harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

TWD Reviewed: Season 2, Episode 10


The Walking Dead
S2, Ep 10

"18 Miles Out"

Writers: Scott M. Gimple & Glen Mazzara
DIR: Ernest Dickerson

Blurb: Rick and Shane argue over what to do with Randall. Back at the farm, Lori, Andrea and Maggie deal with a suicidal Beth.

Sc01: We open on a deserted scene, where in the past somebody had been holed up. It may be a schoolyard, or parking lot. There are emergency vehicles, but now everything is quiet.

We suddenly jump-cut to walkers bursting out through glass, and Shane rushing just ahead of them as they try to catch up to him. He's stumbly and looks like he's been in a fight, already.

Sc02: In the meantime, Rick is standing against a wall of the public building (school? public works?), where another walker is raging out through a busted window right at him.

Rick also has a minor head wound. He now runs too, as the walker trips and falls over debris.

Sc03: In the meantime-the-third, the boy that Rick rescued from being walker-chow is on the ground, between two cars. He's been trussed up by the hands, so can't get his feet under him. He can hear the chaos happening with Rick and Shane, and scoots along the ground, trying to find an exit.

He sets his sights on a knife, dropped on the pavement....

Sc04: Back with Shane, he's dashing across tarmac. As he weaves through abandoned cars, he's stumbling about so can't make a clean getaway. He's able to make it to a bus, where he only barely manages to close out the walkers against their clawing fingers.

As the walkers hoard around the school bus refuge, Shane looks desperate.


... Credits Interrupt, as They Do

Commentary: So, we've got a good, energetic start. Presumably, we'll now find out why Rick, Shane and Randall are at this place, with Randall bound. Which immediately bugs me... only a little, but I can feel the talky flashback coming.

Sc05: When we come back, we pan over a desolate road. Our attention comes upon a car approaching a crossroads. The car rolls to a stop, and Rick and Shane get out to survey the area. Shane asks after why Rick stopped, if they're going '18 Miles Out'. Rick tells Shane that he wanted to talk. There isn't a sign of Randall, but clearly he's trussed up in the trunk.

Clearly, we're in flashback land and making our way toward where things went sideways.

Shane thinks that Rick wants to talk about their disagreement over Randall's fate, but actually Rick has decided to confront the issue of Otis and what really happened out at the school. Shane assures Rick that it was a survival move, and that it was obvious they both weren't going to make it out of there with the supplies for Carl. Rick asks after Shane thinking that he isn't capable of doing anything to keep his son and baby safe. He warns Shane that Lori is telling him he's turned dangerous to them, but tells him that he isn't going to be a threat... not to the group, and not to Rick himself.

Rick confronts Shane on what happened in the recent past between he and his wife. He emphasizes that Lori is HIS wife, Carl is HIS son and that baby is HIS. He tells him that they only way they can keep moving forward, is if Shane accepts everything he just said right here, right now.

[I have some issue with the blocking on this scene. I like the intimacy of the moment... Rick is standing just about on top of Shane's feet, staring him down and speaking quietly about his real feelings about Lori's affair, but once again, the camera is too flickin' close on faces. They're crammed up against the camera lens, letting us count sweaty pores, and it's too close.

I also really wanted Rick to take a deep breath, and just reach out and pull Shane into a manly man-hug... to show that he and Shane could really be the partners they were on the force, again. These two men have had intimately close and touching moments, already, so I wish we'd gotten one more here.

Alas, the scene isn't reading as if Shane is going to accept that Lori isn't in love with him, even now, so I fear for Rick's safety when the shit hits the fan. I'd constantly worry, if I were Rick, that a friendly fire situation is in my future, if I don't stop ending up in isolated places with my former-friend. This feels like an awful place to so directly confront Shane, while he's holding a shotgun, and Rick's gun is still holstered.]

Rick starts to walk back to the car. Shane interrupts him, to recount what was happening in the news while Rick was out of it in the hospital bed. Shane tells Rick about being in the hospital, trying to get him out, and seeing soldiers murdering people - not walkers, but patients in the hallways. He tells Rick about the guilt he carried when he knew that he couldn't save him, and himself. That the only way to live, was to let him go in that room.

Shane tells Rick that if he could take back everything with Lori, he would. He calls Rick his brother, and assures him that before the world ended, he hadn't looked at Lori in that way. Rick stalks back to the car to check on Randall.

