Shane Makes Up For Last Week: Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 3

Can one scene make up for 55 minutes of mediocrity, dull conversations, pointless arguments, and a plot advancing at the rate of golden syrup oozing over a sweet buttery muffin (I had to fast for some lab work this morning, so bear with me)? I guess this episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead will do its damnedest to answer that question.

By the way, this is laid out roughly chronologically but I’m sure I’ve got shit mixed up in the middle somewhere.

The episode begins with Shirtless Shane, a running shower, closeups of his still-toned body (seriously, when does he get a chance to get enough nutrition and time to work out in the apocalypse? It’s been at least a few weeks, right? Everyone else is getting skinner. Shane is a-gettin’ buffier), and McShane shaving his head to get a good proper Maniacal Face going. What struck me was how callous he was about dumping his greasy man-hair all over the sink and poor exposed bar of soap. Other people have to use that bar of soap, you greedy non-hair-washing-for-a-month asshole. It probably looks like it’s covered in pubes now. One of those poor women is going to have to make a whole new batch out of manure or wherever it is soap comes from.

No context is given for the scene, so it’s just assumed that we’re either seeing a flash forward or a visualization of what goes through Grimes’ head whenever he and Shane lock their eyes together for uncomfortably long times every scene they’re together in. Indeed, soon after we’re treated to Grimes (back in the present time) talking about how friggin’ awesome Shane is to his wife, who is probably thinking about bumping uglies with the dude since, as Rick assures her over and over, she’s heard this story a million times and he keeps telling it anyway. It’s one in an amazing number of scenes that seems to serve no purpose. “Shane runs fast” is about as close to the point they’re reaching for as I can get.

Then we get to see pre-Skinhead Shane himself, along with Otis the Doomed, running through the high school. They get to the exit doors, and Shane looks horrified and surprised as he notices that the door is chained shut. Uh, I am fairly sure that there was some unrest at the high school not too long ago, maybe something like “the living dead” or something, so finding that the doors are like locked and shit shouldn’t be that much of a shock. Anyway, the pair end up on some bleachers looking at the dead dudes below them and come up with a plan – one will draw them off, and the other will provide covering fire. See, this is the kind of plan that would probably have really fucking worked out much better last week when they were leaving the FEMA trailer and were nearby their fucking getaway vehicle. But it’s too late for that. Shane twists his ankle falling out a window in a completely unforeseeable turn of events.

Then we get to see Rick and Lori get into a big debate over whether they should try to save the kid. Harpy Wife starts going off about what a horrible world it is that they live in and should they subject their son to this and maybe it would be better if he was just dead. Grimes has a pretty realistic reaction to this. He looks at her open-mouthed like he doesn’t have a fucking clue where the fuck this all came from and what the fuck she’s talking about, which is a very reasonable reaction in my opinion. She keeps asking him to give her one reason why they should try to save him. I’d have said something like, “Well, he’s my son, I came out of a coma and fought my way through a horde of the living fucking dead to reach you both, and somehow I think being alive is somewhat better than being dead,” or, “he’s my son and I ran 8 fucking miles with his body and have given up roughly half the blood in my body to try to save my only living child,” or something like that. Grimes instead looks flummoxed and says nothing at all.

Meanwhile, Daryl is trying to sleep on the floor of the RV while Mother lies sobbing in the bed and Mopey is loading a clip as loudly as she can manage in that way that women get when their significant other is trying to sleep but they can’t so she tries to innocuously make as much noise as possible while maintaining plausible deniability of doing anything wrong. Daryl gets up, looks at the pair of them, and decides that wandering in the woods at night alone would be preferable to spending another second in there. I’d have done the same. Mopey goes along, Dale says some pointless shit, and into the woods they go.

Character Development ensues. Daryl talks about his rough life and opens up to Mopey. This is undoubtedly setting up a scene where Daryl steps out of the shadow of his older brother, blossoms, then has to face down his brother and save the rest of the group from his big bro and die in the process. If that happens, and it will, I will spend copious amounts of time raging about it here. Anyway, they talk, find a tent where a suicidal bitten dude hung himself and is now a hanging zombie. Daryl is amused, Mopey is horrified, he goes to leave, she wants the hanging dude dead. He says something like “An answer for an arrow”, she says OK, he asks if she wants to live or something, and she takes ten minutes to say “I don’t know”, Daryl kills the zombie and leaves with “Waste of an arrow.” Yep. If you agree to answer a question, “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer.

Meanwhile, Dale is worried about the two in the woods. Stubblepate is up there with him and he says he’s going to take a walk to look, handing her his rifle. She says she doesn’t know how to use it, so he takes it with him. He walks through the traffic jam to peer in the darkness. Then he goes back to the RV. There. I’ve just wasted your time reading that pointless scene, just as they wasted mine showing it to me. It did nothing at all, like many many many scenes in this episode.

