Review The Walking Dead: Ep. 1 – Days Gone Bye

Hello all you questionably accented Sheriffs and welcome to something I will surely come to regret! As you may or may not know, I was recapping Game of Thrones a while back. I do intend to get back to that at some point but it might not be until after the final season. Why, you ask? Well first of all because I really really really didn’t want to watch the Dorne story again, and secondly because this is my blog and I can do what I want. You people don’t pay me GET OFF MY CASE. But also, my mom has been pestering me to watch The Walking Dead for about 6 years now and I decided to finally give in to her demands. Pray for me.

So here’s what you need to know about me. I don’t like zombies. I find them neither scary nor interesting and almost every zombie movie plays out exactly the same way. Night of the Living Dead is good because it’s the original. Dawn of the Dead really cemented George Romero’s place in the horror canon and showcased his clever use of metaphor. Hell even the remake is kind of fun. Return of the Living Dead is a fun subversion of zombie movies and introduced their love of brains into the culture’s collective psyche. And that’s about all I need. With the exception of an occasionally clever entry into zombie canon (hello Pontypool!) the genre just doesn’t do it for me. So The Walking Dead was something I was okay with skipping. But then my mom guilt tripped me enough to force my hand. And here we are. Let’s begin!

Here’s what I know about The Walking Dead:

  • There’s a guy named Rick who is a Sheriff and the LEADER of a group, people seem to like him (?) but also he’s the worst part of the show. Or something. I’ve read headlines that imply he’s bad.
  • There is someone named Carl, presumably Rick’s son, and Rick is constantly saying his name. I know this from memes.
  • There’s a Governor?
  • There’s Negan. Is Negan the governor? What kind of name is Negan?
  • There are zombies.
  • Okoye is in it and she has a sword. I do not know why she’s not the leader.
  • Someone named Glenn didn’t die and people were angry, and then he did die and people were angrier.
  • There are “helicopter people” and I choose to interpret that in the most literal way possible.
  • Everybody loves Norman Reedus

And that’s just about it! I have spent a decent amount of energy avoiding this show as much as possible up until now and I’m very cross that that willful ignorance will now be ruined. Thanks a lot MOM. Anyway, episode one.

Episode one begins with Sheriff Rick Rickman shooting a little girl in the face. She was reaching for a teddy bear but he assumed it was a gun. It’s okay though, this is Georgia and that sort of thing happens all the time. The Captain gets mad at him though cus the mayor is on his ass for Rick’s reckless behavior. So they pair him up with Officer Shane “Cool Guy” Walsh to keep him in line. Little do they know, Officer Cool Guy is actually The Punisher and is out to get revenge for the little girl’s murder. They’re having a deeply sexist conversation in their patrol car about the difference between men and women and the Punisher is juuuuust about to dispense justice when they’re called up on the radio about a bank robbery in progress. The Punisher says, “looks like justice will have to wait. It’s time to dispense justice,” and they speed away as Rick looks very confused. Also, just a shot in the dark, but the way they were talking about Rick’s wife…I’m pretty sure The Punisher is going to fuck her. Anyway Rick gets shot and goes into a coma. I’m honestly not sure why. I guess he lost a lot of blood? But is that really enough to put you in a coma long enough for a zombie apocalypse to happen?

28 Days Later, Rick wakes up in the hospital. He had some trippy coma vision going on and saw The Punisher bringing him flowers so when he wakes up for real he’s like “yo man, those are some nice flowers.” But The Punisher is nowhere to be seen. And it’s then that I realize three things: Rick definitely has a catheter in, he’s definitely going to have to take it out himself, and it’s most definitely infected. Thankfully the show avoids showing us any of this. He wanders around the hospital like Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 5 for about 10 minutes. There’s a big door that says DON’T OPEN DEAD INSIDE and a bunch of people moaning loudly. Rick, thinking it’s an orgy, walks up to the door but then some hands poke through and everyone’s fingernails are really gross and says no. Somehow there are literally no other dead people in this giant hospital and Rick eventually gets out and finds piles of dead bodies laying in the hot Georgia sun. He has not once commented on the smell, or even made a face that would suggest it smells as stank as it definitely does.

28dayslater
This doesn’t look like Georgia

He staggers toward home, still somehow avoiding any zombies like this is Shaun of the Dead or some shit, until he comes upon a woman who has literally been cut in half and has most of her face missing. She groans and gnashes her teeth and crawls toward him. Rick responds to this the same way you might respond to seeing, say, a big spider in your house. Eventually he gets home and shouts “Carl” a few times – we know this is his son’s name because it was brought up during the, again very sexist, conversation with the Punisher earlier, also because he’s in his house – and then he falls to the ground crying.

