Jim (The Walking Dead)
|The Walking Dead character|
Jim, as depicted in the comic book series.
|First appearance||Issue #2 (comics)
"Guts" (TV series)
|Last appearance||Issue #6 (comics)
"Wildfire" (Alive) (TV series)
"Hounded" (Voice) (TV series)
|Portrayed by||Andrew Rothenberg|
|Significant other(s)||Unnamed wife|
Comic book series
Jim was a mechanic living with a large family in Atlanta. When the dead began to rise, Jim remained generally unaware of this until the city, decreed a safe zone by the government, gradually started to become overrun with the undead. Jim was among the few who escaped from the city as it was completely overwhelmed, though his entire family died in the chaos, shielding him from the zombies long enough to allow him to escape. Emotionally traumatized and devastated, when Jim joined the survivor group just beyond the city's outer limits, Jim became the most taciturn member of the group, revealing almost nothing about his past and barely saying a word. During a zombie attack on the group, Jim, failing to kill one with his gun, grapples with a zombie and violently smashes its head in, his rage over his family's death driving him momentarily insane. After coming to his senses, he, and the rest of the group realized that he had been bitten on the upper part of his forearm. Refusing a mercy killing or staying with the group (as he knew he did not have a chance), Jim was left under a tree on the outskirts of Atlanta, in the hopes that, upon reanimating, he could be reunited with the undead members of his family that may still exist.
Fictional character biography
In the episode "Guts", Jim is seen trying to help Dale fix the RV's engine. In the episode "Tell It to the Frogs", Jim deactivates the car alarm of a sports car that Glenn brings back to the camp. In the episode "Vatos", while on lookout Dale notices Jim inexplicably digging holes on the hillside and becomes concerned, bringing Shane, Lori, and others to talk to him. Jim cannot explain why he is digging but says it was because of a dream he had. They tie Jim to a tree for most of the day until they can be sure he has calmed down. Later, the campground is attacked by walkers, and Amy is among the camp members killed. Jim then recalls his dream and why he dug the holes – to bury their dead. In the episode "Wildfire", Jacqui finds out that Jim was bitten in the walker attack, and while Daryl and Dale want to kill him, Rick and Shane tell them "We don't kill the living." Jim suffers the effects of the plague for days, and begins to show flashes of walker-like perceptions. Refusing a mercy killing, Jim asks to be abandoned on the road to the CDC in order to rejoin his family, either in heaven or literally as a walker. The beginning stages of his transformation into a walker are unambiguously portrayed in the show.
In the season 3 episode "Hounded", Jim's is the second voice to call Rick on the telephone. Rick pleads with him for refuge for his group; Jim asks for justification for Rick's killing of other people, and then cuts the conversation when Rick refuses to explain his wife's death.
Development and reception
Los Angeles Times writer Gina McIntyre, in her review of "Vatos" called the scene featuring Jim digging in the hillside "a nice bit of foreshadowing hinting that the rustic domesticity the survivors have cobbled together in Atlanta's rural outskirts is about to end". Leonard Pierce of The A.V. Club opined that Jim's "expression of grief, obsession, or premonition, whatever it is, freaks everybody out, but what right does the group have to control it, especially after they learn that his whole family was torn apart right in front of him?" Michelle Kung of The Wall Street Journal felt that Jim's story of his escape from walkers who were eating his family "would be a more emotionally resonant story if the same thing hadn’t also essentially happened to everyone else". John Serba of The Grand Rapids Press felt that Jim was "almost certainly mentally unstable", but called his recollection of his survival story a "powerful moment" and his explanation of his dream at the end of the episode a "devastating line".
Robert Kirkman commented on Jim's fate in "Wildfire" by saying "that's something from the comic. The thing that I was thinking about when I was writing that is, "There's death, which is this unknown. But you've seen zombies walking around, and that is some form of living." I had never seen someone in a zombie movie just say, "No, no, no, I'll take the zombie thing." To me, it's like, "How do you know that you're not in rainbow land and everybody looks like cupcakes when you're a zombie?" Like, it might be awesome to be a zombie. Who knows?" Leonard Pierce of The A.V. Club calls the group leaving Jim behind "a harrowing scene", adding: "Andrew Rothenberg is a Chicago actor I've liked in a lot of things, and it's a shame to lose him from a cast that needs a subtle presence like his. But he plays his scenes here well; he seems so helpless and lost that you feel sorry for him even though you know nothing about him. His scenes are a reminder that at a time when there's fewer and fewer people alive, every life is valuable."
- McIntyre, Gina (November 22, 2010). "'Walking Dead' recap: Grave implications". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Handlen, Zack (November 21, 2010). "Vatos". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Kung, Michelle (November 22, 2010). "‘The Walking Dead’ Season 1, Episode 4 ‘Vatos’: TV Recap". Wall Street Journal. Les Hinton. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
- Serba, John (November 21, 2010). "'Walking Dead' postmortem: poignant moments buffer zombie attacks in episode 4, 'Vatos'". The Grand Rapids Press. Dan Gaydou. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Collis, Clark (November 29, 2010). "'Walking Dead' writer Robert Kirkman talks about last night's episode and teases next week's season finale". Entertainment Weekly. Time, Inc. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- Pierce, Leonard (November 28, 2010). "Wildfire". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- New Jersey. "'The Walking Dead' recap: Seance hotline". NJ.com. Retrieved 2012-12-02.