Voracious D’s Review:
For the series premiere of The Walking Dead, I may have come off as a bit of a curmuddgeon. With the gloom and doom predictions and the likening of watching the premiere to a tilted game of Russian Roulette, it may have been lost that I actually liked the first episode. It strayed off the path, sure, but it was, at heart, the television translation of the comic. Except that giant elephant in the room that was the episodes ending. I didn’t mention it, but I know I wasn’t the only one who was thinking, “Where’d that tank come from?”
That tank, my friends, came from the dark and frightening place called “creative license.” This is the same place that gives Spider-Man organic webshooters, the Batsuit nipples, turns Bullseye into a bald and inept tosser straight from a pub in lower Belfast and does whatever it is that Uwe Boll does to video game movies. If anything should have been deciphered from the premiere review, it was the underlying voice pleading “Don’t fuck with this. Don’t mess around with this. Please?”
Episode 2, “Guts” fucks with us. From the moment the riot suit clad calvary come to clear the way for Glenn and Rick, hopes of continuity flowed away. Whatever dream may have existed of a direct to TV adaptation of The Walking Dead evaporated at this moment. This is not The Walking Dead you’ve read, this is a vastly reconsidered version. And you know what?
I think it works.
Once I swallowed the hard pill that all the volumes of Kirkman’s masterworks were going to be guidelines at best, it became clearer to me that maybe regurgitation would not be the fondest form of flattery. As Rick stares down the barrel of Andrea’s gun, a thrilling idea creeped into my mind: I don’t know what’s going to happen. In introducing new survivors, putting familiar faces in unfamiliar spaces and overall reworking the plotline of the first issues, AMC’s The Walking Dead has now put fans of the series and fans of the show in the same boat. We have no idea where this boat may be going, but we should all be equally committed to staying on board.
“Guts” also introduces us to a character who had a vocal cameo at the end of last episode: Glenn. I say “introduces us” because this Glenn is different. This Glenn calls Rick a “dumbass” from the outset and manages not only to have two cents, but have people listen to his two cents. I like this Glenn. Stephen Yeun has breathed fresh life into this character and his performance in this episode has made his Glenn one of my personal favorite characters (which, in The Walking Dead world is a dangerous thing to declare). While Andrew Lincoln once again solidifies his ability to not just play but be Rick Grimes, Yeun has made Glenn his own and I’m far from complaining.
As is the case in ensemble dramas, it may take some time for me to feel as strongly about the other characters. When Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori) and Laurie Holden (Andrea) get more screen time, I’m sure the hints of their own respective acting chops will be brought to light.
This was a very interesting episode that I may need more time to digest. A new dynamic was introduced and just when I came to grips with it, the scenes for the next episode began to roll. There were some memorable sequences in this episode and as I shake off the shellshock, I’m convinced that I’ll be back next Sunday.
P.S. If you didn’t like the end of this episode, I’m pretty sure you also don’t like America, puppies or the concept of “awesome.”