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The Walking Dead Review: Rick v. Shane Showdown

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Is your heart still pounding? Did you think that it would be the end for Shane?

The second half of the season is fantastically picking itself back up from its slow walk of a first half and "18 Miles Out" provided great pacing between its serious conversations and full throttle action.

Until now, it's felt like Rick had become something of a background character, going with the flow and not really commanding the presence that his leadership demanded.

Rick in Pain

As a character, he stepped it up and it's clear that even his own arc and progression towards something is on the move. Laying down the true facts for Shane about everything was a great start.

Andrew Lincoln incorporated the right amount of anger and calm throughout; there was no sense that he was a pushover, but a man making hard decisions. He barked when he needed to bark. He was clear about the situation and what needed to be done. He put the beast mode Shane back into his place.

Even their conversation initiated a tension because everything was out in the open. There were no secrets and it was clear that it was only a matter of time before the two would draw blood against each other.

Their brother-like relationship really established their characters on opposite sides with that common goal of survival. It was good to see that even with Shane going crazy, Rick was able to be the cool-headed leader. It's tough out there in a zombie apocalyptic world.

And of course waiting for the zombies to pop out of nowhere ratcheted up the suspense and ever threatening anticipation. The longer it got into the episode, the more you could feel something bad was going to happen. Sometimes the waiting game is more exciting and scary than graphic gore.

Plus, rather than pure stupidity causing Rick and Shane almost to get killed, it was sheer recklessness. Their own personal problems got in the way of being safe. Sure, they should have been paying attention, but it was far better story wise than deciding to climb down a well with a waiting walker.

For a moment I expected Rick to actually leave Shane behind, but even with all the problems, he still sees something good in Shane. I'm glad he saved him by manning up and taking back control. This is the Rick I've been waiting to come back to the show.

As for dealing with Randall, the fact that he knew Maggie made the situation that much more complicated. It's a lot harder to just kill someone when there's that connection (and the fact that he might not really be a bad guy). He could also lead others to the farm.

Michael Zegen as Randall brings about another youthful face and interesting personality for the series. Not only does his character provide real problems for everyone - will he betray them all? - but he's not dry or boring. Moreover, he may help the group get off the still life that has become the farm.

Even with Randall not being apart of the group, I still didn't have the feeling that he should die. He hasn't really done anything malicious or evil to deserve such a death. I hope he lasts for a while, and that Shane doesn't kill him without Rick knowing.

It was that final moment - with a great use of the song "Civilian" by Wye Oak - that really provided an enhanced somber tone of the real situation. It was almost sad watching that lone walker stumble through the grass, aimless. It felt like Shane really was able to do some thinking about the things he's done.

But will this be a change for the better for Shane or is the crazy just lying in wait to come back again?

Surprisingly, two of my least favorite characters, Lori and Andrea, brought out all their issues onto the table. I was actually pleased that each of the two women called each other out on their issues, problems I've felt have hindered me from liking them as much as the others. There's something truly different about characters speaking their minds and causing even more tension because of it. And although Andrea went back to being typical Andrea and almost letting Beth kill herself, her scenes with Lori were actually enjoyable to watch. It felt real for both of them.

This was a truly enjoyable episode with a feeling that everything that took place moved something forward and applied a sense that it will all culminate into something big. Zombie pig piles? Tension cutting conversations, mixed with equally nerve wracking action? Giving the characters more than just preachy dialogue. That's how an episode should be.

That's the best of The Walking Dead.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (120 Votes)

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

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Then to go close to a zombie? bs. And didnt he get gut training? if I remember he was using one hand with a 9mm.
soooo much crap story.
unrealistic . people would not do those things.
Whay dont they have holsters for those pistols? thats idiotic.
why no walky talkies?
why no heavy machinery on the farm? to dig and burn zombies in etc

