The Walking Dead - Episode 1.02

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The first episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead was a remarkably close adaptation of the original Image Comics series, appeasing many fans, old and new alike. For that reason, it was difficult to judge the series premiere as a representation of the direction the show would take. With the second episode of the series, it’s become clear the approach Frank Darabont and AMC are taking with The Walking Dead.

Episode 1.02 picks up with Lori and Shane doing the nasty at their small camp, while Rick is trapped inside the tank in downtown Atlanta. Thankfully, he’s rescued by Glen, a quick and nimble supply gatherer for our main lot of refugees.

While Glen helps Rick escape from the undead horde that surrounds him, a whole batch of new problems stir up when Rick gets trigger happy and turns the zombies’ attention to the group of survivors that Glen rolls with. Trapped inside of a department store, Rick has to find a way to get the people out of the mess he created.

The show is still in its early stages, so comparisons to the comic are inevitable. That said, this episode does something wonderful in that it gets the brass to diverge from the book, expanding certain plot points rather than condensing them. There’s a whole new dichotomy brought to this scenario because of the group of survivors trapped together, and Darabont has done a superb job of underlining the show’s main theme of human survival.

The episode throws in elements of racism and sexism, showcasing how utterly useless these things are via the means of a larger crisis. This is the sort of scene that fits The Walking Dead succinctly, and it’s notable for this episode because it’s something that was never included in the book. It shows just how good of hands this property is in.

This episode does have its share of gore and action as well, which is something that I think this show is going to wind up balancing incredibly well. The only downside of this episode, which didn’t bother me a bit, is that it’s very drawn out.

So far, The Walking Dead is a very slow burn, but that is something that will ultimately benefit the wide cast of characters. The episode takes place almost entirely in one location, the department store, yet it finds a way to introduce us to a slew of brand new, well-rounded characters. The only way a show can succeed in doing something that bold is to slow the pacing a bit.

Episode 1.02 is a good indicator of the kind of content to expect from The Walking Dead. It’s early yet, but I think the game plan has been made clear.

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