A death brawl, some important foreshadowing, and massive sexism… let’s talk about it all from The Walking Dead “18 Miles Out.”

The Walking Dead Review “18 Miles Out”

The episode dropped up into the middle of a dramatic zombie hoard trying to feast on Rick, Shane, and the …, well, let’s just call him “the kid.” (Which is not because he’s so young, it’s because he seems to have an innocent persona and also I was watching a Western the other day so it just kind of works in my brain.) At first I worried if I’d somehow missed an episode. But, no. We were just luckily going to skip a bunch of stuff and get right to the action. and it wasn’t a dream sequence, although that was a leading theory of mine in the first couple of minutes.

There was plenty of symbolism last night, but none so strong as Rick taking Shane out to the middle of some crossroads to talk about some big, big issues. But they both stayed relatively calm. In fact, Rick even appealed to Rick and my senses that shooting Otis was the right thing to do, and the only thing to do for one of them to live. Which sounds selfless and tough, but when you saw the way the episode played out it didn’t seem quite so cut and dry.

When they arrived at a compound of sorts (school bus, burned bodies, the usual) they were dropping the kid aka Randall (I learned his name) off with a knife. And in hindsight, he should have just stayed quiet. But he wanted to live, dammit. So he began humanizing himself, talking about how he wasn’t a threat – he lived with his Mother for God sakes! And, hey, he even went to school with Maggie. He’d never hurt her or her family! Oh, wait, knowing who was taking care of him or where he was was a deal breaker? Dammit.

Once Rick and Shane realize that despite being 18 miles out, this local could find them… they have to change plans. Shane is ready to shoot, Rick wants to think on it. Call me soft, but I was not inclined to agree with Shane. It might be the safer way, but I trust the kid. They helped him, he knows Maggie and her family. They should ask Maggie if she recalls him at all – if he hated her, then okay, not a good plan. But otherwise… ugh. By the end of the episode, Rick is ready to shoot Randall, but after a sleep. I think that’s really too bad. But maybe I’m just too soft.

I want to talk about how Rick and Randall almost left Shane in the bus. It truly seems like Rick was ready to leave him, just as Shane had left Otis. It would let Rick and Randall get away safe. It was the same logic Shane had used. But Rick knew it was wrong. And the reason he’s the leader (like Jack on Lost) is that he will do the tough, right thing. He doesn’t just for the easy, quick options like Shane.

More symbolism popped up when Rick saw two rangers dead on the grass. He took the guns, and they formulated a plan to save Shane. Who, btw, probably felt guilty for thinking Rick was going to betrayal him by leaving. Little does he know.

To backtrack, Shane had just tried to seriously maim Rick by throwing a huge wrench at him, and a motorcycle on him. Rick had reason to be mad. But the quality of mercy lives within this man! (AMEN.)

While the men were doing this, things were going on at the house. Lori has become super confident since her decision (which she filed away as “done-zo”) to have Rick kill Shane has been made in her mind. She’s put Shane away, and she’s moving forward. Or backward…since she’s becoming a 1950’s housewife.

She tells Andrea that she doesn’t contribute, saying that instead of keeping watch she is supposed to be with the other women doing laundry and making lunches. Lori says it’s a burden that Andrea doesn’t help with that. And, Lori’s logic is that because Andrea is a woman she should know her place and her duties. Previously Lori had Maggie some rather sexist stuff about men needing to man up and they do their thing and they blame women and etc etc etc. God, I’ve never hated Lori so much. Meanwhile, I’ve never been this close to liking Andrea.

What she did in letting Beth make her own choice about suicide (the choice being, to attempt it weakly and then be scared and repent) was flawed in logic. Sure, it did happen to work out and it solved everything quickly… but uh, what about if it had gone much worse? Much as I want to understand Andrea’s logic, I think she could have done it in a safer, slower way. (Any brush with death would have cured Beth aka scared her of death more than being scared of a future death.)

But is Beth wrong? “What are we waiting for?” she asks. And really, fighting for survival when the chances are this slim seems like this discussion is worth having.

In the midst of this all, Andrea did deliver a thoughtful quote: “the pain doesn’t go away, you just make room for it.”

Two things are important to think about as we go forward. Firstly, winter is coming. Despite how positive Rick was about how they will find snowmobiles and the cold will harm the walkers… that just seems like it’ll make everything worse. Maybe the zombies will be attracted to any little noise, and any flicker of a bonfire. Secondly, Rick and Shane discovered some dead people without any zombie bites or scratches. So how did they become zombies? That’s a pretty big mystery.

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Photo: Gene Page/AMC Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) – The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 10