WALKING DEAD - 1.2 - "Guts" Review - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Title: The Walking Dead
  • Episode Title: Guts
  • Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Michael Rooker, Emma Bell, Jon Bernthal, IronE Singleton, Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden
  • Written by: Frank Darabont
  • Directed by: Michelle Maxwell MacLaren
  • Network: AMC
  • Series: Walking Dead

WALKING DEAD - 1.2 - "Guts" Review

The Dry Heaves Were Never So Entertaining.

By Joe Oesterle     November 08, 2010
Source: Mania


WALKING DEAD - 1.2 - "Guts" Review
© AMC TV

When we last left our hero, Rick, he was hunkered down in a military tank, right smack in the middle of “The Athens of the South,” surrounded by more Atlanta zombies than a typical Braves game. (That’s an indictment on that city’s baseball fans for those of you who don’t care for our national pastime.) Suddenly from the radio we hear the wisecracking gallows humor of a character who is certain to play out as this show’s comedy relief – Glenn. (Played with a perfect amount of reluctant bravery by Steven Yeun.)

I’ve been an avid reader of The Walking Dead graphic novels, and was looking forward to the introduction of Glenn. Being a fan of the books however, I was confused by the addition of some of the new characters. At first I felt a little aggravated by the addition of extra members to a cast that has worked so well in black, white and gray-washed paper form for 7 years. This script doesn’t need improvements from anyone I silently bellowed. It then dawned on me how this TV version might be more entertaining for me, since part of being entertained is the surprise of not knowing what comes next. This team has won my trust based on the sheer brilliance of the pilot episode, so I will allow for the variations for now.

Speaking of the pilot, while last week’s high on tension, low on dialogue premiere was a fresh take on your archetypal zombie flick, this week was a familiar plot to the undead genre. The hungry husks hammering at the department store doors were reminiscent of granddaddy Romero’s own creations, though I remain impressed with the level of just-humanity-enough-to-elicit-sympathy-for-their-plight make-up on these zombified film extras.

I was glad to see the zombies seemed unable to climb the fire escape. We know they’re clever enough to crawl under tanks while in pursuit of their prey, but climbing fire escapes would seem out of a zombie’s skill set. I haven’t quite figured out the level of zombie intelligence on this program yet. Morgan’s zombie wife may or may not have a faded memory of her former home, but she certainly didn’t have the intelligence to pick up a rock and smash through the living room window, so I was surprised to find at least one zombie in Sunday’s installment had that type of strategic logic.

Speaking of strategic logic, Michael Rooker has a knack of playing intensely relentless douche bags, and he once again strikes that note in the character of Merle. Now I don’t understand the need to spew racial epithets in any circumstance, but even if I did have those feelings, I think I’d be bright enough to keep those sentiments to myself if I felt I might have to rely on a different skin color to help me escape a city of flesh-eating monsters. It’s a safe bet you don’t sign Michael Rooker on to a show like this only to have him die off camera after one episode, so it looks like he’ll somehow free himself with the help of the tool belt that T-Dog accidentally kicked over. My hunch is Merle will be itching for another fight the next time he runs into his old rooftop companions.

Even though T-Dog had legitimate reasons to leave Merle cuffed to the pipe, he risked his life to rescue the ill-tempered redneck. Of course he’s going to have a hard time making the rest of his surviving team members believe he honestly did lose the key in an attempt to free the raging racist, especially, judging by the coming attractions, the raging racist’s little brother.

Ok, let’s get to the heart of this episode, or more specifically, the guts. In a considerable leap of theoretical faith, the gang assumes the chief reason zombies hone in on them is their odor. The thinking here is if the living can so keenly smell the rotting soft tissues of the walking dead, then conversely, the existing humans must too give off a scent, and that scent is what attracts the zombies their way. Ipso facto, let’s all smear the putrid innards of a “turned” human on Rick and Glenn, and let’s see if they can Thriller-walk their way out of danger and return to help the others escape.

