The current times and pandemic couldn’t make that first season The Walking Dead CDC episode more relevant. So let’s revisit it as we go through our fun look at little blunders and inconsistencies on The Walking Dead. Specifically, let’s revisit what Dr. Jenner whispers into Rick’s ear and what that meant for future seasons but how it also changed from the original plan from Season One.
Just before Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) leaves the CDC, Dr. Jenner (Noah Emmerich) whispers something in his ear, “Everyone is infected. Whether you’re bitten or scratched by a walker or not, you will become a zombie once you die.”
However, Rick doesn’t reveal the news to the rest of the group until the Season 2 finale. The idea that they’re infected no matter what, removes a certain level of hope from the series. It also puts a spotlight on the pregnancy of Rick’s wife, Laurie. Does a newborn baby acquire the virus after it is born? That was one of the greatest questions. Does a child die and turn? Or are children born post-apocalypse the cure. We’ll save that for another time.
Where’s the error, you may be asking?
The error actually comes at the beginning of the episode. At this point, in Season One, The Walking Dead was still a young show and hoping to make it to a second season. No one knew how big the show would become. It was still finding its way and the direction of its story, even with having the comic books as source material. Would walkers be able to open doors, pick up and throw items, have some sentience, or would the wonder aimlessly unless there was food (braaaaiiiiiiinnnnnns)?
At the start of the episode, when Dr. Jenner confronts Rick and the survivors, before he lets them in, he asks if any of them are bit or infected. We believe that at this point in Season One, even when Dr. Jenner whispers in Rick’s ear, that even the writers were either unsure of what Dr. Jenner was going to whisper to Rick or that the writers just simply missed the continuity between the two moments.
In fact, The Walking Dead‘s creator, Robert Kirkman, said this episode was his biggest regret in a 2014 interview with THR, “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have done the CDC episode [at the end of season one].”
“It possibly gave away too much information and was such a big change very early on in the series,” Kirkman said. “I feel like there might have been a better way to wrap up the first season,” Kirkman says of AMC’s season-one finale. “It ended up being a fun episode. I love the character of Dr. Jenner and thought Noah did an amazing job. But there were things in that episode that I think seem very much not of The Walking Dead world.”
“I probably would have changed that stuff,” he says. “I’ve been careful in the comic series to not say what’s happening in other parts of the world. It’s something that’s going to be fun to explore in the spinoff series. But the fact that France is mentioned in that episode and other things like that, I probably would have steered away from that stuff if I had to do it all over again.”
This is definitely a controversial episode and one that changed the trajectory of The Walking Dead forever. The great thing about the the newest spinoff, The Walking Dead: The World Beyond, is that we may start to explore the greater world, what the apocalypse has done, and is there a cure or is someone trying to create a cure. It’s exciting!
The Walking Dead will be back for its final season this August!
Alexander is passionate about everything related to gaming, comics, television, and film. You can usually find him watching some kind of DC show and can also find his writing on Multiversal News, something he’s helping to build.