The Walking Dead: “Save the Last One”

Posted on October 31, 2011

Hey, remember last week when we said something about the rehabilitation of Shane’s character? Turns out you can forget that one.

Actually, the argument could be made for a more nuanced view; that what Shane did wasn’t as monstrous as it appears to us sitting in the comfy real world. In a world where vets operate on kids in farmhouses, one could take the point of view that Shane only did what he had to to survive and to make sure Carl survived. That would be food for thought and would hammer home the point of this season so far – of this series so far – that these characters are living in a world without hope and that living long-term in such a world causes mothers to debate the finer points of letting their child bleed out and causes cops with hair-triggers to indulge in open murder to save lives. We suppose that’s what the writers were going for – and it’s a good direction to go in, dramatically speaking, but that Taxi Driver staging at the end, with Shane revealing his sculpted, gym-provided torso while he looks menacingly in the mirror (and wastes a TON of hot water) kind of defeated the purpose and presented him only as dangerous and villainous, possibly crazy.

This is of a piece with our complaints about the season so far; that the writing seems to come right up to the edge of an idea or point, before backing off or presenting it in a self-defeating way. Where exactly was Lori’s sudden defeatism coming from? We don’t mean “What’s HER problem?” because her problems are self-evident, but the last several episodes, going back to last season’s finale, centered around characters openly expressing an idea that suicide is the preferable option in this world and, well, Lori wasn’t one of those characters. Sure, the script referenced this turnaround, but it did little to explain it. There was no explanation because her collapse was merely a tool to give Rick yet another moment to give a speech and once again explain the Value of Hope. We don’t mind if Rick is going to be the avatar of hope in this world, but they’re going to have to find ways of expressing that idea without giving him another stump speech.

What bothered us most about Lori’s defeatism – aside from it coming from left field just to make Rick look better – is that it’s solidifying in our minds the idea that the writing here is doing a disservice to the female characters. Lori is somewhat likably inconsistent, flawed, and frustrating, but when you stand her next to Carol, who is weepy and useless, and Andrea, who’s irrationally angry and mostly useless, and when you bookend that with endless scenes of good-looking male characters doing routinely heroic things, the gender politics tend to leap out at you. There is no reason in this story for the women characters to be saddled with such stereotypically weak and submissive roles. The books aren’t like that. Quite the opposite, in fact.

And while we held our breath through all the scenes where you were supposed to hold your breath, we still found the pacing here problematic in the extreme. As of next episode, we will have spent 4 episodes in that freaking traffic jam. Yes, things have happened and the group got split up, but that’s a lot of time to ask the viewer to invest in a story that’s not paying anything off for them.

We mentioned this in last week’s review but it’s becoming more of a need with each passing week: they need to spend some time doing world-building here. Why does Herschel’s farm have electricity and hot running water? Sure, we could answer that question ourselves, but it really stands out when no characters are asking these basic questions. How is his farm safe? Why is Rick’s group so damn careless about, well, everything? “I’m just gonna wander off down this dark road for a bit. I’ll be fine.” “We’ll just take a leisurely stroll in these dark woods, chatting the whole time. We’ll be fine.” Everything we’ve seen these characters go through would indicate rather strongly that they wouldn’t act this way. No one would. We’re past the point where the dumb babysitter goes into the dark basement. We have to follow these people every week so it would be nice if they didn’t take us out of the story by constantly doing really stupid things.

We’re complaining more than we mean to. Like we said, there were plenty of tense and frightening moments this episode. The show still does that part very well. And we’re fine with the general direction things are going story-wise, with the group splintering, both figuratively and literally, and the question hanging over everything of whether or not there’s a point to continuing; all of that’s fine and keeps us engaged. But the viewer needs a little assurance that we’re not watching a bunch of losers wander around Georgia until they die. There was an overarching goal of reaching Ft. Benning, and while we knew the likelihood of them achieving that goal was slim, it was at least a goal. Now, they can’t even handle a traffic jam without two people getting seriously wounded and one child going missing. This serves to illustrate how screwed they really are, but we hope 4 episodes on this scenario are enough to spur the characters toward a new goal. Right now, there’s just a lot of standing around and talking about whether their current goal is working for them, long after the point when it became obvious it wasn’t.

We guess what we’re saying is, we love this show, we think it’s a lot of fun, but it’s frustrating week in and week out dealing with such reactive characters all the time. Part of the appeal of a show like Lost, which threw its characters into a similarly wild and hopeless situation, is that it established, over and over again, that we were dealing with smart, capable people. We get that this world is a hopeless one, and we’re not asking for square-jawed heroism here, but these people have been wandering around clueless for too long now. The characters need to show a little growth and the story needs to show a little movement.

