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Top 10 "The Walking Dead" Scenes from Season 1

Updated on September 14, 2014

The Walking Dead - Season 1

Top Ten Walking Dead Scenes
Top Ten Walking Dead Scenes | Source

Top Ten "The Walking Dead" Scenes

The Walking Dead is one of my favorite televisions shows ever. Based on a comic book series, this show is set in the world after a zombie apocalypse. The living struggle to survive in what is now the new normal.

Even if you aren't a fan of zombies (but hey, why wouldn't you be? Zombies are effin' cool!) you can't help but realize that this show has a lot more going for it than blood and gore. The beauty of this show is that it doesn't matter if it was zombies, plague, war or any other apocalyptic event-- the show beautifully explores the ideas of survival post-apocalypse. The characters deal with trials and tribulations, ethical dilemmas and daily struggles that we would all face if it were the end of the world as we know it. Some of my favorite scenes in The Walking Dead have absolutely nothing to do with zombies.

The show is so good it’s hard to narrow down to just 10 scenes in a single season, but here are my picks, counting down my favorites.

Major Spoiler Alert!

Warning - This is a discussion of scenes in The Walking Dead, season 1. If you have not yet seen all seasons and want to be surprised, come back and read this AFTER you've watched it.

The Walking Dead Season 1

10) Rick Shoots the Zombie Girl

Episode 1: Days Gone Bye. In the very opening scene of The Walking Dead features Sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) shoots a little girl in the head. True, she’s a walker (the show never actually uses the term ‘zombie’); but still, it’s brutal. Talk about your ‘hook’—this opening scene is an attention-grabber.

It sends a strong message to anyone watching the show: we’re not pulling any punches. In The Walking Dead, nothing is sacred, nothing is spared, and don’t assume anything is safe—not even golden-haired little girls in bunny slippers carrying teddy bears. Message received.

9) Rick Wakes Up to the Apocalypse

Episode 1: Days Gone Bye. Another very early scene in the series is one of the most poignant: Rick wakes up from his coma and he’s baffled to find the city was evacuated and he was left behind in his hospital bed as the dead all around him came back to life.

I love the way we’re introduced to the post-apocalyptic world through his eyes. Unlike everyone else, we didn’t just watch it unfold. Life was all normal one moment, the next moment you open your eyes to discover the world ended while you were sleeping. Civilization has collapsed, the street is littered with debris and dead bodies—and some of them are still moving. Rick is clearly dazed and confused, but if he’s to survive he’d better adjust to this new world, pronto.

It’s a total ‘what would you do’ discussion-prompting moment that makes a great icebreaker at parties.

The Walking Dead - Our Hero

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes | Source

8) The Plague Explained – with Visual Aids!

Episode 6: TS-19. Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich), the lone scientist left at the Centers for Disease Control, gives the small band of survivors – and us – a little zombie plague history 101. This is something everyone’s been looking forward to: answers.

The MRI video of the test subject’s brain is full of colors and darting lights, which Jenner explains, “It's a person's life-- experiences, memories, it's everything. Somewhere in all those ripples of light, is you. The thing that makes you unique and human."

A couple of moments later, we watch this brain go dark. By the end of the scene, we watch as a new, ominous glimmer of dark red lights appear in the brain stem as the rest of the brain remains dark.

Then a foreign object—which turns out to be a bullet—is seen penetrating, and all goes dark again.

Chills ensue. Hope dashed.

No Ordinary Pizza Guy

Steven Yeun as Glenn.
Steven Yeun as Glenn. | Source

7) Glenn and Rick Walk Among the Dead.

Season 1: Guts. The survivors hatch a plan. Rick and Glenn (Steven Yeun) cover themselves with guts and go out into the streets to walk among the dead. The guts are meant to be a form of camouflage, to mask their scents.

There are a couple of reasons I love this scene. First, it’s interesting to see how grossed out everyone is and how afraid they are of touching dead walkers—something we’ll watch them grow an immunity to as time goes on. Secondly, shortly after Rick and Glenn make their way into an alley full of walkers, it begins to rain—washing off the guts and scent.

It’s good to know Murphy’s Law is still thriving in the zombie apocalypse—it’s bound to make things more interesting.

6) Andrea shoots Amy.

Episode 5: Wildfire. When Amy (Emma Bell) dies in the previous episode, it shows us that anyone can die at any time—this is not Star Trek, in which only the unknown extras in red shirts are killed. No characters are safe in the zombie apocalypse. But the real dramatic moment is not when Amy dies, but when she comes back.

Andrea (Laurie Holden) keeps vigil over her dead sister’s body (holding everyone away at gunpoint), and just as Amy reanimates she decides it’s a good time for a heart-to-heart. Hungry walker Amy snarls and snaps, Andrea embraces and caresses her tenderly and gives her a touching good-bye speech to get some closure. How’s that for contrast?

