Read Jake's review of Episode 1: 'Days Gone Bye' here.
Words: Jake Tobin
'The Walking Dead' Episode 2: 'Guts'
SYNOPSIS: "Rick unknowingly causes a group of survivors to be trapped by walkers. The group dynamic devolves from accusations to violence, as Rick must confront an enemy far more dangerous than the undead." (fxuk.com)
Before I go too far in this review I just want to say that this was a good episode of television and that I enjoyed it, but there is a ‘but’. This episode seemed like a letdown, after last week’s epic, emotionally deep and exciting almost-feature-length pilot, 'Guts' felt mediocre. It was still interesting, but it lacked the cinematic quality and grandeur of 'Days Gone Bye'
By bringing in more characters and showing us how the survivors are living, as well as the odd social groups they have formed, the episode is somehow more pedestrian than its predecessor. After last week’s pilot which could easily have been the first hour of an amazing zombie film, this week slipped further towards the constraints of episodic storytelling. I still expect the program to start including interesting story arcs and narratives that weave throughout the series, but as this episode had to follow such an impressively filmic pilot, it has to lay more of the groundwork in terms of context and character which will be needed as this season progresses, and into the next one.
As I said I did like this episode, so I feel harsh in putting any emphasis on the change in personnel behind the scenes, but it does have a different director, less producers (Frank Darabont still wrote the episode, but didn’t feature in any other roles, unlike the pilot) and a different cinematographer. These changes are easier to see on first viewing, but it would be an almost impossible expectation for every episode to live up to the quality of the pilot.
The conclusion of this episode leads neatly into what we can expect to be a reunion between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his family and will hopefully bring more depth to the characters who we have been introduced to, before we meet many more. We also have the prospect of the drama which will unfold once Rick finds out his wife has been sleeping with his old partner, or doesn’t; and the question of what will happen to the racist on the roof, I think the tools which were dropped may come back as some kind of Chekhov’s toolbag, as well of a possible Chekhov’s grenade from the start of the episode. Also how is Glenn (Steven Yeun) going to get back to the rest of the gang while driving a sports car with its alarm going off?
New episodes air Fridays at 10pm on FX in the UK and are repeated throughout the week. Viewers elsewhere should go here to find out where they can watch the series.