|This article is about the TV Series episode. You may be looking for the Comic Series volume or the Assault episode.|
"Days Gone Bye" is the first episode of the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the first episode of the series overall. It premiered on October 31, 2010. It was written and directed by Frank Darabont.
On a deserted Georgia highway, Sheriff's Deputy, Rick Grimes drives his police cruiser past overturned and damaged cars scattered blocking the road, making him stop. He gets out and takes a gas can out of the trunk. He walks past the remains of more wrecked and abandoned cars down a hill towards a gas station. Various corpses and garbage are spread across the gas station, where a handmade sign hanging reads "NO GAS".
Rick searches around, when suddenly, he hears something and ducks down behind a car. He catches a glimpse of the slippered feet of a little girl on the other side of the car as she picks up a teddy bear on the ground. He stands up and sees a little girl walking away, so he walks closer to her. "Little girl", Rick keeps calling to her until she turns around to face him. Her lips and right cheek have been torn away, exposing raw teeth and muscle.
Rick's face falls as she starts walking towards him, growling. She approaches faster as he steps back, draws his Colt Python and shoots her in the head. As her body falls to the floor, Rick lowers his gun.
In a flashback, Rick and his partner and best friend, Shane Walsh are eating hamburgers and fries inside their police cruiser. They joke about the differences between men and women. When the conversation turns to Rick's wife, Lori, he turns somber. He says that they've been fighting lately, and says that Lori accused him that morning of not caring about his family in front of their son, Carl. "The difference between men and women?... I would never say something that cruel to her, especially not in front of Carl," Rick muses. Suddenly, the cruiser's radio cracks to life reporting a high-speed pursuit in progress involving two armed suspects.
Rick and Shane dump their food and rush to the scene. When they arrive, they lay down a spike strip and meet up with their co-workers, Lambert Kendal and Leon Basset. As they all wait for the car, Leon muses about their chances of getting on a police chase reality show. Rick tells him to focus, and worry about having a round in his gun chamber and the safety off. Leon sheepishly checks his gun while Shane suggests that it would be "kinda cool gettin' on one of them shows."
At that moment, the car approaches, pursued by two more cruisers containing the Linden County Sheriff's Department officers. The car, with the suspects inside, speeds over the spike strip, shredding the tires. The driver loses control of the wheel and the vehicle flips off the road, rolling several times before coming to a rough stop upside down in a field. "Holy shit," mutters Shane, cocking his shotgun as the officers descend on the vehicle.
Rick carefully approaches the overturned car. A man emerges from the vehicle and immediately starts shooting at the officers. Rick yells at him to drop his pistol, but the man shoots directly at Rick and hits him in the chest. Shane shoots the gunman, killing him as Rick falls to the ground.
A second man emerges from the vehicle brandishing a shotgun, but is also shot to death. "I'm alright!" Rick shouts, the gunman having shot his Kevlar bulletproof vest. Shane approaches Rick as he pulls himself off the ground."Shane, you do not tell Lori that happened! Ever!" Rick commands Shane as he looks at his vest.
Meanwhile, a third gunman unnoticed by everyone crawls out of the car and through the grass. The man fires his gun and hits Rick in the side, where his vest does not protect him. He falls to the ground bleeding as Shane shoots and kills the third man before rushing to Rick's aid. He begs for Rick to stay with him, barking at Leon to call an ambulance, but Rick remains motionless.
A while later, Shane delivers flowers to Rick in the hospital, but Rick isn't fully conscious while Shane starts talking to him. At an unknown time later, Rick awakens and responds to Shane's presence. He discovers that Shane is no longer there. The flowers have wilted and died, the beeping of the machines have stopped as has the clock; the room is empty. Weak, dehydrated and alone, Rick pulls himself out of bed, flops onto the floor and calls out for a nurse to help, but no one comes.
After getting no response, he stumbles into the bathroom, guzzling water directly from the tap, while noticing a growing beard, before he heads for the door. He opens the door and notices a gurney is blocking the entrance to his room. He pushes it aside and continues walking in the dark and disheveled hallway.
