Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Walking Dead 1.2 'Guts'

“Nice moves there Clint Eastwood.” – Glenn

Since the premiere I’ve seen polarizing reviews of The Walking Dead, some critics cite that it is too derivative of other zombie works whilst at the other end of the spectrum some gush about how epic the series is.

I am definitely in the latter camp. For me this is just the finest hour of television you could imagine; The Walking Dead is huge, in terms of scope, ambition and the world it is doing a damn fine job of depicting.

Expectations were high for this series and it has in no way disappointed thus far, regardless of what some people – who in all honesty seem to be missing the point – may say.

After a ‘Previously…’ montage that reminded me of just how much they managed to pack into that epic first episode, we were dropped straight back in to the post-zombie apocalyptic world the characters now occupy.

Only we weren’t back with Rick, stuck in his tank in the middle of Atlanta, we were at the survivor camp that his wife and son are currently occupying.

After Lori gets spooked out in the woods on her own, predictably, it is Shane causing the rustling that scares her, stealing a moment away from the others the pair begin a rather disturbing sex scene that in all fairness put me off my lunch slightly.

The mood was somewhat killed as Shane spotted Lori’s wedding ring round her neck as he indulged in Michael Scofield’s sloppy seconds. Once Lori removed the ring the pair resumed their vigorous alfresco sex session, with the credits arriving just after a nice close up shot of the ring on the ground as Shane piled Lori from behind in the background.

The Walking Dead certainly isn’t pulling any punches in any area at all.

Mercifully we saw very little of the survivors camp this week, which meant we had to suffer through very little of Sarah Wayne Callies’ horribly wooden acting – how she got this gig is beyond me, her work on Prison Break was anything but stellar and she is making Lori seem like the coldest bitch ever – maybe that is the point though.

The little incident with the wedding ring proves she obviously hasn’t forgotten Rick, but my interest in seeing them reunited is about zero right now; my interest in seeing her become zombie chow though? I’d say that’s peaking right about now – at least she could probably convey a zombie quite well, what with the vacant expression and all.

Enough with the negative though because I am genuinely loving The Walking Dead, as derivative as it is in terms of the zombie genre, there is nothing like it on television and in that sense it is a breath of fresh air.

Speaking of fresh air, Rick was in great need of some when we left him last week – trapped in a tank with a rotting corpse and surrounded by walkers outside.

His saviour came in the form of a voice over the tank’s radio though and Rick was guided from his little bolthole to join an ethnically diverse group of survivors in a department store by a guy named Glenn, but not without dispatching several walkers on the way with some accurate head-shots.

The group consisted of a black man, black woman, South American man, Asian dude (Glenn), blonde woman and cartoonishly bigoted redneck Merle, played by screen veteran Michael Rooker with no sense of restraint whatsoever. Rick actually slotted into the group dynamic quite nicely given that they were missing an average white guy.

Rick’s Clint Eastwood like performance on the street though had drawn almost the entire walker population of Atlanta right to the department store’s front door and they were now intent on getting in for a spot “light meat and dark meat” as Rick put it. Meaning the survivors now had to move on and that they weren’t best pleased with Rick.

After a foiled attempt to get out of the building through a sewer, the aptness of the episode’s title became evident as Rick coined a cunning plan to get to the nearby construction yard and commandeer a vehicle.

The plan involved him and Glenn coating themselves in the blood, body parts and yep, you guessed it: guts of a walker they had recently offed in order to move through the streets undetected as the walkers pick up the location of humans through scent as well as noise and movement, apparently.

The Walking Dead’s brilliant dark humour was on display as the group set about hacking up their disguise, when Glenn got a bit queasy Rick told him to think about something else, “puppies and kittens” he suggested, to which T-Dog replied “dead puppies and kittens…” which drew a big laugh from me.

The tension was almost palpable as Glenn and Rick put their plan into action. It was all going so well until the first brain switching off moment of the episode occurred; the heavens opened and apparently washed off the smell of death from both Rick and Glenn.

I have to say that if I had a guy’s recently removed small intestine and one of his severed feet hanging from my neck that I doubt a little rain water would get rid of that stench in less than a minute, but I guess I can accept that time restraints mean that dramatic licence may have to be taken at times with certain facts and events.

Which brings us to brain switch off moment number two – as after Rick and Glenn successfully got a vehicle (after some very cool zombie head-splitting with an axe I hasten to add) and they headed back to rescue the remainder of the group at the department store, T-Dog rushed to unlock Merle, who Rick had earlier handcuffed to the roof, and managed to drop the key down the only vent nearby. Inexplicable? Yes. But it didn’t half make for good television, even if it was slightly insulting to your intelligence.

So from the looks of things, Rick and the gang are on their way back to the camp at which his wife and kid are residing, which means all hell is sure to break loose sooner rather than later, both figuratively and literally. I’ve got to admit I’m a little surprised they’re reuniting the family this soon in the show’s run, I expected it to a season finale moment for sure; but from the looks of next week’s preview it’s happening and it’s happening now, surely something will go wrong pretty soon after though… right?

Bullet Points:

- Did anybody else notice T-Dog knock over the tool bag on the roof? Would it be completely insane to suggest that Sarah Wayne Callies may soon have another one-handed redneck to contend with after she put up with T-Bag for so long on Prison Break…?

- This isn’t meant to sound racist (though it inevitably will) Glenn really reminds of Miles from Lost. It’s not just because both actors (Steven Yeun & Ken Leung) are of Asian descent, it was in the way he delivered his lines, his sarcasm and his neuroses.

- I’m not familiar with the zombie ‘rules’ that I’ve seen some people babbling about on the internet – if a zombie can climb over a chain link fence, why couldn’t he climb up a ladder? Or is it best I just don’t think about things like that?

The Walking Dead continues Friday on FX @ 10pm


  1. This is one great film. Will watch this tonight. Thanks for posting.

  2. Thanks. Should have a review of episode 3 up over the weekend as well.


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