Who among us hasn’t at least heard of AMC’s The Walking Dead? If you haven’t, or if you haven’t made time to check it out, please tune your dials to AMC at 9:00PM Eastern time on Sundays, because you are missing out.
The show follows police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who, after setting out in search of his family, is tasked with leading a group of people in their struggle to survive through the zombie apocalypse. It debuted in the fall of 2010, finishing its six-episode run by December 5th. For a show that is not on one of the big three networks, it has now surpassed the ratings of every other show that aired in the fall of 2012 on ANY network in the coveted 18-49 age viewership. Ever.
If you’re looking to get caught up, I definitely recommend watching the first two seasons on Netflix. Or spending the money to buy them on DVD. If you can’t do either, here is a brief recap of the highlights from season one for you; warning, this WILL contain SPOILERS.
- Police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) awakens from a coma to find that the world he remembered is shattered. His wife and son are gone, and he doesn’t know for sure if they’re alive or not. Instead of humans, the city is overrun with what survivor Morgan Jones (played by the talented Lenny James) has dubbed “walkers.” Rick leaves the relative safety of Morgan and his son Duane’s house, going off in search of his family. He drops his bag of weapons in the street and his horse is eaten by a massive crowd of zombies while he manages to hide in an army tank.
- Rick winds up trapped with a few other survivors in a department building in Atlanta. He manages to stop an escalating fight between two of them, T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker), by cuffing Merle to the rooftop. Unfortunately for Merle, things get heated when walkers overrun the building and the key to unlock the handcuffs is dropped. He is left behind to fend for himself while the rest of them.
- Much to Rick’s surprise, when they arrive back at the camp with the rest of the survivors, he finds his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), and son Carl (Chandler Riggs). His best friend Shane (John Bernthal) had been taking care of and protecting them (in more ways than one—he was sleeping with Rick’s wife, because Shane told Lori that Rick was dead!). Lori and Shane are both unhappy when Rick decides to go back to Atlanta with a few others in an attempt to rescue Merle, whose brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) is one of the other survivors at the camp. Daryl is less than thrilled to find out that his brother had been left behind, regardless of the reason. They return only to find that Merle is gone, and all that’s left behind is the pair of handcuffs, and a bloody hand. Meanwhile, Shane takes some of his anger and frustration out on another survivor who is a domestic violence perpetrator.
- At camp, survivor Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) begins digging holes, much to the dismay and confusion of everyone else. Rick, Daryl, Glenn and T-Dog continue to look for Merle, and Glenn (Steven Yeun), ends up being abducted by a gang who wants to trade Rick’s bag of guns for the man’s life. Rick comes up with a plan, which doesn’t solve the issue, but before the two groups can exchange gunfire or violence, an elderly woman interrupts, asking what’s going on. Come to find out, the “gang” was protecting an entire community of elderly people who were left behind when the apocalypse broke out. The people at camp are enjoying talking and eating around a fire when suddenly several walkers interrupt the night, biting and killing many of the survivors. Jim now realizes why he spent so much time digging holes.
- Andrea (Laurie Holden) mourns the loss of her sister Amy in the previous night’s attack. It’s revealed that Jim was also bitten, and Shane is pissed at Rick for having left camp to try and rescue Merle. Rick convinces the others that the camp is no longer safe, and decides they need to move toward the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) because he thinks maybe they have, or are developing a cure for whatever is causing people to become walkers.
- At the CDC, the group finds only one survivor, a doctor named Jenner. He gives them plenty of food to eat and they celebrate being safe by drinking alcohol and taking showers for the first time in weeks. He fills them in on some of what he knows: that the entire world has been overrun with zombies, and there is no cure, though he was working on one before his lab was destroyed. Shane tries to get back together with Lori, who tells him no, and when he tries to force the issue, she scratches his face and neck. The building goes on lockdown and a countdown begins, leaving our group wondering what’s going on. They demand answers from Jenner, who tells them there’s nothing he can do. The building is going to destroy itself. While most of them are horrified, a couple of them decide that there’s nothing worth living for and dying in an explosion will be a better way to go than death by zombies. Before allowing those who want to leave to do so, Jenner whispers something to Rick that you won’t learn about until the season two finale.
With a few weeks to go before the show returns from its third mid-season hiatus, there is time for you to start watching and getting caught up on what you’ve been missing. Trust me; if you like the horror genre, you are going to LOVE this show.
“The Walking Dead” (2010)
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, John Bernthal
Creator: Frank Darabont