There are only three more episodes left of Season 2 of The Walking Dead and things are finally starting to heat up!
"The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 10: 18 Miles Out" is framed somewhat like the episode in which Shane killed Otis and starts out in a "flash forward" with Shane running away from walkers on what appears to be a fenced in school grounds. Shane is being chased by walkers. Rick sees one fall out of the window and a tied up Randal is wriggling like an inch worm towards a knife. Shane runs into a school bus and struggles to keep the door shut as the walkers attempt to get in.
Then, we "flash back" to Rick and Shane driving along a country road. They pull up to a crossroads and Rick stops the car and gets out. It's been a week since they brought Randall to the farm. There, he speaks with Shane, who thinks he wants to speak about Randall. But Rick actually confronts him about what he did to Otis. He wanted to know if Shane did it to survive. Shane says yes. One shot to the leg and Carl lives.
Rick confronts him about not believing in him, or his ability to keep Carl and Lori safe. Shane tells him that you can't just be the good guy and expect to live. (Not anymore. The world is far too dangerous. First, all they had to worry about was walkers. Now, there are other people out there, that are far more dangerous that the walkers ever were.)
Rick doesn't think of himself as the good guy anymore. He tells Shane that he doesn't want him to be a danger to the group and believes that he won't be. But, Shane can't look him in the eye. Rick makes him and tells him that he knows that he and Lori were together. He wanted to break his jaw, but he didn't. And that wasn't weakness. Even though Shane sees the inability to fight, as a weakness. But it was a strength, because Rick chose the hard road. Which is something that Shane can't do, because he's a coward.
It is his wife, son and unborn child. He will stay alive to keep them alive. You don't love her. You think you do, but you don't. (In the first episode, we saw that Shane couldn't keep a girlfriend for the life of him. He is has never had a real relationship. Just one girl after the other. He doesn't know what love is, just lust.)
Rick tells him to accept everything he just said and they'll move forward with that understanding. Rick want to forgive Shane for what he did, and wants him to see that he values him, even though things haven't exactly gone smoothly for them.
Shane mentions how the walker outbreak started it was just a few strange stories on the news, then it was so quick, everything that just happened all at once. Two weeks later at the hospital, when Shane went to look in on Rick, there were solders shooting people in the halls, people, not walkers, then the walkers started coming through. He didn't want to leave him. But he had to, and he had to live with that choice, whether he wanted to or not. Shane admits that Lori and Carl didn't need him, but that he needed them. He didn't keep Lori and Carl alive; they kept him alive. If he could take it all back, he would. (We'll see if he truly means this or not in the episodes to come. In a way, in this scene Shane admits he is a coward to Rick. And when you think about his actions, Shane always stayed behind to "protect the group." He never once sent out on a mission to fetch something in the city or in town. Glenn and/or Rick always go instead.)
Rick says there is someplace he wants to check out, and they get back into the car and drive up to a fenced in municipal grounds.
Maggie talks to Lori about Glenn, and Lori asks her if she has anything to apologize for? Then tell him to man up, but not in those words. Lori offers to take a lunch up to Beth.
Rick tells Shane to they need to use their knives more, if there is one, use our knives to save ammo. Rick is thinking about storing food, and hopes that the winter will slow them down. Rick talks about how his cousin was stuck on the road for two days in the ice storm. And that he looks forward to winter, when hopefully it will be safer. It has to affect the walkers, slow them down a bit. Then they can find snowmobiles to make rounds to get supplies. Shane thinks that sounds good and watches a lone walker stagger its way along through the land.
Beth sits up when Lori delivers lunch and offers to take her for a walk. Beth is angry and scared. Lori tries to be supportive, she cares for her and is worried about Beth after she lost her mother.
Rick drives them 18 miles out (a little more than 18 as Shane points out). He is looking for a good place to leave Randall. They drive up to a fenced in municipal works yard-- where they keep the school buses etc.-- and take a look around.
