Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Walking Dead: Season 1, Episode 2: Guts

At the refugee camp we see people foraging and scratching an existence and discover that Lori (Rick's wife) is having sex with Shane (who isn't dead) therefore setting us up for a love triangle the idea of which makes me cringe (I do tend to find love triangles are a distraction in most plot lines).

Meanwhile in Atlanta, Rick is saved from hiding in the tank by Glenn who uses the radio to guide Rick to safety while the Walkers are distracted eating the horse. Glenn's one of my favourite characters – plenty of humour and sarcasm and he leads Rick to the rest of his group – foragers from the refugee camp. But things are not good – Andrea in particular is furious because Rick's actions have attracted so many Walkers who are now battering their way into the building.

We get a quick introduction to the other foragers, including Merle who is an all round arsehole, using racist slurs against T-Dog and Morales, physically attacking T-Dog and calling Andrea sugar-tits and an anti-lesbian slur for not wanting to sleep with him. Pleasant chap. Rick steps in, plays saviour (yeah that's a side-eye that it's the brave white guy who save them from the bigot), punches Merle down (but not neaaarly enough) and handcuffs him to a pipe on top of the building and giving a pep talk.

They try a series of plans to try and get out. One thing I do like is that Rick doesn't just take command (as I feared he would) but people are listened to based on their expertise – even Glenn whose a teenager. It's a good survivor dynamic and surprised me. There's another good development moment when Andrea wonders about the morality of looting – even with society collapsing around her she is conscious of the law.

Jacqui suggests tunnels under the building, but Glenn exploring leads to a dead end.

Plan B involves coating Rick and Glenn in rotting flesh from a corpse so they smell like the Walkers. The disgust and horror of it is presented realistically without any attempts to sugar coat or hide how horrendous it is or that this is a person they're cutting up (personally I wouldn't have read aloud the contents of the corpse's wallet before mutilating the corpse – it's necessary, the extra emotional impact just hurts more). It pulls no punches in terms of revulsion here.

So anointed, Glenn and Rick sneak past the Walkers (despite an incredibly unlucky rain shower which I'd say was convoluted and unlucky, but hey, if it can rain every freaking time I put the washer on, sure it can rain every time you want to sneak past zombies covered in rotting flesh, right?)

Meanwhile T-Dog succeeds in contacting the refugee camp to tell them they're trapped, leading to Amy (Andrea's sister) wanting to go help – giving Shane (who isn't dead) chance to talk down to her as well (she doesn't kill him, alas).

Back in Atlanta Glenn and rick steal a van and a sports car and Glenn uses the car alarm in the sports car to create a distraction while Rick takes the van round to the side of the building. T-Dog debates it but finally tries to unlock Merle's handcuffs but he drops the key down the drain (and knocks over the toolbag). T-Dog chains the doors to the roof to stop the Walkers getting to Merle (which is more than what I'd do) then joins the others in the escape.

Frankly I'm very much in the “leave Merle to die” camp. When you're in an apocalyptic survival situation with only 7 of you having to rely on each other (and not many more back at the camp) the last thing you need is a raging, violent bigot willing to make trouble with half of your group. There's no space for people who don't play nice with others.