Skip to content

‘The Walking Dead’ : Days Gone Bye

November 1, 2010


My Halloween tradition is to head out to my parents house. They go all out for the holiday, and there are kids in the neighborhood too afraid to go up the driveway. Since I was at their place, I was able to take advantage of the fact they have cable and sat down with police detective Dad to watch the world premiere of the Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is a new TV show on AMC based on a comic of the same name.

It’s especially fun to watch these things with Dad because of his insight. He’s usually the first to call bullshit on errors in police procedures and just plain common sense. He didn’t have much to pick apart watching this show. In fact, my selective pop really enjoyed it, as did I. We are going to need to make a weekly habit of this.

Everyone is going to be talking about the opening scene. Our hero, Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes, is walking down the road with a gas tank in hand. He passes an overturned truck. Dad remarked that it was one hell of an accident the deputy was responding to. I, with a bit more knowledge of the setting than him, stayed quiet. The overturned truck soon turned into a mess of abandoned cars littering the road and grassy hill off to the side. Dad surmised that a car carrier overturned.

Soon we saw the bodies, surrounded by flies. They’d been there awhile. When Rick finally reached the gas station, his creepy walk was in vain; a sign was posted with spray painted letters that read “NO GAS.” Rick paused, turning around, listening for something. I flinched at a tarp flapping in the breeze in the background. Removing his deputy hat, Rick crouched to look under a car to see a pair of bunny slippers shuffling past on the other side. The feet stopped to pick up a teddy bear.

Even though I knew what the little girl was, I was hoping along with the main character that she wasn’t. Maybe her scooping up her teddy was a sign of humanity, of consciousness. Of life. It wasn’t. It was an echo of life, a remnant of a habit, a little girl who was never without her security bear. She turned around to face Rick and reveal what she was, and we shared his pained look when he realized what he had to do.

Throughout the show, Dad and I remarked at how much gore there was, and how surprised we were that the network allowed a TV show to get away with it. It wasn’t over the top, however. The gore was pretty realistic. Backs of heads exploding with a gunshot, guts trailing behind a half-zombie as she crawled pathetically along the grass. We didn’t see the effects of Rick smashing in a zombie head with a baseball bat, only the blood splattering back on him. The most unsettling (but still muted) display of blood and guts was the fate of Rick’s horse.

There wasn’t THAT much blood, to be honest, and word has it next week’s episode is going to be a lot bloodier.

The pacing of the show was slow, but it worked. Rick was slowly working his way through the abandoned hospital, making his way through the pitch back stairwell (the scene that gave me the most goosebumps), out into the mostly empty world. Slowly makes his way home. Realizes his family has disappeared. Has a long breakdown on the floor. Here, Dad was hollering at him to get up, shake it off, get his guns, and go shoot some zombies.

But that isn’t what this show is about. It’s not about killing the zombies; in fact, gunshots just bring more of them (a brilliant bit of storytelling there!). It’s about survival. Finding other people, banding together, getting past your differences and holding on. Or holding out. It’s about keeping a sliver of humanity in a crazy dead world.

Highly recommend this show, nerdlings.

Other notes (SUPER SPOILERY):

  • Dad was calling BS on all those rifles strapped to Rick’s back while he rode the horse. He said they weigh 8 pounds each, and that he should have hooked them onto the saddle and let the horse carry the weight.
  • I loved the idea of riding a horse through the zombie apocalypse. Getting enough gas is a zombie-movie-cliche, and finding a horse is a great idea. Of course, Dad and I were wondering aloud if zombies would eat the horse as he rode into Atlanta…
  • The zombie rules here have not been clearly defined yet. We’ve got the bite which brings on a fever that kills you and brings you back, and we have the headshots to kill. Just about everything else is up in the air.
  • How long has Rick been out? Morgan stated that the gas gave out 3 months ago.
  • They’ve also given us little backstory as to how this all happened. It’s still the pilot, though, so we’ve got time.
  • I really admired the realism in the characters Morgan and Duane. Morgan couldn’t shoot his dead wife, and while he tried, traumatized Duane sat downstairs, covering his ears, rocking himself. This isn’t an action movie where the kid is tough and knows how to shoot. He wants to be a man, he wants to learn to shoot (I pointed out that teaching him would be a waste of bullets), but he’s a scared boy who misses his mom and can’t handle what has happened to her.
  • I only read the first comic of this series years and years ago… and I’m wondering if Lori and Shane didn’t have something going on before the apocalypse. Both were in unhappy relationships, and Shane was subtlety prodding Rick for information on the state of his marriage.
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: