I don't begrudge people having their fun, but "Guts" was further evidence that The Walking Dead has little that's fresh and, more importantly, interesting to impart to its readymade audience. On a superficial level of watching people fend off masses of shuffling zombies, it has its entertaining moments, but nothing you can't see done a million times better in the movies Walking Dead blatantly steals from. I could accept "Guts" taking place in a department store as a homage to Dawn Of The Dead, were it not for last week's homage's to many other movies. So far, The Walking Dead's best ideas are unoriginal and less successfully reprised, and its new ideas are plain stupid. That's not a great position to be in, seeing as this is only episode 2 of a series that's likely to be around for a good few years to come.
There followed an hour of the survivors trying to implement a plan to escape their besieged store, before the zombies break inside. After a pointless attempt to access a sewer (seriously, what a pointless moment), Rick instead decides to drag the corpse of a zombie inside, dismember its body (with the most cartoonish squelches imaginable), then smear himself and rescuer Glenn (Steven Yeun) with the poor man's blood and entrails. This should disguise them from the zombies wandering around outside, who will be fooled into believing Rick and Glenn are dead, because of their rotting smell, giving them enough time to reach a truck and use it to rescue their waiting friends. But, uh oh, the regular as clockwork 5pm shower might put the kibosh on that plan. We all know how quickly rain cleans the smell of rotting flesh and dangling feet, right?
Overall, "Guts" was distinctly average and I can't see why anyone who's seen Dawn Of The Dead (which is, surely, most people who would tune into Walking Dead) would hold this up as a great twist on the genre. So far it's been nothing but a lazy copy, which I'm sure the writers, director Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad), and the actors all had fun creating. I think the zombie genre is one that's more susceptible to repetition than any other horror genre, so there needs to be strong differences, or fresh ideas, to keep people gripped. But, after two episodes, The Walking Dead isn't delivering for me. The characters are either clichés (what a waste of Michael Rooker!), dull (sorry Andrew Lincoln), unlikeable (Sarah Wayne Callies), or vacuous (everyone else). Bring back Lennie James from last week, that's what I say.
WRITER: Frank Darabont
DIRECTOR: Michelle MacLaren
TRANSMISSION: 12 November 2010, FX/HD, 10PM