Season 1 – Episode 2: “Guts.”
Another Walking Dead Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.
You know, for as much as I was expecting The Walking Dead to be cinematic and epic, I am still blown away by the fact that this is a television show. With this week’s episode focusing on non-stop action, gore, car chases and zombies by the hundreds, one could easily argue that they’re equaling the emotion, disparity and grandeur of any zombie movie, ever.
One of the main setbacks for a zombie-based television show was basically the lack of budget, too much censorship and not an engaging enough storyline. However, thanks to AMC, basic cable and Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead is already in a class of its own. What we saw this week was edgy, raw, brutal (I damn nearly gagged at one point) and perfectly indicative of what so many people loved in the comic book to begin with.
The stage is set for a tense reunion once Rick gets back to his wife, kid and (former) best friend. Racist redneck Merle Dixon will have a score to settle with the survivors when he eventually catches up to them. Oh, and did we mention the thousands of brain-eating zombies roaming about? Trust me, for as much as The Walking Dead will have to hang around the house in order to create character development and subplots, there will always be a Roamer lurking around the corner to spice things up every now and again.
Now, let’s marinade ourselves with corpse gore and attempt to blend in, with THE THICK & MEATY!
At the survivor’s camp on the outskirts of Atlanta, Lori and Shane get weird in the underbrush. Considering that they probably haven’t had a decent shower in months, this is the ickiest moment of the episode, adultery notwithstanding. Believe me, I’m totally on board with Lori looking for a protector and object of affection in old friend Shane (they think Rick is dead, after all), and I’m also cool with Shane capitalizing on his chances to be Alpha Male. It’s merely a sanitation issue for me at this point. Scrub up, kids.
Oh, and Lori’s totally getting pregnant. Between her jawline and Shane’s forehead, the cranium of this infant alone is guaranteed to split her in two once she gives birth out on the prairie.
Back in Atlanta, Rick is still stuck in the tank, surrounded by Walkers. Over the radio, Glenn guides him to safety, as he jumps out and makes a break for it. Together, they climb a ladder and enter a sealed department store. The survivors inside are pissed that Rick led the Walkers to their front door, but tensions subside and they all climb to the roof to get a better signal on their walkie. Outside, the dead are beating on the locked doors like crazed housewives the Saturday before Christmas.
On the roof, Merle Dixon is picking off Walkers with a rifle. The survivors plead with him to stop drawing attention to the building, but he just says the N-word a bunch of times and beats the crap out of T-Dawg (an unfortunate moniker for a black dude, but whatever). Hey, wasn’t T-Dawg the guy that prank-called that Public Access Bible study show?
Rick’s had enough, so he cuffs Dixon to a pipe, tosses his c-c-cocaine off the roof and assumes a leadership role. I understand the significance of this action, but the idea of giving cocaine to zombies seems like the last mistake one may ever make. With the outside surrounded, they make plans to escape through the sewer. This idea fails, as the sewer is gross. There’s like, poop down there and stuff.
Back on the roof, Rick spots a van he thinks they can use to get back to safety. With the Walkers everywhere though, he gets the bright idea to smother Glenn and himself with zombie gore in order to avoid scent detection. Dragging a dead Walker into the store, they hack him to bits and lather up. Before they leave, Rick gives T-Dawg the key to Merle’s handcuffs. Then everyone throws up. Everyone.
Outside, Rick and Glenn shuffle through crowds of walkers, unnoticed…until it starts raining and cleanses them of their unimaginable filth. Fighting off Roamers, they make it to the van and speed off back to the store. Glen jacks a sports car and rodeo-clowns the zombies while Rick heads off to save the day.
While everyone in the Department Store prepares for escape, T-Dawg heads upstairs to save Merle’s ass, but accidentally drops the key down a drain. Making a (somewhat) difficult decision, he apologizes and leaves him to die. I’m sure that’s the end of this storyline.
Outside, with the walkers lured away by Glenn’s car alarm, Rick pulls the van up and the group piles in. They head back to base camp, while Glen speeds out of Atlanta on his own, no longer hindered by the negative stereotype about how Asians drive.
Great, action-packed episode. Now get comfortable, it’s time to PICK YOUR BRAIN!
1. For my money, the scene where they hacked up the dead Roamer was about as gory as network television has ever gotten. I’m no stranger to gross stuff, but I cannot remember the last time I’ve seen something so gagworthy on television (not counting last week’s interview with George W. Bush).
Furthermore, kicking off the episode with a sex scene is about as edgy as last week’s decision to kill a little girl. It’s almost as if they’re attempting to drive off casual viewers and reinforce unpredictability in the devotees. And while I thought the racially-charged stuff was there for controversy’s sake more than anything, I still understand the significance. After all, when the dead start to rise, there can be no more room for racists and xenophobes. We’re all in this together, chopping up corpses and popping caps into brainballs like a family.
2. While I don’t expect The Walking Dead to snag many Emmys for acting and screenwriting, I do think they’re a shoe-in for an armload of technical awards. The cinematography, understated music, and the (phenomenal) makeup and special effects are in a class of their own right now. The mere idea of making sure that there are plenty of flies buzzing around tends to reinforce the depravity and discomfort of the situation; you can practically smell the decay.
3. Bit of a nitpick, here. So, they send Glenn, T-Dawg, Andrea and a couple others into the city for supplies, putting their lives in serious danger (at this point, Andrea doesn’t even know how to use a gun). However, they leave Shane back at base camp. Shane, the Police officer with the most weapons and combat experience. I don’t know about that one. I’m going to assume that Lori threw a fit and made him stick around.
4. Considering that this is downtown Atlanta, I must say that I expected more minority zombies.
5. In defense of Shane and Lori, I see little-to-no problem with their newfound relationship. I mean, Rick was nearly fatally shot, and was in a coma when the apocalypse hit; why on Earth would they think he’s still alive? What’s going to be a problem is Shane’s unwillingness to step aside once Rick rolls back into town.
It’s this personal opinion that leads us into the HYPOTHETICAL ZOMBIE SCENARIO OF THE WEEK!
So, the Zombie Apocalypse hits. You survive, but it doesn’t look like your significant other did. I mean, you cannot prove they’re not dead, but the odds aren’t in your favor, and you haven’t seen or heard from them in three months. How long (if ever) do you wait before pursuing a new relationship? And also, what would happen to this newfound relationship if your significant other suddenly showed up from out of the blue?
Think about it, won’t you? Thank you.
Well, there you have it. Another Walking Dead Friday in the books. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend, an check out last week’s Walking Dead Friday if you need to catch up. Thanks much.