Episode 1 of Tales of the Walking Dead starts with a look at our protagonist for this tale, Joe. He lives in a basement with his dog Gilligan. Between watching football reruns and playing Sudoku, his life is a pretty simple affair, and he’s making the most of the zombie apocalypse.
However, the familiar growl of zombies marks a heartbreaking turn of events. Gilly is bitten and subsequently killed, prompting Joe to bury his best friend and slip into a depressive state.
Joe digs into the archives and looks over old chats with a woman he was messaging online. Eventually, with nothing else to live for, he decides to go on a road trip and find her in real life. “You made it…when everyone else didn’t. What the hell are you doing?” Joe says, as he basically echoes everything that audiences are saying at this point! And of course, things go wrong.
Joe drives over spikes, he ends up caught in a net and looks set to meet a grisly demise… until a woman shows up and helps him. She also calls zombies “Toe-tags.” Is this the stupidest name for zombies in this universe? I think it may be!
This woman happens to be called Evie. She cuts him down but keeps him cuffed and tied up in her house. Evie is an opportunist and Joe is forced to work with her to avoid any further traps up the road. Oh, and Evie obviously has her own agenda here when she tags along with him.
Along the road, her perception of who Joe is changes. She realizes he’s a dog person and into poetry; a far cry from the horrible person she thought he was. It turns out she too is on the road for love. However, when zombies (toe-tags) approach, the pair work together to thwart the undead threat.
We do learn a little more about Evie on this trip too, including how she’s regretful over falling out with her lover, Steven. It’s been over a year since the zombie invasion and she’s been waiting for a miracle to take her to his location – and now Joe has come along.
So in exchange for taking her there, Evie helps out Joe and shows him where his online pen-pal is located exactly on his map. If the weather holds, they should be there in less than 12 hours.
Unfortunately, they’re ambushed and scavengers take Joe’s bike and gear. Naturally, the pair end up fighting it out, especially when Joe realizes that Evie never had any bullets for her gun.
Joe does eventually make it to his destination, where he notices a CCTV camera outside. Swinging his arms around wildly, he eventually stumbles down a hole into the basement. There, he meets his pen-pal – Sandra.
Unfortunately, Sandra is crazed, distrustful and more than a little mental. She eventually ties him up, slashing Joe constantly across the neck, demanding to know what he’s doing there.
As for Evie, she makes it to Steven’s cabin, where she finds numerous paintings that have been drawn. The final one behind a whole stack of others happens to be a portrait of herself.
With the lamb under her arm, Evie makes it to the bunker, where Sandra greets her and encourages her to have something to eat… which she gladly accepts. Wait, what happened to the distrustful woman we saw at the start of the chapter?
Eventually though, Joe kills Sandra but when she turns, the pair decide to run away as opposed to killing her outright. When they make it out together, Joe thanks Evie for her support and for showing him the way.
Joe decides to start anew and team up with Evie, going on the hunt for salvation. With their lamb in-tow, they set out to see what they can find in the world.
The Episode Review
Tales of The Walking Dead is the latest zombie fare to shuffle off the shelves of AMC and based on the first episode, there’s really not a lot going on here.
The story itself isn’t bad but the acting is hit or miss and the comedic tone is completely out of sorts. The trouble with doing a story like this, with an undercurrent of comedy, is that it completely negates the threat of the zombies or Sandra.
And speaking of the latter, it’s incredibly contrived to believe Evie would just happily take some food and trust this woman when she’s shown herself to be really distrustful of Joe.
For a while I genuinely thought Evie was going to be Joe’s online friend though, but instead we get a relatively simple but enjoyable morality tale about how it’s better to stick together than being apart in times of chaos and catastrophe. For that alone, it does overshadow some of the issues.
The anthological format is definitely going to suit this show a lot and zombie series always tend to bring in decent numbers.
With the promise of switching perspectives and tones every chapter, the preview for the next episode certainly looks promising. So far though, this gets off to a pretty average start.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|