In case you were wondering, let me set your minds at ease...yes, there is time for casual sex in the post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world of AMC's The Walking Dead.
As episode 2, "Guts", opens, Lori Grimes commits what is often the fatal horror movie mistake of going into the woods alone. After the requisite tension-building looks over the shoulder, she is taken down to the ground by Shane Walsh, her husband's former partner, and her current lover. They commence to tear their clothes away, hurriedly- private moments are a luxury in this world. The passionate scene is interrupted momentarily by a piece of jewelry around Lori's neck, apparently a reminder of her missing husband, Rick. After a moment's contemplation, Lori removes the jewelry and sets it aside.
Observing this scene, I wondered what the likelihood is that we will come to find that this affair was going on before Rick's injury, coma, and the subsequent emergence of the zombie plague. As this feels like a typical television convention, I'm hoping that the writers of the show will eschew cliche and choose not to go in that direction.
After the credits, we are reintroduced to the aforementioned Rick Grimes, still hopelessly holed up inside a tank on the streets of Atlanta. He is in radio communication with someone from the outside, someone who can see him and his predicament. The person on the radio tells him to grab his gun, exit the tank, and sprint to an alley down the block while the zombies are distracted. Rick does just that, dodging zombies in the street and laying more than a few of them out before reaching the alley and his new ally, Glenn. The two men evade the pursuing zombies by climbing a fire escape and dropping down into another alley. They are met by two other men in riot gear, who fight off a pair of walkers long enough for Glenn and Rick to escape into a building.
Inside, Rick is held at gunpoint by Andrea, another survivor, who blames him for attracting the attention of the zombie horde while firing his weapon as he ran down the street. Outside, an enormous crowd of the undead press against the outer glass doors of the department store's entrance. Eventually, the group, which includes two other men, T-Dog and Morales, and a woman, Jacqui, decide they need to go to the roof of the building to try a get better reception for their radio.
On the roof, Merle snipes zombies. After an altercation with the rest of the group in which he punches Rick and hurls racial epithets and punches at T-Dog, Merle declares himself in charge of the group. However, he is struck from behind and handcuffed to a pipe by Rick. Jacqui, a former employee of the city zoning board, suggests that the building may have underground access to the sewer system. Glenn leads Morales down to the sewers, but the two men are forced to return after coming across steel grating, beyond which stands a zombie feeding on a rat.
While Glenn and Morales are in the sewers, Rick and Andrea stand guard at the glass doors. She apologizes for pointing the gun in his face, which he brushes off as understandable, considering the circumstances. Andrea notices a mermaid necklace. She confides that her sister would appreciate the jewelry. Rick suggests that she take it. The zombies outside then smash through the first set of entrance doors. Rick and Andrea escape to the roof with Glenn and Morales, who had returned and reported their findings in the sewer.
Back on the rooftop, the group discusses other escape options. Rick notices a box truck in a fenced off area a few blocks away. After discussing what exactly attracts walkers to the living- sound, sight, and smell. Rick decides to attempt to evade the zombies by blending in with them. They drag in one of the dead from outside the building and commence to butcher it. Glenn and Rick put on raincoats and gloves and smear the blood of the undead all over themselves. Glenn goes so far as to wrap intestine around his neck. They then stumble out onto the street. The plan works, as the two men drag their feet and slowly make their way down the street, toward the vehicle.
Mere yards away, however, a southern, summer cloudburst opens up upon them, washing away much of the dead-scented blood. The walkers in the street begin to take notice and, when Glenn begins to panic, Rick lets loose on an approaching zombie with a hatchet. They begin to run for the fence surrounding the truck, hacking away before shedding the blood-drenched clothes and leaping over the fence.
While Glenn and Rick made their way down the street, the rest of the group had again attempted to make radio contact with the rest of their people which, it turns out, is the group that includes Lori, Carl and Shane. The radio operator in Shane's group, a man named Dale, picked up the transmission but was unable to make contact with T-Dog over the radio. As Rick and Glenn begin to return with the truck, Andrea, T-Dog, Morales and Jacqui evacuate the rooftop, planning to meet the truck downstairs.
T-Dog carries with him Rick's handcuff keys. He wrestles with his conscience, unsure of whether to let Merle free. Merle pleads his case. T-Dog finally relents but, as he makes his way back over to Merle, he trips and the keys fly out of his hand and down a ventilation shaft. He apologizes profusely, as Merle begins to panic and lash out. T-Dog then runs to the exit and puts a padlock on the door, trapping Merle on the roof, but making the roof inaccessible to any undead which may make their way up the stairs. He then meets up with the rest of the group on the ground floor, just as the zombies finally come crashing through the second and final set of glass entrance doors.
Meanwhile, to distract the zombies at the front door, Rick broke into a red sports car, setting off the alarm. He then hot-wired it, so that Glenn could drive it through the streets and distract the zombies attention from the truck and the store. As the swarm of zombies crash through the department store, hot on the heels of T-Dog and the other escapees, Rick parks the truck and throws open the rolling door. Jacqui, Andrea and T-Dog leap into the back of the truck and Rick fires it up. Morales rolls down the truck's door, just as the first few zombies reach out to grab at them. The truck pulls away as Merle howls in frustration on the roof.
The camera then pans out from the same highway Rick travelled on as he entered Atlanta on horseback the previous episode. This time, a streaking red sports car, alarm blaring, tears away from the city with Glenn behind the wheel, screaming in relief and excitement.
Next time, on The Walking Dead...
Christopher Gregory lives in Norfolk with his wife Sarah, fellow founding member of Mellow Pop Death. When not commenting about the state of American television, he can be found pounding the bass for Humanoids from the Deep.