us what the hell happened here?" Shane asks. Jenner explains that most of the doctors fled. The rest, he says, "couldn't face walking out the door. They...opted out (committed suicide)." Jenner says that he stayed because he hoped to do some good.
After dinner, Jenner shows the group around the building, directing the children towards the rec room and telling everyone not to waste electricity. The survivors are thrilled to luxuriate in hot showers — all except for Shane, who angrily swallows a bottle of liquor while he bathes; and Andrea, who sits numbly under the stream.
Afterwards, Dale overhears Andrea throwing up. "Everything's gone," she cries. Dale argues that they have an opportunity to make a fresh start. "Didn't you see the look on Jenner's face?" Andrea hits back. "There's nothing left."
Rick stumbles drunkenly into the control room, where Jenner is working on the group's blood samples. "How's the blood?" Rick asks, falling to the floor as he tries to prop himself up against a desk. "No surprises," Jenner states.
Rick makes a point of thanking Jenner again. He admits to Jenner that he never let on to the others what he really thought, but he knew that they were running out of options before they got to the CDC. "We'd have died out there," Rick explains, his face awash with relief at their new surroundings. "It'll all be ok," Jenner replies softly.
Cradling another glass of wine, a buzzed Lori finds Carl, Carol, and Sophia reading books in the rec room. Carol takes the children to bed while Lori stays behind to browse the library.
Shane looms in the doorway, whiskey in hand, watching her. He stumbles, drunk, and she whips around, startled. "I'm going to tell you a few things, and you're gonna listen," he says, closing the door. Lori tries to push past him.
"How can you treat me like this?" he asks, insisting that he didn't lie to her about Rick. He really thought Rick was dead, that he hadn't heard a heartbeat when he listened for one at the hospital, he swears to her, "and I had y'all to think about". He tells her he loves her and also states that he knew she never would have fled the chaos if she believed that Rick was alive which would have risked her and Carl's lives if she stayed.
Drunk and desperate, he tries to kiss her. He grabs for her, forcing himself on her until Lori screams and scratches his face and throat. Horrified by his own behavior, Shane flees, and Lori breaks down in to tears.
Later, Rick stumbles in to bed with Lori and sees that she's been crying. He assumes that it is of something else as he is clueless as to what had just happened with her and Shane. "We don't have to be afraid anymore," he assures her.
The next morning, Rick shuffles in to the cafeteria. He, as well as most of everyone else, is hung over. T-Dog proudly dishes out powdered eggs for everyone, and Glenn groans in agony with his head down. Lori hands Rick some aspirin which she says came from Dr. Jenner.
Shane enters the room and heads straight for the coffee, and Rick asks if Shane feels as bad as he does. "Worse," Shane answers, and T-Dog asks about the scratches on Shane's neck. He shrugs it off, claiming he must have scratched his neck in his sleep. "Never seen you do that before," Rick says. "Not like me at all," Shane agrees while eyeing Lori, who keeps her head down and continues to eat.
When Jenner arrives in the kitchen, Dale starts asking questions. Andrea concurs, saying, "We didn't come here for the eggs." Jenner leads the group in to the control center. He tells Vi to display the brain scans from "Test Subject 19." The ultra-secret, though worthless, video shows someone who was infected and allowed the process of reanimation to be recorded by the CDC, Jenner explains.
Synapses are shown throughout the brain. "Experience, memories. Somewhere in all that organic wiring is you. The thing that makes you unique and human," Jenner explains. The display shows the virus attacking the brain - the "first event." The brain goes dark; the body dies. "Everything you were or ever will be - gone," Jenner says.
"Is that what happened to Jim?" Sophia wonders innocently, and Carol nods. Andrea looks beaten, and Lori explains to Jenner that Andrea's sister died two days before. Jenner approaches Andrea. "I lost somebody, too. I know how devastating it is," he says.
Jenner fast-forwards to the "second event" — TS-19's resurrection. "It restarts the brain?" Lori asks. "Just the brain-stem," Jenner corrects. "The human part - the you part - that doesn't come back."
A bullet flies through TS-19's head in the video playback. Andrea reminisces of Amy, whom she, too, had to shoot in the head. He admits he doesn't know what the disease is or how to treat it. He also states that he has lost contact with other research facilities. "I've been in the dark for almost a month," he admits. "There's nothing left anywhere. That's what you're really saying, right?" Andrea accuses him.
Dale interrupts the stunned silence to ask Jenner about a clock on the far wall, which is counting down from an hour. At that point, Jenner says, "the basement generators, they run out of fuel." At zero, Vi explains, plant-wide decontamination will occur.
Rick, Shane, T-Dog, and Glenn head to inspect the generators. While they're in the basement, the building's emergency lighting switches on, bathing the four in darkness. Upstairs, Lori and Carl are in their room when the building's air cuts off.
