Sunday, November 7, 2010
"Walking Dead" recap: Smear campaign
Spoilers from this week's episode of "The Walking Dead" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.
Though I watched tonight's episode of "Walking Dead" (aptly titled "Guts") on a preview disc a few weeks ago, I wanted to watch the final air version, mainly out of curiosity. I was wondering if the series had done any surgery to this week's most gruesome scene, in which zombie apocalypse survivor Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and fellow survivors hack up an undead "walker" and smear themselves in his entrails to make themselves smell enough like zombies to blend in with the creepy creatures. With its intestine necklaces and loving closeups of zombie innards, the scene struck me as a smidge too graphic for a basic cable show. Yes, I am aware that AMC is the same network that showed a man getting his foot obliterated with a riding mower on "Mad Men." But the smearing scene left that bloody moment in the dust, so I wondered if it would be toned down for the final air version.
Admittedly, I don't remember exactly how the original version of the "Walking Dead" scene played out, but the gory stuff I remember from my first viewing of this moment -- the hacking open of poor Wayne Dunlap; the draping of Wayne's intestines on Rick and his new buddy Glenn (Steven Yeun); Rick's pragmatic declaration that they needed "more guts" -- was still there. It all prompted the exact same response I had watching the moment the first time around: disgust, mixed with morbid fascination.
It's possible something was cut from the scene, but I can't say the shock value of the moment was significantly diluted. That's good, because the rest of "Guts" was kind of standard horror/thriller stuff. Rick meets up with a group of racially diverse fellow survivalists, whose numbers include a sad-eyed blonde (Laurie Holden, who admittedly plays these roles quite well), an angry redneck (Michael Rooker) and various other types. They, of course, are trapped in a department store. They, of course, start to turn on each other when it looks like they won't be able to find a way out. And, of course, thunder rumbles in the distance, indicating both the literal and figurative storm headed their way.
We've seen it all before but, as with the thriller stuff in the "Walking Dead" pilot, it's well done. The scene where gut-smeared Rick and Glenn attempt to blend in with the zombie masses is genuinely suspenseful. And, thanks to Holden, the obligatory scene where her tough character bonds with Rick is adequately affecting. I still am a little unclear about why, exactly, Rick's wife is canoodling with his partner so soon after her husband's presumed death. But, otherwise, I'm enjoying "Walking Dead" enough to stick with it. I don't know if these recaps will be a regular thing -- it all depends on how much feedback I get.
So what do you think of "The Walking Dead"?