The Walking Dead Recap: It takes GUTS
Season 1/Episode 2: Guts
Last week ‘s Walking Dead left off with everyman hero, Rick Grimes, down one seriously gored horse and trapped inside a tank with throngs of the undead crawling all over it. Will he make it out alive!? Yeah, sure, of course. But not without trial, error, carnage and a morally compromised ol’ lady. This week’s episode, Guts, started off driving home Rick’s cruel fate even further by opening up with his former cop buddy, Shane, licking the now wedding ring eschewing Mrs. Grimes all over.
After the first of what’s sure to be many more survivor boning scenes, it’s back to Atlanta, where the zombies are still gorging on horsemeat and Rick’s making a run for it at the urging of a voice from the tank’s emergency CB channel. He climbs out fighting, axes a zombie in the face and shoots several more before running into the guy who was snarking at him over the CB. The two run down an alley, scale a building and climb onto a roof to escape the zombie horde of Atlanta. Did this pick the pace up enough for those of you who didn’t care for Darabont’s down tempo, slow building suspense style last week? (It seemed quicker to me but then again I didn’t have any issue with it so let me know in the comments).
Anyways, Rick’s new survivor pal, Glenn, has a posse. They come out dressed like ninjas to save them in an alley. One of them, Andrea, threatens to kill Rick for “ringing the dinner bell” and getting them cornered in a department store. He’s worked her last nerve. She’s THIS CLOSE to shooting him. Then they hear shots from the roof. The ragtag, culturally diverse group of survivors heads upstairs to see what the fuss is all about where they find major dumbass redneck, Merle Dixon, un-strategically and wantonly shooting zombies. As if that wasn’t bad enough, dude goes off on a totally irrational, racist rant, calling African American survivor, T-Dog (Seriously?) the N word.
Dixon tackles T-Dog to the ground and spits in his face to assert his alpha male dominance. Rick, however, is having none of that shit. He bashes him over the head with a shotgun and handcuffs him to a pipe. Then he breaks it down, lest there be any doubt: This is a Post-Racial Zombiepocalypse they’re living in. But it aint’ Kumbaya – it’s Them vs. the Dead. And there will be no meth in this Zombie Virus Outbreak Aftermath! After finding a baggie of suspicious looking white powder in Dixon’s pocket, Rick chucks it over the side of the roof, which left me wondering, where the heck do you get post apocalypse meth? I guess he already had a supply? No matter now, as the roof party drags on, Rick learns there’s no refugee center. And we learn that Darabont is lifting his dialogue directly from the gossip columns when Dixon calls Andrea “Sugar Tits.” Good one (mark my words, Darabont was leveling a subtle, writerly diss at intoxicated racist Mel Gibson with that one).
Not so good is that Rick, Glenn et al are now trapped on the roof. “What about the sewers?” Rick asks. Helpful Atlanta City Zoning Office survivor, Jacqui, points out that most buildings built in the early 20th Century (like the one they’re in) had sewer entrances. Jacqui, Glenn and the Hispanic survivor dude (whose name I didn’t catch) go to check it out while Rick and Sugar Tits go back to head off the zombie reserves at the department store. The sewer’s a bust – they can’t get out due to a serious looking fence and a bloody-mouthed rat eating zombie. The department store’s growing more vulnerable to the undead invasion and getting worse all around, particularly when Sugar Tits picks out a mermaid pendant necklace for her sister and Rick doesn’t arrest her for stealing something so tacky (where are the fashion police when you need them?)
It’s time for the survivors to head back up to the roof and do some problem solving. Zombies are attracted to the smell of the living. Check. They’re also distracted by sound. Check. Sounds like a plan. A super gross plan! But the survivors are running out of time. The zombies are breaking through the department store windows. So the survivors zombie-nap some poor, undead bastard from the alley named Wayne Dunlap to decapitate, disembowel and use his guts for downtown Atlanta accessorizing. Taking care to get none of the undead insides on their skin or in their eyes, Glenn and Rick get all smeared up with amputated feet, blackish zombie blood, and gutted innards. Then, after Rick gives T-Bone poor, most likely doomed Merle Dixon’s handcuff keys, Glenn and Rick pile another helping of guts on their persons and head out into greater urban Atlanta.
A truly horrifying scene (made all the more creepy by being shot in harsh daylight) follows. Glenn and Rick make it out of the alley and into the street where they try to blend into zombie traffic. Up on the roof, the remaining survivors keep an eye on them while reaching out to the RV gang where Shane’s acting all fatherly towards Rick’s son under Lori’s approving watch. T-Bone says they’re “trapped, surrounded!” Shane responds by totaling blowing them off. They knew the risks when they left to find food to feed his ungrateful ass. No one – not Lori or Sugar Tits’ mermaid loving sister – is happy about it but they all grudgingly accept it.
The undead accept Glenn and Rick but only until the rain starts coming down, washing the zombie blood off their clothes. Then they’re fucked.
After they’re spotted, they manage to climb up a chain link fence that the dead are, for the most part, too dumb to traverse.
After finding a truck with keys in the ignition, they drive off in search of a noisy zombie diverter, which they find in the guise of a flashy red sports car. Glenn drives the hotrod into the zombie horde and succeeds in drawing them away in the nick of time for the survivors to escape. Except for Dixon, that is, who’s left screaming on the roof after T-Bone drops the handcuff keys in slow mo. D’oh! Then the episode closed on Andrea asking after Glenn’s whereabouts and a cut to a jubilant Glenn racing out of Atlanta.
Okey doke. Sound off, peeps. Once again, for the most part I wholeheartedly liked it. Darabont tends to lay a thin layer of cheese on top of everything he writes, but, as I said last week, I think venturing towards cliché and simple characterizations works in a dark, bleak, totally gory tale like this. Whaddayou think?