In what has to be one of the grossest moments in all of television history, the body is chopped with an axe and our protagonists are painted with the blood, entrails and bowels of an ironic organ donor. If you as an audience member had managed to keep your gag reflex in check for the entire scene, bully for you, but I suspect Glenn’s vomitous expulsion caused an extra dose of dry heaving for some.

If there’s a concern for the series on my part it’s this: with only 4 episodes to go this season, we still haven’t met up with Rick’s wife and son, Lori and Carl. That naturally means Rick hasn’t witnessed the relatively new relationship between his trusted cop partner Shane and his aforementioned spouse. Anybody expecting civil discourse when these two buddies get reunited?

I won’t say this chapter was as good as last week’s episode, and part of that was the fact that I was so captivated by the isolated horror coupled with the genuine heart and sadness in the hour and a half pilot episode that this week felt a bit less original and more traditional in terms of zombie stories. That said, it was still a great hour of entertainment, and as the rest of the cast is fleshed out, I have no doubt this series will only get stronger.

 


 

Do you like paintball? Do you like naked girls? If so have I got a story for you! Check out this story that was left out of Joe Oesterle’s 2007 book, “Weird Las Vegas.”

http://joeartistwriter.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/442/

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 58
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joeybaloney 11/8/2010 12:47:42 PM

Six episodes are nowhere near enough! I think this episode was great. One of the few scenes in the comic that failed for me was rubbing zombie guts all over and walking out in the middle of them. They pulled it off well on the TV and I don’t think we need to worry about the amount of gore AMC is going to allow moving forward. They also pushed it quite a bit with language too.

I’m thrilled with this adaption so far. Don’t mind the cast additions at all yet. They’re staying true to the book but things are different and so far that’s been enjoyable. I can’t image how much they’re going to get thru in the next four episodes. So far it seems to be taking its time and that’s working in its favor. Can’t wait for next week!
 

fatpantz 11/8/2010 12:53:40 PM

Joe...I have been like a kid at Christmas waiting for this review to come on haha!  The episode started out a bit slower for me and for a brief second I was worried....then BAM! edge of the seat intensity the whole way through....I mean, c'mon...you could feel the stress as they Rick and Glen were going through the streets to the construction site....you heard the ominous thunder rolling and even though you knew what was coming you find yourself yelling at the tv for them to run and get to safety!!! 

This show is blowing my mind and I would stick with an A(minus) and for a very similar reason as Joe's....Too many new cast that really werent needed.  Also as a religious reader of the series (have the first 50 original issues, no trades), I dont see a need for them....There will be enough different nemeses for our group of survivors between those who die and the people of Woodbury/Woodbury Prison.  The only reason I can think of is that Kirkman kills off the characters whether they are main characters or support cast like it is going out of style, so maybe they need to introduce a little extra cannon fodder before taking out some of the other characters....lol.  I am just waiting to see and hear reactions as this show progresses....cant wait!!!!!

DaForce1 11/8/2010 1:01:31 PM

 I admit I had to fast forward through the gut smearing/vomit scene just to keep my own guts in check. 

Glenn is going to be the tension breaker like he is in the comic. The somber scene where everyone is remembering how the zombie they are about to cut up was a person once, and Glenn completely breaks that tension by looking at the guy's license and casually mentions that the guy was an organ donor. Nice touch, without having to be too over the top about it.

noahbody 11/8/2010 1:11:07 PM

No gagging here, however if I was there Glenn and I would be holding each others hair, so to speak. But yes, the grossest thing on TV ever. I have not read the comic so I am loving what I am seeing A .I would not have went into the tunnel with out a weapon of some sort, no way, give me a bat or something.

And the wife likes it from behind! Or is that just a dominance thing?

ddiaz28 11/8/2010 1:27:06 PM

They definitely are taking the Shane and Lori relationship much further than it was in the comics.  On the one hand I like it since it will cause a lot more tension and stir the characters' emotions more, and will also get rid of the need for any flashbacks of the one night of sex that Shane and Lori were supposed to have had.  On the other hand, I don't like it because it really makes Lori look like she's much more into Shane than she was in the comics and makes it a much more serious relationship rather than just the need to be close to someone to dull the pain of her loss.

