Forgive me for being late with Week 3 of Talking the Walk. I had obligations to watch the Oscars, and that… was an ordeal. Billy Crystal. Meryl Streep. Christopher Plummer. Silent movies. All night the Academy was raising figurative corpses of its own, youknowwhatI’msayin’? -waits for high five-
But it’ a shame that a big event like this overshadowed “18 Miles Out,” which, for most the most part, was a climatic season 2 episode. Rick vs. Shane finally came to a head… not quite in the way I had hoped. Rick and Shane drive a hooded and bound Randall (the Philly survivor Rick, Glen, and Hershel saved last episode) away from the farm to find a safe place to snuff him out. But at a crossroads (OH, SUBTLE), Rick pauses to clear the air with Shane, revealing that he knows not only about Otis’ murder at the school, but about Shane’s affair with Lori. Rick puts his foot down, staking his territory around Lori and Carl, and, to his credit, Shane takes responsibility, cites the circumstances, and all around observes the proper dude-bro code.
Things get lest fist-bumpy once Rick and Shane reach an abandoned school when Randall reveals that he knows Maggie (Did I hear this wrong… how does this make sense?). It’s enough for Rick to pause, but guess who’s ready to punch the poor guy’s ticket right then and there? #FUCKYEAHSHANE
When he suggests that Rick can’t be “a good guy” anymore and survive and that he’s not the right one to lead the group, it comes to blows. A lot of them.
As much testosterone was hosing down the Rick/Shane plot, back at the farm, things were decidedly more “Real Housewives of the Zombie Apocalypse”. Lori discovers that Beth (one of Hershel’s daughters) is bed-ridden, despondent, and suicidal. Explaining to Maggie, Beth’s argument sounds a lot like Andrea’s from the end of season 1: “the world’s gone to hell, I wanna decide how I’m clocking out”. When Andrea sympathizes, she has it out with Lori, who, get this, wants Andrea to help cook and clean more.
Oh no, she dit-int!
Andrea zings back, calling Lori a spoiled floozy, undermines her and Maggie’s protection of Beth, and I watched REAL carefully to make sure no one was holding a Cosmo.
Back to rock’em, sock’em broheims. The ruckus attracts a flock of walkers and Shane gets cornered. Collecting Randall, Rick is about to leave Shane behind and right when you think The Walking Dead is really going to shock you… Rick turns back and saves Shane. And, pouting, back to the farm they go.
Hey, Walking Dead! WTF?
We’ve been building to this moment from THE SECOND EPISODE and you go and throw a safety net under it? Yeah, I want to be unsure of what happens the next episode… but not because you keep retreating to stasis. What should have been a boiling point for Rick and Shane is now, at best, “round one,” and at worst, a bonding moment. This is on top of the fact that both Rick and Lori are falling out favor with us. Has anyone, ever, even liked Lori?
And despite Rick’s bad-ass “no man left behind” moment, he comes off as a complete wet noodle, hypocrit jackass in light of a more and more reasonable counter argument from Shane. Oh, you’ll do anything for your wife and kid, would ya? I think I remember you mentioning this every episode of this television series. Rick needs some new talking points fast, because the moral dilemma that usually makes the show so great and thoughtful is tipping increasingly towards a sane-looking dark side.
I didn’t hate “18 Miles Out.” In fact, for a big, broad episode full of brawling, head-stabbing, and suicide attempts, there were surprisingly effective nuances. Leaving the door open for Beth to hurt herself was a fresh look at Andrea, a character who, despite all her screen time, is frequently lost in the shuffle. Shane’s vision of the lone walker in the field was oddly both eerie and sad, and the two dead guard zombies that remind Rick of his early bond with Shane late in the episode is one of the cleverest moments to come out of the writers’ room.
But keep your eyes on the big picture, people. You’ve been building on this one thread for two years now and all signs are pointing to you wrapping it up in the next few episodes. Now would be the wrong time to lose your stomach for bloodshed.
See you in seven.
Rob is an accomplished screenwriter and has worked in the industry for several years. He blogs about film at his website, “Heroes are Boring”.