The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead Review: Survival of the Fittest

by at . Comments

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 think I know the answer to why Shane shot Otis then shaved his head. Otis was bitten by a zombie, so shane realised that he was dead anyway, told him he was sorry and shot him in the leg. Otis grabbed Shane's head and pulled out a clump of hair. Shane thought he had been scratched by Otis and shaved his head to inspect the wound.

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I liken Shane's actions to the likes of drowning victims who also drown their rescuers. Panic (plus exhaustion and possibly injuries that worsen with strenuous activity)leads to irrational decision making. The disconnect occurs when we realize that we are all safe on our couches and are allowed the time to process everything that has occurred at our leisure.

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Lord have mercy-what a body that Shane has!! meow!!! that being said, im thinking that his morality went south when he slept with his best friends wife, even though they thought he was dead. there is something about his eyes when he was looking at himself in the mirror that makes me think he has snapped. cant wait for next weeks episode!! my new addiction-just started watching it at the beginning of this season, just to see what all the fuss was about. then had to go to netflix to watch season 1. What an awesome show.

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Okay, so when we saw what Shane did to Otis I was like OMG, how could he just do that? I think he did it to save himself, which in his position I am not sure I wouldn't have done the same. It was still a cold thing to do and I think it will have consequences for Shane. It will not sit well with him and the guilt will eat at him. That being said, has anyone noticed that these walkers are getting a lot faster this season? Last season they just kinda walked around slowly and this season they are running. Just sayin'. I love this show and can't wait til next week.

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Wonder why Shane did what he did... I don't think it was completely just for increasing his chances for survival... Maybe it was for revenge... Then again, whys he all shaken up in the bathroom?.

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So Im being all serious, reading your review, trying to find the wisdom you always dole out about each episode and then you made me choke on my coffee! Throwing in, "How ripped in Jon Bernthal?" Freakin hilarious! Thanks for making my day...and yes, yes he is!

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Wow Shane is cold hearted! I mean he could have shot him in the head so he would die a quick death. Or do Zombies only eat the living? I don't know what the writers are going to do with Shane's character, but I have a feeling Rick better watch his back. Shane is not best friend material. What's on the farm?? I have not read the comics.

Symph2001

In regards to the food frozen orange juice and other food stockpiled in a basement.... Lots of people do it. Generators? Solar powered batteries recharged daily? There are people all over that have emergency planning down to a science. If everyone just took a moment to think..... who do you know that's probably got weapons/food/emergency supplies hidden in the attic or basement? now consider would they take you in or shoot you on the porch? If the first run to them if the second you may want to start laying in your own supplies. :) And the body - Oh YEAH!

Piecar

How come there ain't zombies on Hershel's farm?....Zombies follow the path of least resistance unless provoked, and the gate is closed. (also: Hang
onto your hat on this point...) How come they got water?...a Well. How come they got HOT water and power? Farm generator that gets used in emergencies and a smart, practical farm family. Old fashioned wood boiler? The milk? Cows. The orange juice? Well, you got me there. Most of the story this week was handwringing(and the boy won't die. I'm 99% sure)and some character development...on the most interesting character in the series, surely. But the Andrea storyline is completely uninteresting. If she wanted to die she could have done it without a gun. People stop asking her about it, please. I had liked Dale last season, but he's getting to be sort of a shmaltzy sap rather than the Wise One. I hope they correct this. How many people are committing suicide in big tents in these woods? Good scene, anyway. I'd have checked for supplies though. I really liked almost all of the Shane And Otis At School stuff. It was pretty harrowing and it looked great. The way they played it was interesting, thematically. (When Shane showed up alone, I was pissed off. "Otis died off screen?!?!" I'm s'posed ta be good at this stuff, but I got fooled.) I have wondered why they kept Shane alive in this story(Carl killed him in the comics before they ever left the quarry)and now I know. He gets to be the asshole who does that horrible thing that people think about but say they won't do. It was a legitimate, yet very cold, thing to do in the situation. Last week I joked about "I don't have to outrace them, just you" with Otis. I think Shane thought that the whole time. When he got hobbled himself, he had to press things a bit. We all know the points stacked AGAINST Otis in the situation. I don't think I would do what Shane did, but I don't know. Though I'm shaped more like Otis, so I'd be keeping a wary eye on my partner. The part that bothers me is them just wasting rounds as they limp along. The zombies don't react when you shoot their way. If you have 50 zombies chasing you and you score seven perfect head shots, you still have 43 zombies chasing you who don't care that seven other just bit. What's the use? It was a dumb waste of ammo. Blow up the bus, or something. And I guess we have to say goodbye to Rick's Peacemaker. As for Theo(T-Dog is a stupid name). I find I have to start making the same pleas for him that I made for Shirley on Community. Give the guy something to do that doesn't include falling down a lot. I'm actually okay that the guy is clumsy, it's a rarely used trait in drama, but he's gotta be more than that. I DO buy that he worries that he'll be the first to be sacrificed being the only black guy. I would bet that this thought would go through a lot of people's heads. Just a heads up, Mr. Duggs. If they stick to the Romero Rules, The black guy always makes it. 65 percent good ep. (35 percent handwringing)

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Thank you for pointing out the fact that there is electricity and hot water on the farm...and that (so far, at least) it seems like a Fortress of Solitude. Every time someone hangs out on the porch in a rocking chair or on the railing, I keep waiting for a zombie to emerge from the darkness for a midnight snack. (For those of you who've read the comics, you know what's lurking on that farm...but I wonder if the writers will keep to that storyline. I hope so!)

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.