The first episode of The Walking Dead
can be described in one word: Amazing. Not only did it bring me, a person who dislikes the zombie genre, fully into the apocalyptic world of the living dead, but also added an aura of class and subtlety that the genre certainly lacked. Characters were given weight and were made believable and sympathetic through great writing, which gives the audience an anchor to the unbelievable, yet terrifying, world they live through. I thought that this series could do no wrong and that it was in the hands of masters in the craft of creating stories.
And then the second episode aired.
What the Hell just happened?
The episode starts off with Rick escaping from the living dead surrounding the tank and encounters a new group of survivors. Oddly enough, they allow the racist, short-tempered stereotype of a redneck have access to weapons. You can see where things may go awry. Besides Andrew Lincoln, the actor who really shines in this episode is Steven Yeun portraying Glenn who provides a much needed dose of comic relief and immediate likability to create an immediate connection to the survivors. What baffles me was the decision to bring in the character, Dixon, who's more cliche than human. In a show where nuance is key, having a raging racist within a group of seemingly smart survivors is perplexing to say the least. And, the whole subplot of Lori, Shane, and the rest of the other surviving group in this episode was lacking, although the scene in the woods was a good, if rather small, bit of characterization for Lori. It felt like a rehashed reiteration of what we already knew, with a few more survivors chiming in on the situation.
Don't get me wrong, there were great moments in the episode, as well. Rick's speech about one of the dead they were going to 'use' was very well executed and not a single actor was out of place. However, there are things in this episode that just make me scratch my head and wonder, "Why they would decide to do something like that?" There's a moment involving a certain key that is on the level of Three Stooges
slapstick in terms of goofing up. It's more hysterical than heartbreaking, and that's something you don't want to have when you're attempting to elicit dread. And immediately following that act of tomfoolery, there's a chance for one of the characters to solve that SAME problem by giving another character a hacksaw, but, even though it was brought up earlier in the episode, they all seem to forget that huge detail.
I'm not going to stop watching The Walking Dead
just because this episode felt like more of a set-up than a full-on story. I will, however, now keep my once higher expectations in check for what's to come.