“The Walking Dead” just keeps getting better and better. This week’s episode, “18 Miles Out,” had a thick tension to it — especially between characters — and it drove the episode extremely well. But the action side of things was no slouch, either, as this was one of the most zombie-packed episodes all series.
Last week’s episode showed Rick, Hershel and Glenn return from town with a captive, someone who was trying to kill them. Shane wasn’t very happy with this, and in “18 Miles Out” we see just how much of a threat Shane thought this newcomer was. When Rick intervenes, definitely following his conscience rather than his gut, Shane and Rick have it out.
This opens a can of worms in the shape of a zombie hoard, as Rick and Shane’s fighting inadvertently release a large group of zombies. Which they then had to deal with.
It was an interesting albeit predictable chain of events. The two realized they had to work together to survive. It definitely called upon the good old days of them being partners in the police force, but I think it mostly made them realize — if nothing else — they could use one another. Problem is, Shane’s been proven to “look out for No. 1,” like he did with Otis earlier in the season. Now that Rick has drawn the proverbial line in the sand, Shane can’t really stand the guy. He doesn’t trust Rick to take care of Lori and Carl, but that’s likely due to his infatuation with Lori and desire to see Rick out of the picture.
This all foreshadows the demise of one of these characters. I predict, by the end of the season, either Rick or Shane will die. And (unless you’re George R.R. Martin), Writing for Television 101 tells us it’s not going to be Rick because he’s a more vital character than Shane. Just my guess.
Once again, the show’s writers and editors do a great job splitting time between characters. While Shane and Rick deal with their mayhem, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) has a crisis of her own back at the farm. We see Andrea (Laurie Holden) get off her chest how she feels about “thinking on the brighter side of life,” in a taut exchange with Lori, after Lori stops Beth from committing suicide. And, really, I’m liking Andrea less and less as the show goes on. While she’s a realist, she’s too cold of a character for me. In a way, she’s worse than Shane.
Speaking of Beth … Finally, we get to see Emily Kinney act a little! She plays Beth Greene, one of the original members of the farm, and has been in a majority of the second season so far. Her character is having a difficult time dealing with her situation, and even though she had few lines this episode, her catatonic acting was pretty good and believable. She’s in a state of shock and doesn’t see many options for herself, or the world she now lives in. I’ve been waiting for a character to act this way, since I imagine, if put in her shoes, lots of people would handle it the exact same.
The episode’s post-opening credits scene was great, thanks to the acting by Andrew Lincoln and Jon Bernthal. I think Bernthal is best when he’s not given too much dialogue, because he has the tendency to overact at times. Not to say he’s a poor actor, because he isn’t, I just think it was smart of the writers to keep focus on Rick’s authoritative tone and dialogue. So when Rick tells Shane how it’s going to be in regards to Lori and Carl, it’s interesting to watch Shane’s reaction via his body language and facial features; which is a strong point Bernthal calls on from time to time in this series.
Of all the things seen this episode, one of my favorites was Rick discussing his ideas with Shane on how to handle small groups of zombies, and then putting those tactics to use. It makes sense to keep things quiet if you have to dispatch one, or a few zombies, as it keeps other zombies in the area from being attracted to the gunfire.
Of course, that does nothing for them once they begin taking out their aggression on one another, oblivious to the dangers surrounding them.
Things missing from this episode, despite all its goodness, are other key characters, like Glenn, Hershel, Dale and, of course, Daryl. But next week’s episode seems like it’ll rectify that. And that’s understandable — we’re dealing with such a large cast, that it’s gotta be a little give and take.
Oh, “The Walking Dead,” how I enjoy you. Please let these next three (and final) episodes of season two be as awesome as these past three have been.