Rick thinks that this place will do. They'll leave Randall there and scavenge for supplies. Rick points out a walker. Shane goes to shoot it, and Rick stops him. Then he cuts his finger and spreads the blood on the fence to draw it up, then shoves his hunting knife through the walker's head. He is trying to teach Shane that there are other ways to stop a walker than use a gun.
The grounds are littered with empty food cans. Some of the buildings have open windows, and the school buses that look lived in. Rick comes across a pile of three burned corpses. It was a refugee center that was overrun by walkers and has since been abandoned by the living. Where did the people go? Did anyone survive the attack?
Shane looks at the two dead guards (walkers they killed) and notices that they weren't bit. Rick thinks they may be scratched, and that was what killed them. But, they didn't look scratched. Shane didn't know that you could catch it by being scratched. I think that scared him, as one walker ripped out his hair when he was at the high school, which is why he shaved his head-- to hide the bald spot.
They let Randall out of the car, tied up, with headphones taped to his ears and duct tape over his mouth, with a sack over his head.
Beth thanks her. Lori smiles and takes the food tray, tells her that she'll be back to take her on a walk. Then she notices that the steak knife is missing and demands that Beth hand it over to her. "Give it to me sweetheart, you don't want to do this." Beth does as she is told. Lori runs out of the house, looking for Maggie and Hershel. Hershel is nowhere to be found. Maggie went for a walk with Glenn. Andrea gets Maggie and Lori runs back to Beth.
Rick and Shane take off the hood and duct taped head phones. Leave Randall and he begs them not to leave him there. "I owe you guys. I can help you protect what you got! Don't be stupid, I'm not like them!"
Randall knows that if you are alone you are as good as dead. That is why he was with those men. To survive. That's it. (But is he telling the truth? I am slightly inclined to believe that he is.)
"I'm just some guy! I went to school with Maggie for God's sakes." That stops Rick and Shane in their tracks.
"You went to school with Maggie?!"
"She didn't know me, didn't know I existed."
He knows her and her dad. He would never do anything to hurt her or her family. "I'm not like the guys I was with!"
Randall knows where he was, and can tell his friends where there are. Shane pulls his gun and goes to kill him. Rick stops him and tells him not to. He wants to think it through. I need a night to think it through.
Shane replies, "You're going to bring this piece of garbage, who ran with men that shot at you, back to where Lori sleeps?"
Rick isn't sure what the right choice is. Shane tells him "The right choice is the one that keeps us alive!"
This is pragmatism vs. humanity. When do you stop being a humane, compassionate person who cares for your fellow man, and start thinking things in terms of us or them? And what does kind of man does that make you?
Rick tells him to stop acting like you know the rules, there are no rules anymore. Shane tells him that he can't keep them safe, and Rick attacks him.
Watch Rick and Shane fight!
Randal struggles to get to the knife that Rick left him so that he could get out of his bonds. Shane head butts Rick, and they get into a fist fight after Rick knocks Shane's gun out of reach. They are making a lot of noise (which can draw walkers.) Shane is brutal and drops a police motorcycle on Rick's leg.
Shane then runs and grabs his gun and goes to kill Randall. They struggle with it as Randall continues to inch towards the knife. Randall picks up the knife and tries to cut the ropes on his ankles.
Rick: "You're not doing this, you're not making those calls anymore. I won't let you."
Shane picks up a huge wrench, and tosses it, missing Rick and breaking through the window. And a walker appears and climbs out of the broken window. Rick takes out a walker with his other knife, but soon after more walkers proceed to spill out of the building and attack them.
Maggie yells at Beth for being suicidal. She tries to convince her that she matters, that her life matters. And that they all lost their mother and are feeling pain from her loss.
Shane runs through the crowded parking lot, and one lone walker goes after Randal, while another jumps out of the building.
Randal cuts his feet free, breaks the walkers arm, then brings his arms around to the front of his body and slams the knife into the walker's skull, repeatedly, to kill it.
Maggie and Beth argue loudly, while Lori and Andrea wait in the kitchen. Andrea wants to know where Hershel is. Lori believes that they should just let the two sisters work it out. When Beth stops fighting, then its time to worry.
