For those of you who have never come out of your zombie protection shelter, The Walking Dead is a show on AMC that launched in October, 2010. From the opening scene of The Walking Dead Season One, we can see that this is a world of little hope and slim chance for survival. The epic zombie apocalypse has finally happened. This show has proved that a TV show about zombies does not have to be about zombies. The one thing that makes this show a great success is the personal interactions and conflicts and relationships. Sure the zombie stuff doesn’t hurt either.
Comic Booked will be bringing you full season reviews right up until the Season 5 premier in 5 months. Frank Darabont has written a very smooth interpretation of the Robert Kirkman comic book, The Walking Dead. So, sit back, or on the edge of your seat, and enjoy a recap of the first episode of this amazing series.
Season One – Episode 1: Days Gone Bye
Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes was a good cop. Along with his partner, Shane Walsh, they served the county as best they could. When they are called to intercept a group of criminals being pursued into their jurisdiction, things go a little crazy. Rick is injured and rushed to the hospital. The next scenes are choppy, as Rick passes in and out of consciousness, but we do see that Shane spent time by his side. When he awakens, things are not the way they were before. The hospital is empty, and Rick is alone… at least he believes he is alone until he sees a door. “DON’T OPEN DEAD INSIDE” printed on a set of double doors is his first hint that the world has changed more than just the vision of an abandoned hospital that we have seen so far. Rick hurries to find his way out into the world.
The exit from the hospital is a spectacular scene, as the light blinds us, it is like Rick is stepping onto an alien planet or some sort of warped afterlife. Wandering through the dead bodies strewn across the land surrounding the hospital is like a surreal nightmare. He finds a bicycle and is confronted with his first walker, the top half of a person dragging itself along the ground. Rick heads to his house to find it empty. Then he wanders the streets looking for some other sign of humanity. He sits down to rest and get his bearings and sees a man heading towards him, he waves and then gets hit in the face with a shovel. A little boy is the shovel-wielder and calls for his dad saying he got one. The father hears Rick call his own son’s name and realizes that he is not a walker but the man is still wary.
Once again, Rick wakes up disoriented. This time he is tied up in a bed. After a thorough once over, Rick is released with a threat that this man will not hesitate to kill him if necessary. Introductions are made and we learn that Morgan Jones and his son Duane have been hiding here for a little while since Morgan’s wife was bitten, died from the wound, and turned in to a walker. Morgan has to explain everything to Rick, because Rick has no idea what has happened with the world. The dead have risen and roam the earth killing any person they can get their hands on. The three spend a sleepless night as they watch the walkers move about the neighborhood, one of whom is Morgan’s wife.
The next day, Rick takes the guys to the Sheriff’s Department for showers, clothes, and weapons. He leaves the two with some guns and a radio. Rick tells them that he will turn it on and try to contact them everyday at dawn for a few minutes. They part ways as Rick heads for Atlanta, a place that still holds hope. He drives his cruiser till he runs out of gas and then walks to a farmhouse to ask for some fuel. Instead he finds a family that killed themselves rather than deal with the world as it had become. On the wall, painted in blood, “GOD FORGIVE US”.
Meanwhile, when Rick had been calling out on the emergency channel in his cruiser, a camp of survivors heard him but could not respond because their radio was not strong enough to send a signal. The survivors include Shane and Rick’s wife and son, Lori and Carl. The twist here is that Shane and Lori seem to have a thing going on, so we are still not sure how much time has elapsed since Rick was put in the hospital. Answers to come.
Out back, Rick finds a horse. Don’t get too attached, Rick. He rides the rest of the way into Atlanta, and the entry scene is one of the iconic shots of this series, a wide shot showing all the cars leaving Atlanta but now abandoned, and of the empty lanes heading into town. Once there, the horse is spooked by a few walkers and, as they continue in, there are more and more walkers at every turn until the horde descends upon Rick and his horse. Rick is able to scramble under a tank, but the horse is not so lucky. As the horse becomes a zombie buffet, Rick is about to give up and asks forgiveness from his wife and son as he places the gun against his temple, but at the last minute he looks up and sees that he can get into the tank. Sealing himself in, he finds a walker inside that he shoots, deafening himself temporarily, since the enclosed metal space is not a great place to discharge a firearm.
With nowhere else to go, Rick leans back and wonders what could happen next. That’s when the radio comes on and he hears, “Hey, Dumbass. Yeah, you in the tank.” The pan up from the tank as the music plays shows us just how dire the situation really is for our protagonist. The hordes of walkers swarming over the tank, devouring the horse, and shambling in from all parts of Atlanta do not seem to give much hope to Rick’s predicament. Find out next episode.
Overall, this is an amazing introduction to the world of The Walking Dead. The brief interaction we have had with Rick, Shane, Lori, Carl, Duane, and Morgan has already started to stir the emotions that many of you feel so strongly after four seasons. Check back in later this week for a recap of Episode 2: Guts.