Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Phillip DeVona, Emily Kinney, Michael Zegen  
Writer: Scott M. Gimple, Glen Mazzara
Director:  Ernest Dickerson
Network: AMC, airs Sunday nights 
Original Telecast: February 26, 2011

In the tenth episode of THE WALKING DEAD Season 2, “18 Miles Out,” rescued survivor Randall (Michael Zegen) is on the mend. As Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) head out on the road to release their charge back into the wild, the journey becomes an expedition into mending much more than one injured leg. Can two men that were once like brothers find common ground after so much has happened? And back at the farm, will it be Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) or Andrea (Laurie Holden) whose philosophy holds sway – with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) caught in the middle – when Beth (Emily Kinney) decides to take matters into her own hands?

A beautifully acted scene between Rick and Shane opens the episode as Rick lays out everything he knows and demands that Shane accept things as they are. Symbolically, this confrontation takes place on a crossroads, but it also speaks to the heart of the series since day one – not a man alone, not even a man and his family, but thinking back to the first thing we saw before the apocalypse descended, a man and his partner; his brother. These two are joined by the oaths they took, the bond of friendship and love they shared, the woman and family they both need to survive.

In the comics, Shane was a throwaway, a quick first antagonist to drive home that danger often comes from within, but Bernthal’s Shane has had time to breathe and grow, and this is really his episode…or to be fair, his and Lincoln’s. In last week’s review I said that I like Shane although lots of viewers don’t. I also like Rick and Shane as a team, with Rick’s rationality balancing Shane’s unbridled Id. Is Rick the Ego or Super-Ego, and is Lori the other? I’ll leave that to the psychology majors to figure out.

As with the episode in which Shane sacrificed Otis, this one begins with a zombie-heavy action sequence that foreshadows an important aspect of the installment – Rick is once again wrong in judging the situation. Trying to find a safe place to leave Randall, he only succeeds in putting all three of them in grave danger. But when Shane is trapped in the bus, he adopts Rick’s method of dispatching zombies by knife, a telling and perhaps even touching moment that shows even in his cloud of anger, he’s capable of hearing his friend’s counsel and accepting it. That still doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of attacking Rick with a wrench and nearly killing him.

After the brilliant bit of business that is Rick’s three zombie pile-on (steady now), he seemingly reciprocates by adopting Shane’s “every man for himself” approach, only to come roaring back in to save his friend. It’s a triumphant moment, and it even offers a glimmer of hope that these two can heal. They are blending together in some ways, and remaining resolutely individual in others.

Back at the farm (yeah I know, that’s twice now), Rick and Shane’s story is counterpointed by a similar showdown between Lori and Andrea, and it’s a strange gender divide here underscored by Lori’s regressive comments about taking care of laundry and domestic issues while the men handle “man’s work.” Beth also tries to commit suicide…who? You know, the catatonic blonde, Maggie’s sister, one of the farm-based characters we never really met in any great detail and therefore can’t have much empathy for? Kinney’s performance in this episode goes some way to addressing that deficiency while giving us the opportunity to see all of Lori’s and Andrea’s past experiences crystallized in their approach to handling this new crisis. It’s solid character-building stuff,and very welcome.

This episode benefits from the tighter two-front focus, leaving out some of the large ensemble cast to give just a few characters enough time to make progress in what has otherwise been a pretty stagnant season. There are also some artful, symbolic shots in this installment, from the crossroads setting, to the two fallen officers that trigger Rick’s loyalty to Shane, to the sobering scene in which a bloody-mouthed Shane is reflected in a shattered window just before the walkers emerge. Which is the greater danger?

The episode is also somewhat bookended by Shane contemplating a lone zombie making its way across an expansive field. The poignancy of the scene is matched only by its ambiguity. What does that zombie signify for Shane? Does he see himself, an outsider lost in an uncaring world? The embodiment of an uncertain future trudging helplessly along an unknown path? The zombie accepts its plight – it has no reason to choose any other way – but can Shane accept his?

As you might be able to tell, I found this episode refreshingly moving and even profound, with just the right balance of zombies, action, great performances, and deftly interwoven strands of character and plot. More of this, please.

Related LinkExclusive Interivew with THE WALKING DEAD creator Robert Kirkman and executive producer David Alpert

Related Link: Exclusive Interview: The Actors of THE WALKING DEAD – Melissa Suzanne McBride, Norman Reedus and Steven Yuen

Related Link: Five Things From THE WALKING DEAD comic We Want To See On the TV Show

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Article Source: Assignment X 
ArticleTV Review: THE WALKING DEAD – Season 2 – “18 Miles Out”

 

 

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Comments:

  1. Tired of reflexive, politically correct comments — “regressive” misses the point and just goes to show that the show’s writers have a hell of a task on their hands attempting to penetrate minds and provoke thought.