Commentary: I loved Shane's ending this scene with this heartfelt monologue. I wish it was doing more good between these two, because as I've mentioned before, the group needs both. Rick's compassion and Shane's ruthlessness. Together, they could be a potent leadership. And I felt like, with Shane's monologue, that we could pull this destructive force between them back. But... Rick just walks away, here, instead of that manly man-hug that might've made the difference.

Sc06: We now see that Randall is, in fact, in the back of the SUV, where he's been fitted with a walkman playing loud music so he can't orient himself to where's he being taken or hear any conversation from the passenger compartment of the car. Rick checks the ropes binding him at ankles and wrists, before returning a dark hood over his head.

Sc07: Back at the farm, Lori and Maggie are throwing together lunch. Maggie complains about Glen's feeling inadequate because he froze in town, and he's blaming her for getting inside his head. Lori tells Maggie that men are gonna be men, and they're always going to blame 'the little woman' for things they do, and things they don't do. She asks Maggie if she feels she has anything to apologize for, and Maggie shakes her head. Lori tells her to tell Glen to man-up and get himself together.

She then laughs a little, and offers that Maggies shouldn't use the term, 'man up' though, because that never lands well.

Maggie says she needs to get lunch to Beth, but Lori sends her off to find Glen, while she takes care of Beth upstairs.

Sc08: Out on the road, it's very quiet in the car. Rick starts discussing their futures. He points out that they're using too much ammo for single walkers, and they need to switch to using knives where they're able to save on noise and so they don't burn through their bullets.

Rick talks about he coming weather, and what goods they'll need to start storing now. He drones on about maybe getting lucky enough to have a harsh winter that'll at least slow the walkers down and make them all safer.

Shane is only half-listening, as he stares at a walker trudging its way across a field off of the highway.

Sc09: At the farmhouse, Beth is still lying in shock and grief over the 'barn incident'.

Lori tries to rouse Beth to get up and take a walk outside after she eats. Beth focuses on how pointless it all is, and questions of the wisdom of Lori 'allowing' herself to get pregnant. Lori tells her there is still hope, and urges her to eat something. Rather foolishly, her and Maggie have left a knife on the serving tray within easy reach and Lori doesn't stay with her.

Commentary: I like that the entire barnyard massacre hasn't simply been forgotten. Everyone but Beth are moving on from it, but it still hangs over the interactions between Herschel's group and Rick's. I do wish we'd gotten Carol bringing Beth the tray, though. I think that would've been a more meaningful scene.

Sc10: Back in the car, Shane points out to Rick that they've passed the 18 mile point that was planned. Rick reports that he's looking for a place to drop off that will give Randall a decent shot at surviving, instead of dumping him on the road in the middle of nothing.

Shane doesn't like this - as he already is convinced Rick is too 'soft'. And this is where we reach the destination that we started the episode at: The Mert County Department of Public Works.

Commentary: I don't know. I'm onboard with Rick choosing a random house to leave Randall at, rather than dumping him on the road -- but to leave him at a place clearly labeled as to where he is... that seems like it will defeat the purpose of driving him out there in the first place. Surely, he could easily find the Mert County sign, look at a map, find a car with some gas, and make his way back to the farm's general area where his repugnant cohorts may still be lurking around.

I'd have felt better if we saw Rick turning onto a dirt driveway in the middle of nowhere, and released Randall there.

I also didn't like Jon's acting in this particular scene. It felt off that he was pissy about not dropping Randall on the road, when it isn't like Rick was driving miles and miles out of their way to change up their agreed to plans. And his sitting in the passenger seat with his mouth hanging open... it was like he was suddenly Cletus-Village Idiot.

Sc11: At the Public Works yard, Rick decides this'll do. A walker, in the form of a police officer, comes stumbling toward the yard fence. Shane immediately goes for his gun, but Rick reminds him of their conversation regarding turning to knives for single walkers that are under control. He knifes the former cop.

Another ex-cop comes stumbling toward the fence, and Rick turns to Shane to follow his lead with the quiet kill.

Sc12: Once they've cut open the chain lock to gain access, they find evidence that there were people there at some point seeking refuge. Some cans lie on the ground, some of which aren't opened.

Shane and Rick split up, but keep close, to make sure everything is as quiet as it appears. Rick runs across a pile of burned corpse remains, where bodies had been stacked.

