An oft used trick in The Walking Dead is to show the height of an episode’s action then cut back to the sequence of events leading up to that point. This episode is one of those. Opening with mobs of zombies chasing Shane and one attacking Rick, this installment hints at a focus on the two men and the open rivalry for control of the group between them.
Appropriately the first scenes of calm show the ever-present Hyundai at a crossroads. In many ways, Shane and Rick are at a literal crossroads in their friendship. Rick takes this opportunity at the crossroads to talk to Shane about Lori but Shane thinks Rick needs to talk to him about Randall, showing the different trajectories they are on as characters.
Somehow, Rick has found out about Shane’s actions with Otis at the school. I don’t know whether Rick has the full knowledge of what Shane did to Otis, it is likely no one really does, but it is hard to justify what Shane did.
‘Rick you can’t just be the good guy and expect to live, not anymore.’
Rick tells Shane that Shane will not be a danger to Lori or Carl anymore, but what that really means no one knows.
Shane confesses to Rick that Lori and Carl kept him alive in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. He also claims he would take it all back if he could, but that probably isn’t a genuine statement and Rick probably doesn’t accept it as such. That Shane reveals Lori and Carl kept him going is telling in that he basically admits without them, there is little to keep him moving forward.
One aspect that is consistently incongruous is the food these people eat while at the farm. In the last episode, there was fresh lettuce and in this episode Lori munches on fresh cucumbers while explaining to Maggie that the ‘men folk’ can do what they do because they’re the men or some such garbage.
Where’s the produce stand? So far I haven’t seen any vegetation on the ‘farm’ either. Doesn’t lettuce take collective farming efforts? I don’t think it just spontaneously appears in the wild, delectable and perfect.
Beth asks Lori how she could have a baby with how things are. Unfortunately she also adds herself to the insufferable list of mopes that can’t pull it together to get over the situation and try to survive.
At the abandoned campground or school, it is unclear which it is, Rick stumbles upon burnt corpses while Shane discovers a makeshift living situation inside a schoolbus.
We find out that Maggie’s sister Beth is suicidal and was going to use a steak knife to kill herself. It’d be impressive if she pulled if off with a steak knife. Likely she’s being melodramatic like the rest. After all, The Walking Dead can sometimes be a histrionic affair as much as a gruesome one.
Randall pleads for his life with Shane and Rick and claims that he went to school with Maggie. This prompts Shane to try and blow his head off but he’s knocked off mark by Rick. Where are the hordes of zombies?
After telling Rick that he doesn’t think Rick can keep Lori and Carl safe, Rick and Shane engage in a fist fight. In a moment of stupidity, Shane throws a wrench through a building window out of which pours the zombie horde seen in the beginning of the episode. Rick cleverly conceals himself with a zombie corpse he just knifed in the head, leaving Shane as prey for the larger group.
Back at Hershel farm, Andrea and Lori are subjected to Maggie and Beth screaming at each other upstairs. Andrea reveals that she thinks Lori shouldn’t have taken the knife away from Beth, telling Lori it was not her decision whether or not Beth killed herself. It is nice to know that Andrea has found zen but wow what an attitude to have around a group struggling to survive.
‘She only has so many choices before her and she believes the best one is suicide.’
Lori takes this opportunity to remind Andrea that she is a woman, not a man, and that she is needed to do the more menial tasks the rest of the women do. Andrea basically calls Lori out for being a screaming hypocrite – and nobody can really blame her. Ever embodying irrational and selfish behavior, Lori is, in my opinion, the most unlikeable character in the show. She behaves terribly and suffers no consequences because of it as Andrea points out.
‘He’s clueless, he had us waiting for a cure.’
After volunteering to watch suicidal Beth, Andrea then abandons her to kill herself if Beth likes. I don’t know if that is the wisest path for Andrea as a character. Sad to see Andrea’s become so stoic. There will likely be a reckoning for that attitude.
So, of course, Beth makes a childish attempt at killing herself while in the absence of adult supervision. Good job Andrea and Beth. Maggie bans Andrea from the house because of this, which is understandable since she isn’t contributing to a healthy atmosphere.
Shane and Rick still can’t decide what to do with Randall, especially after he proved instrumental in Shane’s rescue from the walkers. Rick concludes that they will have to kill Randall but that it bothers him. Further, he reaffirms that Shane needs to ‘follow his lead’ if he wanted to be around Rick’s family.
Overall, I’d be skeptical of any last minute conversions by Shane. The same lone walker Shane saw in the field earlier is seen again at the closing of the episode.
All photos courtesy of AMCtv.com.