Glen and T-Bone or T-Dog or T-Doug or whatever the fuck the dumb-ass name they stuck on him show up at the farm. They meet Aragorn Horsechick and talk pointlessly while she eyefucks the Asian dude. They go inside for a sandwich. Wasting my fucking time. Later, Glen goes out to the porch and she goes after him, they have a long boring talk about praying and God and metaphysical who-gives-a-fuck timewasting bullshit while she basically throws herself at him. The scene of course goes nowhere.

Shane and Otis, meanwhile, have escaped the building they were dumb enough to get trapped in. Otis helps Shane against three running zombies while Shane looks feverish and out of it. Not sure why. He’s limping, but he looks crazy as fuck all of a sudden. They go running, then participate in my second-favorite moment of the show. They run down some steps towards a chain link fence, which, if you’ve never seen one, is actually quite easy to see past. They leans against the fence, talk briefly, then seconds later they are surprised when a crashing wave of zombies hit the fence behind them. I mean, the zombies couldn’t have been more than 10 feet away from the fence when they got to it. Why the fuck didn’t they see them? Who knows. They go running with a wave of the zombies behind them, which helped me notice something. If someone is running, the zombies run behind them. If someone is jogging, they jog behind them. If someone is limping along, the zombies shuffle after them. Zombies apparently have a speed roughly equal to their prey, whatever it may be.

Back to the farmhouse. The kid wakes up and immediately starts telling his mom about that fucking deer. I mean, it’s like “Where am I? What’s happened? MOM I SAW A DEER AND IT WAS COOL AND WOW,” then BAM he’s having a seizure. He calms down and passes out, then Grimes has to tell the story of the deer and for some reason THAT’S the reason why they should save their son. Because deer are pretty. Yup. There you go. Questions of whether to pull the plug on a loved one can now end with the infallible logic of NATURE IS BEAUTIFUL AND WONDROUS TO BEHOLD. If someone brings up that stupid fucking deer one more time I will release the zombie plague myself.

Daryl and Mopey go back to the RV sans kid. Dale gives Mopey her gun back, then basically tries to force her to forgive him for making all of her life decisions for her like an asshat. She takes the gun and rightfully acts bitchy about it. Suck it, Dale. You’re an asshole.

Doc then tells Carl’s parents that it’s going to be too late soon and they have to make a choice. I swear to God, he says that, and Harpy Wife looks at him like’s he’s crazy and says, “A CHOICE?!?!” Yeah, lady, a fucking choice, just like you had a fucking discussion with your husband on the porch not ten fucking minutes ago about whether they should try to save your fucking son without the fucking medical equipment. I swear, the writers on this show must really hate women, because they make them the most irrational bitchy pointless people in the world. How about a strong, capable, and decisive one, like most of the fucking real women I know in real life? Whatever. Anyway, Rick tells his wife that it’s up to her. If I say that to my wife about picking the restaurant we going to go to, that’s a fight. Nice way to put pressure on her. “Hey, honey, do you want to do nothing and watch your son die?” She relents, and I’m surprised she doesn’t tell Doc that there’s no way he can succeed because he’s just a vet and that he’s old and he’s not man enough to do it. They get ready to do it without the equipment and….

In the typical timing of movies and TV shows, Shane shows up in the nick of time (eyeroll). He’s by himself. Dun Dun DUN! He looks crazy as shit, they ask about Otis, he shakes his head. They ask what happened. As if the answer was anything other than “the fucking zombies ate him”. What else is he going to say? Well, Shane says Otis volunteered to cover him. He goes up to take a shower after the rangeress gives him some clothes to wear, helpfully informing him that they belonged to THE DEAD GUY HE WAS JUST WITH, as if he needs the extra pressure and guilt.

Oh, yeah, and the kid is of course fine. Bummer.

So Shane goes up for Shower Scene Mark II, so we get treated to his manly body once more. This time we see that a patch of hair has been ripped out of his head. FLASHBACK TIME.

Shane and Otis are running along. Low on bullets. Barely ahead of the pack. Shane looks over and pops a cap in the fat dude’s knee. BLAMMO. I was like HOLY FUCK THAT JUST HAPPENED. Then they fight over the bag that Otis was carrying, and maybe Shane should’ve said beforehand, “hey, gimme your bag” so he wouldn’t have to fight and shoot the guy all over again and get his hair ripped out. The zombies stop to eat Otis, letting Shane get away.

That scene ruled. It had everything the rest of the show didn’t: action, drama, surprises, character development, conflict, everything. It rocked. Did it save the show? Yep, for me it did. It vaulted Shane up to my second favorite character by a mile. I hope he doesn’t wig out and have to get put down soon, which is what I think will happen. Oh, there was some extra lame shit afterwards, with Lori asking Shane to stay and fucking with his emotions for no good reason. I think soon another sexual assault will result and she’ll shoot him. Oh well. I like Shane now.

