|Season 1, Episode 2|
|Air date||November 7, 2010|
|Written by||Frank Darabont|
|Directed by||Michelle MacLaren|
|U.S. viewers||4.71 million|
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"Days Gone Bye"
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"Tell It to the Frogs"
| Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes|
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale Horvath
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
| Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon*|
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon
Emma Bell as Amy
Andrew Rothenberg as Jim
Juan Pareja as Morales
*does not appear in this episode
At a picturesque rock quarry outside of Atlanta, survivors have setup a camp among mountainous terrain. Enduring the hot, mid-day summer heat, members of the camp are busy with various tasks — from the roof of an RV, an elder man watches the perimeter of the camp for signs of danger; men are fixing and servicing various things; women are doing laundry and gathering supplies.
The woman in pink — Amy — dumps mushrooms from a bucket into a bowl held by Lori Grimes, who sits at a fire pit. Amy asks how to tell if the mushrooms are poisonous, to which Lori replies there's only one sure way she knows of - which would be to eat one and get sick. Unsatisfied with that method, Amy wants Lori to ask Shane when he gets back. Lori nods before she excuses herself to look for more mushrooms in the forest. She tells her son Carl, who's playing in the dirt, to stay where Dale — the old man taking watch on top of his RV — can see him. "Yes, mom," says Carl. Dale Horvath, carrying a gun and binoculars and wearing a fisherman's hat, tells Lori not to go too far, either. "If you see anything, holler. I'll come runnin'," he says, and Amy catches Lori's reply under her breath: "Yes, mom."
Lori heads into the forest alone, unnerved by the sounds of snapping branches and moving brush, while she bends down to search for more mushrooms. The sounds intensify and Lori looks around fearfully, treading carefully through the dense forest. A pair of hands grab her, covering her mouth to keep her from screaming. Lori struggles to turn toward her attacker, and is relieved upon realizing that the person restraining her is actually Shane Walsh — who's been waiting for Lori to make her way into the forest where the two of them can be alone. But Amy, "the mushroom queen" took forever to get back, Lori explains. "How much time do we have?" Shane asks, kissing her. "Enough," Lori replies, and the two begin to undress. Lori wears Rick's wedding ring on a locket around her neck, which she and Shane eye with a flash of guilt before she takes the locket off and the two have sex.
Meanwhile back in Atlanta, sealed inside a military tank, Rick Grimes says over the CB radio: "Whoever you are, I don't mind telling you I'm a little concerned in here." A young man's voice replies that Rick is surrounded by walkers and advises him to make a run for it while they're distracted and busy eating Rick's horse. He asks if the man on the other end can see his bag of guns — the man quickly tells him to forget about the bag, insisting that "It's not an option!"
Rick collects a grenade from the dead soldier and a metal bar from the floor of the tank, and pops through the top hatch. Most of the zombies are still distracted by the horse, but one is nearby and turns to Rick, reaching for him. Rick dispatches the zombie with his metal pipe, jumps off of the tank, and runs down a nearby sidewalk toward an alleyway, shooting zombies along the way. Quickly turning the corner, Rick is surprised by another human form, but Rick has his gun pointed at the man's face, ready to fire. Equally surprised, the man exclaims "Whoa — not dead!" revealing himself to be the one talking to Rick earlier over the tank radio. They race up a ladder to the roof, stopping to catch their breath on a platform halfway up.
"Nice moves there, Clint Eastwood. Are you the new sheriff? Come riding in to clean up the town?" the young man says in jest, introducing himself as Glenn. Rick thanks him for saving his life, revealing that his sheriff's uniform is among the only clothes he's got, because his were gone when he arrived back home. As they walk across the roof, Rick asks Glenn why he stuck his neck out for him back there, to which Glenn replies, "Call it foolish naive hope that if I'm ever that far up shit creek, somebody would do the same for me."
Glenn leads Rick down a staircase to an alley, which is free of all but four zombies thanks to a bus blockade. When they reach street level, Glenn radios his group, prompting two people wearing riot gear and brandishing baseball bats to emerge from the building and beat down the walkers. Rick and Glenn rush into the building, followed by the people in riot gear.