Nevertheless, great episode.  I loved Glenn's portrayal as well as Andrea's.  It's great to see how she was clueless about the gun because readers know what happens with her in those regards.

doublec 11/8/2010 1:36:51 PM

I was dizzy and sweating by the end of the smearing scene. If AMC can do something like this after hours, why can't they run uncut movies, at least during the late night?

I am glad to admit I haven't read the comic so I can view this with an open mind and not have to spend whole paragraphs obsessing about whether this is an exact, identical in every way match to the comic. I can enjoy it simply on it's own merits and so far it has been easily the best show of the new season. Hopefully the rest of the seaon-only  four more episodes?!?-lives up to what we've seen so far.

Jakester 11/8/2010 2:15:17 PM

I haven't read the comics, so I have no idea where the relationships are going. 

I liked everything about this episode.  Sure, Nice bit of black comedy with "He was an organ donor," too.  Sure, the walk amongst the zombies has been done before (thanks, Simon Pegg), but it was no less tense for it, and again, not having read the comics, I wasn't sure if Glenn was gonna make it or not.

Doublec, AMY (or any cable network for that mater) can run uncut movies any time they want.  Cable is not subject to the FCC's decency regulations.  A few years ago, a Congressional subcommittee looked into giving the FCC power to regulate content on non-premium channels, but it never went anywhere.  Some networks (I'm looking at you, BBCAmerica) will hide behind FCC regulations as the reason for editing certain shows (Torchwood, Being Human), but the reality is that they don't want angry letters and, more importantly, angry advertisers.  Fact is, the regular TV stations could show hardcore porn after 10pm...but they don't because they want advertisers.

That said, how the fuck did this score a TV-14 rating?

Jakester 11/8/2010 2:15:59 PM

Erm, that's AMC, not "AMY".  I need a goddamned editor.

calhob 11/8/2010 2:21:09 PM

This was GREAT! I was so happy to get my second dose of TWD on TV.

There were a couple things that bugged me....like the zombie using a rock to smash the window and the other one climbing over the fence and landing on his feet. That is way too coordinated and smart. As a loyal reader of the comic, I know that if they could climb fences.....the comic would be over. I hope that was a one timed thing.

But still....it was such a fun episode. The new characters didn't bother me.....mainly because I know they are all zombie fodder soon....

LocoLobo73 11/8/2010 2:49:38 PM

Joe nice review, I do love how you have to find something to pick at though, but that is your job as a reviewer and your a fine one at that, I have enjoyed going back and forth with you on shows like Smallville, I dont think we will be having many disagreements on this fine work that we are enjoying but you never know, lol, any hoo to the MEAT OF IT,lol. I agree with FATPANTZ,  and you , about the extra lunchables that have joined the cast but , I think they are meant to be snacks for the Walkers.  At first I was kinda confused By the extra cast but I figured, more to kill, the more the threat feels real for our main players.  I also enjoyed the little easter egg line that nods to the readers, like when Andrea's asked about where she got the gun, "it was a gift ", yeah a gift from her man, lol. I cant wait for the folks who havent read the comics to see just who her man is , LMAO. The guts didnt bother me but their first scenes together might , lol.  I got to say I actually like the Tv version of Glenn more then his comic counterpart. The kid really breathes life into Glenn. I will say this the extra characters actually make the show more enjoyable to me , mainly because I have no Idea what is going to happen to them or how it  is going to play out in a scene , I think that lends to the suspense of the scene, but it also give me the Star Trek  feel , huh your saying, they are RED SHIRTS, which is appropriate for this show, lol. Oh and my one comment I kinda disagree with would be in refrence to Merle, Joe, do you know any redneck coke heads , Im positive that his stupid ass, would absolutely act that way when some cop has capped me in the face with the butt of a rifle, took my coke and tossed it off the roof and hand cuffed me to said roof . so now you have a pissed off redneck who does nt have his next fix , im pretty sure he isnt going to act like an alter boy.  That said i cant wait till the next episode when they haed back into the city , something tells me we will have taken care of some of our extra lunchables. Is it SUNDAY  YET, I WANT MY WALKING DEAD

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