Walking Dead: “18 Miles Out”

Posted on February 29, 2012

Better late than never, but this’ll be a short one.

There was a welcome sense of focus to this episode and that’s something the show’s needed since, well, forever, really. Unfortunately, the writers chose to focus on a bunch of characters they’ve already spent way too much time on. We’re really hoping they got it out of their systems, because one more episode of the Rick, Lori, & Shane Show is going to send us running for the remote to change the channel. That’s an honest hope, by the way. Call us naive, but there’s a possibility that this episode served as a way to tame the Shane/Rick/Lori narrative just a little bit; first, by having Rick and Shane just pull their dicks and a ruler out and get it over with, showing them both to be a little stupid in the process; and second, by having another character finally call Lori on her massive pile of bullshit. That it was Andrea, who is both not likeable and possibly a little crazy, who put her in her place only made it all the sweeter.

But let’s face it: the writers are inexplicably in love with these three characters so the likelihood of them not being the center of the story for a good while seems pretty slim. Even the Lost writers knew when to ease off all the Jack/Kate/Sawyer stuff. This pack seems determined to keep giving the audience exactly what the audience has been complaining about the most. We can’t believe, after that awful Sophia storyline, they threw another character-in-crisis storyline at us and once again, it’s a character most of us couldn’t have named or picked out of a lineup before this episode. Has T-Dog spoken at all in the last 3 episodes? Can we give Carole something to do besides being a doormat; Dale something to do besides being a control freak; and Darryl something do besides lash out at people? Do we really need to spend half an episode perched on the edge of some farm girl’s bed, as characters wring their hands over her fate?

And we get it: it’s simply a tool for the characters to have discussions about big questions and to reveal something about themselves. Fine. But the discussion of whether or not to go on in this world is a theme of the show; one that has almost been beaten into the ground at this point. And we already knew that Lori was self-centered and high-strung and that Andrea is dark and maybe just a little bit nuts. The only value to this storyline was that it forced a confrontation between these two women, but that could have been accomplished in dozens of other ways. Sorry to be so callous, but we just don’t give a shit about nameless suicidal farm girls when there are a half-dozen people we’ve been following since episode one who we barely know at all. By all means, throw in new characters to the mix, but we would have been a lot more invested in this story if it was about Carole wanting to kill herself.

What we want is for them to stop asking the question of whether or not to go on, and get on with showing us how these folks are going to go on. Where are they, exactly? What are their goals? Not just immediately, but in the long term? What are they fighting for? “Survival” isn’t enough of an answer to hang an entire television series on. We’re heading into the end of the second season, the show needs a mission statement and some world-building desperately. We’re just optimistic enough to still believe that the following bits will give us more of what we’re looking for: The introduction of Randall, the fact that some time has passed (they’re finally mentioning an upcoming winter), and the short discussion about walkers without bite marks, which Rick seemed awfully keen on NOT having. We need a mythology to this show. This was a fairly decent episode overall, but let’s get this car MOVING, folks.



[Photo Credit: AMC]

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