The Shane and Rick Episode: Walking Dead S2 Ep10 Review
Posted by Alan Edwards
Last week, the episode ended with Lori whispering sweet and earnest words of love and commitment and how very necessary it was that her husband shoot Shane in the face. This left me wondering if there would be a showdown this week, Shane vs. Rick, the winner getting his just reward of sweet, blissful death and release from a horrible world and loser forced to take on the responsibility for taking care of the screeching harpy they are for some reason fighting over.
I’ve been calling Lori a harpy for a while now, and other reviews I’ve read of this show also seem to frequently use the term in relation to her. So I decided to Google Walking+Dead+Lori+Harpy. It got over 50,000 results. Honestly, I would have expected more.
Anyway, this episode ended up being all about Rick and Shane “settling” their differences, along with a side helping of Suicide Watch and the usual smattering of “what the fuck were they thinking” plans that are the true hallmark of this show.
OK. The episode starts with a flashforward to make us all excited about what’s gonna make that scene happen, but we’re gonna have to sit through the lead-up anyway so there isn’t much point to it. It really starts with Rick and Shane driving the car that has been prominently hocked in front of our faces all season long, which I’m not going to mention because fuck their product placement, that’s why. I will remark, however, that the car is always incredibly clean. Maybe that’s one of its features. Anyway, they are driving along with a body in the trunk, the kid from the last episode that they are going to leave in the middle of nowhere. Or 18 miles away from the farm, whichever comes first. That would be about a 4.5 hour walk down what I gather is the only road that goes to the farm. Maybe they made a whole bunch of twisty turns and things. Who knows.
So Shane and Rick get out of the car, and Rick is all “We need to talk,” since he’s the female in their relationship (haha, just kidding, ladies! Actually, I’m not. I’ve never had a guy tell me “we need to talk”. I’ve never understood that. It’s like saying, “Can I ask you a question?” Nothing good has ever proceeded from either of those two opening gambits. No one says “I need to take a breath” before doing so, so why the needless openings? Sorry. Tangent closed.) and Shane is all like “What about ” and Rick is all like “The whole you-banged-my-wife-and-think-the-kid-is-yours thing” and Shane is all like “Oh that.” So they go on for a while, and the writers cement in my head the fact that Shane is one of the few realistic characters on the show, and someone I am actually rooting for most of the time.
Why? It’s what Shane has to say. He tells Rick that he goes to the hospital to try to get his best friend out, only the army is there and they are just flat-out killing everybody, zombies and survivors, just wiping shit clean. Shane knows the two of them aren’t getting out, and even if they did, what the fuck is Shane going to do with a guy in a coma already? The group can barely deal with someone in shock, so what are they supposed to do with a coma patient? I don’t know much about comas, whether you need life support or anything like that, I’d assume so, since how else do they get food and water and whatever, so leaving Coma Boy behind and assuming he’s dead is a solid line of thinking, not cowardly or underhanded or anything.
So then Shane goes on, after Rick comments about how Shane kept Lori and Carl alive (he’ll probably never forgive him for that), Shane opens about and reveals the fact that Lori and Carl kept him alive. I believe that. I understand that. Taking care of those two gave him a purpose, something to strive for in a world that is literally dying all around him, where he lost his job and best friend and everything he’s ever known and can’t figure out what to do. So he takes care of his best friend’s wife and son. Yeah, he ends up sleeping with Lori, but it’s a fucking zombie apocalypse. What else are you going to do in your spare time? A rousing hand of Uno? Watch the one dude beat his wife?
The scene reinforced to me how difficult it would be to adjust your worldview after a cataclysmic event like this. What are you going to set as your purpose? What will keep you waking up every day and sifting through the wretched refuse of what was once a thriving civilization, with nothing but it’s inevitable decay stretching out in front of you? Shane found his pole star, and it drove every single one of his actions. We’re supposed to deplore him (I think) for what he does and how he does them, but he does it not for himself, but for others. Shane would be the hero of this whole thing, Wolverine with a Benelli shotgun, but Rick came back. Rick came back, took back what was his, and now Shane has no idea what to do. He’s foundering, trying to find something else to keep him going, all while watching the group he once led fall in behind Rick instead, a dude who has so far managed to kill off half the people Shane had started with. Yeah, he’s a little crazy. Who wouldn’t be?
That to me is what makes Shane the best character on the show. He’s fucking real to me. He’s an asshole, yes. He killed Otis, yep. He tried to sexually assault Lori, which is the one act that he’s done that I can’t stomach. But everything else he’s done – man, I could see me doing that. The choices are hard, but he’s trying to protect the only people and things he cares about. He does what he believes is necessary, not what someone else might think of as “right”. I’m sure all the dead people in Rick’s wake are really happy that he’s done what’s “right”.
