I suspect that my biggest problem with “Guts” is that it feels unnecessary in the larger scheme of things. The characters we’re introduced to aren’t that interesting or dynamic and I didn’t buy into the racist Merle Dixon. He felt way too pigeon-holed right off the bat, and the character didn’t change at all over the course of the episode. I understand why he’s included - he’s a bit of a foil to show Rick’s strength and humanity - but it just didn’t come across as believable for me.
That’s not to say that “Guts” is a terrible episode; it just didn’t deliver on the character moments and depth of “Days Gone Bye.” There are some real standout moments here, including Rick’s escape from the tank and the scene where he covers himself in guts. That was such a dark - almost comical - moment in the show.
On the topic of covering yourself in zombie guts, that did have me wondering about how dangerous it could be. If this disease (if you call it that) really is contagious, then this seems like a huge risk to cover yourself in an infected person’s blood. It seemed like an unnecessary risk, but I guess they were out of options.
Also, I like how the episode starts with Frank’s wife, Lori, and her more-than-just-friends relationship with Shane. It adds a bit more conflict to the mix and creates an awkward situation that we’re just waiting to see play out. And by shifting between the camp and Atlanta, we get a few nice reveals. I was particularly surprised by Andrea’s sister being at the camp. That was a nice moment, especially when we think of the mermaid necklace Andrea stole for her. It speaks a lot about their relationship and protectiveness of one another.
I must say that Glenn quickly became my favorite character of “Guts.” I hope he makes more appearances in future episodes - he’s a very likable character. But I gotta say, the end with him speeding out of Atlanta and shouting, mixed with that campy music… it came off a little cheesy to me.
I want to repeat that “Guts” is by no means a bad episode or a deal-breaker. It just doesn’t live up to the promise or emotional depth of “Days Gone Bye.” I still look forward to Sunday’s episode and hope the new episode is a bit faster-paced… we only have four episodes left this season (but don’t worry - The Walking Dead has been renewed for a full 13-episode second season!)