He goes outside, sees a zombie, and waves to it. Somehow he knows bad things are happening, he can probably guess it has to do with dead people due to the body bags and the DECOMPOSING WOMAN HE JUST SAW, and still he waves to the guy. Rick is not very smart. Then he gets hit in the face with a shovel. A man walks up to the zombie Rick was waving at and shoots it and his son is like “Dad I hit this guy with a shovel!” The dad says “Cool, is he dead? I thought I heard him say something.” Neither of them care very much that he’s not dead. This is Morgan and his son Dwayne, aka, the best part of this episode. They take Rick to the house they’re staying in and make sure that his bandage isn’t because he was bitten. There’s some exposition implying that Dwayne’s mom turned into a zombie and then we see her as a zombie trying to get into the house. Dwayne cries and it’s actually very sad. Morgan tells him that if his family is alive, they’ll be in Atlanta. They were a refugee center when the zombie stuff started and that’s where most people went.

Rick takes them to the police station to get some guns and also because it has its own hot water generator so they all take a hot shower. They are very happy about the hot water. Morgan and Dwayne don’t want to come with Rick to Atlanta for…some reason. It wasn’t very clear but Rick gives Morgan a walkie-talkie so they can keep in touch. He tells Dwayne to take care of his dad and they part as friends. I’m pretty sure Dwayne is going to die.

There’s a scene intercutting Rick and Morgan as Rick goes back to the woman who was cut in half and kills her and Morgan snipes some zombies from the upstairs window of a new house. He attempts to kill his zombified wife but he can’t bring himself to pull the trigger and he starts crying. Dwayne is also crying and praying. Dwayne is definitely going to die, probably by being bitten by his zombie mom.

So Rick, now fully adorned in his Sheriff outfit complete with hat, is riding down the highway attempting to radio any survivors. We cut to a camp where people are hearing him. They attempt to radio back but Rick can’t hear them for some reason. An old man is like, “you’re the one who knows how to use this thing, kid, why don’t you give it a shot.” And it turns out he was talking to The Punisher! Punisher can’t get Rick to hear him either and a woman is like “I keep saying we need to put up signs on the highway warning people to stay away from the city.” Punisher tells her they don’t have time to do that, despite the fact that this is a post-apocalyptic world and time I literally all they have. This woman is being smart but the show is framing her as unreasonable and snippy. I can only assume this means it’s Rick’s wife. We’re one episode in and this show is already horrible at portraying women. She storms off and the Punisher follows her. Turns out she’s Rick’s wife and it turns out she and Punisher are doing the dirty. Score one for me!

ShaneRick
Look man. There were zombies, we hadn’t showered in 3 months, things just happened so fast. 

Anyway, Rick stops at a gas station and decides to abandon his car in favor of a horse. I don’t know why. To be cool I guess? As he rides away from the station he even says “I haven’t done this for years.” Rick is not very smart.

He makes it to Atlanta and it’s immediately clear that the city is abandoned and there is no military presence. He decides to go into the city anyway. There’s a zombie on a bus that looks like Jim Carrey and he ignores it telling the horse, “it’s just a few of them, nothing we can’t handle.” Rick is not very smart. Suddenly there’s the sound of a helicopter. Could this be one of the mythical helicopter people!? We’ll never find out because Rick attempts to…chase it on horseback and instead rides right into a giant swarm of zombies. They pull him off the horse and kill it.

WAY TO GET THAT HORSE KILLED ASSHOLE. Guys, I already hate Rick.

He crawls under a tank he saw earlier – a tank that had a dead soldier hanging out of it which should have been a REALLY sure sign that Atlanta wasn’t safe – and is surrounded by zombies. Then the show does a really strange cut. Rick is looking at the zombies crawling toward him and knows he’s going to die. So he puts the gun up to his temple and says “Lori, Carl, I’m sorry.” Then IMMEDIATELY climbs up into the tank. There’s no revelatory look like “oh shit there’s a way into this tank I didn’t notice before,” no opening the hatch to get inside, no indication that this is new information to Rick that is literally saving his life. Just gun to the head, gonna kill myself, now I’m inside a tank. It’s really really bizarre. I can’t be the only one who noticed this! So now I’m assuming one of two things: either this entire show is some “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” shit and Rick died under the tank, or the show is using plot armor as a storytelling device and slowly building up to Rick realizing he’s a fictional character. The latter would certainly add a new layer of horror on top of the trite zombie shit.

Anyway, he’s in the tank and fine but he lost his guns and got his horse killed cus he’s the worst. Someone radios him in the tank and is like “hey idiot, you’re an idiot, you having fun in that tank?” And that’s where the episode ends.

jimcarreyzombie
Lahooosaheeeeer. – Zombie Ace Ventura

Main Takeaways:

  • Rick sucks.
  • How did he have a perfectly cropped beard when he woke up from that coma?
  • When exactly did that shit with the little girl at the beginning happen? I guess before he got to the place where he got the horse, since he was looking for gas when he shot her.
  • Why did it seem like Jim Carrey zombie was stalking him through the city? Like it gave him a real “sup asshole” look when he was looking out from the tank.
  • The cinematography and effects are really good and the acting is pretty solid, though the accents are not.
  • I didn’t know the Punisher was in this!
  • I’m definitely going to examine how exactly the zombies destroyed the world in a future post.

So it was alright. Not alright enough for me to be particularly excited to keep watching, but alright enough that I’m not dreading it. I might try to do this weekly, maybe more than one per week if I feel like it. Either way, I’ll be back!

helicopterperson
You fear the walking dead. The walking dead fear me.

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