Inside, a woman later revealed to be Andrea, points a gun in Rick's face, furious at his recklessness. "We're dead because of you," she tells him. In response to the look of bewilderment on Rick's face, Morales informs Rick that his gunshots have attracted scores of walkers. "You just rang the dinner bell," Andrea seethes, as the group's attention turns to a crowd of zombies outside that are slamming themselves against the outer set of glass-pane doors, furiously trying to gain entry. One of the zombies has a rock and bangs it heavily against the doors; a pane of glass begins to crack.
The group questions Rick about what he was doing roaming around the streets of Atlanta aimlessly, given the current circumstances. Rick tries to explain, saying he was trying to flag down a helicopter. The other woman in the group, Jacqui, suggests that it was just an hallucination. "I saw it," Rick insists forcefully. A man, revealed to be T-Dog, is trying to make radio contact with another unknown group, but fails to get a signal, wondering if they might have better luck on higher ground. Muffled gunshots are heard. "Oh god, is that Dixon?" Andrea says in disbelief, as they all leave to investigate.
The group's suspicions are confirmed as they emerge onto the rooftop and find Merle Dixon firing at zombies in the street with a scoped rifle. Morales and T-Dog chastise Merle for wasting bullets and attracting more walkers. Merle scoffs at taking orders from a "taco vendor" and a "nigger," which triggers a fight. Merle easily subdues T-Dog and presses a handgun to his forehead, before spitting on his chest and proposing a change in leadership. Brandishing a gun and holding T-Dog hostage, the group is forced to vote in favor of Merle being their new leader.
Suddenly Rick intervenes, hitting Merle with the butt of the rifle and punching him in the face before handcuffing him to a pipe. "Things are different now," Rick tells Merle. "There's us, and the dead. We survive this by pulling together, not apart." He holds a gun to Merle's head to cool him down, but when Merle challenges that he wouldn't shoot him because he's a cop, Rick answers, "All I am anymore is a man looking for his wife and son. Anyone who gets in the way of that is gonna lose." He finds a stash of cocaine in Merle's shirt pocket and tosses the canister over the roof — much to Merle's chagrin.
Morales informs Rick there's no refugee center, scoffing that it was a "pipe dream", and that they are part of a larger group of survivors staying outside the city, but T-Dog can't reach them on the radio. Merle, still handcuffed to the pipe, insults Andrea, but she stands her ground. "We're on our own," Rick says. With the streets no longer safe, Rick suggests they try to escape underground. Jacqui, who formerly worked in the Atlanta zoning office, mentions that the old building might have a flood tunnel that would provide access to the sewers, prompting the group to head back downstairs to the basement. T-Dog stays behind to keep an eye on Merle, and to continue attempting to make contact with the rest of the group, presumably somewhere outside of Atlanta.
Glenn's most valuable asset to the group is that he's fast on his feet and good at making supply runs. He's upset that he's been able to make supply runs into the city by himself for weeks, but "the first time I bring a group, everything goes to hell," which he acknowledges is down to saving Rick.
He's never gone down the tunnel in all the previous times he's been to the department store, because it's dark and ominous and he muses, "Well, who'd want to, right?"
Andrea offers an assuring, "We'll be right behind you," but Glenn says, "No, not you!" Andrea's offended, but Rick lets Glenn explain himself. He says if less people go down, it'll be easier to get back out if something goes wrong, telling Andrea and Rick to take watch near the front of the store because they're the only ones with guns — and they'll need them if the "geeks," as the group has taken to calling them, break through the doors. He selects Morales as his wing man to follow him underground, and tasks Jacqui with keeping watch in case anything goes wrong on either end.
Glenn and Morales head to the rat-infested, pitch-dark basement armed with flashlights, while Rick and Andrea stand guard at the front of the store, walkers clawing at the windowed doors. "Sorry for the gun in your face," Andrea says to Rick, who hopes to further earn the group's trust by helping them all get out of the mess they're in now. He understands what Andrea did, that people do things when they're afraid, but he gives her some advice: "Next time, take the safety off."
Andrea's gun was a gift, she says, and she clearly doesn't know how to use one. She knows that in this world, that's not a good thing. "Little red dot means it's ready to fire," says Rick. "We may have occasion to use it."
Back on the roof, T-Dog is still unsuccessfully trying to radio the others, and Merle tries to convince him to get the hacksaw in a bag of tools on the roof by telling him, "I'll be all Sammy Sunshine positive for you. It's nothing personal; just, your kind and my kind ain't meant to mix. There's no reason we can't work together in parlay as long as there's some kind of mutual gain involved."
