Georgia, southeast America. A moaning monstrosity of a man, his mouth smothered in blood, interrupts the calm as he staggers through a forest.
Suddenly, someone catches his attention, while another lodges an arrow just above the eye. The two, who are looking for a lost girl, set about discovering the last meal of the recently deceased. One of the men, whose own shirt is mottled with burgundy splodges, plucks a hunk of flesh from the corpse’s teeth, while the other hacks into his half-decomposed stomach to prod at the contents.
Happily, it seems AMC’s horror hit The Walking Dead is still head over heels for sickening gore the second time around.
The show’s return has been highly anticipated. Adapted by The Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont from the comic series (by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard) of the same title, The Walking Dead’s fledgling series boasted fistfuls of award nominations.
And rightly so – between bloody, lightning-pace sequences were lovingly developed and instantly watchable characters, including British actor Andrew Lincoln (This Life) as Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes, who awakes from a coma to find the world has been overrun with dribbling, brain-thirsty zombies.
Season 2 swiftly picks up where last year’s finale left off. As Rick explains, he and the other survivors are attempting to continue after a disappointing trip to Disease Prevention. Unaware of their next destination and clinging only to the hope of survival, the group find themselves trapped on a motorway littered with bodies and abandoned vehicles. When the inevitable undead attack comes, the young daughter of one of the remaining few becomes lost during the scuffle.
As the audience quickly reacquaint themselves with each character, the group dynamic at the centre of the narrative alters constantly throughout. Adding uncertainty to an already rickety situation makes for an enthralling re-introduction.
What made the first season so successful was its ability to observe the wider picture. Hoards of raggedy, mopey zombies (referred to as ‘walkers’ by the cast) cheerfully tearing about might be jolly fun, but The Walking Dead dared to root a little deeper.
As the drama continues to explore the psychological effects of a living dead takeover, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) begins to understand the implications of saving Andrea (Laurie Holden) from suicide last season. Meanwhile, a previous affair continues to sour the relationship between Rick’s wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and close friend Shane (Jon Bernthal).
Although the pace remains reassuringly steady throughout the series opener, it is during the final moments that The Walking Dead seizes viewers by their bloodstained lapels once again. Season 2 looks set to be spectacular.
Aired at 10pm on Friday 21st October 2011 on FX.
Are you looking forward to Season 2? Let us know below…