In "The Walking Dead", somewhere at the end of Season 2, Shane turned into a walker without being bit. Later Rick tells the group what Dr. Jenner had earlier confessed to Rick in private, that they "all had it in them", and by default all the dead would turn into walkers.

This contradicts the scene in the first episode, where hundreds of dead were lined up at the entrance of the hospital, where Rick was admitted when he was shot. Why do they not turn?

So is this a mistake? Or is there a timeline event where all got infected after a certain period.

I have not read the graphic novels, and have completed season 3.

  • Maybe the military at the hospital shot them so they would not come back?
    – Marriott81
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 9:20
  • @Marriott81, But I could see many of them not shot in the head Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 9:24

4 Answers 4


All victims outside the hospitals shows signs of wounds to the head. Either by blood trough the cloth covering the head, blood wounds to head and/or bullet holes. At least for the close ups.

For the aerial shot it is either or. For some one might not directly see it, but that is because one for example see only one side. For most there is some sign of head trauma.

The overall indication is that they all have been "properly terminated". They are also likely among the first victims of the outbreak. Once the hospital fell it is unlikely people stuck around to wrap them in cloth.

  • yes, they definitely look like the first victims of the apocalypse Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 3:36

This is pretty ambiguous actually. It is shown (mostly on the graphic novel) that people don't necessarily turn the moment they die. That means that the people on the hospital might have been dead for a short period of time and didn't have time to turn.

On the graphic novel, Shane doesn't turn immediately. If I remember correctly, he turns 5-6 issues later. That means that some time (some weeks) have passed.

So, the people at the hospital might have turned after Rick left the hospital.

  • In the context of the graphic novel, what you say makes sense , but ive not read them, also as you know in the TV show, shane turns almost immediately, so the hospital dead being that atleast a month, should have turned Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 9:47
  • 3
    In graphics novel: Shane is buried after he is shot (in the neck) and then they leave the place. Later, when they realize all might turn, Rick returns to the grave to check if Shane has turned, which he has. There is nothing indicating exactly when Shane turned other then that it was after he was buried, which they did after some hours: "It took us hours to to get you into the ground". In other words he turned while buried and stayed buried until Rick returned. In the TV-series CDC had recorded turns in the timespan of 3 minutes to 8 hours.
    – user13500
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 13:04
  • Ref: For comics that would be in issue #15. For TV-Show the CDC-Atlanta episode is season one episode six "Wildfire".
    – user13500
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 13:17

Im rewatching that first episode. Morgan at the dinner table with Rick, asked him if he had seen the dead people and when Rick said yes, he said "no not the ones they put down- the walkers". That clears it up. The ones we see outside the hospital had been shot or otherwise wounded in the head, effectively de-zombifying them.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is pretty much what the first answer said; you could make this a much better answer if you included a screencap of those dead showing that they've been put down.
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 0:10

It is theoretically possible that the virus required a mutation to do this and it had not reached that stage in its evolution by the time this specific people died

  • If the virus didn't (yet) cause the dead to reanimate, then what did it do? What was the emergency that required the military to intervene?
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 23:35
  • I more meant that it hadn't infected everyone and it needed the host to be alive before it killed and reanimated him. Therefore it would spread unnoticeable at first but would pick up pace after it began infecting more people and consequently mutating until it became airborne and reanimated all who died.
    – Jax
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 18:00
  • Ok, thanks for clarifying! This makes more sense. But still, we know the virus alone doesn't kill its host (we know everyone is infected but this doesn't weaken them. In this respect, the show is unclear on why a zombie bite is so dangerous... maybe, like the bite of a dog, this causes a serious infection that leads to death, and then reanimation gets triggered). So if the virus initially didn't reanimate people, its effects would have gone completely unnoticed. Am I missing something?
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 18:04
  • Since I don't read the comics I have no concrete proof but I think it was yet another mutation caused because a less aggressive strain will survive in the human populations. That would explain why walker bites are fatal- because they are not infected with the new, easier-going strai.
    – Jax
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 18:06
  • @JDSweetBeat That would mean that newly-turned zombies bite wouldn't be fatal, which isn't the case.
    – IloneSP
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 10:43

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