Wow, I'm really enjoying this series so far! I haven't been this excited about a TV show since the first episode of LOST (Hopefully The Walking Dead won't sputter and fizzle out like that did!). I just wish it was going to last more than six episodes.
This week we find out that Rick's wife Lori is a little too close to his best friend Shane. Meanwhile, Rick, still trapped in the tank, is rescued by Glen. Glen is part of the same group of survivors that Lori, Carl and Shane belong to. Glen and a few others ventured into Atlanta to hunt for supplies. The scavenger group is furious with Rick for getting them trapped in a department store. With no way out other than through the zombies, Rick and Glen smear themselves with zombie guts to disguise their human scent. They walk undetected through the zombie horde to a construction site, where Rick steals a truck and manages to rescue the survivors.
I like that the series seems to be more or less following the comic, but not exactly. That way I have a good idea of what's to come, but can still be surprised. So far the characters seem to be behaving realistically; doing what most people would probably do in the same situation instead of wandering off by themselves to be picked off.
This episode really ramped up my hatred for Shane. I'm also not a big fan of Lori either. So far she's much less sympathetic in the series than she was in the comic. I get the feeling she and Shane were an item long before Rick was in his coma.
Back in Atlanta, Glen and Andrea (the blond woman) are the only characters that were in the comic. The rest of the group is new for TV. I suspect these newbies will soon serve as cannon fodder.
Among the new characters is Merle Dixon, a racist, meth head hillbilly played by Michael Rooker (star of Slither and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). I don't ever recall seeing Rooker on a TV show before, so good for the producers for snagging him. He does here what he does best: play a psychotic asshole. It was pretty shocking to actually hear the "N" word on TV; not that I want to hear it, mind you, but I've got to give props to the producers for having the guts to use it.
I've read complaints from others that the Merle character was over the top and unrealistic, and that no one would act like that in the middle of a zombie epidemic. Bushwah! I have no trouble believing there are people in the world who'd behave like Merle, especially after the normal rules of society have flown out the window.
We last see Merle handcuffed to the roof of the department store, left for dead. The show very deliberately mentioned a hacksaw several times, and the T-Dog character accidentally dropped a toolbox near Merle before abandoning him. I would not be surprised if next time we see Merle, he's a little short-handed (see what I did there?).
The highlight of this episode was definitely when Rick chopped up the zombie body so that he and Glen could cover themselves in the bloody remains and disguise themselves from the zombies. Never thought I'd see something like that on TV! That scene was straight out of the comic by the way, and was definitely not for the squeamish. The sudden rainstorm had me on the edge of my seat!
Can't wait for next week!