The dead walk!

by wfgodbold

On AMC starting 5 minutes ago.  From the teaser before the title and opening credits, it looks like the zombies are going to be of the fast variety and not shambling.

Spoilers after the jump!

The episode picks up with the deputy from the opening shooting the shit (discussing the differences between men and women) in his car with his partner (pre zombie apocalypse).  After baring his soul regarding his relationship problems, they are called in by the dispatcher to a situation.  They arrive and put out spikes to take out the tires of the problem guy’s car, and then they all hunker down behind their cars with guns drawn.

The car chased towards them is careening wildly all over the road with 2 cop cars in close pursuit.  Just before getting to the waiting deputies, it spins out and flips off the road.

The door opens, and the driver gets out with a gun, and the deputies shout gun and immediately attack.  The passengers in the overturned car start shooting as well, and the Rick (the guy from the opening) goes down with a round in his vest.  He turns and lifts his arm to talk to his partner, and another guy pops up from the car and shoots him under his arm where the vest doesn’t protect.

The screen goes white as his partner calls for an ambulance, and fades back in with his partner visiting him with a vase of flowers.

Some time has passed; Rick is lying in bed with a good growth of beard and breathing with the help of oxygen tubes.  He talks about the vase, but his partner’s gone, and the flowers are withered and dead on the table beside his hospital bed.  The clock reads 2:18.

He starts pulling tubes out, and uneasily gets out of bed; and of course he immediately falls to the ground.  Rick calls for the nurses, but there’s no answer.  He finally makes it to the bathroom and drinks some water.

After he leaves his room, the hospital hall is trashed, the lights are flickering or out, and he staggers down the hall in his gown.  The phone at the nurses’ station is dead, and there’s a decayed and half-eaten corpse in the hall beyond the doors.  Rick stares at it briefly and then resumes his walk down the hall.  The walls and floor are covered with blood spatters, and there are bullet holes all over the place.

At the end of the hall, there’s a set of double doors chained shut and barricaded with a two by four; the paint (or maybe blood) on the door says “DON’T OPEN DEAD INSIDE.”  Whatever is on the other side hears him, and starts banging against the door and pushing their fingers through.  He panics and runs off.

I’m not sure what part of the hospital he gets to, but Rick’s going down some stairs by the light of a match, and then he goes outside.  It must have been one of the building’s stairwells.  He goes out back of the hospital, and cowers from the bright afternoon sun.  There is no sound.

At the bottom of the steps are several dead bodies, wrapped and tied up in white sheets.  Several of the dead bodies have red bloodstains on the sheets around their heads.

The camera zooms out and we see that there are scores of bodies laid out.  Rick makes his way up the hill and out of the parking lot to where a helicopter sits.  There are other military vehicles and tents, but all is abandoned.  The buildings look bombed and the town in general looks like a war zone.

He finds a bike near a zombie that rolls over when he picks it up.  The zombie has no legs, and crawls after him, groaning and grasping.  He freaks out and falls over, before standing back up and riding off to his house.

Unlike the hospital, his house is pretty neat and the white walls aren’t covered in blood.  The furniture isn’t overturned, but Laurie and Carl are nowhere to be found.  He cries out for his family and curls into a ball on the floor, wondering if this is really happening.

Rick finally leaves the house and goes outside, and sits on the steps by the sidewalk.  He sees a man walking down the streeet towards him, and the camera pans and we see someone coming up behind Rick.  He turns just in time to get hit in the face with a shovel by a kid.  The kid’s father comes up and pulls a gun on him, demanding to know what kind of wound the man his kid brained has; if he doesn’t say, he threatens to kill him.

The scene changes and the man has changed Rick’s bandage; he’s tied to a bed in their house.  Rick doesn’t have a fever, and the kid’s father finally accepts that he hasn’t been bitten and so he cuts Rick loose.  The man tells him to join them in the other room when he feels well enough, and then the show breaks for the first commercial.

So far the setup is much the same as the opening to 28 Days later; a guy wakes up in a hospital and has no idea that zombies have destroyed civilization.  I think there’s another hour left in the premiere, so hopefully it will pick up a bit.

Rick comes out of the room and asks about the original house owners; the man says it was abandoned when they got there.  Rick takes him to task for shooting that man out in the street, and the man gets defensive; it wasn’t a man, he says, but a walker!

After the older man blesses the food, they start talking.  The man explains to Rick everything, how if you get bit, you get sick with a fever and come back as one of the walkers, and hunger for flesh.  They sit in the dark and talk.  Rick explains that he was a sheriff’s deputy.  One of the zombies outside bumps into a car and sets off the alarm.

They look out the window and the zombies are moving towards the car.  The boy looks out and says “She’s here;” a female zombie walks towards the house the three of them are in.  It must be his mother, cause he starts crying.  The zombie walks up to the door of the house and looks in through the peephole, then starts turning the doorknob.  Rick backs away and sits down.

The man says he should have put her down, but he didn’t have it in him.  Rick looks back while the man cradles his son, and the doorknob turns as the screen goes black.