 

 

[Photo Credit: AMC]

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  • http://twitter.com/YouShoIsUgly Chauncey L.

     It was Snooze Fest USA last night

    • Anonymous

      Snooze Fest were the precise words I used too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6837468 Kimberly Correll Massengill

    Shane only did what he had to to survive and to make sure Carl survived. 

    I call shenanigans on this…because Otis saved Shane’s ass repeatedly, and Shane’s response is to SHOOT HIM IN THE LEG?!  WTF?  The head wasn’t good enough.  Fine, I get why he did what he did, but did he have to be so incredibly cruel?

    • JANA WELLS

      I agree. I’m pretty sure the walkers would have chowed down on Otis dead or alive.

      • Anonymous

        have you been watching the “talking dead” after the show?  i think the mentioned that about Otis that he needed to be alive so the zombies would eat him, dead they wouldnt care.

        • Anonymous

          And yet, in the same episode, they show a hanging zombie whose legs were apparently eaten while he was dead.  Pretty inconsistent!

          • Anonymous

            Do you think only zombies eat human flesh?  How about a bear, coyote, bobcat, cougar?  Heck, even a family pet like a dog or cat will eat a dead person if they are starving, even if it was their owner.  I could easily see an animal, especially a dog or coyote, jumping up and eating what they can reach from the ground and leaving the rest because they can’t climb.

          • http://naturallyeducational.com/ CandaceApril

            The jist seemed to be he screwed up the suicide attempt, was bitten and half-eaten before dying (though could have also been bitten and that’s why he tried to kill himself…but the discussion implied otherwise), then turned.

    • Anonymous

      I thought the same thing. He couldn’t shoot poor Otis in the head? He had to let him be eaten alive and then incredibly come back to life as a zombie? Good thinking, Shane!

    • MilaXX

      There are a few ways to view Shane’s actions; payback for Otis shooting Carl, sacrificing Otis in order to save himself , sacrificing Otis in order to save Carl, showing the “shades of gray” morality that is the world they live in. I never saw Otis as much more than a red shirt. I mean, other than Hurley from LOST, I have never seen a spry fat guy. Sadly the way the head shaving was staged it also made Shane seem a little unhinged.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, we had a totally different take on it. I don’t think Arthur’s review is up yet, but we loved the episode. In fact, the writing this season is head-and-shoulders above S1. The Fire Everybody debacle may have been terrible for PR, but I think it was great for the show.

    I don’t think Shane’s actions can be justified. As I said to Arthur, he shot the guy IN THE LEG. If he was being noble, he’d have at least made sure Otis was dead before the walkers got him. And Shane didn’t do it for Carl, he did it to get in Lori’s good graces–if he was thinking at all. I rather think, he was at that point exhausted and in pain, wanted to survive, and saw a way.

    Disagree about the women too. I think Lori is going to become as controversial as Betty Draper, but I like her. She’s a steely edge, she’s smart, she hit the end of her rope. Andrea is working that gun over and over to make sure she knows how to use it. She may be useless in a fight but she’s determined to overcome that, even while she doesn’t know if she truly wants to live. Only Carol is useless but then, T-Dog’s been empty space this season as well, and I kind of hate Dale.

    • Anonymous

      glad you said that deborahlipp, i feel like after i read a few reviews that i watched a different show.  i have never read the comic books so i can not compare.  but i thought the show was really good from little carl’s seizure, the hanging zombie, shane shaving his head (who didnt think that was a flash back at 1st?)  and of course otis.  also do you not find that farm house more intriguing?  lights, food, water, etc.

      • Anonymous

        Basket of Kisses will have our Walking Dead review up at noon Eastern. I just finished reading what Arthur wrote: He blows me away. He’s an amazing writer and he saw a lot of stuff that I missed.

        • Anonymous

          i will check it out!

      • Anonymous

        i agree! i’m also surprised at so many negative reviews (although Alan Sepinwall seems to have liked it)…. I thought the hanging zombie scene was interesting: just to give the “living” a chance to look at it, and somehow try to reflect on the whole thing, without having to run away from it… i thought it was a smart way of looking at the zombie from a more humane perspective….
        and i also thought the beginning was a flashback at 1st. 

    • Anonymous

      I never thought Shane was being noble, I thought Shane was the rat caught in the trap, chewing off his leg, (Otis) in order to save himself.  I think the only thinking that was involved was how the hell do I get out of here without becoming zombie chow and that was to throw them something to eat instead.  It’s pretty easy to judge our survival choices from our comfy sofas and living rooms.  I think about the folks in New Orleans and Katrina.  I think about the victims of 9/11, do I jump or do I burn?  You never know just how much you would do until you’re faced with death.  The better question is would Lori approve of what Shane did?  Kill Otis, the man who shot her child, in order to escape with the life saving medical supplies or not kill Otis and let her son die?