The reason I love this scene is because it’s one of those classic The Walking Dead tense moments. I almost feel like I’m part of the group, looking on with the other characters in dumbfounded horror, wondering ‘what the hell do we do?’ We’ve already learned Andrea has questionable judgment, but this is ridiculous. Has she gone mad? Is she suicidal? Should we shoot Amy? Should we shoot Andrea? Should we let Amy rip her throat out?

To quote Willie Wonka, “The suspense is terrible... I hope it'll last.”

When Andrea shoots Amy in the head, we let out the breath we’d been holding and gasp at the same time.

5) Rick Turns a Corner

Episode 1: Days Gone Bye. This is one of those The Walking Dead reality check moments. Deputy Rick seems to be adapting to the zombie apocalypse quite nicely. He’s learned a bit about walkers and how to protect himself. He showered, donned his complete uniform, armed himself, saddled up and appears to be riding into the sunset— well, actually, into Atlanta. The slow clip-clop of his new horse’s hooves echo on the empty, gray city streets. He’s looking quite confident, and we have confidence in our hero.

The thought that Rick is going to be able to take the zombie apocalypse is doused very suddenly as though a bucket of cold-hard reality is dumped on him—and us. Specifically, it’s doused the moment he turns a corner in Atlanta to find a literal sea of hungry walkers. They’re looking back at him like he’s the $1.99 all-you-can-eat early-bird Vegas buffet and they’re a bunch of travel-weary seniors just off a tour bus caravan.

It’s a brilliant “Holy Sugar!” moment. When Rick turns that corner, the whole show turns it, the audience turns it, and heck-- the entire zombie genre turns it, too!

4) Merle’s “Saw” Moment

Episode 3: Tell it to the Frogs. The Jigsaw Killer couldn’t have set up a more desperate scenario for Merle (Michael Rooker) if he tried.

Picture it: you’re handcuffed to a pipe on a roof. The key fell down a drain and everyone’s left you. You’re going a bit mad. Suddenly, a pack of hungry zombies begin busting open the door to the roof, their decaying faces and snapping teeth aimed in your direction as the crack in the door is pushed open wider and wider. You’re trapped, but there’s a little, rusty hacksaw in reach. You know it won’t cut through steel, or the pipe. But…

What do you do? Go.

The Walking Dead - One Pissed Redneck

Michael Rooker as Merle
Michael Rooker as Merle | Source

It's Even a Board Game Now

3) Shane Puts Rick in His Sights

Episode 5; Wildfire. So we knew things were not going to go well between former best friends and partners Rick and Shane (Jon Bernthal). Five episodes into the series and Shane is a morally ambiguous character. Sure, we’ve heard his sexist rants, we’ve seen him beat the crap out of someone just because he was in a bad mood, we know he left his best friend to die in a zombie-riddled hospital, we know he lied to Lori and told her Rick was dead, and we know that he slept with his best friend’s wife (even if he thought said friend was dead, the body was hardly cold).

But still, we knew he lied to protect Lori and Carl, there was truly nothing he could do about comatose Rick, the guy he beat up was an abusive husband and until Rick arrived he’d been something of a leader in the group of survivors. He was an officer of the law, after all—at least before the zombie apocalypse.

So up until episode five, it could be argued that Shane was just a jerk. But when he caught sight of Rick wandering in the woods, held up his gun and put Rick in his sights—it was a chilling moment. That was the moment we knew what Shane was capable of, and we knew that was going to be a problem.

And what’s more, we knew Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) knew it, too.

2) The Grimes Family is Reunited

Episode 3: Tell It to the Frogs. Call me an old softie. Call me a sentimental shmuck. Call me what you will, but I got goose pimples up and down my whole body when Rick first stepped into that survivor camp. Even before he saw Shane, Lori or Carl (Chandler Riggs), just knowing what was to come gave me chills.

By the time Carl uttered his first shout of “Dad!” I was already a weeping pile of goo.

Grimes Family Reunion

Rick, Lori and Carl find each other in the apocalypse.
Rick, Lori and Carl find each other in the apocalypse. | Source

1) "Opting Out" Group Discussion

Episode 6: TS-19. The armchair psychologist in me lives for The Walking Dead scenes like this, when Dr. Jenner and the group discuss the validity of suicide in the apocalypse. There’s nothing I love more than a deep and meaningful philosophical discussion, all the better if it’s being discussed as a doomsday clock behind everyone counts down to a massive explosion.

These kinds of discussions really get my juices flowing. This is why it doesn’t matter if it’s zombies or a meteor strike or a super volcano that brought about the end of the world as we know it—and this is where The Walking Dead rises head and shoulders above other zombie fiction. These moments are the heart and humanity of the show that really help us relate to the characters, even if the situation they’re in is implausible. It’s because we understand that in desperate situations there are no easy answers.

The Walking Dead entire cast and crew handle these moments brilliantly.

The Walking Dead - Season 1 Cast

Hey, where's Daryl? The zombie apocalypse is just not the same without Daryl.
Hey, where's Daryl? The zombie apocalypse is just not the same without Daryl. | Source

Your Turn!

What is your favorite scenes on The Walking Dead, Season 1?

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