Hating “The Walking Dead”

I made the mistake of watching the first episode of “The Walking Dead” yesterday. I don’t like zombie movies or horror in general, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t enjoy watching it. I just wanted to see what made this thing so popular. Don’t get me wrong, I can see this show seems to be done reasonably well, for the genre – with an eye to keeping it convincing and interesting.  But aside from it being disturbing (I don’t enjoy the adrenaline rush, that’s why I don’t like horror), I was kept awake this morning just thinking about the huge plot holes.

It starts right up front. Our hero is looking for gas or something and comes upon the remains of a bunch of abandoned cars and a camp. There’s a little girl shuffling around, picking up a doll. This guy knows the zombie apocalypse has happened, but calls out to this little girl as if there’s really some chance she’s survived, unlike the rest of the camp, without becoming a zombie. Then he shoots her when she turns around and heads his way. Was this even necessary to set the tone? We all knew this is a zombie flick.

Or how about the way Hero gets injured? (I know, his name is apparently Rick, but I’m not sure we even find that out in the first episode – no one ever introduces themselves. How is that possible?) The bad guys run across the tire killers, their car skids and rolls over several times, then they come out shooting? I’m sure those guys were wearing their seatbelts and didn’t get crushed by any car pieces, were able to locate their guns, and thought they could win in a shootout with four cars full of police. While standing up with no cover. I know criminals tend to be dumb, but even if they miraculously had the ability to get out of the car and shoot, that’s just suicidal. If they wanted to die, they could have shot themselves.

So Hero wakes up in the hospital, evidently from a coma, weak and dehydrated. He must have been there for several days after the battle in the hospital, and even if the IV was keeping him full of fluid, that wouldn’t have lasted for a day after. And he should probably be sitting in urine and feces too. Not to mention dead, because who gets better from a gunshot wound while unconscious and totally neglected? Fortunately the water still works – that much at least is plausible. Fortunately he doesn’t need any food in order to stumble out of the place and make it home. And fortunately the only zombies he sees are locked behind a door or nearly immobile (what luck! I thought the point of zombies is that they show up everywhere).

Now at this point, I know he’s disoriented and dazed. But he can’t be completely daft. He had enough sense to get away from the zombie fingers behind the door reading “Don’t Open Dead Inside”. He had to have figured something Really Bad happened at the hospital when he saw the pools of blood, the military stuff, and the body bags. He saw the half-person zombie in the park trying to pull itself along. Anyone who has ever heard the word “zombie” (which is all of us, but apparently nobody in this show since they’re just called “walkers”) knows what happened. But he just heads along home, and doesn’t even search for a weapon? Even just a stick or something? He’s a cop, he must have at least had a piece hidden away somewhere at home – nothing? And then he’s surprised when Savior and Son come along, bean him upside the head, and shoot a zombie headed towards him?

Now Savior is a real enigma. He sure seems to know a lot about zombies. He knows how a person becomes one – getting bitten or scratched, then dying after a hot fever. He knows it’s something in the brain that makes them a zombie, and you can kill them with a headshot. He knows they’re a force to be reckoned with when they’re a hungry crowd. There have to be some stories behind this. But he never lets the new guy in on how he knows any of this (experience? other survivors? a radio/TV broadcast?). It’s obvious his wife became a zombie, but that’s not enough to have learned all that.

And how did he learn this and survive, while apparently the military didn’t? Because what kind of idiot gets out of the tank or chopper so that the zombies can get them? They must have had at least a few days to figure out what was going on and mobilize. What kind of idiot military guy lets his buddy die from a zombie bite and high fever and then doesn’t put a bullet in his head when he knows the guy will come back a zombie? How hard can it seriously be to just stay in the tank/truck/chopper/etc. and pick off the zombies outside? It’s not like it’s hard to tell them apart. And zombies don’t operate weapons or machinery, or coordinate or have any ability to do anything clever, so why all the destruction? But all of this is just left to our imagination – we just see the aftermath. Maybe we’ll learn more in later episodes, but sorry, one episode is all I can take.

The reason all this was done is just to heighten the tension. And I hate when implausible things are filmed just for that reason. It’s so phony.

Let’s continue. Everyone was advised to evacuate for Atlanta. Hero and Savior haven’t thought of the possibility that the zombies might come along? Well, if not, then surely when Hero got to the ourskirts of Atlanta and saw all the cars broken down headed the other way, that might have been a clue. But Hero just rides in on a horse, apparently in condition white, as if what happened to all those other people couldn’t happen to him. He can’t seriously be that stupid or conceited. It’s just a plot device. Also, how can he sling all that equipment and ride a horse a day or two after barely walking out of the hospital? He’s right as rain that quickly?

Also, he makes a radio call-out, but never identifies himself. Surely even if it was just force of habit he would have done that. But he doesn’t, because that way the group of survivors including his wife can’t find out he’s still alive. Plot device. Good one, but still phony.

So, Hero gets to Atlanta, and runs into a horde of zombies. How is it possible that they take down his horse and are already into its innards while he has a chance to scramble away? Do you know how strong a horse is? The guy didn’t stand a chance. Even if they were distracted by the horse, it’s impossible with so many zombies that he didn’t get a scratch or a bite.

One more thing. We saw a little girl zombie at the very start. So we know kid zombies are possible. Where are they the rest of the episode? Where are the toddler and infant zombies? Yeah, I know, couldn’t fit them in budget, or child labor laws, or whatever. I’m kind of thankful, though, because the last thing I need is nightmares about my little girl becoming a zombie.

I have to admit, the first episode was gripping enough that I’m really curious what’s going to happen next. But not enough to endure the show.

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7 Responses

  1. The whole concept of the show requires significant suspension of disbelief. So there are these zombies that can keep walking for days on end without needing food and water and still have the strength to mount an attack? And you can put bullets in all their major organs minus the brain and they still keep coming without needing to have blood pumping through their veins? We’re talking about a major violation of some basic laws of chemistry/physics here. Rick’s blind preoccupation with finding out the disposition of his family with no concern for his own safety is much easier to accept when you are already ignoring the laws of physics.

    I think the reason the show is so successful has more to due with the interaction of characters and how they react to the circumstances they find themselves in. It is a “drama” after all. Admittedly the first episode doesn’t have a whole lot of that but subsequent episodes do. Trust me, it does get more interesting when additional people “join the party”. How do major decisions get made? Who is really in charge? Who is going to survive and who is going to spectacularly fall by the wayside?

    Anyhow, sounds like you’re hooked with all those questions you posed, You might just have to watch another episode to satisfy the curiosity. ;-)

    • Violating a few laws of physics/chemistry/biology is OK, because most of us aren’t particularly aware of them daily. Anyway we don’t expect script writers to know anything about that. But people acting weird? They oughta know better!

      Anyway who says that realism and drama can’t get along?

  2. Darn it – noticed a typo “due” => “do”. Would be nice if WordPress would let me edit my own comments after posting. :-P

  3. interesting…i will leave you to the decoding of zombie movies, i avoid them at all costs…don’t care much for vampire movies either….

  4. You can still find out the basics of what happens next if you pick up the comics…or read one of many sites that posts recaps. It’s relatively easy to get information without actually forcing yourself to watch the show if you hate it. :)

  5. Luke. It’s entertainment.

    • So’s my rant, I suppose :)

      Is there some reason they can’t make the people at least somewhat plausible though?

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