      • http://www.joannao.blogspot.com JoannaOC

        I agree. I saw the last scene with the shower steam as Shane looking like a living zombie. What distinguishes us from the zombies’ pure appetite/survival. Which moral code will withstand the horrors of the herd/war? why NOT end it cleanly rather than live with the constant fear?
        I want to know where Sophia is. In reality, we might never know, but I’m hoping that since this is a TV show, we’ll get to find out.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LU5C262WB3Z5F4WZ6QGKXLNLE JaneM

      I agree about Dale.  It’s the actor, not the character. That guy is so corny.
       

    • Anonymous

      Without screaming, the zombies would not have been distracted enough to converge on Otis and focus on him, giving Shane time to escape.  A head shot would not have assured escape.

      But, most importantly, apparently you, as well as many others here, totally missed Shane trying to give Otis the equipment he was carrying so Otis could get away.  Shane’s twisted ankle was slowing them down.  He originally intended to give Otis the chance to escape to get the equipment back for Carl’s surgery.  Otis refused.  While Otis was certainly the more nobler of the two, if they had died then Carl would die and then we’d have three people dead.  

      Getting the equipment back not only means that Carl has a chance but another saved life (Shane) and, also, the fact that the good vet Herschel will have the necessary equipment to properly treat other accident victims in the future so, it’s possible, that more lives will be saved down the road by getting the equipment to the farm.  If Otis had accepted Shane’s offer to take the equipment and run, it’s his life that would have been saved, not Shane’s.

      I also don’t think there was time for Shane to really consider all the options.  It’s not like they were safe for the moment and could think things through.  There were split-seconds to decide a course of action while in pain, in fear, and full of adrenaline.  Not to mention the fact that Shane clearly loves Rick and Lori both (in different ways of course) and I believe he loves Carl as if he were his own son.  Who of us would not choose to save our own child over a virtual stranger?  If anybody says the stranger, then I call foul.  Not gonna happen.

      I also think it’s quite easy to armchair quarterback a situation from the safety of our own zombie-free homes.  Anybody who has been in battle or other horrific experiences that most of us will never have to go through in our lives will have had to make a decision when there is no good choice but only several bad choices.  

      Under the circumstances, I think Shane’s actions are totally justified.  It may be an ugly, horrible, gut-wrenching choice but it’s better than both dying, meaning Carl also dies.  Three deaths vs. one death.

      And it’s obvious that the guilt of this is horrible for Shane.  He is not an evil or a psychopath or he would have no guilt over this.

    • http://twitter.com/sockandaphone Gaby

      i loved this episode too! I was a bit sad that tlo had such a womp-womp review. The points theyre making are valid, but this episode was pretty intense!

  • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

    To be fair, the genre isn’t exactly noted for strong female characters.  As a rule, zombie fiction — much like other horror/fantasy — tends to be written by men (though of course, there are some women genre writers), and while it is very possible for men to write good female characters (In fact, as TLo pointed out, the books do an excellent job), men and women react so differently to these kinds of extreme situations that it’s harder for men to write women well IN THESE INSTANCES.  I’m sure the converse would also be true — there just aren’t enough female genre writers to know for sure. 

  • Michelle Chovan

    Here’s my problem with Shane. If he chose his and Carl’s survival over Otis’ so be it. But wouldn’t it have been more humane to shoot Otis in the head and kill him instead of leaving him to be left eaten alive? That just shows a streak of cruelty that doesn’t bode well for Shane or the group.

    • Anonymous

      I think the zombies like meat that is alive, not dead.  If he’d shot Otis in the head, he most likely would’ve killed him which would’ve defeated the purpose of creating a diversion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leah.robin Leah Robin

    Thanks for commenting on the gender politics– they certainly are irritating. I’d like to see the writers break out of the reactive and hysterical typing of the women we’ve had since the opening episode.

  • http://www.what-the-frock.com Dana WhatTheFrock

    Yes, I can’t stand any of the female characters, but I have high hopes for Maggie. She won me over with her badass horse/baseball bat maneuver, and I like her so far.

    I also agree about the head-shaving scene painting Shane as sinister and dangerous. What he did to Otis was irredeemable, but I’m pretty sure did it to save Carl (and, yes, himself). But the bathroom scene is just showing us that he’s growing scarily unbalanced.

    I’m so tired of the traffic jam, too. Zzzzzzz.

    • Anonymous

      Having lived in Atlanta for a few years — this sort of 4 episode traffic jam is not unusual.  I always wondered what genius decided that I-20/i-75/i-85 should all intersect at essentially the same point — DOWNTOWN.

