AMC is building as credible a career as FX when it comes to engaging dramas. And while general zombie fiction generally attracts me, this show's source material ranks in the top tiers of the genre for storytelling's sake. This is televised ecstasy.
Episode two, "Guts," starts out when Rick's wife Lori gets hers rattled. Not by zombies, as the scene initially dictates, but by Shane, who sneaks up on her in the woods for an illicit coupling. I'm kind of shocked that such a graphic depiction takes place so early on, but I guess last week's make out scenes informed that this would happen. In any case, this larger group that they belong to is in need of more screen time, but that will have to wait until next week I suppose.
Meanwhile, Rick is stuck in a tank in the middle of a gigantic horde of zombies. Via a stranger's voice over a CB radio, Rick is directed to a safe zone, where he meets up with the mystery voice: Glenn (Stephen Yeun), the quick-witted supplies acquirer who is the first bit of comic-perfect casting the show has to offer. Unfortunately, on the way to meet Glenn and his crew, Rick uses over a dozen bullets to put zombies down, drawing in large numbers due to the sound. This crew includes cockstrong Andrea (Laurie Holden), peace happy Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja), and coincidental city planner Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott). They all get to witness sniper/racist Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) beat the shit out of T-Dog (IronE Singleton), just because he doesn't want to take orders from a black man. In case you think Michael Rooker became some other kind of actor in preparation for this role, ease your mind; he's as Rooker as he's ever been. After Rick shows his personal badge and handcuffs Dixon to a pipe, the episode's plan kicks in.
Because Rick's zombie gathering has ruined the group's department store hideout, they must find another escape route. Glenn choose Morales to go down into the building's basement to try and find a sewer entrance, as a way of avoiding the zombies from below. No luck, however, because zombies behind a steel grid block the way. Outside the store, the zombies are taking an extremely long time figuring out how to make rocks go through the glass doors, as Rick and Andrea have a personal moment. On the roof, the injured T-Dog is trying to reach anyone that he can on a long range walkie talkie, as Dixon tries to convince his victim to release him from the handcuffs. There's no reason they can't parlay as long as mutual gain is involved. Rooker delivers that line with B-movie ease.
Before leaving, Rick gives T-Dog the key to Dixon's handcuffs. Back on the roof, T-Dogg is finally able to send a warbled message to the RV group, alerting them of their desperation at the department store, which Shane accepts as an eventuality of the times, against the intentions of the group, which includes Andrea's sister Amy (Emma Bell).
After a tense walk through the crowd, Rick and Glenn are rudely discouraged by a rainstorm, which begins to wash the blood off of their bodies. Awwww shit, boy. So they do what anybody would do in that predicament. They jump a fence, steal the moving truck's keys, hotwire a nice car with a loud alarm to distract the zombies, and rescue everyone. They do this without Dixon however, because T-Dogg trips and drops the handcuff keys down a roof drain. I'm pretty sure we'll see Dixon again soon, though.
I don't mean to gloss over the last few minutes of the show. Glenn speeding away victoriously in a sports car is celebratory. Someone needs a little light in this show. Not the plot movement though, because that seems to be pretty set. It's nothing to complain about just yet, but knowing the size of the comic series as compared to AMC's episode orders, I want more. When such a large antagonistic force exists within a series, personal drama needs to be of the highest importance in order to matter. I'm not sure where Darabont is going to go from here on out, but if he keeps it at least on a straight path arching upwards, I'm blood thirsty.
As for random notes, I have to say that I was very uncomfortable hearing Dixon call T-Dogg a negative negro and then watching the ensuing battle. It was a tad much to set up Dixon's fuck-em-all attitude. Also, Andrew Lincoln is going to have to pull some magic acting rabbits out of his cop hat soon, because he's quickly becoming generic. I'm not convinced he's a leading man just yet. I'm just as wary about some of the other cast members, but I'll let things flow. Lastly, there was a Toyota commercial during the broadcast where movie characters escape from zombies in a Corolla. It was corny as hell, but I like ads that add personal relation to the media they support. Until next week, blood brothers and sisters....