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The Walking Dead Review: Survival of the Fittest

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A dark twisted road lies in wait. Better shave your head and get ready.

I knew something wasn't right when Shane returned without Otis, and we hadn't been given the visual information of the final escape. As soon as Shane started to explain, I couldn't believe his muttered words. Then it dawned on me: What if he shot Otis, so the zombies would only go after one of them?

And then Shane shaved his head, the amount of bullets left were mentioned again, and a close up on the gun was shown. Even in guessing the act, watching Shane make his choice was jaw-dropping. Sure, it was fit for his character and something of a logical decision in the context of living... but oh, so, cold.

Did he do it to save himself? Did he do it to save Carl? Both?

Shane Surrounded

Either way, it depicted just how far a man is willing to go to survive. Is it a glimpse into Shane's unraveling or simply a hard decision no one ever wishes they would have to make? I can't imagine being in the same position, but I guess that's what a zombie apocalypse will do to you. It's all about base instincts and adapting to the surroundings, even if its not the "nice" way to do things.

I certainly can't see Rick making the same decision, although if he did, I'm sure he'd have the decency to shoot Otis in the head. Getting betrayed, shot, and then eaten alive is a crappy way to go. Poor Otis, we hardly knew ye. I've got a feeling karma is coming for you, Shane.

Once again, The Walking Dead really went nowhere but managed to hang onto the tension and action that makes this show a thrill ride every week. I'm sure for some the slow pace in real time is something of a bother, but for me it adds to the intensity of the characters' situation and the show itself.

It's not like the characters have anywhere they need to be and no matter where they go, they aren't ever really safe. It is the simple situations like a lost child or one on the verge of death that can be equally horrifying for a person to deal with emotionally and physically. The scene where Rick and Lori sat quietly with their backs against the wall, waiting for Shane to return or Carl to wake, said something boundless without saying anything. You don't always have to be headed somewhere for something to happen.

That said, I still have a bit of a problem with the quieter conversation moments.

For one, it's usually all about one person giving a drawn out exposition rather than a conversation between two people. I understand that it's meant to add depth to the characters, and we need much more of it, but sometimes it seems to drag a little too much.

Most notably, with all of the talk about the choice of life and death, religion and faith, I must wonder: how can every character seem to be thinking about it at the exact same time? I understand that it's a huge concept, but give it a rest for a moment. It's conceivable some folks are always such deep thinkers, isn't it?

Also, I still feel as if I only know the most basic of things about each character. It seems like Rick, Daryl, and especially Shane, are the characters that are being fleshed out the most. I care about this group (although I'm finding it hard to like Andrea with her consistent sour face and huffing about, or T-Dog and his ability to be clumsy and act like he's going to be the next to bite the big one). What would make me care more and be truly invested is to simply know more about them. That way, when they do take drastic action such as shooting someone to save themselves or praying out of the blue, we have a better understanding of their motivations. We get to see some sort of growth or falling apart.

"Save the Last One" did make attempts with respects to Daryl and his terrible home life, Shane and his reckless youth, and even Lori and her fears as a mother for her child. However, Rick needs to get some sense into her because there is a reason to keep on living. Don't just give up.

Despite a few shortcomings, I still found this episode to be fantastic. I was enraptured with Carl's struggle for life set against the hordes of zombies clawing and scratching for Shane and Otis. I think season two is doing a far better job of handling the pacing and ability to provide gripping scenes of shock, flesh-eating gross outs, and pure high tension. It's a show that continues to keep you fastened to your seat and craving for more.

A few extra thoughts:

  • I recognize we haven't had time to start exploring Hershel's farm yet, but how is there electricity? Where is this running hot water (that Shane is wasting!) coming from? The milk, the orange juice, the sandwiches... is there a convenience store out back we haven't seen? How come not one zombie has found its way onto the farm? It feels way too safe, way too stocked with supplies (minus the respirator needed right away), and no one is keeping watch.
  • How ripped is Jon Bernthal??!?
  • And why did Dale leave the camper? What was he looking for? Did I miss something?
  • Finally, what happens for the group now that Carl has been saved?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (83 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I am guessing next week, we'll find out that lost girl saw what Shane did.

