The Whaling Dead #1: There Is No Escape
The Whaling Dead is a new weekly column I'll be writing for GordonAndTheWhale.com. In these posts, I'll take a detailed and analytical look at the new AMC series, The Walking Dead. This post focuses on the pilot episode of the show, "Days Gone By." Be warned: spoilers abound! For more of my thoughts on The Walking Dead, don't forget to check out DeadChatter.
Always bring an extra horse.
That was one of the many lessons learned by protagonist Rick Grimes in the pilot of AMC’s much-hyped zombie show, The Walking Dead. Other lessons included: turn out the lights, never turn your back on a gunman, and aim for the head. Directed by series creator and executive producer Frank Darabont, the premiere delivered a near-perfect blend of action, atmosphere, and emotion. Not to mention: it looks gorgeous. Darabont is well-known to film buffs as the director of movies like THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE MIST, and the series looks and feels like something you’d catch at a multiplex rather than from the comfort of your living room. With true cinematic talent comes cinematic sensibilities, and the pilot episode provided us with a heavily nuanced and profound look at life in a post-apocalyptic world.
“NO GAS” reads a sign in the opening scene as a police car driven by our hero pulls into an abandoned station. It seems like a rather redundant statement to make, since in the post-apocalyptic environment of The Walking Dead, there isn’t much of anything. He encounters a young girl wandering among empty cars, only to discover what anyone familiar with the show’s premise already expected: she’s a zombie, eager to feed on his flesh. And so, the series kicks off with a literal bang, as Rick shoots a formerly-adorable little girl right between the eyes. Cue the opening credits, and we’re off.