In his office, Jenner stares at a photograph of a woman, asking her to understand that he did the best he could in the time that he had. He says that he hopes she's proud of him. With the lights now shutting themselves off inside the panicked survivors' rooms, they confront Jenner in the hallway. He explains that the building is slowly starting to shut itself down.
Rick, Shane, Glenn, and T-Dog return from the basement, and Jenner states that the system is designed to keep the computers running until the last possible second. "It was the French," Jenner says. They stuck it out as long as they could before they too ran out of power," he says,
He states that in thirty minutes, the building would decontaminate, and that it is too late to stop it since there is no fuel. Rick yells at the group to grab their things and run as the emergency alarms start blaring. Before they are able to, Jenner locks them inside the control center.
"There's no point in struggling," Jenner explains. Everything topside is automatically locked down. "When that door closes, it won't open again - you heard me say that," he points out as Rick tries to demand that he open the door.
"It's better this way," Jenner says. When Rick presses him about what happens when the clock gets to zero, Jenner reminds the survivors where they are. To prevent strains of disease from getting out if the building's security was ever compromised, HITs would deploy, setting the air on fire. It would destroy the building and everything inside.
He tries to help the case and convince Rick and his group to accept their fate by stating that the death would be instant and painless. "There's no hope. Last night, you said you knew it was just a matter of time before everybody you loved was dead," Jenner argues. He calls the Outbreak humanity's "extinction event." Rick's family and friends look on fearfully.
Daryl and Shane attempt to break through the door - built to withstand a rocket launcher Jenner states - with axes and guns. Rick, T-Dog, and Dale throw Daryl, wielding an axe, off Jenner. Rick talks down Shane as he points an automatic in Jenner's defeated and unaffected face. "If you kill him, we'll never get out of here," Rick states as he tries to reason with Shane.
Rick also demands to know why Jenner stayed if he didn't think there was any hope. "I made a promise," Jenner says, to his wife — Test Subject 19, the woman in the photograph — to keep going as long as he could. "She was one of the finest scientists in the world, "and if anyone could have done something about this, it was her." he says. "Me?" he admits, "I'm just Edwin Jenner."
Rick and Lori tell Jenner that they just want their chance to keep going as long as they can. Swayed, Jenner agrees to open the door, but also tells them that they still won't be able to get past the lockdown upstairs. Jenner opens the door to the control center.
"I'm grateful," Rick says before he exits, but Jenner counters, "The day will come when you won't be." He shakes Rick's hand and pulls him close, whispering something in to his ear. "We've got four minutes left - come on!" Glenn shouts.
The group heads for the exit, but Jacqui stops. "I'm not ending up like Jim and Amy," she tells T-Dog and the others, tearfully telling them to leave while they can. "I'm staying too," Andrea says, sliding to the floor. "Andrea, no!" Dale responds, horrified. He runs to her. "This isn't what Amy would want for you!" He pleads with Andrea to come with them, but she won't budge. "Amy's dead, and you need to leave," Andrea says. She can't look at Dale, who's on the verge of tears. Dale reminds her that they met on the road before the Outbreak, and have been together ever since. The others yell at Dale to hurry, but he tells them to go on without him.
In the CDC lobby, the group finds the doors locked and they pound helplessly on the windows. Shane shoots a rifle at the glass, to no avail. "I think I have something that might help," Carol says, fumbling in her purse while Shane retorts, "I don't think a nail file's gonna do it." Carol ignores him. "Your first morning at camp," she tells Rick. "When I washed your uniform? I found this in your pocket." She pulls the hand grenade that Rick found in the tank (in "Guts") from her bag.
Quickly, Rick detonates the grenade, blasting out one of the windows with mere minutes to spare before decontamination.
In the basement, a resigned Dale sits in front of Andrea. "If you're staying, I stay too," he tells her. He sits down beside her. She's furious, but he continues tearfully as Jenner and Jacqui look on in silence. "You don't get to do that. You can't come into somebody's life, make them care, and then just check out."
The survivors run to the cars, shooting at nearby walkers as they run. They pile in to their cars and are getting ready to drive away when, from inside the RV, Lori sees Dale and Andrea emerge from the building.
Just ten seconds left, Jenner and Jacqui hold hands, smiling hopefully as they watch the survivors flee on the security monitor. Dale and Andrea run behind a military blockade and take cover as the CDC erupts in a fiery explosion. Andrea looks numb, but follows easily as Glenn desperately motions them to the RV.
Shaken, Rick starts the engine, and the caravan drives away from the smoldering rubble, thick black smoke rising up behind them.
- Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
- Jeryl Prescott Sales as Jacqui
- IronE Singleton as Theodore Douglas
- Madison Lintz as Sophia Peletier
- Mike Senior as Soldier (Deleted Scenes)
- Claire Bronson as Candace Jenner (Deleted Scenes)
- Lisa Marie Thomas as Nurse
- Joyce Liles as Nurse
- Barry Hopkins as Hospital Patient
- M.V. Oliphant as Infected Nurse
- Ken Melde as Infected Doctor
- Andrew S. McMillan as CDC Walker
- Chance Bartels as Walker
- Lauren Henneberg as Walker
- Tony Gowell as Walker
- Dave R. Watkins as Dead Soldier
- Shannon Brinson, Alexyz Danine Kemp, Alphonse A. Lambert Jr., Derrick McLeod, Timothy Mueller, Stephen M. Phillips, Kristen Sanchez, Sonya Thompson, Christoph Vogt, Scott M. Yaffee, Joe Hernandez, Marty Brotzge, Jack Byrd, Mike Kasiske, Lolita de Palma as Walkers
- Numerous patients and hospital staff (Flashback)
- Several U.S. military soldiers (Flashback)
- Candace Jenner (Alive and Zombified, Video Clip)
- Edwin Jenner (Off-Screen)
- Jacqui (Off-Screen)
- Last appearance of Jacqui.
- Last appearance of Edwin Jenner.
- Last "appearance" of Vi.
- First (and last) appearance of Candace Jenner.
- First appearance of living military members.
- Ugo.com makes 17 comparisons between the Comic Series and the episode.
- The building shown as the CDC is actually the Cobb Energy Center, which is a performing arts center in Atlanta.
- The civilians being executed at the hospital can be seen wearing earplugs to protect them from the loud gunshots (See image).
- The bulk of the whisper (as Edwin Jenner leans into Rick Grimes,) is audible on the S1 Blu-ray, if you significantly increase the center channel (see Talk:Edwin Jenner) to isolate the dialogue. The first two sentences are, "It's in your blood. We're all carriers." The secret was revealed in the Season 2 finale, "Beside the Dying Fire", where it was explained that Rick didn't believe Jenner until he witnessed it for himself.
- The name of the episode, "TS-19," refers to the fact that Dr. Edwin Jenner's wife, Candace Jenner, was Test Subject 19. Jenner called his wife the person who could have cured the virus; instead, her flesh samples went up in flames. The end of TS-19 signaled the end of Edwin Jenner.
- Two of the walkers seen at the end of this episode were actually Gale Anne Hurd's daughter and one of her daughter's friends.
- The song that plays over the end credits is, "Tomorrow is a Long Time", by Bob Dylan.
- As Dale tells Andrea to get out of the CDC before it explodes, he states that "you don't get to do that to me," in terms of killing herself after becoming so close. This is identical to a scene in Issue 65 of the comics but is reversed, where Andrea tells Dale, "You don't get to just decide that."
- Edwin Jenner's password was 6-9-6-9.
- Jenner said that Test Subject 19 resurrected after 2 hours, 1 minute and 7 seconds. When Rick looked up at the clock in the Pilot Episode, the clock said 2:17. The clock said the same thing in the episode TS-19 when the explosion was heard from the CDC building.
- Robert Kirkman has addressed that he is disappointed with how the CDC plot line turned out. He said in one of his interviews, "If I had to do it again, I wouldn't have done the CDC episode. It possibly gave away too much information and was such a big change very early on in the series. I feel like there might have been a better way to wrap up the first season. But there were things in that episode that I think seem very much not of The Walking Dead world. I've been careful in the comic series to not say what's happening in other parts of the world. It's something that's going to be fun to explore in the spin-off series. But the fact that France is mentioned in that episode and other things like that, I probably would have steered away from that stuff if I had to do it all over again."
- Frank Darabont was the one who came up with the idea of CDC story line.
- In the flashback at the beginning of the episode, Shane is seen wearing black gloves while attempting to evacuate Rick from the hospital. After he hides from the military inspecting Rick's room, Shane's gloves disappear.
- During the playback of TS-19, just after the TS-19 dies, the playback counter at the bottom of the screen suddenly jumps from "32:18:12" to "12:18:13", jumping back 20 hours, but when scanning to the second event, the numbers go from 32 up to 34 hours to resume playback.
- Jenner's scan shows that in a walker, only the brain stem and midbrain are still functioning. Yet, in many battles, damaging only a little part of the cortex is sufficient to kill a walker.
- When the survivors come upon the CDC entrance, there is a heavy machine gun nest right outside, with a heavy machine gun pointed skyward. This machine gun is a DShK, a Soviet .51 caliber machine gun. This is not and has never been in service with the American military.
- Jenner inaccurately gives the resurrection time as "2hrs:01min:07sec" but the timings using the clock at the bottom of the screen from the moment of death (32:18:12) until the first signs of EEG trace signals (34:20:23) is actually "2:02:11".
- ↑ Fitzpatrick, Kevin. The Walking Dead Comics-to-TV Comparison:"TS-19", Ugo (December 6, 2010).
- ↑ The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (3-Disc Special Edition)