Piecar

By the way...After watching the second time....I think Dale left Carol on the roof to stand watch........
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Because he wanted to smoke a cigarette, and for some reason, didn't want anyone to notice that he smoked cigarettes. It seemed the Morley moment led to this.

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Awesome episode! It's hard to put yourself up to the would I/wouldn't I decision Shane made not being in his position. I think they are setting up his character perfectly for what's ahead. Next weeks episode is going to be great, we finally will learn the not-so-secret-secret told to Rick at the CDC. Hoping for LOTS of drama!

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When it comes down to it he did save Carl and I'd take Carl over the miserable oaf that shot him anyday. I sympathize with Shane, not in that he did this horrible thing but that he sacrificed a large portion of his humanity to save himself and the boy he loved.

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"faceted to your seat"? Please look up "faceted" in a dictionary.

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The fact that he didn't shoot him in the heat leads me to believe that they are going to bring him back as a zombie later on. Which is ridiculous all on its own.

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Great show. Much better than Breaking Bad.

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I really enjoy this show, I just happened to Watch the Centurion on TV with Micheal Fassberger this weekend VERY BLOODY but there was a scene in there that totally was just like Shane Shooting OTIS where one bad guy selfish Roman faked not being able to run any more due to being chased by wolves and when his "friend" came to his aid he cut his leg with a sword and left him for the wolves, sound familiar, but it is the story line survival of the fittest and I still cannot see Andrew Lincoln with out seeing him in Love Actually. But I really like the show, and I wish that gal would quite crying, her daughter is out there alive, dead or undead.

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Of course, no one knows what they would do in a life or death situation. We know what road we would hope that we take, but doing the courageous thing or the cowardly thing can come down to whether you think you can live with doing the cowardly thing. So now the big question will be how what he has done affect Shane from here on out. And how will the cowardly acts of Shane affect fans opinions of that character? The thing is, what he did was so wrong on so many levels. Otis had just saved Shane's life and had volunteered in the first place to help him, feeling so bad about shooting Carl (a total accident). Shane was the one slowing them down with a bad ankle, yet Otis did not abandon him to improve his chances of survival. Shane, perhaps because he didn't have the guts to murder Otis outright, just wounded him knowing he would suffer an agonizing death at the hands of the walkers. Fictional or not(and buffed or not), I really despise Jon Bernthal's character. Plus, it raises the strong possibility (again)that he did know Rick was still alive when he left him at the hospital. Self-preservation is the ultimate objective of this man, although his desire to have Lori and Carl as his own was even stronger when he took them with him. Does anyone doubt now that Shane's desire for Lori didn't play a part in abandoning Rick, or that Lori being unsure she still loved her husband speed up her "mourning period" before inviting Shane to her bed? The "what would you do in his shoes?" question has been tossed around a lot even to soften the reality of his sexual assault of Lori at the CDC, but I tend to look at these things a little more simply. Shane is a scumbag. And being buffed just makes him a buffed scumbag.

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Last night was the best show in a few weeks. It was getting too slow and they really needed to make the characters more interesting if they are going to hang out on the farm for 4 episodes. Shane made his first "cold" choice, we don't know his reasons yet but I can see him becoming the "pragmatic" one in the group as the season continues. As far as I'm concerned it's long past time that some of them started bringing up the hard choices like: What's our ultimate plan for survival? Why go to Ft Benning? Kudos for opening up on the background of Dale, I really liked his story while walking through the woods searching for the girl. I want to know the low points some of these characters have faced in their lives because it's probably only going to get worse. I want to see who's going to man up and who's going to give up.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

"Got bit. Fever hit. World gone to shit. Might as well quit." Dumbass didn't know enough to shoot himself in the head.

Daryl

Lori: Maybe this is how its supposed to be.
Rick: You can't mean that.

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