Sc13: Shane comes across the school bus, he'll be taking shelter in later. There are signs of its use, but nobody - alive or undead - are within it. There is a dreaded baby-seat abandoned. Outside, Shane kicks at some corpses, but nothing moves.

Behind him, Rick has found a potable water truck and busies himself with collecting water. Shane wonders at the two dead bodies he's examined, and calls over. He points out that neither body has any bite marks, but they were clearly zombies before being put down. Rick suggests scratches may've been enough [which seems really weak reasoning].

Having determined that the place is as safe as anywhere, Randall is retrieved from the back of the SUV.

Commentary: It's cliche now that any death is enough to reanimate a former person, so I had guessed quite a ways back that their focus on bites only was short sighted, but in-universe, that hadn't been established yet - this scene is setting up the big reveal that isn't shocking to those of us who have seen a fair share of zombie movies. But I can forgive everyone in-universe having not dwelled on the hows... they've been a bit busy having their friends die and trying not to join them.

The only problem with the 'scratches' theory is that we've seen our characters covered in walker-blood, but not getting sick which is an inconsistency that continues to hamper logic in the writing. There is also the fact that we don't get any explanation except the lame 'scratch marks' for these two deaths. Unless both of these unfortunates had simultaneous heart attacks, their being here in this state doesn't make sense, really.

Sc14: Back with Beth, she's weeping to herself when Lori comes in to check on her. She sees that Beth hasn't eaten a bite, but at least she isn't lying in a near catatonia any longer and is feeling things again.

Lori is all sympathy with how hard it was on Beth to see her mother gunned down, and then have her try to kill her when she wasn't put down enough. Lori tries to bring Beth to focus on her living relatives and friends, but Beth is now feeling the full despair of feeling like trying to survive is pointless and empty.

Lori promises that they can make 'right now' alright together. She takes her tray to the kitchen, where she notices that the knife is missing [WHY WAS A SHARP KNIFE GIVEN TO HER, IN HER STATE LORI & MAGGIE!?!] She rushes back upstairs.

Sc15: She finds Beth back under the covers, immovable and inconsolable. Lori asks for the knife, and Beth reluctantly hands it over.

Sc16: This puts a scare into Lori, and she rushes out into the yard where she finds Andrea on the RV keeping guard. She asks after either Herschel or Maggie. Andrea saw Maggie walk by 20 minutes ago with Glen, and Lori asks her to run and find them, while she turns and heads back to the house at a run.

Sc17: Back at the public works, Shane and Rick drag the still shackled, and blindfolded Randall to between two vehicles, where we saw him lying at the beginning. Randall, on getting the fact that he's to be left there alone, starts shouting at them for being stupid and not letting him join them to help protect what they got. Rick drops the knife for his to eventually cut away his restraints - the knife that we'll see Randall crawling towards.

While yelling at their backs that he was just like them, and was only with the Gang o' Creeps because he was alone, he mentions having gone to school with Maggie!

Rick and Shane come to a stop: This changes the entire calculation on Randall not being a severe problem later if he knows Maggie and knows where her family farm is located.

Randall blubbers on about knowing Maggie, even though she didn't know he existed. He promises that he would never do anything to hurt her or her family, but Shane and Rick are now dealing with the fact that the 'leave him here' isn't going to work. Neither trusts him a whit. Shane points out the obvious of what could happen if Randall finds his people, and leads them back to the farm.

Shane draws his pistol and fires at Randall lying on the ground, but Rick knocks him over, ruining the shot... the noisy shot.

Sc18: Rick tells Shane that he needs to think on it before they simply murder the boy. Randall tries begging for his life, but this only gets an angry and frustrated, "Shut up!" from Rick and he paces.

Rick decides to take Randall back to the farm for the night, so he can think about what they'll do ultimately. This pisses Shane off. He rightly points out that Randall was running with a group of garbage that wanted to kill him, and now he's going to bring him back to where his wife and son are sleeping.

Shane rages at Rick that it's always the same with him, making things complicated when the only right answer is the one that keeps them alive and safe. Rick accuses Shane of always acting like he knows everything they should do when he's just as lost as the rest of them. Shane accuses Rick of not being able to keep his family safe.

This is the catalyst for all of the roiling emotions to explode, and Rick and Shane get into a knockdown-dragout. While the two men are wordlessly shouting in each other's faces and trying to beat each other into pulp, Randall uses the opportunity to start his crawl toward the knife lying on the pavement.