T-Dog, sporting a fat lip, scoffs at Merle's offer. "I guess you want me to get that rifle over there, too, so you can shoot that cop when he comes back up."
Glenn and Morales travel through the sewer until they reach a grated barrier. They discuss ways to cut through, but abandon the idea when they see a walker devouring a rat on the other side. The walker reaches at them through the grate and they step back.
In the store, Andrea spots a necklace with a mermaid pendant. "My sister, she's still such a kid in some ways," Andrea says. "She loves mermaids." Rick encourages her to take it, insisting shoplifting rules don't apply anymore. As Andrea pockets the necklace, walkers break through the exterior glass doors and begin pounding on the interior set. The walker holding the rock leads the pack. Morales, Jacqui, and Glenn arrive to report that the sewer is not an option.
Back on the roof, Rick spots a cube van at a nearby construction site. The ignition keys should be nearby, Rick theorizes, but they need to get past the walkers undetected. The group explains that if they hear you, see you, or smell you, they eat you. Rick latches on to the scent idea. "They smell dead," Andrea offers. "We don't. It's pretty distinct."
Wearing rubber gloves and rain jackets, Rick and Morales drag a dead walker in from the alley. They acknowledge the man's lost humanity — his name was Wayne Dunlap, he had a picture of a pretty girl in his wallet, and he was an organ donor. He used to be just like the rest of them. Rick grabs an axe and the group hacks apart the body. He and Glenn then smear the corpse's guts on their jackets, and the group is absolutely disgusted. Glenn throws up. Andrea gives Glenn her gun, stuffing it gingerly in the hem of his pants, trying to avoid the walker entrails. Before leaving, Rick tosses T-Dog the key to Merle's handcuffs.
Outside, Rick and Glenn shuffle through crowds of walkers carrying weapons, unnoticed. Still, walkers pass them and some stop to take another smell, but they're managing. They crawl under the bus blocking the alley, and slide out slowly on the other side. T-Dog, Morales, Andrea, and Jacqui race to the roof to follow Rick and Glenn with a pair of binoculars, and T-Dog tries again to radio the others. Merle gets let in on the plan for the first time, and he scoffs, "That asshole's out on the street with the handcuff keys?"
T-Dog hangs the key from his fingers, taunting the key and Merle's face drops.
Back at camp with skies graying quickly and thunder audible in the distance, Amy frets over the whereabouts of the group — her sister in particular. "It's late. They should have been back by now". Dale, working on his RV's troublesome radiator hose with Jim, who's wearing a navy mechanic jumpsuit (and earlier we saw fixing tools in the opening scene), reasons with Amy that worrying won't make it better. Lori's doing laundry while Shane teaches Carl to tie knots. Then Dale receives T-Dog's garbled transmission explaining that they're trapped in the department store, surrounded by hundreds of walkers. They make contact for just a second, and it's clear that "the others" that the group in Atlanta keeps referring to are just the people Rick is looking for. "We do not go after them," Shane insists. "We do not risk the rest of the group."
"We're just gonna "leave" her there? She volunteered to go to help the rest of us," Amy argues, and Shane tells her, "She knew the risks. If she's trapped, she's gone; you just have to deal with that." Amy storms off, furious, and Lori, too, is struggling with supporting Shane's decision.
Back in Atlanta, overcast skies give way to a sudden rainstorm, washing the zombie guts off Rick and Glenn's jackets. Morales tries to will the storm to pass, calling it a cloudburst. But with their human smell unmasked, Rick and Glenn are immediately attacked by walkers. Fighting them off, they run to the construction site, hopping a fence that's blocking access. Rick shoots at walkers as they try to climb the fence, while Glenn runs for the keys. As Glenn tracks them down in a lock box and he and Rick run for the van, one walker is able to hop the fence and comes after Glenn. The crowd of walkers knocks down the fence and charges at them, but they speed away in the van just in time.
They drive away from the department store to avoid the horde, and the group still on the roof worries that they're being left behind. But Rick orders Glenn to radio the group to get ready for pick-up, and he wires a red Dodge Challenger sports car for Glenn to lure the walkers away. The car alarm blares when they break through the window.
