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Because The Walking Dead season 10 finale has been delayed thanks to the real-world virus, I have decided that to fill the void left in the schedule, to start a re-watch of the series. I live tweeted the episode as if it were playing live in the regular 9pm GMT slot on FOX TV UK. You can see all the tweets here or embedded below.
Whilst Days Gone Bye was an incredible introduction to the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead, Guts opens that even wider by expanding the group of living survivors and exploring more of what the dead can and can’t do. Again, we learn some new zombie tricks here, like they can climb, but this won’t happen outside of the season so we’ll ignore it.
Rick manages to escape the tank with the help of a voice over the radio, the plan – just run for it. Rick meets Glenn in an alley and together they climb to the roof of a department store and meet up with more survivors inside. We meet Andrea who blames Rick for getting them into this mess by shooting wildly outside and attracting the dead. But up on the roof we meet the real star of the episode, Merle Dixon.
The first season of The Walking Dead was a lot like the first season of Game of Thrones. It threw in excessive violence and nudity (in the case of GoT) to attract an audience. Once that base was there, the subsequent seasons were toned down somewhat, maybe to appease the censors or maybe to secure a better time slot. Guts uses Merle to showcase some of the more adult themes. He’s a redneck hick, racist to boot who throws around the ‘N’ word as well as spits on T-Dogg just because of the colour of his skin.
In any other circumstances, Merle would be the person you keep away from or exclude, but in this world, he might be just crazy and sadistic enough to save you from the dead. But Rick doesn’t think his attitude is fit for the world before or the world now and so handcuffs him to a pipe. Despite his viciousness, Merle is an interesting character and his dynamic that can be used to bounce off Rick and the rest of the group is very much what he is there for.
To escape the department store, the survivors need a vehicle. There is a van in a construction site, but it is a few blocks over, through a swarm of the undead. To get to it, Rick and Glenn decide that they should smell like the dead, so chop up a corpse – after giving him a sort of send-off. This idea of the dead being people too is explored in the second season but doesn’t really continue. In the early days, it’s understandable. The dead haven’t been walking long and murder is against the law so it can mess with your head.
Covered in sticky, stinky guts, Rick and Glenn head for the van, but rain comes and starts to wash off the scent. But it is an important lesson learnt that you can smell like the dead and they won’t attack. This obviously becomes more prevalent in season 10 and sort of surprising that it was found out so early on.
Back at the store, T-Dogg goes to release Merle but he drops the key. That shot was a one-in-a-billion, but of course it goes down the drain leaving Merle trapped. Without really explaining anything to him, T-Dogg runs off to escape in the van, he could have promised Merle he’d come back for him later. The rest give him a disapproving stare, but its clear they all thought Merle was a bad egg.
At the camp, Andrea managed to radio in and tell them they were trapped, but Shane refuses to send anyone to help them. He is brutal in his honesty. Although that doesn’t make for a very good leader. Why are the rest of the camp accepting of this? Just because he was a cop?
The series continues strongly and the world is opening up to us, but it’s not looking any prettier.
Overall Rating: 9S01E02 Guts – Curated tweets by Zombie_Scribe