The hallway's lights flicker and wires hang from the ceiling. He goes to the nurse's station and tries the phone, but it's dead. He finds a set of matches while also looking for anything else worth taking from behind the desk. Suddenly, a flickering light draws his attention, and through a doorway, Rick sees the ravaged body of a nurse missing most of her skin. His eyes can't believe what he's seeing and he backs away, confused and afraid. Continuing further down the hallway, he sees that the walls are covered in blood with numerous bullet holes. A double door leading into the cafeteria has been chained shut, a message scrawled across in black paint: "DON'T OPEN/DEAD INSIDE." A woman's hands, her fingernails dirty and broken, reach through the cracks and fiddle with the padlock and chains, moaning and groaning as more fingers start to reach through the cracks growling. Terrified, Rick stumbles backwards.
He tries the elevator but it's dead, so he exits through a heavy door into a dark stairwell that reeks of rotting flesh. He chokes on the smell as he lumbers down the stairs, lighting matches until he finds the exit. A door opens to the back of the hospital into the loading bay. When Rick's eyes adjust to the bright sunlight, he sees hundreds of decayed, fly-covered bodies wrapped in sheets and arranged in rows and piles. He leaves the hospital and stumbles up a hill. There's a military helicopter, sandbags and other signs of a military cordon, but everything has been abandoned.
He wanders down the road in his hospital gown, spotting an overturned bicycle in a park. As he reaches for it, the badly decayed body of a mutilated woman, her legs and lips missing, turns and reaches for him, pathetically moaning and growling in. Startled, Rick falls off the bicycle but regains himself a moment later, mounts the bike, and hastily rides away.
Rick bikes over to his home to find the front door open and the house deserted. Sobbing on the floor, he calls out for Lori and Carl, questioning if any of this is real or if he's dreaming. He heads back outside the house and sits on the steps. He spots a man stumbling down the road and waves his hand to try and get his attention. As he is doing this, a young boy creeps up from behind and hits him with a shovel. "Carl, I found you", Rick mutters. "Daddy I got this sumbitch! I'm gonna smack him dead!" the boy screams. The boy's father, Morgan Jones, approaches the stumbling man Rick was waving to and shoots him in the head. He then proceeds to walk towards Rick and points a revolver in his face. "What's that bandage for? You tell me, or I will kill you," Morgan asks him, cocking the gun at his face. Before he can answer, Rick passes out.
Later that night, Rick wakes up with his arms and legs tied to a bed. The young boy, Duane, stands guard with a baseball bat. "Did you get bit?" Morgan asks Rick stiffly, having changed his bandages though Rick's gunshot wound that has mostly healed. "Just shot, as far as I know," Rick says. Morgan checks his forehead and says if he had "the fever" it would have killed him by now, so he sets him free of the bedposts with a switchblade, but not before telling him that if he tries anything, he will not hesitate to kill him. He then offers him a seat at their dinner table.
Rick recognizes the home that they are in as his neighbors', Fred and Cindy Drake's house. Morgan tells Rick not to look out the window because they will see the light. He then begins to explain the story of the outbreak and the following days to a confused and disoriented Rick. "I never should have fired that gun today. The sound draws 'em. Now they're all over the street." Rick accuses Morgan of shooting a man in cold blood. "It was a walker," Morgan corrects. He adds that they get more active after dark sometimes.
Before they begin eating dinner, Duane insists that his father give a blessing. "Lord, please watch over us in these crazy days," Morgan says, and proceeds to explain to Rick that the man he shot would have tried to eat them. "One thing I do know, don't you get bit. Bites kill. The fever burns you out. But then after a while... You come back." Morgan explains."Seen it happen," Duane adds solemnly.
After dinner, the trio talk about Rick's son, Carl, and Rick satisfies a lingering curiosity shared by Duane and Morgan as to what line of work would put someone in a position to be shot at. "Sheriff's deputy," Rick remarks. Morgan smiles and says, "Duane thought you were a bank robber." Suddenly, a car alarm starts to go off outside and the trio turns off the lights.