The group grabs their bags and rushes from the rooftop toward the loading dock, with no concern for unlocking Merle's handcuffs, but T-Dog reluctantly turns back as Merle begs. The group continues quickly down the stairwell as T-Dog moves to set Merle free, accidentally slipping on the rain-soaked roof and dropping the handcuff key down a drain. He also drops the tool box, as the hacksaw and other tools spill out.
"I'm sorry," T-Dog gasps, while Merle accuses him of dropping the key on purpose. He runs back to the stairwell and chains the door shut to keep walkers out, but Merle is left screaming in rage, handcuffed to the roof. T-Dog races to join the group just as the walkers break through the interior doors and enter the department store.
Outside the loading bay at the back entrance of the store, with the walkers lured away by Glenn's car alarm, Rick pulls the van up and the group piles in, catching their breath as they drive away from the city. They look around at one another and a guilt-ridden T-Dog admits to the others he dropped the key, leaving Merle trapped, wailing on the roof.
The group ponders the loss for only a second before Andrea asks, "Where's Glenn?"
A wailing red muscle car speeds full throttle out of Atlanta. Inside, Glenn screams with joy.
- Blade as Siggard's Family Horse
- Frances Cobb as Unnamed Camp Survivor.
- Samuel Witwer as Tank Soldier.
- James Miller as Rat/Sewer Walker.
- Brian Stretch as Tank Walker.
- Charles Casey as Walker.
- Sonya Thompson as Walker.
- Kristen Sanchez as Walker.
- Steve Warren as Walker.
- Rodney M. Hall as Walker.
- Joe Giles as Atlanta Suit Walker.
- Max Calder as Walker.
- Joe Hernandez as Walker.
- Chance Bartels as Walker.
- Christoph Vogt as Walker.
- Lauren Henneberg as Walker.
- Greg Wattkis as Walker.
- Michael L. Covington as Parent.
- Carl Cunningham, Erin Leigh Bushko, Alexyz Danine Kemp, Derrick McLeod, Eddie Rattanasouk, Tony Gowell, Marty Brotzge as Walkers.
- Wayne Dunlap (Zombified)
- First appearance of Glenn Rhee.
- First appearance of Andrea.
- First appearance of Jim.
- First appearance of Morales.
- First appearance of T-Dog.
- First appearance of Jacqui.
- First appearance of Merle Dixon.
- Ugo.com makes 16 comparisons between the Comic Series and this episode Guts.
- The title of the episode, "Guts," may refer to the fact that Rick and Glenn had to smear guts onto their bodies to assist with their group escaping Atlanta. It may also refer to the notion that Rick is a man who has the 'guts' to confront Merle and get the group out of such a dire situation at the department store.
- The Dodge Challenger that Glenn steals in this episode makes multiple appearances in Breaking Bad, as the car Walter White buys for his son.
- The scene where Merle Dixon begins shooting his gun on the rooftop in Atlanta caused a little bit of real-life chaos. Some people did not know they were additional in filming, and thought that Michael Rooker was a sniper and notified the police. A SWAT team actually showed up and the misunderstanding was then explained.
- "Guts" currently has the least views of any other Walking Dead episode premiere in America.
- Chaney, Jen and Liz Kelly 'Walking Dead' episode two: Five questions about 'Guts', Washington Post, (November 8, 2010). "Why does it take so long for zombies to break through glass?", "How come the zombies could suddenly move so fast when Grimes and Glenn's nasty cover began to wash away?", "Can zombies not climb ladders?", "Why no catheter...?"
|Episodes of The Walking Dead|
|Season 1||"Days Gone Bye" • "Guts" • "Tell It to the Frogs" • "Vatos" • "Wildfire" • "TS-19"|
|Season 2||"What Lies Ahead" • "Bloodletting" • "Save the Last One" • "Cherokee Rose" • "Chupacabra" • "Secrets" • "Pretty Much Dead Already" • "Nebraska" • "Triggerfinger" • "18 Miles Out" • "Judge, Jury, Executioner" • "Better Angels" • "Beside the Dying Fire"|
|Season 3||"Seed" • "Sick" • "Walk With Me" • "Killer Within" • "Say the Word" • "Hounded" • "When the Dead Come Knocking" • "Made to Suffer" • "The Suicide King" • "Home" • "I Ain't a Judas" • "Clear" • "Arrow on the Doorpost" • "Prey" • "This Sorrowful Life" • "Welcome to the Tombs"|
|Season 4||To Be Announced|