Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Walking Dead - "Guts"

Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) make a run for it.
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'The Walking Dead'
Season 1 - Episode 2

I'm amazed at the level of gore that this show is getting away with even at 10 PM EST on basic cable. Zombies getting their brains blown out is one thing, but "Guts" took gross to a whole new level. I don't think I've ever seen anything as stomach-turning on HBO as the scene where Rick, Glenn and some other survivors chop up one of the undead so they can smear themselves with... well... guts. I almost shared Glenn's reaction to the situation.

Where last week's premiere moved at a measured pace and was full of melancholy, this installment felt a little more in keeping with what usually happens in a normal zombie movie. Not to say that it wasn't well done, but we've seen similar types of undead situations before. Hell, Rick and Glen's stroll through the infested streets was right out of the zombie parody modern classic Shaun of the Dead.

While this was still a very entertaining hour, it was certainly a dynamic shift in tone from the premiere. My only guess is that Frank Darabont and Co.wanted to show anybody that may not have appreciated the slower opener that 'The Walking Dead' could do action as well. There's something for everybody, I guess.

I was surprised by the speed and mobility of the undead in this episode. They seemed a bit faster than they did last week. These zombies aren't full out running as the infected in 28 Days Later, but they're not slowpokes. Also, they also have the ability to climb over fences (which makes me very curious about important plot developments down the road in comparison to how the story progressed in the comic book series) and they have the initiative to pick up rocks to beat on plexiglass.

Michael Rooker's character of Merle Dixon seems to be the series first example of the living being as bad as the dead. Making him a white trash racist seemed a little too obvious though. What makes some the more dangerous people in the comic book series more interesting and threatening is that they make certain choices in order to survive, and not just because they were an asshole before the apocalypse.

Andrew Lincoln is quickly settling into Rick and easily conveyed the police officer's projection of authority and sincerity. Steven Yeun is a lot of fun as Glenn. He's full of energy and unafraid of speaking his mind. Laurie Holden hasn't really excited me yet as Andrea, though. Hopefully, that will change, since she's playing one of the more interesting characters from the comic book series.

"Guts" did not have the power of "Days Gone Bye", but it was still like no other hour of television that I've seen before. Too bad we're only getting six episodes for the first season. After the amazing ratings the premiere received, I bet AMC wished they had initially asked for more. Maybe we'll get a second season quicker than anticipated as a result.

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