Sc19: Fight, fight, fight! Crawl, crawl, crawl.

Shane knocks Rick to the ground, and tips a motorcyle on top of his legs. He retrieves his pistol. Randall continues a desperate crawl toward his mode of freedom.

Sc20: Shane spots Randall going toward the dropped knife, and lines up a bead with the back of his head. But Rick comes from stage right for round 2.

Rick manages to put Shane down on the ground this time, while Randall is able to reach the needed blade to start freeing himself.

As Shane struggles to his feet, Rick shouts at him that he won't let Shane make life or death decisions for everyone else anymore. Shane, meanwhile, grabs a large truck wrench. Shane, with a roar of rage, sends the wrench flying at Rick's head. [As he releases it, it turns into the worst-looking CGI imaginable. CGI-]Wrench hits the window that we saw shattered in the opening.

Within, is the walkers that have been mostly missing that would explain why the encampment was abandoned at some point. And they're quite excited to be free and to have meat so close to hand.

Rick kills the first one out, and then noticing that he's not alone, rolls the corpse over top of himself in a Daryl-Maneuver. This leaves the pouring hoard of undead to focus on chasing down Shane.

Commentary: Excepting that truly risible CGI, I loved this whole scene crystalizing all of the conflicts that Rick and Shane have with each other and their different philosophies of survival in a time of apocalypse. The only thing though, is that once again, the camera work is so frickin' close-in on faces. I don't know what the obsession is with see individual pores, but it makes the fight scene herky-jerky and unsatisfying. I also don't like that Randall waited until now to mention that he knows Maggie, so isn't a threat to her. It just isn't plausible that he'd wait until the middle of nowhere after being tied up, deafened and blinded to use that card as a way to try to save himself by staying with a group.

Finally, I wish we had a better editing protocol in place. As has been an ongoing issue, we skip from the middle of the action to drama at the farm, but the cutaways aren't well handled. We don't change our view at the right places or breaks in the action of one scene to the other, if that makes sense. Here, we should be staying with Rick, Shane and Randall until at least Shane making it to the bus, where he ends up trapped.

But instead...

Sc21: Back at the farm - Maggie is confronting Beth on threatening suicide by knife. She tells her that would kill their father, and herself to lose her like that. Maggie reminds her that they all lost their mother/wife. But Beth says that they're all going to lose each other, and she can't stand that.

Sc22: We return to Shane, stumbling and bumbling his way between discarded vehicles with the undead hot on his heels.

In the meantime, Randall is sawing away at the bindings, but it looks like he won't be fast enough. One walker sees him struggling, and figures he'd be an easier meal all for herself, rather than having to share Shane's internals.

Sc23: Back with Rick, with the wave of walkers now dispersed, he rolls out from under his corpse-shield. Which is a mistake, since there are stragglers still finding the new exit from the building they've been cooped up in.

He takes off at a run.

Sc24: Back with Randall, he's focused on sawing at his wrist restraints. His attacker is falls to the ground, but he's able to roll away from being pinned by her. He kicks her arm to break it, making it more difficult for her to regain her feet as he now runs off the best he can, while still be tied.

Watching zombie-lady crawling toward him, he's able to position the blade between his ankles to cut himself free at the feet. And to get his arms in front of him enough to stab her in the head.

He calls her a bitch, and stabs and stabs and stabs into the back of her head... perhaps justifying Shane's extreme fear that he isn't as helpless as he's been playing.

Sc25: Back at the farm again to continue Maggie and Beth's arguing over the sensibility of taking early retirement from the hopeless mess they're in.

Commentary: G'ddamned this editing. Why are we trying to juxtapose what is happening with Randall with what Beth is going through. It doesn't work, and it's needlessly breaking up both plots by constantly snatching us away just as things - either the drama, or the action - is ramping up. It's bleeding out all of the tension that is being built within the scenes (especially the zombie attack happening).

Sc26: In the kitchen, Lori and Andrea quietly listen to the screamfest upstairs. Andrea asks after Herschel, but we don't get an answer as to where he is right now. She also offers that this situation could've been handled better. When Lori asks how so, she tells her that she shouldn't have taken the knife away from her. Andrea is obviously reflecting back on her own choice being stripped of her [as she sees it -- I've already offered my opinion on that] by Dale's interference.

