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The Walking Dead Review: A Dangerous Game of Dress-Up

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Following a series premiere of The Walking Dead that set the dramatic scene, “Guts” picked up the zombie pace.

Rick finally discovered the voice on the radio, teamed up with some survivors and played a little dress-up. Moreover, he’s one step closer to getting back to his loved ones.

Rick on the Run

The best addition to the cast is the character of Glenn. While relatively young and surprisingly upbeat, one would have assumed he’d fall into place as a mere sidekick. However, Glenn proves to be resourceful, smart and independent.

He knows when to make statements and take charge, as well as when to help others. Plus, in a show that revolves around horror, gore and drama, it's nice to have some comic relief. His snarky comments, zombie acting skills and triumphant cheers racing down the Atlanta highway make him a character you want to see survive.

On the flip side, Merle Dixon brings out his bad guy attitude as he finds himself at odds with the rest of the group. Who knew racism could be prevalent when trying to survive a zombie apocalypse? While the confrontation felt a little forced, I appreciate what it suggested. Simply because “Walkers” roam the streets, doesn’t mean that there can’t be conflict between humans. Sometimes the greatest problems are from within.

Of course, there’s lead character Rick Grimes to save the day. While initially causing the issue for the group of survivors, he is able to come up with a plan to get them out of the zombie-infested city. Good job, Officer Friendly.

Because zombies can smell humans, Rick comes up with the ingenious plan of covering himself with the blood and remains of the dead. This was not a moment for the squeamish. The sounds of cracking bones and separating limbs ripping apart by the tendrils was disgusting. I felt like Glenn when he puked. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to endure the smell.

Skull Cracking

This led to the tensest moment of the show, as Rick and Glenn pretended to be zombies. Watching the dead shuffle around the two was nerve wracking enough, but when they were followed closely behind it made it that much worse.

As the one zombie continued to hover over Glenn, I kept waiting for it to realize that he wasn’t dead. I also knew that those pesky storm clouds would bring rain that would wash away their disguises. I kept yelling at my television screen, “run!” and was relieved when Rick finally said the line. It was a great scene that kept me captivated and excited.

There were a couple things I disliked about this episode, though. First, what is the deal with calling the zombies “geeks?” I don’t mind “Walkers,” but does “geeks” even mean anything? It felt annoying to hear multiple times, even if it’s meant to be the cool new moniker.

Second, the whole sex scene at the beginning felt weird. Shane creeping in the woods, followed by a mock zombie attack on Lori doesn’t strike me as a turn-on. What type of guy thinks that’s what women want? Plus, doesn’t it feel a little quick for Lori to have moved on? She seemed pretty eager to unbuckle Shane’s pants and toss away that necklace. I’m interested to see how things turn out once Rick makes it back.

Ultimately, one could argue that we’ve seen this show before. They’re hiding on a rooftop? Seen it. They’re escaping in a car? Seen it. So when it finally comes down to it, how can we watch a series about killing zombies?

The answer is simple: it’s not about the zombies.

This series makes it abundantly clear that it’s about the characters. Personal conflict, raw emotions, and the base of human morals are displayed for us to see. These characters are what drive the show, making it stand-out from cliche-ridden zombie fare. Don't you agree?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (58 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I agree with your review 99% and as far as they don't call them Zombie because I read that when the Comic book "The Walking Dead" came around , Zombie word was not used and they were called Walkers till later in years they were named "Zombies". though shows premise is present times still they won't be using the Term Zombies ever because it was never used in the Comic Book.
I think if you remember Rick & his wife had troubles from the beginning (Remember him talking about their fight with friend in 1st episode) So, we even don't know whether she was Doing Shane long before Walkers infection spread!
I think the Sex Scene was for female Audiences because its all Male Dominant gritty show. and women like SEX and naked shirtless men. GOSSIP GIRL! ppl its Worldwide phenomena bx its all Sex Up!

Sp-mckenna

@ Matt: I think what I was trying to say was that as much as I truly dislike Lori for getting with Shane, (and a weird sex scene), it certainly makes for an interesting conflict for when Rick gets back. I agree that I prefer when adaptations are made, that writers, producers, etc. try and stay true to the source material because more often then not, its great stuff. That being said, because I have not read the graphic novels I can't truly comment on the original writing. Hopefully the way she is being portrayed doesn't compromise her character. However I hope that fans of the source material don't get too bogged down by comparisons, even if the original work is fantastic, and rather look at this show as a great new experience for television. Although it is often interesting to hear from fans how the television show varies from the graphic novels. Ultimately, this is a new and exciting series, with the author of the novels, Robert Kirkman as an executive producer and writer. I have a feeling that for now at least, the show is in good hands. I do hope that they continue to do the original work justice and I look forward to watching each new episode. Keep on discussing fans!