      In addition — I am waiting for one or more of the RHATL to show up…..Nene as a Zombie…..or maybe Phaedra — perhaps the WD was her reason for getting into the mortuary business.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

    I think the departure from the comic book storyline can be a good thing, but they’ve got to give it a nod now and then

  • Anonymous

    I hope the pace picks up a little next week. I suppose this week needed to be as slow as it was in order to expose Shane, to himself, if no one else. 

  • http://twitter.com/DaenaCat Daena Ortego

    I’m hoping the wishy-washyness of the women on the show will just show how far they come when they (hopefully) become the badasses they can be.  And hope that [favorite character] doesn’t get the same treatment b/c if she does, my rage will be downright Biblical. Also hoping for a little more from Carl.  Sure he hasn’t had a lot to do, what with being shot and all… but he’s a great character and I would like to see this little guy show what acting chops he may have. 

  • MilaXX

    I’ getting bored with this show. Sunday is a big tv night for me & the DVR works overtime. It takes me until  midweek sometimes to catch up. If TWD can’t picked up the pace I may move it from watch first run to DVR and watch when I can. AT this point I don’t care if the kid lives. While the scene at the end with us seeing the decision Shane made to shoot Otis & the head shaving was good, I found myself rolling my eyes at much of the stupidity these folks exhibit.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JSTXMWWVZN2QNP2UEKJMTWD7U Isabel

    TLo – Everyone is tired. They can’t think straight. No caffeine will do that to you! Plus, they might not be the smartest ones. Just middle of the road people. None of them are whining about missing reading books and not watching the History Channel.

    TLo – Did you lose electricity anytime this past weekend? Keep warm.

  • A. Valera

    You know what drives me absolutely bonkers about this show?!  How is Carol’s hair still 1″ long?  The walker Armageddon has been going on for at least a couple months — WHY ISN’T HER HAIR LONGER?!  WHY?!

    • Anonymous

      EXCELLENT question, one of many…… how is the electrical grid still up and running?  Even with computers, ect there is still a need for human contact to run things long term.  Many, many questions…..

      • Anonymous

        Agreed…just posted some similar thoughts.  What about that electricity and running water…

        • Anonymous

          And how do they have Wonder Bread?! 

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            Have you ever read the ingredients on that?  It’ll be with the Twinkies when the sun goes supernova.

  • Anonymous

    I liked this episode. They did a good job of building the tension with Shane & Otis at the highschool. I kind of love that Shane shot Otis and now he’s a tortured soul. He can’t tell anyone and it’s going to haunt him, but seems like something that could really happen if you were living in that kind of world. I also understand Lori’s giving up hope, and wish she would have come out even stronger on her opinion that she would rather her son die than live in pain and fear. I’m ready for a kick-ass female though, a ruthless, guns blazing, take control woman. 

  • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

    As soon as he showed up alone, I told my daughter “I think Shane shot Otis and left him behind because Shane’s an asshole.”  (which was funny to me as I said it because her dad’s name is Shane, lol).  Even still, I think that scene in the bathroom could be taken two ways.  1.  Shane’s dangerous and becoming more unhinged.  A man like that might be capable of anything.  or  2.  As a man of the law, he’s horrified with himself at the lengths he will now go to to survive. 

    Also, it may have been more humane for Shane to kill Otis outright, but walkers stumble past dead bodies all the time.  They only want living flesh.

  • Anonymous

    I agree for the most part on the female characters.  As a reader of the comic, I am most disappointed by Andrea, who seems way too far off in the “poor me” weeds these days: snapping at everyone, bitching about how she wishes she was dead (no one’s stopping you now, girl!), gnashing her teeth about her gun.  I hope she straightens things out soon and starts looking like the kick-ass chick she is in the original story.  Lori never is the most sympathetic character, but Andrea should be a lot more resilient.

    Shane’s Lord of the Flies moment totally would have worked better without all the Travis Bickle posing at the beginning and end.  Sure his actions appear cold-blooded to us, but I would imagine any survivors would eventually find themselves in some pretty dark places  in this world.  The “ooh I’m a psycho now, I’mma shave my head” scenes make me nervous that they aren’t going to be nuanced enough when other characters start losing it.

    My feeling at this point is the excellent source material is keeping the show from sinking too far into Standard TV Drama.  The writers need to step up to the material a bit more, however, for the story won’t save it forever.  (The tree-hanging zombie was a nice touch, though.)

