If episode two of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is any inclination, this show is going for no-holds barred, full-throttle creepy crawly horror. There were plenty of thrills, slick dialogue, and one scene that will go down in freak-out scare history. I’ll get to it later, but it is an instantly iconic move that could, once they hear about it, get people to start watching this show. It could also, for some in my particular household, make people feel sick and cover their eyes.
Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the second episode, read this later.
The second episode was aptly titled “Guts”. There are several reasons for the title making plenty of sense, with the last one really, really hitting home. This episode mostly showed off just how tough and noble our hero, Rick Grimes, truly is. It also showed how lacking in guts and toughness his former police partner Shane is. You see, Shane took the opportunity of what was thought to be Rick’s death to pounce on Rick’s wife, Lori.
In an episode filled with creeps, the opening scene may have been the worst. Even though we haven’t seen Rick and Lori on-screen together for one second, my skin crawled seeing Shane and Lori have creepy forest sex. I’ve seen some low, sleazy moves by guys, but sexing up your thought-to-be-dead-partner’s wife during a zombie outbreak? Sleaziest move ever.
While Shane and Lori make like Tarzan and Jane, Rick is cornered in a tank in downtown Atlanta, surrounded by zombies. Luckily, a young guy named Glenn witnesses Rick hide in the tank and gets him on the radio, and helps him escape. This is instance number one of Rick’s guts. Armed with nothing but 15 shells and a shovel, he opens the tank hatch and proceeds to run down the street, firing away and crushing skulls, shovel-style.
Glenn introduces Rick to a small group of refugees, which seemed to be the most politically correct group of survivors ever. The cute blond, the Mexican guy, the black guy, the Asian guy (Glenn, who I immediately like), and the redneck, racist jackass (the gritty Michael Rooker). Rick shows up just in time to hear the redneck, Dixon (ha), drop a few n-bombs and see him beat the crap out of the black dude, T-Dog (does his name give that away?)
In the first forced, cheese ball moment, Rick gives Dixon a beatdown, handcuffs him to a pipe, and gives him a speech about there aren’t colors or races or blah blah blah. You know, the old we have to survive and unite against the zombies speech. It’s said in every zombie movie and it’s done to show who is righteous (Rick) and who is not (Dixon). While I kind of understand its necessity, even I rolled my eyes a bit at it.
So this gang of refugees is holed up in a skyscraper, that is now surrounded by zombies. They are beating on the windows and are eventually going to get in. Unfortunately, the gang is pretty much surrounded with no safe exits from the zombie mob. It kind of reminded me of a really, really tricky level on Plants Vs. Zombies. So what to do? Escape through the sewers? Nope, crawling with rat-eating zombies. Just run? Not a chance.
Well, it turns out…zombies can smell the living. So even if you try to sneak out, they will smell you and chase you. So Rick gets a bright idea: how about putting on rain slickers, chopping up a zombie body, and covering yourself in disgusting, stinky zombie guts. Rick and Glenn run outside, grab a dead zombie, drag him inside, and start hacking it up with an ax.
Oddly enough, there is really only one thing in movies or shows that grosses me out: surgery. When I see a scalpel or something cut skin, I cringe. Zombies getting their heads chopped off, getting their brains blown out, nope, none of it phases me. Last night, as I watched these characters reach into the chest and stomach of a hacked open zombie, I looked away. Then, as they spread the guts and blood and organs on themselves, I honest to goodness thought I was going to puke.
Then, Rick and Glenn stumbled out into the street. They limped and hung their heads, smelling and looking like zombies. It was as iconic a scene I’ve seen in a horror/zombie situation. Watching the real zombies get eye-to-eye with Rick and Glenn was as creepy and cool a moment that you could ever watch. It makes “The Walking Dead” a show to watch if only to see what they will try out next.
Sadly, it starts to rain and the blood and guts get washed off Rick and Glenn and they have to start plugging zombies. Glenn hops in a Mustang to run interference and confuse the zombies, while Rick drives to the skyscraper and saves our refugee crew…except for Dixon, who remains handcuffed to a pipe on the roof, destined to be eaten by zombies.
It looks like we won’t wait long to see Rick reunited with Lori and his son. Coincidentally, Rick’s new gang is friendly with Shane’s gang and that’s where Rick is heading. It seems a bit early to reunite everyone, but after two episodes, “The Walking Dead” has earned my trust. My thoughts? Dixon becomes a zombie and leads a gang of zombies back to where Shane and The Gang are hiding in the forest.
So start watching this show. It’s really a unique look at the zombie genre and it hasn’t gotten too character heavy yet, so it should be easy to catch up.