This leads to an argument about trying to help someone until they're more rational versus letting someone make their own decision about whether they have a reason to fight to live. Lori is a bit pissy about Andrea's attitude to just let the high schooler decide if death is the way, while Andrea rightly tells her that if Beth can't find a reason to live for herself, she'll find another way to complete her intention.

Somehow, this argument leads to Lori expressing her resentment at Andrea for not contributing more around the homestead, but instead working on her tan on the RV. Andrea fires back that she's keeping them save by watching for walkers, but Lori argues the men can handle the gunplay, they don't need her help, while there is more than enough 'domestic work' to go around for all of them.

It doesn't take long for Andrea's resentment at Lori for what she sees as Lori trying to play some sort of Queen Bee and handing down expectations for the rest of them from on high to come roaring out. She accuses Lori of not getting it, because she hasn't suffered the losses that she, Carol and Beth have suffered. Lori argues that her husband is out there for the hundredth time, risking his life again. But Andrea points out that her husband came back from the dead, her son came back from the dead, she has a baby on the way and she always has a boyfriend in waiting. The rest of them haven't been so blessed.

[Whoof. That was nicely delivered, Laurie Holden!]

Andrea tells Lori that she should just tell Beth to look on the bright side, while she stomps out of the kitchen.

Commentary: Wow. I loved Lori being taken down a peg, here. Because, as Carol has pointed out, Lori is like the first lady of the group... and it sure does seem like she's bought into it a little too much. I don't like all of the way that these sentiments were scripted, but I did enjoy this confrontation. Except. C'mon, you knew there had to be one right? Except: Lori's argument that there is too much work for the other women, who could use Andrea's help is both ridiculous on its face, but also more problematic is that it is giving the menfolk a free pass to skip any domestic chores on behalf of the group. Glen is the only one whose actions aren't fully revolving around holding a gun and waiting for something to react to.

Lori's argument here really seems to boil down to the situation at the makeshift quarry encampment... that there is women-work and men-work and Andrea should focus on laundry and cooking and cleaning. It's reprehensible, really.

I can't imagine Sarah reading this dialog, and not hating her own character. I've said it before, but Lori's character is really damaged by the scripting. It's hard to sympathize with her, and it's nothing to do with the actor, and everything to do with the inconstant, confused reading of her character because of the shitty things the writers have her do or say. And it never feels organic... like this character is a problem because she's designed that way - it always comes across as "
We need a scene for this character, so... uh... lets have her argue this! Just don't look too closely at previous things we had her do, because we can't afford to pay too much attention to consistency when we need the script to lead to this place for this other character".

Like many things, this is frustrating to me. And now that we're on the back half of season 2, any growing pains should've been worked out by now.

Sc27: Back in the yard, Rick is belly down on the ground between cars trying to find the lost Python handgun during his dustup with Shane. He finds it just in time, as his hunter has been joined by a few friends and they're much too close now for him to get to his feet for another run.

Rick fires and the zombie falls atop him. He tries to get a bead on the zombie behind him, but it trips over and falls on top of the walker that Rick has lying on him. He's able to get off another shot, which now means there are two deadweights pinning him down. A third trips over the other two, and - yep, lays over Rick, while trying to rip at his face. Rick finds himself pinned solidly, and without the angle he needs to kill the third walker.

As he's straining to breath from his compressed chest, he lines up his gun barrel through the mouth of the first walker he shot, in order to get a shot at the third one. He fires three shots, which empties the gun, but it's enough to stop the attack. With effort and strain, he's able to free himself. Lying nearby is the knife that Randall had been using, but there isn't any sign of the boy.

Commentary: That was an awesome bit. It was scary, it was nice to see Rick really struggling in such an untenable position, and the shot through the zombie's mouth to take out another was nicely filmed. I liked it.

Sc28: At the farmhouse, Maggie accuses Beth of cowardice. Beth tries to reiterate a different way that everything they're doing to fight won't make any difference. They're all going to horribly die one by one.

Beth tells Maggie it's only a matter of time before they're overrun and she doesn't want to die being gutted. She offers that both of them could help each other leave quietly and be done with all of this.