Rick and Morgan peer out to the street through heavy covered windows and boarded up doors. The street is filled with walkers, drawn by the noise of the alarm. When a woman wearing a nightgown appears and walks up to the front door of the house, Duane runs away crying. Morgan comforts his son while Rick stares at the woman through the peephole at the front door. The woman looks around and tries to turn the door handle. "She died in the other room on that bed. I should have put her down. I just didn't have it in me. She's the mother of my child." Morgan confesses with sorrow.
The next morning, Rick walks outside in a face shield, carrying a baseball bat. "We're sure they're dead? I have to ask," says Rick, approaching a walker sitting near the stoop. "They're dead. Except for something in the brain. That's why it's gotta be the head," Morgan assures him, exiting the house with Duane.
Rick approaches the walker and swings the bat repeatedly at his head, beating it down until it stops moving. He quickly becomes fatigued, most likely from his still-healing gunshot wound.
Back at Rick's house, he tells Morgan he thinks his wife and son are still alive. He explains he found empty drawers in the bedrooms and the family pictures and photo albums were gone. "Photo albums. My wife, same thing. There I am packing survival gear; she's grabbing photo albums," Morgan laughs, getting emotional over the memory. Duane suggests to Rick that they could be in Atlanta. Morgan explains that the government was telling people to head to a refugee center there with military protection and food, before the broadcasts stopped. He also explains that the C.D.C. is rumored to be working on a cure.
Rick, Morgan and Duane head to the King County Sheriff's Department, where they luxuriate in hot showers thanks to a separate propane heating system. As they dress, Morgan tells Rick that his family were headed to Atlanta but he and Duane never made it because they got "stuck" after his wife got bit, and after she died they just stayed hunkered down at the Drake's home. Afterward, Rick packs a duffel bag with guns and changes into his sheriff's uniform and hat. He hands Morgan a rifle and some ammunition.
They head outside and start loading the weapons into the trunk of his cruiser. Rick prepares to set off for Atlanta, while Morgan says he'll follow in a few days, once Duane has learned to shoot. Rick hands Morgan a walkie-talkie and he tells him to turn it on every day at dawn to make contact. Before leaving, Morgan gives Rick a warning: "They may not seem like much one at a time. But in a group, all riled up and hungry? Man, you watch your ass." However, the farewell is interrupted when Rick spots a reanimated Leon who claws at the chain link fence separating them. Rick admits he didn't think much of the young officer, but he won't leave him like this. He shoots him in the forehead with his revolver, putting him down. Then, he and Morgan drive away from the sheriff's department in opposite directions.
Back at the Drake's house, Morgan is nailing the doors shut while Duane covers the windows before dark. Morgan then heads up to the attic carrying the rifle Rick left him. He looks at old photo albums and pictures of his wife. Tearfully, he positions the rifle facing the street and begins shooting walkers. He commands Duane to stay downstairs when his son gets startled by the gunshots. "Come on, baby," he says, hoping the noise will draw his wife into view. When she appears, Morgan lines her up but breaks down, still unable to shoot her.
Rick returns to the park where he found the legless walker. He follows a blood trail for quite a distance to find her again, crawling helplessly. She reaches for him futilely. "I'm sorry this happened to you," Rick says, shooting her in the head with his revolver and putting her out of her misery.
Later, en route to Atlanta on Highway 85, Rick sends out a broadcast on his cruiser's CB radio. In a camp outside the city a group of survivors receives the transmission. A young blonde girl, Amy, runs to the CB, but can't get a reply. Shane, Lori, and Cal are among the survivors, however, they don't recognize Rick's voice over the garbled transmission. By the time Shane takes over the CB controls and introduces himself, Rick has left the emergency broadcast channel.
Lori voices that she's been saying for a week that they should put signs up on the highway warning people away from the city, and volunteers to go on her own, but Dale and Shane argue that venturing out is too risky. Lori walks off and Shane goes after her. "You can be pissed at me all you want, it's not gonna change anything," he tells her. Inside her tent, Shane tells Lori that she needs to keep it together for Carl, who has lost so much already. Lori agrees and they kiss passionately, before Carl interrupts them, not seeing them kissing. Lori promises him she's not going anywhere and tells her son to go finish his chores. He runs off smiling.
