The Walking Dead – The Monday De-Cap Episode 2: Guts
The Jist: Rick Grimes meets other survivors in Atlanta. Zombies notice. They aren’t pleased by the survivor’s “Not Eaten” status. They strive to change it.
When we last left Rick Grimes he was caught between a Zombie and a hard place, taking refuge in an abandoned tank. We pick up the story in that very spot, maybe an hour after we left off last week. Rick contacts the voice on the other end of the radio, the voice says he can see Rick, and that his best chance is to make a break for it. Now, I don’t want to nit-pick. I mean, being stuck in an immobile tank surrounded by Zombies is a pretty lousy place to be. But seriously, “make a break for it”? I’ve seen how that one goes. The guy who makes a break for it? He gets eaten. Alas, it’s Rick’s only choice; unable to reach the bag of guns and ammo he dropped while scrambling into the tank he’s left with a single clip, a hand grenade he found in the tank and about 2 blocks from the voice’s location. With accuracy liken to John Wayne, Grimes shoots and sprints his way to safety, climbing the fire escape to the top of a mall, where we meet Glenn, played by newcomer Steven Yeun who looks so much like Short-Round of Indiana Jones fame that we’re going to call him Short-Round from now on.
Short-Round and a group of survivors (we later find out they’re from Shane and Lori’s camp) have come into the city to scavenge what they can – quietly come in and quietly exit – a plan that’s been ruined by Rick’s shooting, as they find the building surrounded with no safe exit and the undead horde slowly breaking in through the glass doors. Meanwhile, up on the roof, Merle Dixon, played by Michael Rooker (The Bone Collector), is sniping Zombies and making a whole lot of noise while being racist – Can you say villain? When the group gets to the roof things get inflammatory before Grimes subdues Dixon and handcuffs him to a pipe.
Meanwhile, back with Shane and Lori’s camp (that’s going to need a nickname) Shane and Lori sneak off to practice some extra-circular survival techniques. I still foresee a conflict. We also learn (unsurprisingly) that the survivors in the city belong to this camp, communicating via radio. Unfortunately the radio doesn’t get the best reception so all the Campers hear is that the survivors are surrounded before the radio cuts out, leaving everyone anxious about their fate.
While Short-Round and friends look for an exit, Grimes and Andrea, played by Laurie Holden (The Majestic) share a moment while standing on guard. I foresee a love interest and a conflict.
Unable to find a safe exit (and running into PETA complaint #2 during the search – Rats are high in brains…probably…) and upon learning that the undead can sense the living via smell, Grimes comes up with a plan. You know what doesn’t smell like the living? The dead. One corpse, many full-body axe swings and some clever intestine draping later, Grimes and Short-Round are doing their best Zombie walk out of there, and nothing could possibly go wrong…unless it rains. After a quick chase scene Grimes and Short-Round move on to phase 2 of the plan: distraction. Distraction involves Short-Round making noise to draw the crowd of undead away from the building long enough to allow Grimes to get the other survivors into a truck and drive them to safety. Making noise involves a car alarm. Naturally that car is a Charger. Oh, and remember Dixon? Grimes gives the guy he beat up the key to his handcuffs. After some internal struggling he decides to free Dixon (instead of letting him get eaten alive, nice fellow) however he trips and the key falls down a grate. So he leaves a raving Dixon (“You all rot in hell) on the roof, chaining the door shut behind him, as the Zombies begin to break through the front doors downstairs. The observant of you will have noticed that the guy tripped over a toolbox while running to free Dixon, and a hack-saw fell out. I’m guessing Dixon lives. And is going to be pissed. Really, really pissed.
We end off the Grimes having saved the day, the survivors in the back of the truck…and Short-Round doing about 180 on the open highway out of Atlanta, car alarm blaring, with a “yee-haw!”.
The one thing that really nagged me in this episode was the hand-grenade. There was ample opportunity to use it and create one heckuva Zombie-splosion and yet nothing. We also still have no indication as to the current date or any history of the Zombie-apocalypse, but it is nice to introduce a non-Zombie villain, especially one as gritty as Dixon who will make the day-to-day survival aspect a little more interesting when there aren’t hordes of Zombies crashing down on the survivors…of course, that’s assuming Dixon survives the afternoon…