  • Paige Hinson

    Me and my boyfriend have been avid watchers of the show since the first episode. We’ve both read all the books, and even though I’m very aware that this is a television interpretation of the comics, it’s still a little disappointing to see the amount of liberties taken with the show. We both sat on the couch last night asking ‘why?’ Why are we still sitting on the side of the road? Why is Shane wasting all the hot water? Why do we need to see Dale and Carol talking about nothing important? Why did Carol volunteer to take watch and then balk when Dale asked her to? Why is Glenn discussing huge matters like whether or not God exists with a girl he just met?

    Another issue I have is that we don’t really like any characters (besides Daryl and Carl), so it’s hard to be invested in what happens to them. The comics were great about developing the characters through their actions. The show is trying to develop them by having us watch them talk, which is really boring and lazy on the parts of the writers.

    Overall, I’m finding this season to be really disappointing. I hope it picks up the pace soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

    Darrell is still the only character I like, and the only one who consistently  makes human sense.  However, I will say that I am vastly relieved that the writers are not trying to rehabilitate Shane.  It’s clear he’s pretty much a bastard, and this episode proved it.  It’s going to come to blows between him and Rick, and Rick may have to put him down like a dog.  Won’t Lori be conflicted?  Can’t wait to see that go down.  But I do agree that I’m tired of seeing the women on this show snivel.  Didn’t believe for a second that Lori ever contemplated just letting Carl die.  Come on.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t honestly think the show is smart enough to be doing this on purpose, sadly. But there is something psychologically real about all the women being… the way they are in this show… and it’s actually a somewhat feminist point. In times of extreme stress, people usually either step up and lead or become frightened and dependent; they seek to protect or the seek to be protected. Most people actually have the capacity to do either, and which they do often has to do with context and cues; the role of leader/protector is taxing and frightening and most people will slide into letting themselves be protected if it’s presented as a valid option. Stick any one of these women with a group of kids – where the cues would say, “you’re the most competent and YOU have to step up” – and they would. But put them in a group of men, and social training kicks in and the guys are the ones who get cued to step up while the women slide into being protected. It’s icky, but it’s real and interesting, and I feel like a show that was aware of the dynamic could more effectively both use it and subvert it.
    I’m confident this is not the way the show is going intentionally, though, because if they were making that point consciously, there’d still be no reason for them to be writing their boy and girl characters so differently. Feh. This show is really losing me on gender issues, honestly. 

  • http://twitter.com/thisiscarlijn Carlijn Kruidhof

    Walking Dead still is one of the best shows out there at the moment. What really really annoys me about most tv-shows is that they tend to be ridiculously unrealistic. Walking Dead comes really close to real human reactions and emotions and I love that. Next to that it’s well written. But I do agree on Carol. If I was a mum in those times, I’d take my shotgun and keep looking for my kid. Especially since it’s the only person she’s got left in her family. That does kind of miss some realistic perspective. 

    • Anonymous

      But remember that she´s a woman with practically no self steem and scared of her own shadow. The mom inside her is pushing her to do something, but she never has before. She even said that her husband had been looking at her daughter, and her answer was to pray. Proactive she is not.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t had the same trouble with the characterizations as Tom & Lorenzo. TV has become full of female super cops and heroines and I think it’s more interesting to see these more realistic people evolve slowly through their dispair. Lori’s defeatism was a coping mechanism. Faced with the probability of Carl’s death, she rationalized it as the better option. I think Andrea is much more complex than T&L give her credit for. She’s functioning beyond her emotional capacity and I find her compelling. Shane was faced with the least-worst option.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t help feel like you guys missed the point of the finale scene. Yes Shane has become unhinged, because he now relizes that at this point he is willing to do whatever it takes including shifting his morality, to survive. And it that thought is terrifying. Shane has officially stopped being a good guy but not exactly a bad guy. That menacing look is an illustration of that shift.

    Lot on the other hand is becoming defeated primarily because her son is dying. Her character as a mother kept strong for so long because of her child. The idea of death is having her reexamine everything. Is it better that he die in this farm? Is trying to survive the zombies important when all of these other factors are what seem to be the down fall of this group. I don’t think any of this comes out of left field. It’s just not explicit.
    Ps I think it makes sense for Lori shane and Rick to be unconcerned with the most basic questions about the farm. ConsiderIng how preoccupied the are

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513945580 Megan Patterson

    I don’t think Shane killed Otis so he could get away — I think he killed Otis for shooting Karl, and knew that if he did it while they were out in dangerous territory alone, no one would ever call him on it (and he made sure he got eaten anyway, so even if they did bother looking for his corpse, it would indeed look like he got eaten).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LU5C262WB3Z5F4WZ6QGKXLNLE JaneM

    According to “Talking Dead”, the after show, the walkers would not have gone for dead Otis. He has to be moving to attract them.

