“18 Miles Out” and a long overdue chat between Rick and Shane finally takes place. Click “More” to see more of our review for the newest episode of The Walking Dead.
Season 2 Episode 10: 18 Miles Out
Rick and Shane are at a proverbial and literal crossroads. Rick tells Shane exactly how he feels about everything he’s learned concerning Otis, Lori’s thoughts about Shane being dangerous, and his feelings toward Rick’s wife and unborn child. Later, when Rick and Shane drive past the 18 mile mark to dump off the kid they saved from the walkers in town, Shane looks noticeably peeved that Rick wants to find the kid a place that gives him a better shot than just out in the open. They find a county building that seems safe enough. They take out a couple guards turned walkers, but neither guard has an obvious bite mark that would show how they turned.
Back at the farmhouse, Beth’s physical health is improving, but her mood has deteriorated into depression. Lori discovers Beth has taken a knife with the intent on killing herself. As Maggie and Beth loudly hash out that situation, Lori and Andrea have a fight about whether it’s right for her to kill herself and who is contributing what around the encampment. When Rick and Shane drop the kid off, the kid reveals he knows Maggie and the other Greenes. Knowing he’s aware of where they are, Shane pulls his gun to kill the kid in the interest of safety, but Rick stops him. The two men argue about how things are and what that means in regard to surviving which leads into a fist fight. When Shane tosses a wrench through a window, all the walkers inside the facility.
Andrea takes over watching over Beth for Maggie, but gives the girl a chance to make her own decision about what she wants to do. Rick also makes a decision while Shane is cornered in a school bus with the vast majority of the walkers going after him. Rick takes Randall and leaves Shane behind. Rick changes his mind after seeing the two guards and saves Shane, but not without issuing one final statement about Lori, Carl, and the unborn child. When Maggie comes back to check in on Beth, she’s locked in the bathroom and has slit her wrist with a broken mirror. Andrea was looking after her and perhaps Andrea’s own way of having people make their own decisions has made her every bit as extreme as Shane in how she goes about proving her points.
Let’s just get this off the table right now… Are all of you moaning and groaning about the lack of zombies satisfied now? Who am I kidding, probably not, but considering more than half this episode featured a heated fight between Rick and Shane that unleashes a couple dozen zombies, I don’t want to hear one person say this episode didn’t contain some sort of excitement.
Okay, that’s out of the way. Let’s continue shall we?
This episode is a prime example of why any reader of the comic (especially from early on) cannot truly know what to expect. First off, we all know Shane has outlived his printed counterpart, but his character is far better explored in this series. I didn’t expect that. Shane was an early threat in the comic, but his jealousy never quite reached these heights. His emotions are charged so far to try to kill Rick when they are in a fist fight instead of trying to calm the situation down. Watching Shane for 16 episodes now is kind of like watching a ‘roid rage. You’re never quite sure what he’s going to do next, but you can pretty much bet that it’s going to be way more than necessary.
Next, it’s about as unexpected as it can get to see Andrea play out as she has this season. Without a doubt, Andrea is a character in the comics that ranks very high on reader’s “like” lists. She’s tough, she’s steady, and while she always carries the scars of losing just about everyone she’s ever loved, she’s never wavered from being as good as, if not better, than Rick at knowing what’s right. Granted, this is without a doubt changed by Shane living this long, but this Andrea is almost unlikable. She’s defiant when she shouldn’t be. She’s influenced easily by someone whose trigger finger determines his manhood. Worse, she’s willing to let a young girl kill herself if that’s the path chosen after a severely traumatic experience. She’s cold. Just a couple episodes ago, she confronts Shane about the way he goes about imposing his will, and yet, she’s almost as tactless. It’s almost painful to watch her become this way. However, it is definitely making for juicy possibilities.
Finally, as a guy who has always hated Lori as a character, I’ve always said that I like how Sarah Wayne Callies plays her part. It’s tough to be a character almost everyone has disliked for their own reasons, but the portrayal was spot on. After seeing this episode and finding out more about how she sees her character, I’m simply surprised how much the writers put their foot down on the “stupid” throttle. In Lori’s confrontation with Andrea, despite how unlikable Andrea is becoming, Lori comes off sounding a little stupid. She seems to want to display some sense of authority or strong will, but she’s often proven to change her mind and positions like how I change underwear – whenever I’m confronted with a sticky situation. There seems to be no sign of her understanding how bitchy and overbearing she comes across as. To her, whatever suits her needs is how everyone else should live, but when someone makes a halfway plausible excuse for her actions, she starts agreeing with that person (as seen when Andrea explains that Beth had to make her own choice to which Lori somehow agrees with despite just fighting with Andrea over the very same topic of choice). It’s a classic routine for someone who wants to exude control and confidence, but has neither in herself.
Despite being hit with the above examples of surprise, I absolutely love this episode. Maggie, who isn’t as strong in the comic as she has been in this series, is a joy to watch. She’s tough and smart. She seems almost unafraid of facing this world even though she’s faced some pretty hairy situations. Her understanding of the world around her is mature and she’s not willing to give up on the chance of finding some sort of life in it. In the comic, you are drawn to Maggie through a sort of sweetness to her and Glenn’s relationship. In the series, you are drawn to Lauren Cohan’s Maggie through more than physical attraction or wanting her and Glenn to find some happiness, but because she comes off as one of the most level headed characters in the entire series. She’s seen the good and the bad, and she’s folded it into rationality and logic that positions her in a much better role as a matriarch than Lori and the other characters around her are reacting positively to it.
Of course, Rick and Shane’s adventures at the zombie-infested public works facility is some of the most exciting stuff we’ve seen in this entire series to date. I have to rank it up there with that last scene in the very first episode with Rick getting overrun in Atlanta and seeking shelter in a tank. It’s survival in close corners. Yeah, there have been other scenes like this (Shane and Otis in the school being one example of a tight quarters type of escape), but this one has a lot more going on. Rick and Shane can’t be more opposite than they are at that exact moment. There are walkers pouring out of a building. There’s Randall fighting for his own survival as he’s hogtied with a walker closing in. It’s this sequence that reminds us that “Oh yeah, this IS a horror show.” I will always defend that every genre, be it horror, sci-fi, comedy, action, or whatever, begins and ends with solid characters. If the characters are enough for you to identify with, or at least enough for you to care about, naturally there will be some sort of drama or inner conflict or generalized tension between them, but there will always be moments when you’re snapped right back into that genre. This episode excels at reminding us that if you travel outside your safety zone, the world has gone to shit and monsters are everywhere. All these moments from building characters to having them exist within the world you’ve created (based on the genre you’re going for) is textbook Creative Writing 101.
The more you let these characters come alive, the more exciting it is when you do get back to the core genre they exist in. That goes beyond textbook Creating Writing 101. That is textbook Walking Dead.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Extremely exciting, and scary, scenes with Rick, Shane, and Randall escaping from walkers in close quarters. Lori’s descent into stupidity is giving way to a very strong and nicely played Maggie character. Andrea becoming unlikable?||None. These last two episodes may just be the best 1-2 punch this series has given us yet.|