The next day Rick goes out with the baseball bat and a mask over his face and beats the hell out of the zombie in the front yard.  He and the other two survivors head back over to Rick’s house, where Rick says that Laurie and Carl are still alive; they took enough clothes to live and all the photos and photo albums.  The three of them go to the sheriff’s station and use the propane to heat water for showers, and while they shower the show cuts to a commercial break.

After the break they’re getting dressed in the locker room and talking about the aftermath of the breakout.  The CDC has a camp of some kind set up; I didn’t catch where.  The man and his kid are still sitting around Rick’s house cause they hunkered down after his wife died.

They go to the weapon’s locker, where Rick gets hands out a few guns and packs up in a sheriff’s car.  He gives the man a radio and tells him how to contact him when he finally gets away.  Rick sees his a coworker from his deputy days; he walks up to the other side of the fence from where his now zombie coworker is shambling, and puts his gun through the links and shoots him in the head.

Dwayne and his father are back at their house, repairing their barricades.  Rick walks through the park where he took the bike from the legless ghoul, and Dwayne’s father tells him to read comic books while he’s upstairs.

Upstairs, the older man is seen flipping through photos of his wife while plaintive music plays.  Rick in the park finds the zombie that is pulling itself around and looks down at it.  The older man whistles out the window at a zombie, who turns and looks; the man shoots the zombie in the head.

He looks through the scope and shoots the gathering zombies one by one.  The zombe in the park looks at Rick and he pulls his revolver and shoots her through the eye after apologizing.

The zombies are converging on the house, and the man’s wife (Dwayne’s mother) is among them.  He slowly puts the crosshair over her forehead, and it wavers unsteadily before he finally pulls the gun down from his shoulder and cries.  He reshoulders the rifle and his wife turns and shambles away, and he still can’t shoot her.

The show cuts to commercial as Rick walks through the park.

After the commercial, Rick is driving down the road towards Atlanta, broadcasting on the radio.  A group of survivors hears him and tries to respond, but their radio doesn’t work and they can’t make contact to warn him.  The guy who tries to fix the CB is Rick’s old partner (I think).  There’s a big group of what looks like 8-10 survivors living in a tent city with some campers and vehicles.

The guy in charge kisses Laurie (Rick puts a picture up in the car and it has her and Carl in it, and we see that they are the woman and child with the group of survivors), and walks off when Carl approaches.

Rick makes his way up to a house, asking if he can borrow some gas.  He knocks, and calls, but there’s no answer.  He looks in the windows and see a guy who shot his family and then himself in the head; on the wall next to the window (where we can see but Rick can’t) is written “God forgives us.”

Rick sits down outside, then notices an old Chevy pickup truck.  He goes and checks it for gas, but it’s empty.  When he looks back towards the house, he sees a horse penned up outside, and gets an idea.

The horse takes off after Rick gets him saddled up, and the two of them ride off towards Atlanta, Rick with a duffle bag full of shotguns over his back and still in his sheriff’s uniform.

The outbound lanes of the interstate are full of abandoned and rusted cars; the Atlanta bound lane that Rick rides down is completely empty (wouldn’t they have let people drive on it in a major emergency, though?).  The show fades to commercial; this is the scene the show opened up with before the title at the beginning.

The Walking Dead picks back up with Rick riding across a bridge in downtown Atlanta.  There’s trash all over the streets, and no cars to be seen; they must have all been stuck on the interstate out of town.

He makes his way through what looks like a badly made roadblock, and the zombies hear the horse trot by and start shambling out of the bus they were reposing in.

He turns off that road with three zombies behind him, and stops at a tank.  There’s a dead guardsman on the tank, and crows are picking at his body.  Rick hears something and spins, looking for what he heard; in the reflection on one of the buildings he sees a helicopter flying around.  He wheels the horse around and spurs him on to chase it down; when he turns on to the next street, he has to stop abruptly because it’s full of zombies.  He gets pulled off his horse as he tries to escape, and has to leave his bag of guns next to the horse while the zombies start eating it.

He escapes by crawling under a tank, but the zombies follow him.  He shoots enough of them to block the way temporarily, and then cries an apology to Laurie and Carl as he puts the gun to his head and looks up to the camera.  He then sees that the APC he crawled under had a hatch on the bottom that was open, and climbs up through where the camera was and escapes the zombies.  After leaning up against the wall inside the vehicle, he sighs; the dead guardsman next to him groan and turns to face him.

Rick panics and shoots the zombie through the head; the next minute or so of the soundtrack is a ringing sound.  It’s rare that show business even tries to show what would happen if you fire a gun in an enclosed space.  He looks outside, and then climbs back in the tank and buttons up.

While he sits there with the new pistol he picked up, he hears someone talk to him on the tank’s radio.  He looks over at the radio and doesn’t looks quite as hopeless as he had before, and then the show ends with a pull out from the tank (which is now swarmed by zombies).

All in all it was a pretty good start to the series.  I’m interested enough to watch next week, and I think the episodic nature of the series lends itself well to exploring what would happen in a zombie apocalypse.  Movies have to resolve everything in 1.5-2 hours, but since this is a TV show, they can take 13-24 episodes (or longer; I think the original comic book series the show is based on is pretty extensive) to tell a more involved story.

Edit: Fixed Rick’s name; I misheard it originally as Nick.


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