    Anyhow, I think you’re complaints are a bit much.  You really can’t compare the world in which the people in Lost found themselves and what’s going on with these people.  Do they do some stupid things? yes, because, people in real life, without a script to follow do incredibly stupid things, let alone being in this world where none of the old rules apply. 

    And as of this point, they have actually scouted all over that area and know that except for a random walker or two, which they can handle, they are not going to run into a herd.

    I do wish they would explain about the safety of the farm, because if it’s that safe, they should just stay there and start a commune. And then wouldn’t you be bored?

    by the way, producer Gale Ann Hurd explained that the reason Shane shaved his head was not a taxi driver moment,  Carl yanked out a hunk of his hair and he was hiding the hair hole.

    And one final thought, given Shane’s amazing torso, I’m surprised they don’t find reasons to have his shirt off all the time like they do on soap operas.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty much agree with all your points here.

    Regardless of whether one can or cannot justify Shane’s actions (personally, I’m torn), it’s pretty clear that the fallout from this incident has already begun to take its toll on his own psyche.  

    I for one am actually excited about this development; so far I haven’t been feeling much of anything towards most of the characters except mild annoyance.  A good human villain will hopefully help pick up the pace of the story.  They’ve literally been telling the same story for two episodes now with very very little development. I need to feel something more for the characters, either way, because all it seems to be right now is just a bunch of idiots running around during the apocalypse like chickens with their heads cut off.  Where’s the characterization? Even the interpersonal dynamics that they do build into the story seem forced and manufactured.  They really need to start spending more time on the secondary characters like Glen, Darryl, and T-Dog, and give the women more to do than be angry and/or weepy.  However, every time I get annoyed or frustrated the zombies show up and I remember that the reason I’m watching this show is for some goold old-fashioned gore and terror. 
    Also – I can’t help but compare this show, and its storytelling and pacing, with Homeland, because my husband and I watch them back to back.  And holy hell is Homeland a good show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Heim/708520610 Katie Heim

    I agree that it’s the ambiguity of morality that is unhinging Shane. He thought he did everything “right” and then his whole world was thrown out of whack by Rick coming back from the dead. Now he’s starting to see (as is Rick) that he lives in a world that may not have such things as “right” or “wrong” but only dead or alive. That’s enough to ruin a hero-savior type of character; his purpose has been taken from him.

    I could see, as a mother, Lori giving up. Working so hard to keep her kid alive, and seeing, in this one moment, that she may not be able to win this one after all. It’s one thing when your child is healthy and strong standing next to you, quite another when they are lying on a bed dying of internal bleeding. It’s the way they describe drowning…you fight until you see that it might be easier to let go. She was letting go.

    A note about Otis; dead or alive…Didn’t they say the dude who wrote a poem and hung himself had become chow for the zombies? Wasn’t he presumably dead at the time they ate HIM? I don’t think that the walkers would have known Otis wasn’t alive that quickly, he was still a fresh kill. It is possible that Shane couldn’t debate these finer points, but still.

    • Anonymous

      I think that dude had gotten bit and then hung himself, thinking he would die that way before fully becoming a walker.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LU5C262WB3Z5F4WZ6QGKXLNLE JaneM

      No, they said animals were eating him for a while.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1248212910 Jessie Melcher Brown

    Did anyone watch talking dead, the analysis show which comes on after walking dead?  They explained that Shane shaved his head to hide the hair that Otis pulled out while they fought.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LU5C262WB3Z5F4WZ6QGKXLNLE JaneM

      Yes, if I have any complaint about last night’s show, it’s that Shane’s head shaving had a simple explanation and they didn’t shoot it in such a way that we even saw that happen.
       

      • Jenny Martin

        Hmm. My husband and I got it right away. I thought they made it pretty obvious what happened. They showed the missing chunk, Shane freaking out, then showed the fight where Otis ripped out Shane’s hair during the struggle–I mean, Otis had his hand clenched in Shane’s hair, Shane is beating on Otis’s arm trying to get him to let go then just wrenches away, losing the chunk of hair in the process. It seems like a lot of people posting about Shane shaving his head totally missed that which baffles me–it was so obvious once they showed the fight what happened.

      • Anonymous

        I disagree only because I saw Otis pull a handful of Shane’s hair out so I understood exactly why he was shaving his head.  It was a fleeting moment and, to be honest, I’m lucky I didn’t blink or I would have missed it and also been confused.

  • Anonymous

    Glad you pointed out the water waste during the “shower scene”.  Where is that water coming from anyway?  In addition, where are these people getting electricity?  Is this farm totally off the grid and self sufficient in terms of energy production?

  • Jenny Tregidga

    I think zombies have a hierarchy of what they like to eat:
    Live People
    Dead People
    Animals

    If Otis was dead they would have eaten him eventually but Shane would still look more appetising at the time.