So anyway, back to our story. Rick tells Shane that if he wants to hang around, he needs to accept that Lori and Carl and the Baby To Be Named Later are all his, not Shane’s, and if he can play by those rules, everything will be just fine. Shane doesn’t look like he’s dealing with it too well, but he seems to accept it. They go to the trunk, where they have the kid with his hands tied behind his back, ankles tied together, mouth duct-taped shut (and holy shit that’s gonna hurt coming off), and shitty music blasting in his ears. The music thing threw me. Is that to prevent him from hearing subtle aural clues as to the location of the farm they took him to? Whatever. They look at him, close the trunk, and drive to find a suitable place. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
So back at the farm, Shock Girl is waking up and has metamorphosized into Suicide Blonde. Lori of course detects this and raises a hubbub, Maggie comes around to console her sister, who’s feeling rather morbid and wants Maggie to off herself at the same time, and that’ll be totally cool. Suicide watch begins. Andrea (AKA Blonde Chick. Her name is Andrea. I liked her so much in this episode that I actually remembered her name. She’s become real!)comes in and Lori tells her about it. Andrea of course says that preventing the girl from killing herself isn’t really any of Lori’s damn business and that forcing people to live i this world is a selfish and narrow-minded way to be. Lori of course demonstrates that there is nothing to her but selfishness and narrow-mindedness, because she then begins to passive-aggressively attack Andrea for not doing enough laundry and cooking. Andrea makes the point that she’s watching out for the, you-know, fucking walking dead that are around and want to eat everyone, which Lori dismisses as her “working on her tan” before insisting that this is what the men are for, and the women are supposed to do housework.
OK. The writing team is now clearly just fucking with us, right? We all already hate Lori. But she’s also basically the lead female in the fucking series. So, by putting some kind of ridiculous 1950’s era view of The Place of Women In The World into her mouth, they are basically asking us to hate and shit on her even further, right? We have a strong female character not afraid to stand up, defend herself, demand equality and not be relegated to fucking dinner and dish duty being admonished because she isn’t doing enough laundry. Fucking laundry in the zombie apocalypse. I imagine any feminist watching at that point had their head explode.
So Andrea rightfully rips Olive Oyl a new one, telling her that it’s OK if Lori wants to play House and be the Mommy while Daddy goes out in the world doing all the heavy lifting (and for a guy who supposedly loves that witch, he damn sure spends as much time as humanly possible doing the most dangerous thing he can think of far away from her. Maybe Rick is smarter than I give him credit for) but that shit ain’t for her. Good for you Andrea. You are now the #2 best person on the show not named Daryl, and the only other person besides Shane who seems to be realistic in any way. See, she’s actually changed as a person over the course of the show, which is a concept referred to as “growth” by those folks who do that for a living, and is generally considered necessary for good characters. Anyway, Lori proclaims that she is going to make sure that Andrea never steps foot into the room with Suicide Blonde, which she apparently intends to enforce from her tent.
Meanwhile, Rick drives past the mystical 18-Mile Barrier, as displayed by the pointless “riveting” spectacle of a tight zoom in on the odometer (Look at the dash! See all the pretty gauges! Check your local dealer listings today!). Shane asks what Rick is doing, and Rick says he wants to give the kid a chance. “A chance” apparently means near stuff the kid can walk to so he can limp his way to survival. I guess. Rick gives the impression that he’s trying to do exactly the opposite thing of what he is about to do. See, they find a chain-link fence with a gate and some building or whatever, water treatment plant or hobo factory or whatever, it doesn’t matter. Rick shows off his new method of killing zombies, which is to cut his palm, smear blood on something, and stab the zombie in the head while it licks the blood, because zombies are apparently CRAZY about licking blood. I did not know that. I have never seen that. Whatever. If I let that kind of stupid horseshit bother me too much, I’d have never made it this far into the season.
