The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead Review: Rick v. Shane Showdown

by at . Comments

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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I agree with Spooky Paws, earlier wrote about Dr. Jenner whispering something into Rick's ear, and when asked, Andrew Lincoln wouldn't repeat it, but it had significance.... I beleive it very well be that the Walker Disease was airborne, and they are nearing where the dead first recieved the airborne desease, ? and now are people immune to it, only in biting incidents???
I wonder, when is Laurie getting bitten?

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Vanessa - you're missing the point a little. Ever since Battlestar Galactica did it the Holy Grail of scifi/horror shows is to get women as well as men watching, to boost their ratings. It's fiendishly difficult as the failure of Caprica, the sequel to BSG, which managed neither, shows. TWD tries it by having strong female characters but in case nobody has noticed all the women look like they could work weekends at Hooters, which keeps the fanboys happy as well. Have a couple of the women about to have a dirty catfight after a long talk about their feelings and bingo! you've hit the gender equality jackpot.

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Some of the story links are getting pretty weak. Firstly Shane noticing that the zombies didnt have any "bites or scratches". Really? They are half decomposed zombies - even if you couldn't see any obvious wounds I think you'd just assume they were there somewhere. Of course they brought this up for the next big reveal that everyone is already infected they are just waiting to turn, or something like that. Then Rick comes over all empathetic on not killing Randall but hey, he'll leave him tied up and scared witless for a day while he decides whether to kill him or not. Nothing cruel or unusual there. I get the feeling the writers are desperate to progress the story back into sci-fi/horror land but they have wasted so much time in soap opera territory that they may have to transfer it from AMC to CW to get an audience.

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I can agree with Margie on the Shane using the knife to kill the walker and then use it on him. It made me think back to the episode; why were Shane and Rick checking out the zombies they hand put down without using bullets? Was the show foreshadowing that a bite or scratch is not the only way to get infect? Is Shane's days numbered? Oh and the scene with Lori and Andrea I just loved it! I have to say that Lori kind of pissed me off she has no right commenting on the fact that Andrea is working with the men to kill zombies. The goal is to survive, so yes Andrea should be part of the women work BUT ... so should the men!! It was just so sexist of Lori to bring that up. Everyone on camp should be able go on a mission and not be defined by sex. The time for sexist and tradition roles are done and over with seeing how the world is two steps away from going to total hell!

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Am I the only one who noticed that Shane used the same knife he stabbed a walker with earlier in the show, and then later in the bus he cut his hand with that same knife to smear blood on the wall? (It wasn't showed, but it was implied that he did stab the walker in the head.) I also noticed he smeared blood again after the zombies had been licking it... I wonder if he is going to be infected... just speculation... hmm...

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Great episode last night. I knew Rick wouldn't leave Shane behind, that would have been totally out of character for him to do that. Lori and Andrea scenes were very good. Andrea is a straight up bitch and Lori is the opposite so it creates some good tension from the Rick and Shane thing. The being able to be infected from getting scratched will prove to be very important. They just didn't drop that bit of information to take up time. If anyone stayed and watched the previews for next week, a lot of the questions asked in the review are already answered. Looks like Rick is going to put Randall down, although I'll bet good money Randall's friends will be showing up to put a stop to that. I love this show!!

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I actually thought Rick was going to leave Shane behind for good and let him just suffer with the walkers. But Rick isn't like that he came back for him but things have changed between them and now Shane knows how Rick feels.

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@ MAALA AND KATE...I didn't catch the Spooky Paws thing. but the lack of any bites on the first two zombies are quite interesting. And how did all those zombies get into the shcool without any open doors......hhhmmmmm

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Wow! I thought this was by far one of the best shows!
However if the shoe was on the other foot you know Shane would have left Rick in the bus and killed Randal to save his own butt and to have Lori. About Lori though did you notice how she reacted when Rick told her that he killed those 2 guys in town to protect everyone else, how she snaked behind him and told him about Shane... which set the whole thing in motion this episode. but WOW can't wait til next week!

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@kate, I bet that is what jenner said!
@scott smith, why u making comments on a show to which u don't even know a main characters name?