Commentary: I really liked the acting here between Lauren and Emily. Beth has been such a complete cypher due to the number of characters the writers are trying to juggle that we haven't gotten any development from her. This opens up her character, and I really appreciated the dialog that articulates Beth facing the same choice as Andrea had. Although I disagree with Andrea's hands-off approach to Beth's choice - I like that Beth's arguments are making sense within the context of her situation. I would've liked some indication that Lori was a bit more self-aware throughout this - but I'm not sure how it would've been scripted in - but she was wondering the point of saving Carl's life only a few weeks ago. It would've been nice for some acknowledgement that they've all had to deal with the issue of when enough is enough, even if she strongly disagrees that Beth has reach a situation where giving up is the right option.

Sc29: Back with Shane, we're exiting the flashback as he barricades himself in the bus with no options to getting out.

Sc30: Back with Beth [this editing again... it's very clumsy], Andrea pops in, now that the yelling has stopped. At the door, she tells Maggie that she can't sit on top of her indefinitely. She tells Maggie that she's exhausted and should take a break to go outside for some air. She offers to sit with Beth until she's gotten herself back together.

Sc31: After Maggie leaves to freshen up, Andrea is sitting with Beth. Beth awaits a "we still have things to live for" spiel, but Andrea doesn't believe in platitudes. Andrea crosses the room and open another room door. She asks if her leaving Beth to it is what she wants. Andrea tells Beth that the pain isn't going to go away, but that she can make room for it.

She leaves her alone.

Commentary: Yeah. I don't even know what to say to this. For Andrea to do this, giving Beth her freedom to choose, makes sense for her character. But to do so, right after looking Maggie in the eye and offering to keep Beth from being alone and able to do something desperate is just... god-awful. It is such a short-sighted choice, I can't even believe it.

Sc32: Randall still hasn't been able to cut loose his hands, but he's planning on a run away from the yard. But, Rick runs right into him and stops him. Randall asks him to just let him go, as was the plan to begin with and notes that Rick is looking after the bus where Shane is trapped. He asks him if he's really going to try to help somebody that was going to bash his head in.

Randall tries to convince Rick to just get out of there with him and they can help each other escape alive. But seeing that Rick isn't going to budge from finding a way to help [the undeserving at this point] Shane, asks for a gun to help Rick help Shane.

Ultimately, Rick seems to give up on saving Shane, yanking Randall along with him and telling him that Shane did this to himself.

From the bus, Shane pleads with Rick not to leave him, while he watches his former friend and their prisoner take off through a tear in a fence and disappear.

Shane is left pondering that he is completely fucked.

Sc33: Maggie returns from her break, to find no Andrea and now no Beth. She calls for her sister, to hear her sobbing from the bathroom with the sounds of breaking glass. The bathroom door is locked.

Lori has come up as well, and Maggie reports what she suspects Beth is up to behind the locked door.

The bedroom has a fireplace installed, so there is a fire poker that Lori grabs. The lock is pretty weak, so it gives way to minimal prying. Inside the bathroom, they find Beth sobbing at the broken mirror. She's sliced one of her wrists, but is now holding her other hand against the wound. She apologizes for doing it through her sobs.

Sc34: Back at the yard, Rick stared down at the mysteriously dead cops. He gives a thousand-yard stare.

Sc35: Back at the school bus, the walkers have not gotten bored with Shane-hunting. He uses blood from his hand inside the doorjamb to try to distract the zombies poking their head through the door gap he can't keep closed. This way he can knife them in the skull, and keep a bottleneck between him and the ravening hoard.

But since he'll tire out, and they won't... his situation hasn't really improved any.

Shane suddenly hears Rick calling his name, and sees the SUV crashing through a gate and headed in his direction. Rick fires his re-loaded pistol at the walkers, while shouting to Shane to get to the back bus door.

Rick has Randall drive the SUV around to the back of the bus, so Shane can jump in through the back window of the SUV, while his pursuers are zerg rushing the inside of the school bus.

They're able to race away.

Sc36: In the SUV, Randall is elated and whooping and hollerin' over their escape. Rick uses his gun to emphasize that this doesn't make Randall one of them. From the backseat, Shane gazes on his friend. Maybe re-appreciating him... maybe seeing more proof that Rick is willing to risk too much, instead of making the hard choice.

Sc37: Back at the house, Andrea has been out watching for walkers again. She notes Maggie coming out on the porch, with Lori close behind, and runs up to find out what happened with Beth. Maggie glares daggers at her and asks her where she was, when she was supposed to be watching her.