Back on the road, Rick's cruiser runs out of fuel, so he abandons his car on the highway and heads out on foot with a gas can and the duffel bag full of guns, making sure to grab the family photo he keeps above his rear-view mirror and stashing it in his jacket pocket. He approaches a farmhouse looking for gas. He peeks in the window where he makes the grisly discovery that a couple had committed suicide. "GOD FORGIVE US" is written in blood on the wall. Rick tries to locate the keys of the pick-up truck parked in their driveway, but finds a horse on their property instead. He saddles up and rides the rest of the way to Atlanta with the bag of guns slung across his shoulder.
When he arrives to Atlanta, he realizes it's nothing like Morgan described. Hundreds of cars trying to leave the city have burned out on the other side of the freeway. The road into the city is completely deserted. He continues to ride into the city, devastated that he has no other leads on where his wife and son are located. He trots the streets on horseback, finding an overrun military blockade with more burned out vehicles. A few walkers along the way take notice of him, so he and the horse speed up. He looks back to see many more emerging from buses and alleys.
Suddenly, Rick catches the reflection of a helicopter passing by through a skyscraper. He speeds up the horse to try and follow it but unknowingly leads himself into a horde of hundreds of walkers. He fails to escape and topples off to the floor as the walkers start to devour the horse. While the walkers are distracted, he manages to scramble underneath an abandoned tank. Walkers take notice of him and start to reach under and grab him from both ends of the tank.
Rick shoots several of them, but more and more keep coming. In desperation, he places the gun to his head. "Lori, Carl, I'm sorry," he states. As he is about to pull the trigger, he sees an open hatch on the floor of the tank and crawls inside just before the walkers can get to him.
As he sits in the tank catching his breath, he takes the gun of a zombified soldier and continues to search through his uniform for anything of use. The movement awakens him and as he turns to bite Rick, he freaks and shoots him in the head. A deafening echo reverberates inside the enclosed space of the tank. Dazed and disoriented, he makes his way to the top of the tank where the top hatch is open. He lifts his head out of the hatch to stop the ringing in his ears. He spots the bag of guns that he dropped, but there are too many walkers. They begin to take notice of him and climb the tank to get to him. Rick then closes the hatch, sealing himself inside.
Outside the tank, some walkers continue to feed on the horse's carcass, while others try to get into the tank. The entire area is overrun with them. Rick, unsure of what to do next, holds the soldier's Beretta pistol to his forehead, sweating.
Suddenly, the tank's radio crackles. "Hey. Hey you, dumbass. You in the tank. Cozy in there?" a voice says. Rick looks up and slowly lowers the gun from his forehead
- Jim Coleman as Lambert Kendal
- Linds Edwards as Leon Basset
- Keisha Tillis as Jenny Jones
- Adrian Kali Turner as Duane Jones
- Summer (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- Jenny Jones (Alive, Confirmed Fate)
- Leon Basset (Alive and Zombified)
- Hannah (Zombified)
- Mr. Siggard (Confirmed Fate)
- Mrs. Siggard (Confirmed Fate)
- Siggard's Horse
- 3 unnamed criminals
- 1 unnamed cat (Confirmed Fate)
- First appearance of Rick Grimes.
- First appearance of Shane Walsh.
- First appearance of Morgan Jones.
- First appearance of Dale Horvath.
- First appearance of Amy.
- First appearance of Lori Grimes.
- First appearance of Carl Grimes.
- First appearance of Glenn Rhee. (Voice Only)
- First appearance of Jenny Jones. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Summer. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Leon Basset. (Alive)
- First (and last) appearance of Lambert Kendal. (Alive)
- First (and last) appearance of Duane Jones. (Alive)
- First (and last) appearance of Mr. Siggard. (Corpse)
- First (and last) appearance of Mrs. Siggard. (Corpse)
- First (and last) appearance of Hannah. (Zombified)
- This episode is 90 minutes long, according to AMC's schedule.