  • Anonymous

    I have some vague memory of generator and wells being mentioned in the previous episode, but that may be my mind filling in the blanks.

    I got that Shane shaved his head because Otis pulled on it.  I thought the shaving wasn’t just to hide the hair holes, but also indicative of Shane cutting off any possible vulnerability–no one will ever pull him down by his hair ever again.  He’ll do whatever it takes to survive, including feeding someone else to the figurative wolves.  Otis was shown clearly unwilling to do that–he rescued Shane after Shane had already injured himself.  

    So I think we’re being set up for a what-will-people-do-and-become to survive arc.  Andrea looks to me like she’ll transform into tough girl–we’ve already seen her kill a zombie with a screwdriver close-up and you know she’ll use that gun.  If anything, we’ve seen Dale’s paternalism interfere with her transformation into a bad-ass, but I expect it’s coming. 

    I agree, though, with TLo that the female characters aren’t well developed.  Even passive women–and both Carol and Laurie have been presented as passive–will show another side when their kids are involved.  It would be more interesting to see that.  

    And I don’t buy being tired makes this group so incapable of formulating a plan.  Yeah, it’s a world full of zombies, but the survivors have roads, food (apparently) and access to various material goods and weaponry.  I don’t see why the writers don’t have a little more guts and think things through a little more.  So far, nothing’s really surprised me in terms of problem solving–c’mon, head toward the ocean, spend the night on houseboats out at sea, say.  Throw some fresh half-killed deer into a zombie hoarde and then firebomb them.   

    Humans owe their early survival as a species to that ability to cooperate and plot.  So why wouldn’t they do it here?  Why wouldn’t it be interesting?  In the long run, I think it’s more dynamic than hopeless people on the run waiting to get eaten.

    Just as a side note–people don’t to be suicidal when their lives are in deep jeopardy.  They tend to be suicidal *afterwards*.  These people don’t really have *time* to be depressed in the way we’re seeing.    In other words, low rate of suicide in the Nazi death camps; high rate of suicide among death camp survivors.

    • Anonymous

      I hope you’re right about the female characters.  Gale Ann Hurd, one of the producers, has been behind some kick-ass female characters, (the Terminator and Aliens movies just to name a few) so hopefully we’ll see the gals evolve into something more than what they are now.
      It’s an interesting thought, that the common enemies, the zombies, finding food, water and shelter,  you would think that would cement them into something more.  I think we’re forgetting that they just had a big chunk of hope blown to bits in Atlanta.  There’s no cure and there’s no one working on a cure.  Now get back out there and start living again in constant fear and terror.  The victims in the Nazi death camps knew there was a war on and a chance that the Nazis would lose and they would be freed.  Right now for the Walking Dead, there is no liberating army.  All they have to look forward to is basic survival.  Because if I heard the previews for next week right, kindly vet kicks the visitors back out to the highway and away from all that lovely hot water.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

    I finally deleted the “record series” setting on my DVR for this show. There’s just not enough story or character development to hold me. It’s like Gilligan’s Island without the laugh track, where absolutely nothing makes sense. After last week’s episode I made a list of obvious questions nobody seems to be asking, like how is the vet’s farm still safe?  I absolutely hate it when these wafer-thin characters make lofty speeches expressing complex analysis they could not possibly be capable of. Anyhow, I’ll leave y’all to it. There are better shows on television, lots of them.

  • Joshua

    I also thought all that hot water seemed just a little too cozy for trying to express how desperate their situations were, but I am glad to say, three episodes in, I’m finally enjoying the season and seeing more of a point to the first two episodes.

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t Otis already going to die because he already got chewed up?

  • Kristopher Schramm

    There have been something like 90 issues of the comic so far. Lots of really wild stuff happens. Unless the show has a 20 season contract, they’ll never get the chance to cover half of it. We’re already about a third of the way through the season and nothing has happened. The pace is far too slow. 

    In my opinion, there is really no good reason for the show to be different from the books, and everything the writers have done that is different from the books has been dumb in comparison to the books. The comics have plenty of interesting characters that are well developed; the show doesn’t need exclude some of the good characters from the book and insert lame characters that were never in the book (T-Dog, or whatever his name is). The books are page after page of wild, intense, scary, gory situations, escapes, and near misses; the show doesn’t need to have totally new and different stuff going on. 

    I don’t know if it’s the writing or the actors or both, but I don’t really like any of the characters except Daryl, and he seems to have undergone a total personality makeover from last season. 

    Huge fan of the books. So far, not a fan of the show. Each week I have a hard time starting the show because I’m afraid it will be disappointing, but I watch anyway hoping it will improve, and then I leave frustrated.    

