In the buildup to the season premiere of ‘The Walking Dead’ in two weeks, AMC has just released a series of webisodes exploring a separate and unrelated story of survival among the walkers. This six-webisode story, directed by Greg Nicotero, focuses on a broken family coming back together in the face of danger before getting tragically ripped apart for good, resulting in the creation of one of the most memorable walkers from Season 1. All six webisodes can be seen here, and I highly recommend taking 15-20 minutes to watch them before reading further, as I do spoil the surprise ending.
Webisode 1: ‘A New Day’ – We meet Hannah, unconscious in her car. She has smashed into a tree. As she comes to, she sees that her two children are no longer in the car with her. Quickly getting out, she finds herself amid a scene of destruction. The quiet suburban street she is on has been turned upside down. Running down the street, calling for her kids, she inadvertently calls a group of walkers to her. She is heading for her ex-husband’s house, and takes off as fast as she can to get away from the walkers chasing her. She reaches the house, and finds her ex-husband, Andrew, and their kids there safe.
Webisode 2: ‘Family Matters’ – Andrew and Hannah try to puzzle out what exactly has happened. Andrew’s new wife, Judy, is apparently still out there somewhere. Andrew has heard reports on the radio of the CDC working on a cure, and calls to get to safe zones. A helicopter is hovering overhead, instructing people to get to safety. As they discuss what their next move should be, we cut to something in the living room, wrapped in a bloody carpet, beginning to move.
Webisode 3: ‘Domestic Violence’ – Believe it or not, it’s actually time for a flashback episode. We see Judy, on her way home from grocery shopping, discovering the chaos that has just happened with the rise of the walkers. Not sure what has happened, she sees an unconscious girl lying in the street and tries to revive her. Not knowing that this girl is a freshly-made walker, she attempts to give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and…well…the results are not all that pleasant. We then cut to Andrew, alone in his house, trying to keep his own panic in check. But when Judy appears behind him in the living room, Andrew shoots her without thinking. But it’s a gut shot, so Judy is not really dead. Not knowing that little trick, of course, Andrew tearfully wraps her up in the living room carpet.
Webisode 4: ‘Neighborly Advice’ – And another flashback episode. This one is of how Andrew got the shotgun that we see him holding at the end of the first webisode. Knowing that his neighbor, Palmer, has a shotgun, Andrew goes to his house in the hopes of getting it to defend himself. In the basement, Andrew finds Palmer alive and holding onto the shotgun. The two of them have a chat. Palmer makes it clear that he never liked Andrew. They have different lifestyles and different political views, but it doesn’t matter now. Palmer reveals that his entire family has been turned, and that he has a bite of his own, and his time on this planet is limited. He makes a deal with Andrew. He can have the shotgun if he shoots him in the head before he turns.
Webisode 5: ‘Stepmother’ – Back to the current story. As Hannah and Andrew figure out how to get to a safe area, Judy emerges from her carpet cover. The two children are looking out the dining room window to see if they can find their dog when they see a gruesomely deformed Judy entering. They attempt to hide from her first by ducking under the dining room table and then hiding themselves in a nearby closet. Judy, however, locks onto them. Now cornered, the kids are surely done for. But their screams have called in Hannah and Andrew, and Hannah takes an axe to Judy’s head.
Webisode 6: ‘Everything Dies’ – Hannah and Andrew finally decide that they can’t stay there. With the walkers growing in numbers, the only thing they can do is make their way to one of the safe areas the helicopter above is directing them to. Andrew goes to Palmer’s house to get the keys to his truck. His journey is cut short when Palmer’s children find him and tear him apart. Now it’s down to Hannah and the kids. They take off down the street, looking for a car that might work. Hannah finds a car with the keys still in the ignition. Everything seems like it might work out, but then a lurker, hiding in the back seat, pops out and takes a chunk out of Hannah’s arm. She gives her gun to her daughter and tells her to run. Knowing she is done for, Hannah lets the oncoming mob of walkers take her, giving her kids enough time to safely get away. Hannah is ripped apart until only the top half of her body remains. We then flash forward several months, and Hannah’s bifurcated body has transformed into that iconic walker from the premiere episode of Season 1: Bicycle Girl.
While this was clearly done on a smaller budget (just look at the axe-to-face effect), this was still an interesting and short story of the hopelessness of the day after the walkers appeared. I was not expecting this to be the origin story of Bicycle Girl, so the reveal at the end came as quite a surprise. While this is completely unrelated to Rick and company, it was still a nice vignette to get us in the mood for Season 2. I’m ready for it. Are you?