‘The Walking Dead’ Review: Episode 1, ‘Days Gone Bye’

Episode Title:Days Gone Bye

Written By: Frank Darabont

Story: Some time after suffering an injury during an intense shootout, police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) awakens from a coma only to find himself trapped in a new nightmare. The world he remembers is gone, replaced by a bleak wasteland filled to the brim with a flesh-eating horde of undead monsters.

The shell-shocked Rick forces himself to pull it together as he searches for his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs), but as he soon realizes, hope is a rare commodity in this post-apocalyptic landscape.

The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore: Well, that was something, wasn’t it? At long last, “The Walking Dead” has made its grand debut. If you were busy celebrating Halloween away from your TV screens, well, we feel sorry for you — you’ve officially missed out on one of the most memorable television events of the year!

First and foremost, Lennie James. Enough can’t be said for this man’s performance as Morgan Jones. His transformation was marvelous as he first threatened Rick’s life, and later owed his own life to the southern law man. His inability to pull the trigger on his own zombified wife was absolutely crushing. Even though “Days Gone Bye” was focused almost entirely on Rick Grimes, James stole the show as Morgan. Here’s hoping we see him again soon, though based on the comic book continuity, it could take some time.

Of course, Lincoln was no slouch himself. From the opening scene where Rick is forced to shoot a zombie child in cold blood, Lincoln solidified himself as the perfect choice for Rick Grimes. We also saw a glimpse of his pre-apocalypse life thanks to a wonderful scene between Lincoln and Jon Bernthal, who plays Shane, in a conversation that told us a great deal about both characters and how they operate as people and as friends. It’s a scene that never existed in the comics, but if these are the types of deviations the show plans to make, we’re welcoming them with open arms.

And the zombies… oh my, the zombies. Greg Nicotero better earn some kind of award for his work on this series, as the creatures seen on “The Walking Dead” are truly some of the most haunting monsters in the history of the horror genre. Watching these flesh-hungry bastards rip Rick’s poor horse into a million pieces was truly horrifying, and it’s hard to believe that we’ll be seeing this level of gore and violence on a weekly basis. If you weren’t convinced that AMC was the right home for “The Walking Dead,” the series premiere hopefully pacified your concerns.

Boiling down a 90-minute premiere to one measly recap isn’t an easy task. How can we gloss over Rick’s chilling journey through the halls of the abandoned hospital, or his claustrophobic getaway underneath the tank, or even composer Bear McCreary’s haunting score? There’s simply too much to talk about! Suffice it to say, “Days Gone Bye” gets a big seal of approval from the Splash Page gang — and just you wait until next week’s episode. Believe it or not, it’s even better than the premiere!

Tell us what you thought of the series premiere episode of “The Walking Dead” in the comments section and on Twitter, and make sure to join us next week for our recap of the show’s second episode!