The Walking Dead - Episode 2: “Guts” TV Episode Review
Directed by Michelle Maxwell MacLaren
Written by Frank Darabont
2010, 44 minutes, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on November 7th, 2010
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh
Sarah Wayne Collins as Lori Grimes
Steven Yeun as Glenn
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Juan Gabriel Pareja as Morales
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Jeryl Prescott as Jacqui
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon
Two episodes in to The Walking Dead and AMC has already renewed the series for a second season. That’s a good sign. The second episode saw Rick meeting up with a band of survivors in Atlanta and finding a way to escape to a group of refugees outside the city. Meanwhile his wife is making sweet love in the woods to his ex-partner blissfully unaware that Rick is alive and well.
Spez: It really made my day when I found out that it would be returning for another season so quickly after the first episode aired. AMC obviously knows they have a winner on their hands, even if the viewing numbers weren’t any indication. No comment on the sweet love part, yet.
I’m going to take a moment to put on my comic book fanboy hat here. They’re already diverging from the comic. In the book, the only member of the living that Rick meets is Glenn, the Asian kid with the baseball hat. They do cover themselves in zombie parts and make their way out of the city though. Aside from the blonde girl, Andrea, none of the other members of the city group were even in the book.
Alien Redrum: That definitely threw me, too. As I mentioned in our first discussion, I have only read the graphic novels up to #6 (or #7) and that was years ago. But I do remember Rick only meeting Glenn, and not an entire group when he was in the city. At first I was annoyed, but then I realized this works out even better for people who have never read the comic or people (like me) who have read and forgotten. This story can now go anywhere and they are making it clear it very well may not be constrained to the pages of the comic. Now I don’t care if I don’t remember what exactly happened from what I read, it’s irrelevant. Plus, as an added bonus, when I do go back and re-read the series, it may not necessarily be the same as the show. Win/win.
The zombie gut-suits were wonderful. I don’t cringe much watching a TV show, but the entire scene where they were chopping up the zombie for parts needed did make my toes curl a bit. The entire “If I ever find my family, I'm going to tell them about White” speech was a little too melodramatic and eyeroll inducing, but the gruel that came following that talk more than made up for it.
Spez: OK. Now the fanboy hat is off. With all that, I don’t care. Frank Darabont is good at what he does and this show is a perfect example of that. Yes, it’s not following the comic book exactly but he’s taken what was mainly filler until Rick could get to his family and move the story along and has made it into a compelling drama with genuinely interesting characters fighting zombies. That’s just plain impressive. Anyone that goes into a nerd rage about this is stupid.
I do have to say though, I’m not 100% OK with the show. The fact that Rick’s wife Lori can’t seem to keep her hands off Shane is a little hard to believe. She doesn’t know if her husband is alive or dead and she’s been away from him for maybe a month and she’s already jumping this other dude’s bones? I understand that they were having some problems before the dead rose, but come on.
AR: I, too, take a slight issue with her whoring about so soon. Sure, Rick and Lori didn’t have the best of relationships, but the sheer quickness she opened her legs for Shane is a bit unnerving. However, the filmmakers have already thrown a wrench in the story on how Rick meets some of the group, so perhaps there’s something more to Rick and Shane in this universe than the comic universe? We might be jumping the gun here, because it’s established this is a slightly different story already from what we have read. Regardless, though, I’m really having a hard time with Shane. He’s just not growing on me.
Spez: That’s kind of the point with Shane though. You’re not supposed to like him. He’s lording over the group with rules about who goes where and with who and he’s banging Rick’s girl.
AR: Oh, I get the character. It’s the actor that I’m just not behind yet. There’s something missing from him to make him a complete slimeball. Believe me, I want to not like him, but right now I’m just ‘meh’ on him. He’s not giving me enough to hate or like the character. As it currently stands, I’m completely apathetic, and I want a little more.
Spez: I have to take a second to point out how incredibly awesome Michael Rooker was as the racist redneck with a gun, Merle Dixon. Seriously, that guy needs more work. Aside from Mallrats and Slither I can’t name a single thing he’s been in. He was so convincing and I absolutely hated his character. He showed us that even though the stuff of nightmares fills the city streets, human beings can still be the cruelest things on the planet.
AR: All I can say is wow. Rooker’s performance was just bad ass. I love Rooker. I have had a mancrush on him ever since I saw Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer sometime back in the ‘80s and nobody can play hillbilly-white-trash-redneck better than him. What surprised me, though, is AMC is pulling no punches on this show. I heard the word “nigger” no less than three times, at least one of which was spoken by Dixon. That’s something you just don’t hear on TV because the powers that be are more scared of blowback than of reality. But I applaud AMC for letting it go, as it adds to the realism of the characters. No self-respecting Aryan asshole is going to use any other word. In addition, Jacqui gave Dixon the finger at one point (when he was asking for a show of hands to make him the leader). This might not seem like much, but it has to be taken into consideration that this is a TV show and not a movie. I know I’m gushing over seemingly nothing, but I have to give AMC a huge amount of credit for keeping it realistic, censors be damned. Well, as realistic as you can keep a zombie apocalypse.
Spez: We also got to see a little bit of the leader in Rick come out in this episode. He met these people that needed a way out and quickly took charge of the situation, helping them in a smart and fair way. This is definitely going to cause some friction when Rick meets up with Shane and the rest of the survivors because the latter seems to be very protective of his group and their current method of living. With the pace of the show, it looks like Rick could be meeting up with these folks as early as the next episode. This works well in my mind because we’ll learn more about these other characters and get some great drama between Lori, Shane, and Rick.
AR: I have a feeling that Rick is going to grow on me as the show goes on. I like the quiet leadership he displays. He’s obviously a man of action, not words and when he does speak, it’s attention demanding. I think they made a good choice with Andrew Lincoln, as he’s not a big guy physically, but he does have a presence nonetheless.
One thing I noticed about this episode is that it had a distinctly different feel than the first. It seemed the story was being rushed a bit. This is a little surprising because the director, Michelle Maxwell MacLaren, doesn’t seem to have a need to rush a story. Her film Population 436 is a good example of this, as that is a movie that takes its time getting to the end (in a great way). Things just seemed hurried here in "Guts", as if they want to quickly merge the two groups together so the bigger story can began. I can understand this feeling since they only have six episodes to work with, but I’m more cool with things taking their time. Regardless, though, while this episode isn’t quite as good as the opener, it’s still one hell of an addition and makes me eager to see what part three will bring.
Spez: This episode was also shorter than the premiere so there was definitely less time to work with. Overall, they kept the story moving at a fast pace. This isn’t Lost we’re talking about here. Darabont has a place that he has to take the plot and he’s not dilly-dallying around. He’s rushing head first into human conflict while the undead nip at the characters’ heels.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
Click on a cover to read more episode reviews of The Walking Dead.
Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the Horror DNA Review Forum.