Andrea: You shouldn't have taken the knife away. You were wrong. She has to find her own reasons to live. She only has so many choices in front of her, and thinks that her only option is suicide.
Lori, startled by her words, then snipes at her, and argues with Andrea about having to do the laundry while she doesn't care about anything but herself, sitting on the RV working on her tan.
They are arguing about gender roles in post-apocalyptic society. Do women belong in the kitchen and doing the laundry, or should they contribute to protecting the camp as well?
Lori believes that by maintaining her gender roles, as a mother and a house wife, provides stability and a life worth living for her family. Personally, I think everyone should contribute. It's a matter of survival. Providing stability is a part of it, but it's not just about cooking and cleaning, but keeping people safe as well. So in a way, they're both right.
Lori tells Andrea that she's insane. Andrea tells her that she's the crazy one, and self centered as well. (They're both selfish.)
Andrea reveals just how jealous she of what Lori has. She piles up her losses and Lori lays down rules for everyone but herself (which is true). Andrea has no family, and clashes with Lori. But, Andrea is selfish and afraid, just like Shane. And she forgets that Dale interfered and convinced her that life was worth living. He stayed behind at the CDC when she was going to stay and commit suicide with the others, and she left because she didn't want him to die. If he had not stayed with her when she was crying for help, she would've killed herself.
Lori knows that a girl Beth's age doesn't know enough about life to let it go. And Rick convinced her that life is worth living. So she isn't about to let someone just give up on everything. However, Andrea sees leaving someone alone that is crying out desperately for help as the best choice because it doesn't escalate the problem. Because "if she wants to live she'll pull through." Really?
It was a cry for help, but helping her by not letting her hurt herself isn't the right decision? I don't buy it.
Beth's whole world view has been destroyed. She's angry about what happened with her mother, and that her father was wrong about the zombie virus, and thinks that there is no hope.
Andrea is wrong. That is not how to help someone who is so overcome by grief that they are suicidal. You don't hand someone a loaded gun, or a knife, and say, "here, have at it." That's not how you show you care, or help them with their emotional pain. Because if they are depressed enough, they'll go through with it and end it all. And if they fail, they'll keep trying until they do.
One doesn't just get over it simply by failing to commit suicide the first go at it. Leaving them alone only makes it worse and can push them over the deep end. Honestly, don't these writers know anything about the human psyche? Leaving someone alone to attempt suicide because it will supposedly convince them that they want to live is not how you help someone through it. When someone is in that dark of a place, they need all the help and attention they can get.
Then there is the common theme of "opting out" of life in a zombie apocalypse. Is suicide really a good choice? A wise way out when the world turns to shit? Or the cowards way? (I say it's the coward's way out. It's easier to give up and end it all than keep on living and struggling to carry on. That requires strength and resolve that weaker people lack.)
The walkers are mockeries of life, a desecration of the sacred- of corpses that should've been respectfully buried and given their final resting place. Shouldn't life be even more sacred now that it's been so corrupted?
Rick runs away from the walkers, and dives for his gun under a car. He shoots one walker and it falls on him, then another only to have it fall on him, and then two more come for him and he has to shoot them through the head of the first walker he killed, and is left underneath a pile of them. He shoves them off and gets up.
At the farm, Maggie calls Beth a coward, and she is right. But Beth doesn't care anymore. "What are we waiting for? We should both do it, at the same time. It would be our choice, and it would be over. Or we'll be forced to do it when the farm is overrun by walkers." She doesn't believe that Rick's group would protect them. She is terrified of being eaten alive and wants to die on her own terms. But she isn't thinking straight. She begs Maggie to enter a suicide pact with her, that they'll kill each other off in her own bed. Mortified by her request Maggie refuses.
Shane runs into the school bus, with ten walkers on his heels. He struggles to keep the door shut, but they pull it open.
So he takes his knife, cuts his hand like Rick showed him. A walker shoves its head in and tries to lick the blood off the doorway of the bus, and Shane kills it with the knife.