Andrea is pleased to find out that Beth made her choice, and despite slicing her wrist that Herschel is offscreen stitching, Beth's choice was to live. She tries to go in and see her, but Maggie is not nearly as pleased with Andrea's self-righteousness at leaving it up to Beth, as she is of herself. Maggie orders Andrea to not come near Beth or her again, and to never dare step another foot in their house.

Andrea - a bit hurt, but understanding - nods and walks away to Lori's flat, disappointed looks at her.

On the porch, Lori stops Maggie briefly. She tells her that she isn't taking Andrea's side and isn't telling her that what she did was right. But she does point out the same thing Andrea did, that Beth wants to live and now she knows that she wants to live.

Andrea in the meantime is walking away from them, a rejected look on her mug.

Sc38: Back on the road, the SUV is stopped. POV-Cam shows us that Randall has been gagged, deafened and rebound for another trip in the storage compartment. Rick and Shane glare daggers at him, and Rick is a little too rough with handling him, now pissed that they've still got to decide what to do with this stranger who knows how to find them in their safe haven.

For no reason, except spite, Rick throws the bag back over his head, too.

Sc39: Rick offers to Shane as they stand at the back of the SUV, that if he wants to kill him, he'll have to do better than a [really pathetic looking CGI-]wrench.

Rick admits to Shane that they're probably going to have to kill 'that boy', but that he wants to think about it for a night. He tells Shane they can't make it that easy to kill someone.

He looks over at Shane, "That is my wife. That is my son. That is my child."

He tells Shane that if he's coming home with him, he has to have enough trust in him to follow his lead. Rick whispers to him that it's time he come back, and hands him a police gun. Shane says nothing.

Sc40: On the drive back, Shane chews at a thumbnail and watches out of the window. They pass the walker out in the middle of the field along the highway, again.

Nothing resolved.

The Good: The cold opening in the midst of an attack was good. And I liked the use of the flashback, here, although I'm not convinced it was needed.

I also appreciate that Rick is finally confronting things about Shane, with Shane. It's maddening, in a good way, how we keep almost bringing Shane back from the darkness and you could see Rick and he reconciling if they can get past the recent history with a long, talk ... maybe with lots of hugs and holding... and a small kiss... yeah, that would help.

I like this really grey moral area that we've set up with what to do about Randall.

I really liked all of the scenes with the walkers vs. Randall, Rick and/or Shane.

I also really liked the argument between the frightened Maggie and the despondent Beth. And I liked the acting from both actors.

The Bad: The plot-jumping bothered me a lot more in this one than in other episodes. It just kept bungling the momentum built up by the intense fighting between Rick and Shane, and then between them and the freed walkers. It was just-kinda pissing me off a bit, everytime we left the scene at the wrong point in order to check in with the farmhouse.

Why is a meat knife being delivered to Beth?? Other than to force a weak attempt at tension. It was stupid, and didn't even matter.

Oh, no. CGI. Please stop this.

Other Thoughts: I am continuing to have issues with just how on-top of the actors the camera sits during emotionally charged moments. I get that it's supposed to promote a sense of intimacy and intensity, but I keep finding it too distracting.

I do have a caveat about Randall: I sure hope that the argument about what to do with him isn't as drawn out as the search for Sophia. I get that this is an ugly situation with no good choices, but if ever we need Rick to be decisive to spare us, this is that time. Make a decision, carry out, and move on as best we can.

I also don't understand Randall's not mentioning knowing Maggie until the middle of nowhere. That felt like a late script addition.

I really disliked the disjointed arguments going on between Lori and Andrea, and the very weirdly gender-role specific arguments that Lori is trying to lay on Andrea. Not only is it ridiculous that people like Daryl are able to laze about when there is work to be done, but there is zero purpose in the she-folk not knowing their way around guns and helping to supplement the farm's security. I did really like Andrea knocking Lori's simple-minded arguments down about not giving up, when she hasn't really lost anything yet. I'm sure it's easy to argue hope, when you're the one who keeps getting the miracle.

The Score: It's a decent episode, but it could've been so much stronger if the editing and scene-swapping had been more delicately handled. I'm also not sure what to feel about the ending with Rick once again straining to bring Shane back into the fold, after he tried to bash his brains in, and with no committment on Shane's part to giving up on his Lori-Carl-Baby fantasy.

3.50 out of 5 stars

Tags: walking dead season 2 review

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