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The One Walking Dead Episode Even The Creator Thinks Was A Mistake

"The Walking Dead" has been a flagship title for AMC for over a decade. With the series hurtling toward a climactic finale in 2022, it's fascinating to look back at the tumultuous history of the show that captivated audiences worldwide when it began in 2010. 

The show has certainly had its fair share of ups and downs. In the early seasons, audiences were gripped by the intense action, complex characters, and uniquely harrowing portrayal of a zombie apocalypse unlike anything we'd seen on television before. By Season 5, the series was pulling in an average audience of 14.38 million viewers (via TV Series Finale). By the 10th season, though, viewership had dropped significantly, with the premiere of the penultimate season bringing in just 4 million viewers (via TV Series Finale) — a meager 28% of the audience of Season 5. There are plenty of supposed reasons for the dip in viewership, with one of the key factors likely being that many viewers simply moved on after a while. 

Whatever the reasons, it's clear that "The Walking Dead" was in its prime during its early seasons, which makes it all the more surprising that the one episode co-creator of the comics Robert Kirkman says was a misfire was one from all the way back in Season 1.

Kirkman says the Season 1 finale gave away too much

While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter back in 2014, Kirkman expressed regret over the Season 1 finale episode "TS-19," going so far as to say, "If I had to do it again, I wouldn't have done the CDC episode."

The episode sees Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his band of fellow survivors traveling to the offices of the CDC and meeting virologist Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich). They arrive with hopes that the top medical minds in the world might have an answer to their little zombie virus problem. They learn instead that not only is there no cure, but the virus itself has already likely infected everyone and is merely waiting for them to die so it can reanimate them. 

Kirkman says this is the moment that takes the episode too far, and in hindsight, it would have likely been best to leave that revelation for later. "I feel like there might have been a better way to wrap up the first season," he admitted, also citing Jenner's references to the work of scientists in France as something he "probably would have steered away from." It seems as though his main criticisms of the episode come from the fact that, as he put it,  "It very possibly gave away too much information, and was such a big change very early on in the series."

It's certainly interesting to think about how that one episode changed the entire outlook for the series, especially when you consider how huge those first few seasons were. One can only guess at how they might have turned out if they had just scrapped that finale in the first place.