  • http://blue-again.myopenid.com/ blue

    It feels like there’s a lot of filler–i.e. all those dreadfully boring chat sessions the characters keep having. Snooooooozefest. I loved season 1. I hope s2 picks up soon.

  • http://twitter.com/sockandaphone Gaby

    This was actually my favorite episode so far. Im home now with the Carl’s operation done, well get some more explanations about the farm and were they are headed next week. My only problem with Shane’s actions is that there was no need to shoot him in the leg. The poor guy died a horrendous death, and he coulda done the same job by just killing him instantly (aka head shot). It was very painful to watch D: But I love this series despite its faulty writing. I just hope it gets some direction soon.

  • Anonymous

    SO GLAD I am not the only person who was concerned about Shane wasting all of that precious hot water. lolol

    I don’t actually think Shane sacrificing Otis was necessarily something that makes him a bad guy. Otis’ actions were why they were there in the first place and it was clear they were not going to make it unless the walkers had a distraction. They were sort of out of options. 

    Agree with everything you have said about the female characters. I would also like to know how the farm is safe, etc. I wonder what role the firing of Frank Darabont plays in the problems of season 2?

  • Nicole Jackson

    I kinda saw the scene with Shane at the end as like a cleansing, trying to wash (and shave) away the memory of what he did to Otis, not as him suddenly being a psychopath.

  • Scott Hester-Johnson

    Since we’re nitpicking, how long is Rick going to walk around in stifling Georgia heat in that polyester sheriff’s uniform AND undershirt?

    Seriously, there are tonnes of abandoned clothing stores where he could get something a little more suitable.

    I also don’t understand why all the zombies are milling around the high school.

    All that being said, I am loving the fact that when you think about it, everything, from Carl getting shot to Shane going rogue, started with Sophia making a little noise. Powerful stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Davis-Simpson/825287941 Elizabeth Davis-Simpson

    Shane tried to rape Lori last season.  I don’t think this bad streak is anything new, unless we’ve become so desensitized to rape it doesn’t “count” against his character.

  • http://twitter.com/ILikeShiny Cindi Williams

    The thing that pissed me off the most about this episode you already addressed. The entire time Shane is shaving (both beginning and end scenes), I kept yelling, “Turn off the fucking hot water, Shane!”.

  • Gwen

    I find it interesting that so many here, except a few, find the females on this show so unrealistic.  I’m a woman and in world where I’m constantly being physically threatened and the trappings of civilization and all its protections have been stripped away you better believe I’d find myself a big, strong, clever man to protect me and my children.  Even now, if I heard a noise in the house at night I would send my husband to investigate.  Why?  Because my husband is different than me. The truth is that women are more vulnerable than men due to the simple fact that we are not as physically strong as they are.  These vulnerabilities could lead to mass abuses in a society without civil protections.  Lori almost got raped by a guy she TRUSTED.  Maybe I’m a cynic but the past centuries have not been exactly kind to women and I’d imagine during this sort of apocalyptic event that people would revert back to “traditional” gender roles.  A gun could even the playing field for a bit, but what happens when the bullets run out?  I realize that we want to see women step up and just take these leadership roles but I think in reality the inherent vulnerability of being a woman would prevent that from happening.  Men dominated the world since the beginning of time. And let’s be honest, despite the leaps forward women have taken, they still do for the most part.  Why would that be any different during a zombie apocalypse?  I’m not saying I like it. But it’s probably what would happen. 

  • Anonymous

    The Shane thing, well I always felt he was going to go in that direction eventually, so I’m not surprised but it could have been filmed better.  And yes, why are the women so powerless all of a sudden?  I thought they were pretty strong in season 1, but so far, not so much.  Carol, sorry you lost your daughter, but buck up and stop being weepy.  I get you’re an abused woman and all of that but look around you, and wise the heck up.  
    What is the deal with this farm and it’s people?  Hot water?  Electricity?  How are they surviving out there?  I’d like some answers.
    I think budget issues are making them spend days on that highway.  Highest rated show on AMC and their budget was cut.  Go figure.
    Great post as always and thanks for voicing important concerns or issues with the show.

  • http://womenshealthnews.wordpress.com/ RachelW

    “when you bookend that with endless scenes of good-looking male characters doing routinely heroic things, the gender politics tend to leap out at you. There is no reason in this story for the women characters to be saddled with such stereotypically weak and submissive roles. The books aren’t like that. Quite the opposite, in fact.” – Yes, 100 times, this.

  • http://twitter.com/evagination Kendra Lynn

    Just kept waiting for Glenn to get a well-deserved booty call during that porch scene. Hello, I am two seasons behind.