About Alan Edwards

An indie writer who does accounting full-time on the side.

Posted on November 2, 2011, in Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. It’s funny…one thing I appreciate about the show is that there are no significant time gaps between the episodes. We pretty much go from one thing to the next.

    That being said — and I know it’s because this season is going to be 13 episodes instead of 6 — I agree that the writers are taking their damn sweet time getting anywhere. I fully expect the characters to be sitting around at the farmhouse for another episode or two.

    Shane isn’t going anywhere, and I doubt Daryl is either, at least until maybe close to the end of the season. I’ll be interested to see if they eventually take Shane’s character the direction they did in the comics. (Hint: he was already dead by now.)

    I am waiting for them to thin the cast. I think Doc, Mrs. Otis and Aragorn chick are all fucked. Hopefully Mopey Bald-Head Mom, Dale and Dumb Dog will be close behind. They can keep Suicidal Blonde Chick (she doesn’t bother me as much as she does others), Glen (if they can let him be funny again), and of course Daryl and Shane. We all know that Carl, Mom and Dad aren’t going anywhere, so I’m afraid we’re stuck with them for a bit….but maybe they can replace the others with some more interesting characters.

    I can dream. I still enjoy the show, but I agree that a couple of the characters are starting to get on my nerves.

    • I’d be ECSTATIC about a show with Daryl, Shane, Rick, Mopey Blond (seriously, what is her name?), Glen, and Aragorn Chick. I know Carl and Mom are here to stay (bleh) so it’s just wishful thinking.

      I don’t mind too much that the episodes are tight time-wise, but the Big Plot items of Missing Child and Hurt Child are starting to seriously drag for me. I never felt any tension about Carl, because I knew they weren’t going to kill him. It just seemed like there was no chance of it happening. And the other kid, well….when it’s the kid of a seriously marginal character, it’s hard to muster up a lot of OMG WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO HER?! I know what’s going to happen; it’s either a) they find her b) they don’t and move on or c) they don’t and stay there forever. Neither plot has gripped me yet, so hopefully when they move on something interesting will actually start happening.

  2. Without giving away too much, and knowing that the tv show is varying a lot from the comics, that the kid goes through a transformation as he recovers, and becomes a totally hardcore little anti-zombie fighter. Now that could be good or bad, but if that kid wakes up one day and does a “John Conner”, leading the resistance, he could be the best combination of Shane and Darryl that there is.

    Maybe teach his father a lesson about killing zombies too…while possible saving Bambi in the process. However, my faith in Hollywood and their gutless, common denominator, suits who make pablum, it’s gonna turn out to less exciting than I believe (and hope) it should be.

    The level of stupidity of these characters is so annoying I just want to rant at the screen a day or so after seeing the show. However, Alan you are doing an excellent job at encapsulating most of my same issues, so I’ll leave you to it.

    • Of course, at this rate, I’ll be 80 before we get far enough along that Carl is useful. It’s taken 3 weeks for 3 days to pass. Brutal.

  3. WOW! You are absolutely right about several things. First and I hate to say this but you implied it yourself. I wasted my time reading your expletive loaded review. This season’s episodes of The Walking Dead have also wasted my time. I also agree that the scene with Shane and Otis was spot on. I’m not sure why I continue to watch this show. The make up and prothsetics are awesome. The characters are interesting but the plot may be even slower than your described.

    I assume that you wrote blog reviews of earlier episodes. I can’t get over the extended scenes where nothing happens including character development. If I ever ran a group of characters with lower IQs and lower creative index I break down and cry! How can they leave a major metro center like Atlanta (home by the way of Atlanta Cutlery/Museum Replicas) without so many vital components of survival. Not radiator hoses, anti-biotics, noiseless weapons, food etc.etc.

    I loved the first batch of episodes but starying with the last episode of season one and all of the season PHEW!

    In Loving Memory of…..

    • Yep, I’ve done each episode this season (didn’t do last season). Last week’s included handy diagrams.

      I agree, things started going downhill at the end of last season. The makeup and zombies are so well done that I’d almost rather just watch a show from their persepctive instead, ambushing people who stop in the middle of zombie-infested woods to have heartfelt conversations about their childhood and tearing out their intestines.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, and I’m glad I could waste your time!

  4. We can refer to the Zombie Speed = Speed of their prey as the Edwards Principle. It would be as if a train left point A going 80 mph, and a train left point B going at 70 mph towards train A headed through point C.

    If a zombie left point A at the same time as their prey at point B, and point C was equidistant then by the Edwards Principle they would arrive at exactly the same time…and the prey would be devoured.

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