The Walking Dead – Season 1, Episode 2: “Guts”

Created by: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont

Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies,Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs

Synopsis: Rick is rescued from his trapped position by a young man named Glenn, whom has been making regular runs into the city for supplies.   Through Glenn, Rick meets a band of survivors, but his actions in his escape lead the group to be cut off from their escape route.   He must therefore act to get the whole group out of the city alive.

The second episode of The Walking Dead is a continuation, and also very much an expansion, of the events that occurred in the first volume of the graphic novel.   As such, the comments and criticisms I made for the first episode, they are very much valid for the second episode.   Specifically these elements include the fact that changes have been made to the story which have the positive element of really delving into the human condition given the circumstances being investigated.   The more negative element is that there are also added stories and characters not from the source material which may be irksome to some purists.

As a stand alone episode separate from the graphic novel, however, it is quite a gripping story, which does centre Rick in a community of survivors such that in many ways makes this a very different episode to the first one.   The interactions of different personality types thrown together in highly stressful situations is key to the drama, as well as the extreme steps one must sometimes take to survive.   These characteristics are what is made the graphic novel most exciting, much more so than even the zombie violence, so it is great to see that this spirit is transferred to the series.

I must admit, I am a purist though, and I guess I had been hoping for a more faithful adaptation of Kirkman’s masterpiece.   I loved meeting significant characters like Glenn (Yeun) and Andrea (Holden), yet some of the new characters simply confused me, whether they were reinterpretations of characters I was familiar, or if they were purely new for the series.   As it turns out, I was right that Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) and Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja) were purely new additions, whereas my suspicions that T-Dogg (IronE Singleston) and Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott) were reinterpretations of Tyreese and Julie were thankfully inaccurate.   Not all these characters are fully explored , given this is a large number of characters to introduce in one episode, so their impact on the story as a whole is as yet difficult to gauge.   From an objective viewpoint, however, I believe that there is a lot of potential for these characters to bring their own flavour to the survival story.   I still find it difficult though to see a story I already immensely enjoyed altered so drastically.

That said, with some great moments from the comics present and correct, and a genuine focus on building a really tense atmosphere with bursts of horror, the second episode continues on quite successfully from where the first ended.

3.5 stars out of 5

 

The Walking Dead on IMDB

 

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