Sunday, November 14, 2010

Episode 2: "Guts"

Mom's Review:

Oh wow! I totally get it! This is a GRAPHIC NOVEL being interpreted into a TV SERIES.

Ok, really, I knew that, but I had to keep telling myself that in order to justify some of the scenes from Episode 2.

I was very excited by the prospect of the Japanese Kid being a great addition to the group…I blame Masi Oka from “HEROES” for my momentary excitement. Not that I expected any magic powers, but thought, from the initial communication with Rick, that the voice on the other end of the mic would provide some great interaction. Well it did, until Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Glenn (Stephen Yeun) made their way to the Department store. It was at the department store that the story takes some strange turns. Now that’s a pretty weird statement to make considering we’re talking about a show about zombies!

I don’t know how many others were made uncomfortable by the rooftop exchange between Merle Dixon (the consummate Redneck Bigot stereotype which I found offensive) and T-Dog, the muscular black man with a heart of gold. As my hubby observed it only took 2 episodes to get into the question of bigotry, which, considering the prime focus is self preservation, is shown to be the least of their worries. The scene telegraphed where it was going for me. Yeah, I know, I take this stuff too serious, but hey, I want QUALITY entertainment with good writing and please, writers, surprise me sometimes!!

The dialog between Rick and Andrea in front of glass doors with scores of Zombies clawing at the glass was almost comical. Yes, it is still looting if you take something from a store that doesn’t belong to you... it's at least shoplifting or theft. And now Rick, the Sheriff, says under the circumstances it’s ok now to steal if it’s a gift for your sister who loves mermaids!

I can let this entire evaluation slide, however, when we move to the scene where we pull in a “dead” Zombie, and for a change, EVISCERATE IT, instead of it EVISCERATING US. It was no easier watching Rick don a plastic face cover (and where on earth did he get it: the Hardware section of the Department Store?) and taking equipment in hand, tear the heck out of the dead zombie. A lovely moment of remembrance where Rick looks at the drivers license and reveals the Zombies name and address, so we humanize the corpse a bit, then the added “oh, and he’s an organ donor” tag that makes all the gore a bit more fun! The smearing of the entrails onto Rick and Glenn was one of the more interesting moments and the addition of a colon and hands that hung like strange necklaces around the necks of our “heroes” a bit of gore with an exclamation point!

Meanwhile, back at the campsite with the Rick’s wife and partner Shane, seem to have procreation on the brain! We knew this was coming from episode one, but the boffing in the woods just made me wanna buy some OFF!

There were so many little moments in this one that could have been SO much better. Frankly I was a bit disappointed in this episode after the amazing opening episode. I’m going to watch Episode three with great interest. I’m hoping that episodes two and three will equal episode one. I’m not holding out hope at this time, however. I gave Episode 2, two strips of bacon out of five. And this bacon was a bit over crispy to say the least!

Dad's Review:

Standard disclaimer: I have not read any of “The Walking Dead” Graphic Novels

Well hard to disagree with a lot of Londie’s review above, especially when she is quoting me! Anyway here are my comments:

As already mentioned above, “only took a couple of scenes into episode 2 to interject racial tension. You would think at this point any living human regardless of race, religion or pro football affiliation, all would be set aside in the face of walking dead!

Rick is informed that Zombies can see, smell and HEAR the living. So maybe they should at least adopt two more principles. One, BE QUIET! Slamming doors, banging around, hum, wonder if that noise carries. Two, stay out of sight. The scene(s) where they just stand in front of the doors (did I mention GLASS DOORS) is stupid. Why not just wave a red flag in front of a bull. You know, the Zombies just might go off somewhere else if the noise subsided and they did not have clear line of sight to the living.

I was also struck with the thought that maybe they should carry the official Bill Murray Zombie Make Up Kit from "Zombieland."

I still think the show is moving way too slow, but in contrast, I guess Rick will find his Wife and son after only 3 episodes. I would have thought his wandering and learning odyssey would have continued for a few more episodes, especially after he made such a point telling Merle Dixon (the consummate Redneck Bigot) that, “all I am anymore is a man looking for his wife and son, and anyone who gets in the way of that is going to loose."

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, did Rick forget he had the hand grenade he found in the Tank or is he saving it for a bigger group of Zombies? And my last comment is “You never leave a man behind”, especially if he is pissed off and might use a hacksaw to cut the handcuffs and come back to kill one of you.

As I said last week, we will watch it for another week or two more, but they had better pick up the pace and heck, maybe shoot a few more Zombies. I give it 2 strips of Bacon out of 5. As you can see we have lots of bacon left, hope the future episodes deserve it.

The Pilot - "Days Gone Bye"

Mom's Thoughts:

It has been said that those in the Midwest may not have the “taste” for a show such as “The Walking Dead.” Ok, I’d like to go on the record as saying, all things considered (eviscerations, little girl zombie, the poor Horsy) it rocked. We in the Midwest are in need of something that takes us from mind numbing sitcoms to something with some “MEAT” in it…no pun intended of course.

The character building is very well done, light comedy followed with heart wrenching performances by one of my favorite character actors, Lennie James as Morgan. We see his amazingly moving performance as he goes through the phases of loss and mourning to the realization that he must ultimately shoot his beloved wife.

Andrew Lincoln is both intense and interesting as the Sheriff who awakens to find the world he knew gone forever. Hubster and I argued over the length of the first scene, him:feeling it was too long, me:rationalizing that it was due to character development. The fated connection between Rick Grimes (Lincoln) and Shane Walsh (portrayed by Jon Bernthal) is laid out well.

The story moved along well with several very touching moments. Yes, I covered my eyes during the gory parts, but peaked through my fingers so I wouldn’t miss a thing! The makeup and costumes are terrific and the scenes in Atlanta, almost overwhelmingly realistic!

Yes, it will definitely step up TV watching in the Benson household. I give it 5 strips of Bacon out of five! (after all who doesn’t LOVE bacon?)

Dad's Thoughts:

First I want to provide the following disclaimers:
  1. I have not read any of “The Walking Dead” Graphic Novels
  2. I am not a "left brain" person, so I will be avoiding Artsy Fartsy dialog in my reviews.
  3. I was a Science Fiction and DC Comic book fan before it was abbreviated Sci-Fi. Robert Heinlein was the BEST!
While I somewhat agree with the review from "Londie," I do have the following comments:

The segment in the cop car between Rick and Shane was way too long. I know all the people in the “BIZ” will say it is about establishing the characters, blah, blah, blah, but remember I have never read the GN, and I did not need this elongated scene.

Totally agree about Lennie James as Morgan. We loved him in Jericho and I believe he completely stole the first episode. As for me I would have shot the ex-wife straight out vs. the fear of her harming our son, I’m just sayin...

The story did NOT move along well. Maybe having one’s eyes closed gave that impression. It was too slow. I am not endorsing a Zombie shoot em up blood fest, but come on: pick up the pace a little. Going this slow, even a handicapped zombie will catch up to Rick. I realize that this is supposed to be the “Luke learning the Force” sequence so he can avoid traps like Atlanta in the future and get himself out of jams, but if that is the case, maybe he needs an Obi Wan Kenobie to accompanying him for a couple of episodes.

Yes, we will watch it for a week or two more, but they had better pick up the pace and heck, maybe shoot a few more Zombies. I give it 3 strips of Bacon out of five. I also like bacon, which is why I am reserving some of mine for future episodes.