The end is nigh for the first season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. It’s been an incredibly popular first season and, as many steady readers know, has been quite popular among the writers on this site. If you haven’t been watching and you feel like tuning into the season finale this Sunday night, here’s a bit of a recap of all the characters and story so far.
The show began with Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes and his partner, Shane Walsh, in the middle of a conversation about their respective families. We learn that Rick and his wife, Lori, are having some trouble communicating. Knowing what I know now, Shane’s advice and words of wisdom for Rick seem quite petty and borderline intentionally misleading. You see, we’ll come to learn that Shane may be a bit of a scumbag. More on that later. As many fans of the show usually say, let’s get to the freaking zombies.
While in the midst of a police chase, Rick is shot. He passes out, only to awake from a lengthy coma to an empty hospital. He’s obviously weak, dehydrated, and disoriented. Of course, he’s not disoriented enough to realize that there are hundreds of dead bodies outside the hospital. As he staggers down the street, he comes across a woman that is missing the majority of her body and yes, she wants to eat Rick. He makes his way to his home, which is empty. Upon leaving, he is about to be attacked by a wandering zombie. Luckily, Morgan and Duane (father and son) save him and take him to a darkened home in which they have been hiding. From there, we learn about how people got sick and became zombies, including Morgan’s wife, who now staggers around the town.
After some rest, Rick, Morgan, and Duane go to the Sheriff Station, grab some guns, and part ways, as Rick decides to head to Atlanta, where it is believed to be safe. As I said in my initial recap, the image of Rick atop a horse, riding into Atlanta on an empty freeway is flat out iconic. Unfortunately for Rick, Atlanta is dead as a doornail and he is quickly overrun by zombies. As the zombies chow down on his horse, Rick hides away in an Army tank. He is soon greeted on the radio by someone who appears willing to help him.
That voice belongs to Glenn, who is part of a group of survivors camping out in the hills outside the Atlanta. That group would also be led by Rick’s partner Shane, who has been watching over his wife Lori and son Carl. By watching over, I mean that he has snaked his way into Lori’s pants. Yes, after they both believed Rick to be dead, they decided to kick up their own relationship. This will probably make you immediately hate them both, as it did me.
Glenn went into the city to look for supplies with some other members of the group, who include Andrea, Morales, T-Dog, and the crazed redneck Merle. Shortly after Glenn helps Rick escape a certain zombie death, Rick helps T-Dog escape certain redneck death at the hands of a racially charged Merle, whom is handcuffed and trapped atop a building.
Rick’s ruckus has caused the building the gang is in to be surrounded by zombies, making it difficult for the gang to escape. In a brilliantly sick move, Rick and Glenn cover themselves in zombie guts to hide their “living smell”. Then stagger out into the street among the zombies, acquire a van, then pile everyone into it and head back to the camp. One problem: they left Merle handcuffed atop a building that is now swarming with zombies. All that poor hick has to protect him is a locked chain on the door to the roof. To this point, our last image of Merle is that of a man trapped as zombies strained to get through a door to eat his face.
Once they arrive back at camp, Rick is reunited with his wife and kid and it feels so good. Except to Shane. I guess Shane really dug the situation he was in with Lori. That and he told her that Rick was dead. Oops. It doesn’t take long for Rick and Shane to disagree, as Rick wants to go back to Atlanta for his guns…and, at the behest of his brother Daryl, save Merle. So, they load up the truck and head back to the city.
No sooner after Rick leaves, Shane nearly beats a member of the camp to death. Granted, he was doing a noble thing and stopping a troubled man from physically abusing his wife. However, Shane pretty much destroyed this poor guy’s face. The beating served as nothing more than a way for Shane to vent his frustration with the whole power struggle/nailing Rick’s wife problems. Clearly, things are not headed to a sunny ending for Rick and Shane.
Once Rick and the gang reach Atlanta, they decide to get Merle first. It turns out that the only thing to find on the roof of Merle is a bloody hacksaw and his hand. So, since Merle is not to be found, the gang goes after the bag of guns, but they are interrupted by a gang of kids that abduct Glenn. It turns out, this gang is holed up in an old folks home and they are watching after them. So, what at first looked like a bunch of Latin Kings ready to shoot up our stars turned out to be a really nice group of guys. See society? Don’t you dare stereotype people that hold guns to your face as they may secretly be watching out for old people!
As the gang makes their way back to camp, zombies must have smelled the douchiness on Shane as they decided to attack the camp. During the skirmish, Andrea’s sister Amy is bitten and dies in her sister’s arms. Of course, at some point, she’ll come back and be undead or mostly dead, then try to eat everyone. She does start to become a zombie and Andrea then shoots her sister in the head. Ouch.
The zombie attack on camp makes everyone realize they are no longer safe there and they need to think of a place to flee. Shane, fresh off serving Rick a nice big helping of guilt for leaving camp, wants to go to an Army Base. Rick once more proves that the idea of humanity is what keeps him going and suggests heading to the Center for Disease Control, with the idea that they could help Jim, who was bitten during the zombie fight. After Amy backs up her husband (perhaps out of guilt for nailing Shane), they load up their stuff and head off to the CDC. Unfortunately, Jim’s condition worsens and they leave him on the side of the road. Undaunted, the group moves forward.
Prior to the group’s arrival, we find out that the CDC is being manned by one person, a scientist that seems to be working on a zombie cure. He is definitely going stir crazy as being locked underground in a huge facility with no other people will tend to make you insane in your head brain. Just ask Desmond from “Lost”.
Eventually, the survivors get to the CDC and this scientist, after some hesitation, lets them in. Now, in just about 1,250 words, you are pretty much up to date on the important events from “The Walking Dead”. It’s been great so far and I only have a few complaints.
Those complaints all involve certain cliches that are abundant. I touched on one of them, which involved the gang that was watching over the elderly. Yes, as an audience we probably initially thought these guys were up to no good based on their appearance and the way they spoke. I get it, shame on us for stereotyping them. This type of thing has been done over and over and it is just felt entirely too preachy.
Judging from the previews, it looks like there will be nothing good to come out of hooking up with the CDC scientist. That is also a fairly played out plot device. Look, I realize that there is only so much that can be done but it is all about how the story is delivered. What I’m saying is that they could use a little subtlety in their storytelling. No need to continually hammer home how humane Rick is and how selfish Shane is. Believe me, we get it.
All of that said, I have fully enjoyed the show so far. Believe me, I bail on TV shows after two or three episodes if I see it’s going nowhere (see “The Event”) and I’m still in on “The Walking Dead”. It’s not quite up to Lifetime DVR Season Pass status yet, but until it really does me wrong, I’ll be tuning in and I suggest that you do too.