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The 8 Best Moments From ‘The Walking Dead’ Pilot Episode

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The Walking Dead aired its pilot episode “Days Gone Bye” eight years ago today on October 31, 2010. So much has happened since that fateful day for both the series and Rick Grimes, and while there are certainly some things I would like to change, at the same time, there is not a single thing I would change. The anniversary of the pilot being this week is almost too fitting seeing as Rick’s final episode will be airing on Sunday, but thankfully, the promo has promised plenty of callbacks to the one that started it all. So, to celebrate eight years we thought it would be cool to look back at 8 of our favorite moments from the historic episode. Take a look and be sure to let us know what your favorite moments are!

8. The First Opening Credits

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Hearing that music for the first time? Incredible. Bear McCreary, who does the music for the show, is a total visionary and hearing that score, meeting the actors/characters, and seeing the locations for the first time was truly something special. Despite the many changes that the show has faced over the past nine seasons, the opening credits have always been with us.

7. Rick & Shane’s Car Chat

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The first narrative scene of the series is a conversation between Rick and Shane in the cop car. Not only does it introduce the two’s partnership at work, but it cements their relationship as best friends right off the bat. What’s noteworthy about the scene is the conversation quickly shifts to Rick’s marital problems at home with his wife Lori…awkward. It’s an interesting setup for what’s to come for all three of them in the coming story – that Shane’s last insight into Rick and Lori’s marriage was that she thinks Rick didn’t even care about them at all. Not to mention, their conversation is cut short when a call comes in, sending them to the scene of the crime where Rick gets shot.

6. Bicycle Girl

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All hail, Greg Nicotero! This iconic walker brought Tony Moore’s stunning artwork from the comic to the screen incredibly. As one of the first walkers we see in the series, bicycle girl formulated a haunting and moving moment that managed to show the dramatic and emotional complexities that were ahead. She also set the stage for what was to come from Nicotero and gave reassurance to fans that the walkers were in good hands.

5. Riding into Atlanta

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Rick’s solo ride into the city of Atlanta is probably the most legendary photo to come out of the series over the course of nine seasons. With cars lining the other side of the highway, desperately trying to flee the city, and derailed trains on the other, the moment served as a graveyard of the chaos that Rick missed. Seeing him heading right into the danger head-on is something that fans would get used to seeing – and it’s a scene that is going to be revisited in Rick’s final episode.

4. The First Scene

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The moment that started it all. Viewers meet Rick Grimes for the first as he strolls up to a gas station to find a little girl with a stuffed animal. Despite his uniform, viewers immediately got a feel for the type of man that Rick was by his desire to help her, but soon enough she’s revealed to be a walker and within the first five minutes our hero has shot a child in the head. It’s a historic and shocking scene in The Walking Dead catalog and one that really set the tone for the series, showing viewers that anything goes in this world.

3.  Meeting Morgan

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In addition to Rick Grimes, the pilot episode also introduced Morgan Jones (Lennie James) who became a fan favorite almost immediately. He served as a guide for Rick, (and the viewers) filling him in on the rules of this new world and preparing him the best that he could for his search to find his family. Morgan’s journey in the pilot laid a lot of groundwork for what it would be like to lose a loved one and the emotional load it would carry for the audience who would soon have to say goodbye to characters they grew to love.

2.  Welcome to the new world

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Within fifteen minutes of the pilot, Rick wakes up from his coma to find himself in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Being able to discover this new world right alongside him was such a memorable journey and having him wander around the dark and decimated hospital with not a soul in sight really delivered on the horror genre that fans were craving. Of course, nothing beats the “don’t open, dead inside” door that will live in Walking Dead infamy!

1. Hey you, dumbass

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Just when things are looking pretty grim for Rick, a guardian angel by the name of Glenn Rhee comes through the speaker, saying the most iconic line of the episode, and perhaps even the series. I still get chills thinking about this scene and how that one decision by Glenn to radio the tank set in motion the entire series. That scene also led into this final shot, which again…iconic.

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What’s your favorite moment from the pilot episode? Be sure to tune in to Rick’s final episode this Sunday at 9/8c on AMC!

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Having studied Media & Writing at James Madison University, I always knew that I wanted to do some type of creative writing, but being able to write about zombies, Starks, and superheroes on a daily basis for Fan Fest is my actual dream. While I probably shouldn't be as proud as I am to be so similar to Nick Miller, I do hope to one day write my own "Pepperwood Chronicles'.