Review

Review

'Days Gone Bye' - 'The Walking Dead' Episode 1.1

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The Walking Dead Episode 101
“Days Gone Bye”
Written and Directed by: Frank Darabont
Original Airdate: 31 October 2010

In This Episode...

Sheriff Rick Grimes is sent to the hospital after he is caught in the crossfire of a shootout.  Several weeks later, Grimes wakes from his coma to discover he is all alone.  Not just in his hospital room, but in the hospital.  In the county.  With difficulty, Grimes crawls his way through the hospital, looking for someone.  Anyone.  He finds a fleshless corpse.  Bloody bullet holes in the walls.  Bloody handprint smears.  Bloody drag marks.  In other words, a lot of blood.  A door, hastily bolted shut, is scrawled with the message: “Don’t open - dead inside.”  The door is rattling and grayish fingers  are peeking out between the gap.  Grimes wisely turns the other way.

Outside, the scene is similarly grim.  Hundreds of decaying corpses are lined up under sheets in the hospital parking lot.  Beyond that is a temporary military post, long since abandoned.  Further along the road, half a zombie smells him and struggles in vain to grab a bite.  Grimes makes it home, looking for his wife and son.  The house is abandoned, but no signs of a struggle lead Grimes to believe they left voluntarily and may still be alive.

Sitting on the stoop, trying to think, Grimes is accosted by a man and his son.  They are not convinced Grimes is still human, but they take him back to their safehouse anyway.  Grimes wakes to find he is being cared for, and his fever has broken.  Grimes’s saviors finally accept him as wholly human.  They eat.  Grimes doesn’t get much of an explanation as to what is going on, but really, is an explanation needed?  The trio remain barricaded in the house as zombies wander the streets, including the man’s wife, who tries to open the door to come home.

The next morning Grimes takes the father and son to the sheriff’s department.  They clean out the place of guns and ammo.  The guys decide to stay behind while Grimes heads to Atlanta, which is where the government evacuated everyone to.  On the way, Grimes is calling out for survivors over the emergency radio.  A small band of survivors, set up outside the city, hear him, but cannot get a transmission through.  Grimes’s wife Laurie and his son Carl are among the survivors.  So is Grimes’s former partner, who is now sleeping with his wife.  When Grimes lands in Atlanta, it is a ghost town... until he turns the corner and is ravaged by a mob of hundreds of hungry zombies.  He manages to make it into an abandoned military tank.  A voice comes through over the radio: “Hey dumbass.  Cozy in there?”

Dig It or Bury It?

I think the series is off to a promising start.  It is a little sedate, but that keeps it from becoming cartoonish and keeps it strangely rooted in reality.  The gore quotient is pretty phenomenal.  Kudos to Greg Nicotero for bringing truly cinematic zombies to the small screen, and kudos to AMC for not wimping out.  I am eager to see where the show goes.

Zombie of the Week

Half-zombie was cool.  Not only was she (it?) grotesque, she never gave up.  She didn’t let the fact that she didn’t have legs stop her.  She has a singular purpose: brains. And she will do whatever it takes to achieve brains.

Best Kill

The opening scene of Grimes shooting the little girl zombie.  Killing kids on-screen is one of the biggest Hollywood taboos - even if the kid is not quite human.  To be fair, Grimes does try to help the girl - until she turns around and he sees that half her jaw is gone and her eyes scream “brains.”  Grimes shoots her, point blank, right in the forehead.  She is blasted backwards in a violent cold open to the show.

New World Order

Now that the world has gone to zombies, things like riding a horse down an abandoned freeway just doesn’t seem cheesy.

Prophecies?

Once Grimes meets up with the survivor camp, shit will rain down when he realizes his wife is fucking his partner.  Oh, and zombies will attack.  A lot.

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