    There’s a reason why mankind has evolved into a sort of natural division of labor over millennia. Men are physically more robust and did the hunting and fighting and intensely physical tasks. Women were less adapted to war-fighting and so took care of home and hearth. Evolution culled social arrangements that did not confer an evolutionary/competitive advantage — e.g., groups that did not employ that division of labor. Groups that did employ it persisted (and so did their social structures), while groups that did not, perished.

    This is one explanation of why it is so persistent across cultures: the combination of environmental selection and evolutionary pressure has ingrained that structure in human social arrangements. Modern society has largely eroded its relevance because the threat of an unforgiving and hostile physical environment has receded along with the emergence of civilization — there is no longer a comparative advantage to be had from dividing labor up in that way.

    But because the Walking Dead is a setting in which civilization has collapsed and people are thrown back into a primal state in which they are at war with the undead and a harsh and unforgiving physical environment, the division of labor that first evolved during man’s hunter-gatherer days may once again make sense, and even be advantageous for survival.

    This, at least, is what I think the writers wanted to convey: the old trappings of civilization make less sense in this new world. And preconceptions — such as political correctness on gender roles — may have to be abandoned in light of this new reality. In short, Lori has a point.

    aab bbc
  2. So although a woman might have other skills and serve the survivors best in a certain role – like Andrea manning the watch with a gun – you’re saying Lori has a point and Andrea should put the gun away and pick up a washcloth or apron? Just because she’s a woman? Even if that’s not her best method of contributing? I think that’s a bit…well, I would say “regressive,” but I wouldn’t want to be accused of being politically correct. :)

    Arnold
  3. Pingback: Andrew Lincoln Visits Rachael Ray; ABC News Chats Up Norman Reedus | World of Zombies (alpha)

  4. She almost killed Daryl while posting watch, so it’s clear that she is less than competent at it, and that it isn’t her “best” method of contributing. Moreover, watch duty does not preclude picking up a washcloth — as a woman, she is less physically adapted for combat than men, and so would be costing the group in terms of comparative advantage by doing work that she is maladapted for (e.g., fighting walkers in the wild).

    So she is only doing half of the men’s work at best, leaving plenty of time for her to contribute to the other side of the division of labor. Again, think about it: would Andrea have had the physical strength to shut the walkers out with the bus door had it been her instead of Shane in that situation? Her lack of brute physical strength would have been a disadvantage (an increasingly pressing disadvantage as ammo stocks dwindle) — and in the long run, a group that fails to exploit comparative advantage from an efficient division of labor would have lower survival rates.

    Lori has a point that a division of labor that matches skill-sets based on physical traits is advantageous for survival, and would tend to triumph against groups with mismatched skill-sets. Pit a group of 10 men against a group of 5 women and 5 men in melee combat and comparative physical advantage would result in the triumph of the all-male group probably 9 out of 10 times. Repeat over the long run and groups with inapt labor divisions die out. But let’s not let evolutionary logic get in the way of political correctness, eh? But seriously, do you not see that Lori (and the show’s writers) have at least a plausible argument? Simply dismissing the point as “regressive” misses the point.

    aab bbc
  5. First, I wasn’t “dismissing” it at all, I was merely offering a brief opinion of the scene in a review that covers the episode over all and does not afford me the space to launch into a far more detailed diatribe about that one specific point. In my opinion, Lori’s take on things is regressive, *even* given their situation. So no, I don’t think she has a point in that specific moment where Andrea is concerned.

    And just because a character says that in an episode doesn’t mean the writers are making that argument. They may be presenting it in order to *refute* it, or to make Lori look troubled, or confused. Not every character in a massive ensemble is speaking the mind of the show’s creators. Sometimes they’re saying the exact opposite for a reason.

    So we’ll agree to differ on this one. And who knows, future episodes might revisit this point and develop it along the lines you’ve suggested, or they won’t. We’ll see.

    ARNOLD T. BLUMBERG
  6. …and just to clarify, commenting on it and therefore acknowledging it and offering an opinion on it is in fact not “missing the point.” :)

    ARNOLD T. BLUMBERG
  7. Pingback: TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD – Season 3 – “This Sorrowful Life” – Assignment X | ReliableNewsSource

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