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McKenna- I'm not sure how to phrase a response since you were paraphrasing what I already said in my first post. If you read the comic you'll see what I mean. I am really not trying to make an argument about social mores or the rightness or wrongness of whatever decisions Lori makes in the desperate context of a zombie apocalypse when she thinks her husband dead. I'm trying to say that IF the producers of this series wanted to portray that relationship of circumstance in the same subtle unforced way as it was in the comic, then they're being completely ham handed with it. In the comic you only realize that Shane felt more for Lori after their reunion with Rick, and that was ALL it was at the time. Only later on (several, several issues later if I can recall) does it come to light that 'anything' physical occured between the two, but the reader never knows much more than that since Lori is so guilt-ridden, ashamed, and remorseful over the fact. Now hopefully you'll see why such a portrayal of Lori's character in episode 2 bothered me. That was 'not' the final, reluctant surrender to the culmination of repeated advances from Shane that she had up to then rebuffed. That was her on her knees greedily undoing his pants on a completely different type of mushroom hunt. That was 'not' the quiet, ultimate resignation that she would be with Shane, not just for comfort, but for protection, provision, and a fighting chance at survival for her and her son. That was her casting aside the locket, almost as an afterthought, that for some reason she still wore though it seemed the two had been shagging for some time. Can you see how some of this doesn't jibe with the original writing? At best, the writers/producer/director is/are just being sloppy and trying to speed things up in the six episodes they have in the first season; at worst, they are fundamentally changing Lori's character from the beginning (as a cheater), and while I know that they're expected to (and have) taken certain liberties with details of the story, this will change a very vital dynamic of the narrative and will unnecessarily compromise the story as a whole.

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Well, the Racist Redneck (tm) isn't out of the picture yet, and I assume he's there to provide a human enemy to the group, because, like it or not, the zombies are eventually gonna have to take a backseat on occasion. We all know that RR(tm) is going to use the conveniently knocked over hacksaw they mentioned or showed three times, and he's gonna come looking for them. My guess is that he takes the sewer they spent time on talking about but didn't use. Listen, I read the comic, and I felt like they didn't explore city problems enough in it. In fact none of the really good zombie movies every explores city problems. I thought they went off in an entirely new way in this ep, and I'm glad of it. They have been taking the time to look at things that a movie wouldn't do. Would Rick have spent time getting to know the body he hacked up in a movie? No. Would he have done it in a comic? Only if they could do it in two panels. And, for those who read the comic book (excuse me "Graphic Novel Series" please)there is an obvious season break that comes up relatively early in the comic book. I got money says that's where they end this year, and they gotta spin it out. Fine with me. I loves me that zombie action. On the other hand. Darabont writes like Stephen King. Longwinded examination of ideas in a crisis situation just is a massive rattlestop in a disaster film. Zombie movies are disaster films just like Volcano or The Towering Inferno. Too many of the scenes like Glenn's breakdown of ideas before they go into the sewers doesn't wash in zombie films. TV is all about talking about things before there's action. I hope he doesn't go all 'explainy' every time they have to make a decision.....but I am damned intrigued about the direction thus far.

Sp-mckenna

@ Matt: As much as I dislike Lori for being with Shane, she technically isn't cheating on Rick if she thinks that he's dead. (If the affair started prior however, that's a different story.) Sure I think maybe a little more time should have been taken before finding a new lover. However, with a zombie apocalypse, things are a little more ramped up. Her finding comfort in someone is plausible even if we don't like it. Love triangles on TV always make for great drama and I can't wait till Rick finds out what happened! @ Matthew: I've never read the comic but I do think that straying off the path to explore other characters is a good idea. Some will work and some won't. For example, I believe Morgan Jones plays a smaller role in the comic, yet after seeing him in the pilot, I enjoyed his portrayal. He was a great character. Ultimately, different types of characters allow us to see how they will affect the stability of the group. As long as they are useful to the storyline and create drama and tension it’s a good thing. That's what this show is truly about. Here's to the next episode!

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LOL Dex, the tv version of her would probably 'enjoy' a double-team, the dirty slut!!! ;o)

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LOL Matt and Matt teamin up on Lori

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I am a huge fan of the comic and I loved the first episode of the series, but this second episode is far off the beaten path. They have already turned the escape from Atlanta into some kind of zombie party, and adding the red neck and his brother adds unnecessary drama to a story that is already full of emotion. I am totally open to adding more characters (since most of them die anyways...) its just disappointing that they added so much that you actually hope they die. The main draw of the comic was bad ass zombies and a small number of characters that you connect with. They got the zombies right, but I guess they felt sticking to the comic was not good enough. Don't get me wrong I really like what they have done with the main characters, my favorite being Glenn, but a trigger happy racist redneck... common. Im not sure how the next episode will be but i hope they get rid of a couple characters and get back to the story. Lori being such a slut doesn't give me any sympathy for her future.

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I too found it VERY annoying when the character of Lori Grimes seemed all to eager to do the nasty with Shane of the jacked up earlobes. NS, what you suggested about the possibility of them already cheating before the 'event' sounds very plausible, but then why the hell would she still be wearing the locket after all this time? Also, what I say next may be considered a light spoiler for those that haven't yet read the actual book, but in the graphic novel, the physical relationship between Lori and Shane was NEVER that overt, and only happened as a product of both their desperation and Lori's belief that Rick was truly dead and gone. If they're presenting Lori as a two timer in the tv version (and with the foreshadowing at the beginning of ep 1 with Shane and Rick discussing ricks marital problems, it's very possible they are) I'm sorry to say that in my eyes it diminishes her character a great deal by not going with the book.

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Episode 2 was awesome! That scene with the two of them walking in the street was extremely tense. I can't wait to see next week's episode. There was some foreshadowing that I'm sure will come up later: Will Officer Rick need to use his grenade? Will they choose to go back into the city using the (potentially) zombie-infested sewers? Will that duffle bag full of loaded shotguns come back into play? We'll have to watch to find out.

The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Glenn: You're surrounded by "Walkers." That's the bad news.
Rick: There's good news?
Glenn: No.

Dale: If you see anything, holler. I'll come running.
Lori: Yes, mom.

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