On Halloween night, 2010, AMC premiered a series that would become one of the most well-known and iconic in the undead genre. The Walking Dead's first episode, "Days Gone Bye," holds a special place in the hearts of the fandom, as does the first featured character, Rick Grimes, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln until season 9 of the series. In 2024, Lincoln will return in a new series, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, but what happened to him at the very beginning of the series?
The Walking Dead is based on the story created by Robert Kirkman featured in the same titled comic series. While the series diverged greatly in some areas of the story, for example, swapping character deaths and featuring characters created especially for the series, other storylines remained true to the source.
The series begins with Rick, dressed in his King County Sheriff Deputy uniform, as he walks to an abandoned gas station, gas can in hand, hoping to locate some much-needed fuel. Instead, he comes upon a site that is tough to bear. A little girl in tattered jammies who has reanimated into a walker. The look on Rick's face tells all he knows, as do the viewers, that he must put this child down.
It was a gutsy move to feature the first death of the series to be that of a child. This is when viewers, knew The Walking Dead wasn't your ordinary series.
Beginning of The Walking Dead
The above-mentioned is the first scene of The Walking Dead, but it isn't in chronological order. Before Rick sets out for Atlanta, he experiences quite a shock.
Before the outbreak, Rick was shot in the line of duty in a scene played out in the series. His best friend and co-worker Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) visits him in the hospital as Rick is in a coma for about a month, during which time the outbreak occurs. When Shane returns to save him, he finds it too difficult since Rick is hooked up to an IV and other monitors. He blocks his door with a hospital bed, and later, it is revealed he would tell Rick's family he died.
When Rick emerges from the coma, he finds himself alone in the hospital, save for some walkers locked in the cafeteria with a door marked "Don't open, dead inside." As he finds his way outside of the hospital, he sees long lines of sheet-covered dead bodies lying outside.
As he makes his way home, he stumbles upon what is known as the bicycle walker, a reanimated woman with only the upper portion of her body remaining, as she crawls towards him. Unprepared for this sight, he uses the bike he found to quickly escape as he tries to make his way home.
This is when he encounters Morgan Jones (Lennie James) and his son Duane (Adrian Kali Turner), who mistake Rick for a walker and bashed him in the head with a shovel. Luckily, Rick spoke before the blow to the head, indicating he wasn't a member of the undead. Morgan and his son would care for Rick and explain the state of the world.
It was a cruel introduction to the undead apocalypse, but with all of his training, Rick immediately changed into survival mode as he set out to locate his wife and son.
The Walking Dead series aired 11 seasons on AMC, with the final episode airing in November 2022. The Walking Dead universe has expanded its story through several spinoff series. Rick returns on February 25 in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live spinoff.