Andrea comes up, convinces Maggie to leave Beth by herself, and goes in and sits with Beth and doesn't say anything. She just opens the bathroom door and asks her if its what she wants. Beth doesn't answer. Andrea tells her that the pain doesn't go away, you just make room for it. Then she leaves her by herself. (Seriously? How dumb and arrogant can you get? Andrea, like Shane, believes that she decides what is best for people and not anyone else.)
Rick finds Randall, who tries to convince him to take him with him. There are 10 walkers at the bus trying to get at Shane. They don't see them, and Randall points out that they can leave without being noticed. He tries to get Rick to let him help.
Rick takes Randall to the car, and it looks like they are leaving Shane to the walkers. (It looks like he's going to leave Shane to be eaten alive. I think he does it to teach him a lesson. But will it make Shane submit to Rick's rule? Or at least think twice about screwing him over, i.e. killing him or taking charge of the group? Probably not.)
Beth is sobbing in her bathroom, and we hear the mirror break. She has locked the door. Maggie can't get it open so Lori takes a fire poker and pries it open. Beth had cut her wrist and turns around, clutching it, sobbing, and says that she's sorry. (Yeah. Way to step up and take care of things Andrea. Leaving people when they are suffering? She is no better than Shane, believing that she knows what is best for people, even when its clear that she has absolutely no fricking idea of what to do. For someone who is supposed to be a "women's right's lawyer" she is utterly incompetent when it comes to helping people and understanding their feelings.)
One of the things that really bothers me about Andrea's actions is that she is once again being an idiot. First, she shoots Daryl when she wrongly believes she is protecting the camp from walkers, now she thinks she is helping Beth by leaving her to commit suicide.
It appears that the only women that are competent on the show that are left are Maggie and Carol. (Carol wasn't at first, but she has found strength to live and her relationship with Daryl has given her life a new purpose.)
Rick takes the dead walker guns and ammo, and Randall stands there, watching him as he looks at the dead guards, which I think reminds him that he and Shane used to be partners and officers of the law.
It looks like Shane's about to be eaten alive, when the car pulls up with Rick firing out the passenger side window at the walkers. They pull up and Shane leaps out the emergency exit and into the open window in the car. Randall drives through the closed gate and they escape, letting walkers go free.
Andrea runs up to the farm house and asks if Beth is all right. She tried to kill herself but she lived, so she has made her choice. Andrea thinks that this is a great thing, the idiot.
Maggie trusted her to watch her little sister and she left her alone. She tells Andrea to stay away from Beth, and her family, and to not step one foot into the farm house again.
Lori says that Beth now wants to live, and sometimes you have to cross the line to help someone realize what it is they really want. However, Maggie is correct to be angry and ban Andrea from the farm house. She is a danger to herself and others. (Just like Lori is.)
Rick and Shane tie Randall back up and shove him back in the trunk of the car and put a hood back on him. Rick no longer knows who to trust. He's afraid.
He tells Shane that if he wants to kill him that he's going to have to better than a wrench. He admits that they are probably going to have to kill the kid and he knows that it can't be easy killing someone.
"That is my wife, my son, my (unborn) child. If you're going to be with us, you gotta trust me. It's time for you to come back." Rick says and hands him back his gun (symbolically saying, "be my partner again.").
They drive back, and Shane sees the same walker, farther along the road, stares at it, staggering as it goes. I think he realizes that someday, that will be him. He's a dead man walking.
Shane and Rick are a sense of comfort to each other, even though they war with each other constantly. Rick feels that he owes Shane a debt because he saved his kid's life. Rick forgives Shane for killing Otis in order to save Carl. But I highly doubt he would've done the same thing if he were in Shane's position.
It looks like Rick has to decide if he is going to stick to his principles or if he is going to become a cold blooded killer (like Shane) in order to keep his family and friends safe.
My question: When is T-Dog going to become a part of a plot line again? He's been neglected and turned into a secondary, lesser supporting character after the first two episodes of the season. Poor T-Dog.