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The Walking Dead Recap: ‘Day’s Gone By’

October 31, 2010

AMC’s eagerly anticipated zombie drama The Walking Dead finally made its debut, and it did not disappoint. AMC builds on its excellent reputation for bringing us edgy, unusual drama.  The Walking Dead is a worthy companion to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The series is based on a comic series by Robert Kirkman.  AMC will air six episodes this season.

The show wastes no time establishing a grim tone.  A man in a police officer uniform is searching f0r gas, and comes across a (campsite?) of sort, where he sees a little girl in a bathrobe with a teddy bear in hand.  The man calls out to the girl, and when she eventually turns around, it is revealed that she is a zombie.  A pained grimace flashes across the man’s face, just before he shoots the girl in the head.  We watch the girl tumble to the ground in slow motion.

Balls, AMC, balls.  Not only do you flaunt some gore right from the get-go, but you show a child being killed.  Now that is how to (unapologetically)  grab an audience’s attention.

Next, we are shown the man’s story, through a flashback. He is Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), a police officer in an unnamed town. One day he responds to a routine call with his partner Shane (Jon Bernthal) that culminates in a shootout.  Rick is badly wounded.  He awakes from a coma in an eerily quiet hospital.  After he staggers out of his room, it becomes apparent that the hospital is abandoned, save for a few decaying corpses strewn about.

On the outside, things don’t improve much.  Rick sees few signs of life, and is horrified by a massive amount of dead bodies outside the hospital. He finds an abandoned bicycle, and sees a grotesque woman who has been severed at the waist. She drags her skeletal body toward him.

He makes his way to his house, hoping to find his wife and child, but his house is abandoned. Despondent, Rick sits outside his house and is knocked out by a young boy wielding a shovel.  The boy’s father demands to know how he received his chest wound.  When is established that Rick is not a zombie, the man fills in some of the details for the confused Rick.  While Rick was in the hospital, there was a zombie apocalypse.

The zombies are called “walkers” and they can’t talk. Sound and light attract them.

Rick is told that there may be a safe haven in Atlanta, so he departs with some weapons in search of his wife and child. His car runs out of gas, so he proceeds forward via horseback. Unbeknownst to Rick, the city is infested with zombies, and survivors have congregated in a settlement outside of the city. Rick arrives in the city and is surrounded by zombies.  He escapes into the hatch of a tank, but things look very dire for our hero. The horse he rode into the city on meets a particularly grisly fate.

Overall, the production values are excellent.  The makeup is realistic, and the show is well directed.  It is relentlessly bleak.  This is no Zombieland. I am quite sure that there will be no comedic relief for the duration of the show.  It can easily be argued that the “walking dead” can refer to the survivors of the apocalypse, as well.Isolation, loneliness, despair and fear abound amongst the living.

As is typical of AMC series, the show hones in on the characters.  At first I thought that Andrew Lincoln was a rather uninspired choice for the lead, but then no one had heard of Jon Hamm before Mad Men, and Brian Cranston didn’t become a household name until after Breaking Bad.  Lincoln settles into the role nicely.  He is handsome, but not too much so, and he can pull off the renegade lawman persona with ease.

The father and son he encounters are really heart-breaking, as they have to deal with zombie mom/wife returning to them on a regular basis, and the father just can’t bring himself to off her.

This is a quiet, moody series, marked by graphic violence (lots of splattering zombie heads.)  However, for those who are looking for something a bit out of the box, there is much to appreciate here.

The Walking Dead is created for TV and directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist, The Green Mile.) The comic series was written by Robert Kirkman.


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15 Responses to “ The Walking Dead Recap: ‘Day’s Gone By’ ”

  1. Crazy Curt on October 31, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Great start! Can’t until next week to see more!

  2. Jeremiah on October 31, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    The first episode of what will be a very intense, very addicting series. This show had the production value of a well made movie. I felt pity, I felt sorrow and I felt sick to my stomach. Sunday cannot come soon enough!

  3. D on October 31, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Spell check is a wonderful thing

  4. Lisa on October 31, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I loved the first episode! Very anticipated. Except for the horse getting killed. I didn’t even know zombies attacked animals just people.

  5. Evan Pretzer on October 31, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    it was created by robert kirkman, darabont just developed it for tv, not to be a dick but you might want to correct that.

  6. Michael on October 31, 2010 at 9:40 pm


  7. jackelyn on October 31, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    OMG I love the series its so boyfriend and I sure can’t wait til next Sunday.I love ZoMbIeS movies.

  8. Mark on October 31, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Why did they have to destroy a GTO Judge though? Why not a Nova or something?

  9. PaulyBoy on October 31, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    This story sounds like it’s gonna be epic! Can’t wait to see the rest!

  10. shannon on October 31, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    This show has so much potential. I rate it best new series, its first night was just awesome.

  11. frank on October 31, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Watched the first episode. It was spot on.

  12. John from Stafford Va on October 31, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Just finished the airing and it didn’t disappoint. And of course there was a cliffhanger to get you to come back (like I wouldn’t have come back anyways). You hear on the radio in the tank he’s stuck in, a voice say, pretty cozy in there. So obviously there are other survivors watching his plight. Can’t wait for next Sunday’s showing!

  13. Jennifer on October 31, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Incredible Premiere Episode. I am hooked and can’t wait to see where this show will take me.

  14. Shannon on November 1, 2010 at 1:03 am

    @D yes spellcheck is wonderful,but the halloween punch I was drinking was apparently better. Spellcheck complete now. :)

  15. nativenapkin on November 1, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I just watched the premiere on DVR as the World Series took precedent last night (lifelong Giants fan). After I finished it, my dog started barking at the front door. I approached the door to look out the peephole as no one had knocked or rung the bell. Two people were moving slowly across my porch and I nearly jumped out of my skin! Two Jehovah Witnesses. Zombies of another sort. Frightening show and I’m glad I watched it in the light of day!