I recently had a notion to watch The Walking Dead. I saw season 1 when it first aired in the UK back in early 2011 but it didn’t really grab me – despite my fondness for zombie movies – so I never went back for more. Until a couple of weeks ago.
Long story short (you’re welcome) I watched season 2 in three days, followed immediately by season 3, then season 4 right up to the mid-season 5 finale. And now I’m totally hooked. Since season 5 isn’t back for another few weeks, I needed something to keep me busy so I had a thought. Anyone who has seen the show knows that a lot of things get killed: walkers, people, even squirrels. Hell, even people who haven’t seen the show can probably figure that much out for themselves. My thought was to enquire as to which particular character has the most blood on his or her hands. The only way to satisfy my curiosity was to go right back to the beginning, notebook in hand…
Before we get started here, let’s have a few quick words about the rules. I am counting confirmed kills only, i.e. the kill has to be definitively traced back to a specific character. This means that a shot of someone firing a gun at something off screen isn’t counted as a kill unless the camera cuts to that something taking a bullet (or, you know, whatever) in the head. Similarly, off-screen kills are only counted if the aftermath is clearly shown and the perpetrator can be identified. So anything with a crossbow bolt through the noggin gets marked down under “Daryl”.
Also, there will be spoilers here. Duh.
Episode 1 – Days Gone By
Despite a big quiet period through the middle of this ep, Rick Grimes gets things off to a good start. Understandable really, since he is: A) the leading man, and B) just about the only person here. Morgan gets to demonstrate some marksmanship both up close and from a distance, while Rick’s partner Shane is the first person to put down a living soul, even though it occurs in the line of duty. The shape of things to come perhaps…?
Scores: Rick – 10 walkers; Morgan – 3 walkers; Shane – 3 people.
Episode 2 – Guts
As the title suggests, this one is more than a bit gorier than the last. Also funnier, what with Rick and new pal Glenn out for a stroll with a pair of severed feet tied together by a shoelace tossed over their shoulders. I mean tell me: can anyone see that image and not chuckle just a little? Okay, maybe it’s just me.
Scores (all counts will be walkers only unless I say otherwise): Rick – 16; T-Dog – 1; Morales – 1; Merle – 1; Glenn – 1.
Episode 3 – Tell it to the Frogs
The Walking Dead’s resident badass bowman Mr Daryl Dixon makes his first appearance in episode 3, and to celebrate the moment he is the only man on the board. I’ll give an honourable mention to old-timer Dale for some sweet hatchet action with a very smooth decapitation, but Daryl gets the kill. Rules are rules here people.
Scores: Daryl – 2 walkers, 1 deer, 10 squirrels. What, you thought I was kidding about the squirrels?
Episode 4 – Vatos
In which the mission to retrieve Merle from an Atlanta rooftop (and a handcuff) goes somewhat tits-up, and our boys have a run-in with some gangbangers who aren’t quite as they first appear. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Shane would probably give his left nut for an early-warning tripwire.
Scores: Rick – 5; Shane – 3; Daryl – 2; Glenn – 1; Morales – 1; T-Dog – 1.
Episode 5 – Wildfire
After a rip-roaring start to the opening season, things start tailing off on the killing front as we approach a tenser and more emotionally harrowing finale. Apparently.
Scores: Daryl – 3, Carol – 1 (and a particularly epic one it is at that: her own abusive douchebag of a husband); Andrea – 1 (her sister. Not a douchebag).
Episode 6 – TS-19
This is by far the most talky-talky and least stabby-stabby finale of all those to come. This episode didn’t really work for me at all the first time round. As I recall, it seemed too contrived and just a little bit too boring. This one was the main reason I didn’t come back to the show when season 2 first rolled around. But hey, c’est la vie.
Scores: Shane – 2; Rick – 1; Daryl – 1. And all within the last three minutes.
Season 1 Totals
Rick – 34; Daryl – 8 (plus assorted wildlife); Shane – 5 walkers, 3 people; Morgan – 3; Glenn – 2; Morales – 2; T-Dog – 2; Andrea – 1; Carol – 1; Merle – 1.
Altogether, that’s 59 walkers and 3 people, or 95/6 walkers per episode. Rick had more put-downs in the first episode alone than anyone else managed over the entire season, but Daryl is so far the only person with at least one kill in every episode where he appears. By the time this show ends, I can see one or two characters maybe giving Jack Bauer a run for his money in the body-count stakes.
I’m going to be splitting the seasons in half for the rest of these posts, since AMC already went out of their way to do it for me. Come back next time for season 2, part 1: What Lies Ahead to Pretty Much Dead Already.
(And yes, I know this isn’t a movie review, and there isn’t any pithy five-word bit. Fuck it, I’m trying something new.)