Jach Discusses: The Walking Dead 1.01

Posted: May 3, 2013 by Jachelle in Jach, Recaps, Television, The Walking Dead
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The Walking Dead premiered on AMC on Halloween of 2010 and has been gaining popularity ever since. Thanks to my crippling terror of all things zombie related, I responded with a firm HELL TO THE NO, and have stayed as far away from the series as I could. However, lately my curiosity has been getting the better of me. (Let it be known that said curiosity will also probably be what ultimately kills me when the zombie apocalypse is upon us.) So after a few days of chickening out, I finally sat down to watch episode one; Days Gone Bye.

Before I dive into things, let’s review.

Things I Know About The Walking Dead:

  • There are zombies.
  • It’s heavy on gore.
  • Someone named Shane shoots someone in the leg at some point.
  • It is based on a comic book.

The episode starts out with our hero, Deputy Rick Grimes, and his partner Shane talking about their women troubles over some burgers. When a call comes in over the radio about a high speed pursuit, they kick into gear and head out. They set themselves up for a showdown, and that’s exactly what they get. Three bad guys tumble out of the car and the third one shoots Rick, leaving him comatose.

Flash forward, we see Rick waking up in the completely abandoned hospital. It’s pretty damn reminiscent to the opening of 28 Days Later, which freaks me the hell out because that movie terrifies me. Oh god. Okay. So Rick stumbles around the hospital which has all the trimmings of a post apocalyptic world- flickering lights, creepy messages written on the walls, bullet holes, and I don’t even care if I’ve seen this all before because I am freaked the hell out. So is our intrepid hero, who is trying to keep calm after waking up in this nightmare world. He finds a seriously disgusting corpse in the middle of the hallway, but that’s nothing compared to the giant padlocked doors with the words “DON’T OPEN, DEAD INSIDE” spray painted across them. The aforementioned dead must have heard Rick and gotten riled up, because they start trying to get out and there are some seriously creepy shots of fingers poking out through the space between the doors. As I’m screaming at Rick to get the hell out of there, he heeds my advice…and decides to go into the pitch black stairwell. Fantastic. It’s 15 minutes in and I’m already on the verge of a heart attack. I pray to any God out there that there are no zombies hiding in the dark. Thankfully my prayers are answered and Rick makes it outside without incident. He is, however, greeted with rows and rows of dead people in body bags. Which of course can only be followed up with a half deteriorated zombie dragging itself through the grass with its organs hanging out. GROSS GUYS. Rick is keeping it together much better than I am and grabs a bike to get home and check on his wife, Lori, and their son, Carl. As expected, the house is empty and Rick finally breaks down. Ugh, my heart goes out to him.

Deputy Rick Grimes

Not long afterward, Rick is shovelfaced by a young kid who had mistaken him for a zombie. He wakes up to find that the boy, Duane, and his father, Morgan, have brought him back to their safe house. The guys fill Rick in on everything he missed while in coma-land. The dead are called Walkers. If you get bitten or scratched by one, you’ll be taken over by a fever that kills you, and you’ll rise again as a disgusting zombie. The only way to kill them is to destroy the brain. Pretty standard zombie fare there. Of course there’s always the hope of the CDC in Atlanta. It’s the promised land and Rick decides that Lori and Carl must have gone there. After helping himself to the Sheriff department’s gun stash and loading up Duane and Morgan, Rick sets off for Atlanta. While driving, he broadcasts a message over the police car’s radio and it’s picked up by a group of survivors somewhere. A group that includes Lori, Carl, and Shane. Oh, and Shane and Lori are together now. So that should be fun. They try to warn him not to go into the city, but he doesn’t receive the message.

Which is unlucky, because Rick is about to get into some major shit. After his car runs out of gas, he borrows a horse from a local farm and heads into the city. Everything looks pretty damn deserted until Rick sees a helicopter and races to chase after it. AND OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THAT IS A HUGE HOARD OF ZOMBIES. I’m screaming and trying not to cry as the zombies proceed to tear the horse apart and surround Rick. He dives under a tank to try and escape them and they’re scrambling after him on all sides. He’s about to shoot himself when he looks up and sees an open hatch into the tank. He climbs inside and seals it shut. But of course there’s a zombie crewman inside. Rick shoots him, nearly deafening himself in the process, and seals the top hatch of the tank as well. He is still way calmer than I would be at this point, (and let’s be real, way more alive than I would be too) but it’s clear that he’s starting to lose it. Then a snarky voice comes across the tank’s radio and asks him if he’s cozy. The episode ends with a shot of hundreds of zombies swarming the tank and the horse carcass just outside it. And thank the lord I’m not sure how much more I can handle.


Opinion of the Episode:

Honestly? I was pretty into it. Despite my fear of zombies specifically, I’m a big fan of the horror genre, and I thought this episode played it very well. Zombies can get pretty campy at times, but despite the fantastic nature of what was happening, I felt like the episode did a good job of staying grounded in reality. I think a large part of that rested on the shoulders of Andrew Lincoln, who played Rick Grimes. He gave a solid performance and I think he captured a certain earnestness about Rick. Yeah, he’s a tough guy and clearly a survivor, but he’s  also thoughtful and kind. In both his moments of strength and in weakness he came across as extremely likeable. I desperately want him to be okay. He’s a hero that I will have no trouble rooting for.

It was gory, which I was warned about. I thought I was pretty used to gore, but man, there were a few scenes where I know I pulled some ugly faces in response to what I was seeing. And I thought the zombies (should I be calling them walkers?) were very creepy. Both of those factors amped up my fear levels which I both enjoyed and hated. I had to bury my face in a pillow when Rick first ran into the hoard.

Overall, I thought the show did a good job of taking a concept we’re very familiar with in media and still making it interesting and likeable. While also managing to scare the pants off me.

Will I Keep Watching?

Yes! I’m going to be brave and continue to hang in there for awhile. I’ll be honest, it’s going to be hard for me. I watched the episode while the sun was still up, knowing that watching after dark wasn’t going to be an option. It’s dark outside now, and I keep jumping at the noises outside my windows and I refuse to put my feet on the ground, lest there be a zombie hiding under my couch waiting to grab my ankles. The only reoccurring nightmare I have ever had in my life is about zombies, and I know it’s going to come back in full force the further I get into this show. Despite all that, though, I really like Rick. I want to keep watching to make sure he’s okay. I want to know more about what other survivors are out there. I want to know more about how this all started. And I damn sure want to know who was on the other end of that radio. So wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

help me


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