The Walking Dead Review: “Guts”

Walking Dead shambled on the screen last week, devouring ratings and critical acclaim, and raising questions about our basic humanity. How do we respond to pressure?

This week serves up more of the same. It’s impressive stuff, but should we want to see a show that features its protagonist chopping up a dead body with an axe?

Title: “Guts”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Michelle Maxwell MacLaren

Written by Frank Darabont, from the graphic series by Robert Kirkman

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Steven Yuen as Glenn
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon
Jon Bernthal as Shane
Emma Bell as Amy
Laurie Holden as Andrea
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Adam Minarovich as Ed
Juan Gabriel Pareja as Morales
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.


High Point

The show emphasizes characters, and this week served up an excellent one in Glenn, wisecracking sneak thief and zombie killer. Yuen plays off Lincoln well as a sidekick, and yet he can also take charge when he has a better understanding of a particular situation.

He also gets points for noting that the man whose corpse they desecrated was an organ donor.

Low Points

Merle, though well-acted, seems too much of a one-note cliché. Yes, prejudice would survive the apocalypse (the Nazis continued to fund the death camps even after it was abundantly clear they were losing the war), and we can probably expect to find more than a few bat-bite-crazy people out in Zombieland. Nevertheless, it would have been a more interesting episode if they’d made Merle a more rounded and nuanced character.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 They do things very well on this s how, but they’re not doing anything terribly original. They are not, however, adhering strictly to the graphic novel’s plot.

Effects: 6/6

Story: 5/6 The story kept me in suspense, though the abilities of the zombies seem to vary as needed. They stumble and shamble along slowly—until they have Rick and Glenn in a tight spot. And it took them an awfully long time to smash through the store window.

Acting: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6 This show presents pretty much what I think a zombie apocalypse would look like.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, “Guts” receives 35/42

6 replies on “The Walking Dead Review: “Guts””

  1. I’ll weigh in – ABSOLUTELY GREAT show so far. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it or stick with it because while I’m not particularly squemish and generally like dark material, I am nevertheless no particular fan of horror. However, I gave TWD a chance becasue it’s an AMC original series and they’ve been batting 1.000 on those so far. TWD was no exception – heck, TWD is better than Rubicon, by far – and I am now totally along for the ride as far as they want to go.

    TWD goes WAY beyond horror. So far it appears to be an excellent human drama about the nightmare that scares us most – the total collapse of civilization and just how far down the slide can go. Zombies are just the conceit so we can mumble comfortingly to ourselves “this could never REALLY happen” because we are so scared in the back of our minds that it COULD or MIGHT or WILL. People my age who grew up with ‘duck and cover” during the Cuban Missile Crisis automatically subconsciously think of the zombie hoards as a stand-in for near-ground-zero radiation victims after a World War III first-strike. Do your Google homework about what Hiroshima and Nagasaki was like one second after the Flash and check out the photos and especially survivor artwork from the week after the Bombs dropped. Don’t ever think a zombie apocalypse is a fictional concept. It’s happened before, and TWD tries to show what it would be like (at least, without the added complication of radiation) if it were to all happen again.

    To shift gears, I thought TWD was going to be a low-audience Halloween-special flop – boy, was I wrong. Supposedly the pilot had over 5 million direct viewers and over 11 million with time shifting DVRs added in. AMC didn’t dare hope for numbers like that in their wildest dreams. Mad Men and Breaking Bad were previously considered AMC blockbusters while bouncing around between 1 and 2 million viewers. Now AMC is going to run Breaking Bad reruns after TWD to try and get viewer crossover, and a second season of TWD of 13 eps is practically a foregone conclusion.

    One last thing – check PBS Masterpiece Theater over the next two weeks, especially the Nov 14 marathon, for the three ep run of Sherlock. It’s a GREAT retelling of the Sherlock Holmes myth in present day done by the Dr. Who gang, starting with a retelling of the original Doyle “Study In Scarlet” novella as an updated “Study In Pink”. Jolly good show!

  2. Totally agree about Merle. Dang, what a caricature.

    The varying zombie skills is a real flaw. The show’s creators need to define the zombies’ abilities–e.g. speed, strength, and intelligence–and stick with them. In smashing through the store window they were using rocks, i.e. *tools*. There are very few tool-using animals.

    I think the creators must have realized that the zombies needed a boost to compete with the living. Yeah, they’re scary in large numbers, but a high-density zombie mob would be easy to torch. Sooner or later the living are going to reinvent fire and start lobbing molotov cocktails. Or are zombies fireproof?

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