- The title of the episode, "Days Gone Bye", refers to the fact that many days have passed since Rick has been in a coma and that the old days before the outbreak are gone forever.
- This is the first episode to share the same title of a Comic Series volume.
- This episode, along with "No Way Out" and "A New Beginning" are the only episodes to be directly adapted from the respective comic volumes of the same name. The other seven used the titles for episodes that are not directly related to the source material from that volume.
- Rick's awakening in the hospital room with no recollection of prior events is very similar to the opening of 28 Days Later, a British horror film released in November of 2002 in the United Kingdom, nearly two years prior to the comics' Issue 1's publication and eight years before the TV adaptation.
- As Rick wakes up from his coma, he looks at the clock which reads 2:17, which is the same time seen on the clock when explosions are heard from the same room in "TS-19".
- According to the first commentary track, 217 is a nod to Stephen King's novel "The Shining".
- It was revealed by Darabont that the pilot was supposed to be two hours long, but the script was split into two episodes instead.
- The walker that Rick encounters in the tank at the end of the episode was portrayed by Sam Witwer. The original intention was to have a prologue in Season 2 which shows how Atlanta fell, how Witwer's character died in the tank and how Dale rescued Andrea and Amy amidst the chaos.
- This never materialized since Darabont was fired from the show.
- In a deleted scene, when Rick goes through the gas station at the beginning of the episode, the walkers from the abandoned cars were supposed to chase him.
- The tank that Rick climbs into is an obsolete British Chieftain, which was never used by the U.S. Military, visually modified to represent an M-1 Abrams, a common model used for films.
- It's possible that the producers chose the Chieftain because it has a hatch on the underside of the hull, which the Abrams does not.
- The abandoned UH-1 "Huey" helicopter is marked with the insignia of the 7th Squadron, 1st Air Cavalry Regiment, which was deactivated in 1976.
- The song that plays at the end of the episode, as the camera pulls back from the tank to reveal the street covered in walkers, is Space Junk by Wang Chung.
- Rick's home in fictional King County, Georgia is actually a house located directly across the street from Zoo Atlanta. In fact, when Rick exits the house, you can just see one of the zoo buildings through the trees on the other side of the street.
- The production took over "13 square blocks of downtown Atlanta" for the sequences shot in the city.
- When Rick wakes up in the hospital bed, and the circumstances he is in are unknown, it's similar to when Beth Greene wakes up in Grady Memorial Hospital in "Slabtown".
- Rick being shot by a criminal in the line of duty is adapted from Issue 1.
- Rick waking up from a coma months later in the apocalyptic world is adapted from Issue 1.
- Rick meeting Morgan and Duane in his neighborhood is adapted from Issue 1.
- Morgan explaining to Rick the events of the outbreak during his coma is adapted from Issue 1.
- Rick taking a bag of guns from his police armory and giving a few to Morgan for protection is adapted from Issue 1.
- Rick putting down a zombified girl in a park is adapted from Issue 1.
- Rick discovering the corpses of a couple who committed suicide at a farmhouse is adapted from Issue 2.
- Rick arriving at a desolated Atlanta by horse is adapted from Issue 2.
- A herd of walkers surrounding Rick and devouring his horse is adapted from Issue 2.
- At the roadblock, Rick advises Leon Basset to check that the safety's off on his gun. However, the gun is a Glock, which has no truly manual safeties. The only external safety is the trigger safety that is automatically disengaged when a finger squeezes the trigger.
- During the gunfight near the start of the episode, Rick is shot just below his left shoulder, in the back. After he awakens in the hospital, and thereafter, he is shown with a bandage over his lower left abdomen with the positioning suggesting that he was hit lower in the side.
- Rick is supposedly going south on I-85 going into Atlanta, but that is not the skyline of Atlanta you would see if you were heading south. The skyline is from Freedom Parkway, facing West.
- When Rick first sees the horde in Atlanta and the horse goes on its hind legs in fright, to the back left of the screen, a walker can be seen sipping from a water bottle.
- The Walking Dead - Days Gone Bye, Full script.