The Walking Dead Episode 210
"18 Miles Out"
Written By: Scott M. Gimple & Glen Mazzara
Directed By: Ernest Dickerson
Original Airdate: 26 February 2012
In This Episode...
Shane and Rick are on their road trip to abandon Randal. Rick pulls over to talk to confront Shane about Otis, and Shane swears he did it for survival. The tension has never been higher between the two. Rick feels like Shane doesn't think he can keep his own family safe, and Lori thinks Shane is dangerous - but he is at least understanding about the two of them shacking up together. Shane swears he would take it all back if he could. So nothing is solved or settled.
They have gone just over 18 miles before Rick finds a suitable place to dump Randal: the department of public works. They remove his hood, his iPod, and the duct tape from his mouth, but leave his hands and feet bound (I guess they didn't have to amputate his leg after all). They also toss him a knife, a dozen or so feet away from him. As Rick and Shane are walking away, Randal begs for his life, promising to be a useful member of their community. It is when he says he went to school with Maggie that the guys stop. But not because they decide he is "part of the family;" it is because he knows where the farm is, and this whole trip was useless. Shane flips and pulls a gun on Randal; Rick tackles him and the shot narrowly misses. The men start fighting, and it gets pretty vicious. While they are distracted, Randal has wiggled to the knife and sets about freeing himself. Shane throws a massive wrench at Rick's head, but he ducks and the wrench goes through the window. This wakes a nest of walkers and it is a balls-out brawl.
Randal frees himself in time to save himself from a zombie. Rick takes out at least four. Shane takes out a couple, but with a dozen on his ass, he seeks shelter in a school bus. The door doesn't latch, so Shane tries taking out the zombies one by one. He loses his knife in the second zombie, and Rick grabbed his gun in the fight. He is defenseless, and watches as Rick and Randal leave without him. At the car, Rick sees a pair of walkers they killed when they first arrived, both sheriffs, and he has a change of heart. Randal drives (he is duct taped to the seat so he can't escape) while Rick shoots at the zombies, distracting them long enough for Shane to slip out the back of the bus and into the getaway car. A number of miles down the road, Rick and Shane put Randal back in the truck, and Rick concedes that yes, they will probably have to kill Randal, but he still wants to sleep on it.
Meanwhile, at the farm, Lori has tried to befriend Beth, who is talking but still won't leave bed. Lori collects Beth's lunch plates and realizes the knife is missing. Beth has already seen the futility. Lori confiscates the knife from Beth and the girl is immediately put on suicide watch. Maggie sits with her sister, and tries every tactic from reasoning to screaming. Lori and Andrea get into their own fight in the kitchen: Andrea doesn't believe it was right for Lori to take away Beth's choice to kill herself, the same way it wasn't Dale's decision to take the gun from Andrea. Lori is fed up with Andrea and thinks the boys can protect the camp without her - she needs to be doing "women's work" - cooking and cleaning and laundry.
Andrea offers to sit with Beth for awhile so Maggie can rest. As soon as she is left in charge, she leaves the girl alone to make up her own mind. When Maggie and Lori come back, they find Andrea gone, and Beth locked in the bathroom. The sound of glass breaking causes Lori to force the door open. Beth's wrists are bleeding, and she cries apologies to Maggie. The cuts weren't deep enough to do any damage. Andrea tries to reason with Maggie: this means Beth wants to live. Maggie is furious and doesn't want Andrea to ever set foot in her house again. While Lori disagrees with Andrea's methods, she agrees that the results were sound. Sometimes you just have to cross that line.
Dig It or Bury It?
This was a very, very strong episode. Easily the best of the season. The massive amounts of zombies and beginning-to-end action certainly didn't hurt, but I was also quite taken with the suicide subplot. It puts the idea of euthanasia in a whole new light. At the public works compound, Shane and Rick kill two walkers at the entrance. Shane takes the time to look over their bodies for bites, but finds none. Rick reasons that they must have been scratched. I like that they are planting the seeds of "what if this virus mutates and doesn't require a bit at all" idea.
I am having a hard time dealing with Rick's holier-than-thou attitude. He pulls it with Shane when he confronts him about his sacrifice of Otis; he pulls it again when Shane wants to shoot Randal. I know those two saloon buffoons were being assholes, but Rick shot first. He has no right to decide who is deserving of life and who gets death. The power struggles are taking center stage, and it seems the core group will split soon. Everyone is paranoid, everyone feels that they alone are in the right, everyone feels that their rules are the right rules.
Zombie of the Week
I'm going to call this zombie the Lone Ranger. As Rick and Shane are driving away from the farm, Shane sees the Lone Ranger, a hulking walker dressed in black, stumbling across a barren field. On their way back to the farm, Shane sees this same walker, in the same field, walking mindlessly, for no other reason than primal instinct. It is a wide shot, with this dark, monstrous figure against a pale, otherwise pastoral plateau. I'm not sure which is more chilling: the zombie or the look of resignation on Shane's face when he realizes the futility of the world now.
Kill of the Week
Rick shoots a walker, and it falls on top of him. Another zombie trips and falls on top, so Rick shoots him. A third walker falls on top of the dog pile, but Rick is pinned and can't quite get a good shot. Luckily the other two walkers act as a buffer, keeping Rick just out of reach. The only solution? Rick shoots right through the bottom zombie's head until a bullet goes into the third zombie. Rick shoots off three rounds and sends a ton of gore flying all over him. He stops when the top zombie stops moving - his gun muzzle peeking out of the newly-formed hole in the walker's head.
Rick and Shane take Randal back to the farm and tie him up in the barn. Dale opposes killing Randal; Darryl is for it; and Shane wants Andrea's help when he plans to overthrow Rick.