Rick has found the spot he’s gonna leave the kid. A parking lot, surrounded by a fence, with demonstrable evidence that there are fucking zombies there, since Shane and Rick found and killed two of them. (They also note that the bodies don’t appear to be bitten, and there is a pile of burnt zombies nearby, which led me to wonder if the zombie infection can spread like poison ivy when it gets burned. Man that would be a real bummer. Especially for everyone who burned all the bodies last week. And of course, if something like that happens, I would like it to be noted that it was Lori’s idea to burn the bodies in the first place, because she is horrible in every way.) Oh, and they are going to leave him there tied up, with a knife like forty feet away. His hands are tied behind his back. That’s gonna make it pretty goddamn tough to get free with any degree of alacrity. What, do they think the kid is going to run down their car if they untie him? What the fuck is up with this stupid fucking plan? This is his BEST CHANCE? Tied up in the middle of a zombie-haunted parking lot? If it were me, I’d be all like, “How about you leave me in the middle of a nice big fucking field with nothing around me? I’d like that instead, please.”
Of course, Rick removes the gag, because… I actually have no idea why. He leaves the kid with his fucking hands tied behind his back, but he isn’t going to leave him gagged. Rick is really fucking weird. So the kid, surprisingly, begins to beg his fucking head off really loudly, which is a good way to attract zombies, and he’s gonna say anything he can to save his ass. So he says that he knows Maggie and went to school with her. Rut-roh. Shane and Rick now have to assume that the kid knows where the farm is, because… again I have no idea why, but I guess it’s better safe than sorry. Shane goes to shoot the kid in the head, solving the problem in the most straight-forward and efficient way possible. Rick stops him. Next thing you know, they are bowing up to each other. Fight!
Personally, I was hoping for a shot-by-shot homage to the classically awesome fight in They Live like any right-minded person. Instead, it’s an OK fight scene, I guess. The forty-pound Rick manages to beat up the insanely ripped and hulking Shane, because he’s the lead character. Everyone’s guns are scattered, Shane picks up a giant wrench, and then does a really dumb thing with a giant wrench, which is to throw it. I mean, a giant wrench is a great fucking weapon, but I don’t think it’s at its best when used as a projectile. It would make sense that he’d throw it out of a sense of frustration, because what he really wants to do is pound Rick into red paste but can’t bring himself to do that, but clearly that’s not why, because we are supposed to think he’s Evil. Anyway, window breaks, zombies come out, Rick hides and lets Shane draw aggro. Shane tries to kite but has no gun, so he ends up inside a school bus. Rick is smug until more come, then he has to run for his gun and starts shooting zombies and look he puts the gun into a dead one’s mouth to get the one behind it, because the zombie would never bite the hand that Rick is waving in his face. The kid is inchworming madly towards the knife, wondering just what in the hell these crazy-ass people are doing to him.
Cut to Andrea, so clearly barred from going near Suicide Blonde that she walks into the room with Maggie, tells her to get some fresh air, and is left alone with the girl. See, this is exactly the right person to be with this kid, and no, that isn’t sarcasm. See, there is a reason why alcoholics and drug addicts go through treatment that is led by recovered addicts. Those people know what it’s like, and can give real, meaningful perspectives that can resonate with someone struggling with the same issues they once grappled with. Otherwise, it’s like going to a priest for marital advice. So of course Lori was firmly opposed to the idea, because she’s a fucking submoronic waste of whatever trace amounts of non-bone she has in her body.
Anyway, Andrea talks to the girl briefly, asks if this is what she really wants, and lets the girl do whatever she wants. As it turns out, she cuts herself, screams because it hurts really bad, and wants help. Most of all, though, she and everyone else now know that the girl wants to live after all. Suicide Watch is ended without the years of black crinoline dresses, heavy eyeliner, and shitty music that most goths have to go through. Andrea gets rewarded for letting everyone move on with their lives by getting thrown out of the house and treated like a pariah. Of course she does.
OK, this is going on forever. Quick-wrap time. Rick grabs the kid and goes to the car. Shane thinks he’s being left behind and is fucked. Rick and the kid drive up and save him. Kid is back in the trunk, Rick tells Shane how it’s gotta be again, and we basically have a repeat of the prior scenes. Rick is going to think about what to do with the kid overnight. Shane seems to accept it. I want him to accept it. I want him to find a new direction, because he, Daryl, and Andrea are the only three people capable of surviving in this new and fucked-up world. I want Shane to not disintegrate into madness. I want him to accept it, or at worst drive off with Andrea and Daryl in the much-better spin-off they could create with those three.
Then they show the previews for next week, and nothing’s changed. Yay. Fuckers.
Oh, and the other thing of note in this one: there were a lot of zombies in this one, so they apparently needed to save money. This meant no Glenn, Dale, Daryl, Stubblepate, Herschel, Other Farm Persons, T-Dog (I mean, seriously, the guy’s only scenes occur when he’s standing behind other people, and he needs to be cut out completely? Sheesh.), or Carl. So yay to no Carl and Dale. Meh to everyone not named Daryl.