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omg. this show is such a load of bull===. The storyline, rules, and characters are so out of reality its making me laugh now, a progression from p'd off. The writers are IDIOTs.
eg. Ricks wife drives off on her own to get the guys back. Didnt she say earlier she 'would never leave her son alone'? She had just earbashed Rick about leaving his son, to possible die, then she does the exact same thing? Going alone anywhere? Silly. What coulc she possibly do that the 2 best fighters couldnt?
eg. Sean chops off zombies fingers with a school bus door? I dont think so! but ok, the finger were rotten. Then the zombie attacked Dale and his fingers are so strong he can rip open a stomach?
eg. since when can zombies sneak up on people - in an open field - when they are on alert from hearing strange noises? bs.
eg. you think the kid would wander into the woods by himself? after knowing what happened to Sophie. I'm pretty sure noone especially a kid would let adults out of their sight. Then to go close to a zombie? bs. And didnt he get gut training? if I remember he was using one hand with a 9mm.
soooo much crap story.
unrealistic . people would not do those things.
Whay dont they have holsters for those pistols? thats idiotic.
why no walky talkies?
why no heavy machinery on the farm? to dig and burn zombies in etc.

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Remember in Season 1 when they are at the CDC and the scientist whispers in Ricks ear? He tells Rick that it does not matter cause the virus is airborne and that they are the walking dead.... So the title does not refer to the zombies but to the living... If a human is not killed by a head injury, you automatically turn at this point. Randall's neck was broke he turned, Shane was stabbed and he turned. So it looks like the virus has mutated and this ep is proof that it has.... Love the show cant wait till next week!

Terrie

I just started watching this show so I need to catch up!
I'm still learning the characters. The women got on my nerves!
Rick is DA MAN! Shane is irritating! Any idea where online to watch the last season?

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Andrea isn't 'rational' - she is a self-obsessed, self-righteous lunatic. If she's so annoyed about Dale saving her from suicide, why doesn't she just go and shoot herself now? PLEASE. She thinks people make a choice - but she didn't. Irritating character. As for Shane - he's really got to 'put up or shut up'. Either get out or make a move. Rapidly becoming an irritating character.

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The post-apocalyptic world is a paradise. It presents us the chance to reinvent ourselves while we watch nature restore an environment savaged by 10k years of agrarian revolution. That prospect alone restores hope to the world. The walkers are not dangerous. Once you figure out how to deal with them, they only serve to spice things up a bit. Glenn should be worshiping at Maggie's magic vagina instead of agonizing over the size of his machismo. In a pre walker world the closest a guy like Glenn could get to Maggie would be when she handed him the tip for the pizza delivery. What an idiot. In episode 10, Rick proves once again that brains and brawn always wins out over brawn. Shane really is his bitch. Lori and Andrea get on my nerves. Daryl and T-Dog should hook up and do some stuff. They would make a great team. You notice how Dale finishes every sentence with his mouth hanging wide open? Irritating isn't it?

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I think that is why Rick shot the guy in the head at the bar fightout in last weeks episode, because he knew the guy would rise back as a walker, because his brain was intact. Its going to come out I bet, the only way to kill the undead is to behead, or kill them in the brain. Sure wish they'd find a guy store with ammo.

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@Aaron. I hadn't heard that theory but it does make a lot of sense. It definitely explains the lack of bite marks. To prove this theory we're going to have to see someone die and then turn. I have an idea who that someone is going to be via some supposed spoilers I have read about. If the infection is airborne then wow what a even more terrible world to live in.

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It seems the popular theory is that Dr. Jenner told Rick that everyone is infected, and that no matter how you die you will rise as a walker. This would explain the no-bites comments this week, and it could also explain why after shooting Tony twice - once in the gut & once near the heart - he walked over and put one in his head. Rick might have just been playing it safe, making sure he was dead. But I think he knew he had to kill his brain to keep him from rising.

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Always interesting to see such different takes on the exact same characters. Personally, I think Shane and Andrea are the only two in the group acting rationally, given the circumstances. Shane's main flaw is that he's dumb enough to care about Lori. Right now, Rick really =is= acting like the kind of vacillating "leader" who gets his followers killed. And Lori is totally useless. E.g., "Nebraska," first she thinks it's too dangerous to go find Hershel. A few hours later, suddenly it's safe enough for =her= to run off A. alone, B. later in the day, C. with a weak weapon, and D. no clue where she's going. She's gone well beyond just =warning= Rick about Shane; at this point she's actively fomenting dissension. And then she has the gall to criticize the only person in the group who has enough brains to actually recognize the need for a lookout? Priceless.

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