The Walking Dead Rewatch – Season 1, Episode 1 (Days Gone Bye)

Because The Walking Dead season 10 finale has been delayed thanks to the real-world virus, I have decided that to fill the void left in the schedule, to start a re-watch of the series, starting at season 1, episode 1. I live tweeted the episode as if it were playing live in the regular 9pm GMT slot on FOX TV UK. You can see all the tweets here or embedded below.

The debut episode of a series that would go on to spawn at least ten more seasons, was really rather good. We are introduced early to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his search for fuel. He stumbles upon a little girl who has turned into a zombie. He does not hesitate to pull the trigger and put her down. Cut to pre-apocalypse. Rick and his buddy Shane (Jon Bernthal) share their woes on a lunch break. They are both cops and a call comes in about a car chase. They’re off and this results in a crazy shoot-out where Rick gets hit and puts him in hospital and a coma.

When Rick awakens, he finds the world has gone to the dogs. The hospital has been decimated, bodies devoured and something is moving behind locked doors. He finds body bags, army vehicles and half a moving corpse by a bicycle. He heads home where his wife and son are gone. He meets Morgan (Lennie James) who explains the new world to him. Don’t get bit. Hit them in the head. They are attracted to sound and light. Rick heads to the police station and teaches Morgan how to use a rifle before headed off to Atlanta to try and find his family. En-route, his radio call reaches some people in a camp, but he can’t hear them. It’s Shane and he’s with Rick’s family!

The camp are unable to warn Rick that he’s headed into danger, Atlanta is over-run with the dead. But he soon finds this out, taking refuge in an almost abandoned tank. The episode ends with Rick trapped in the tank surrounded by zombies when a voice comes through on the radio. There are others still alive.

Days Gone Bye is a great introduction to the apocalypse. We see things through Rick’s eyes who is also seeing it for the first time. Lennie James is outstanding as Morgan, showing such incredible emotion as he struggles to deal with his wife’s death and turn into one of them. We get the plot twist about Shane and his shenanigans to draw us to return as well as just how will Rick get out of that tank?

The zombies are gruesome and the special effects are so well detailed. We’re still on the rather fresh undead here so there isn’t too much rot to them outside of flesh wounds and crazy eyes but they sure know how to devour a horse. The zombies themselves possess special qualities that don’t follow through with the rest of the series or indeed the general tropes about zombies. These zombies appear to have memories. They can turn door handles as well as crawl and climb. If you know the history of the show then you know why this is and you know why it didn’t last. If you don’t know then I will explain everything in another post once this season is over.

Days Gone Bye is a juicy bite into the world of the Walking Dead and a fabulous set up for what is to follow.

Overall Rating: 9