The Walking Dead: 18 Miles Out Review

“18 Miles Out” can be described as a tale of two plots. One plot is action-packed and riveting while he other is dull and harkens back to the not so halcyon days of lounging around Herschel’s fair navel gazing with intermediate forays into the woods to search for Sophia…all the things about the first half of this season that made the viewer want to change the channel. Plot A focuses on Rick and Shane as they attempt to drop off Randall (the guy who got impaled on the fence last week) somewhere that he can have a chance to survive but not close enough that he can make his way back to the farm. Plot B focuses on Beth (who is no longer catatonic but still has the personality of doorknob) and the other women of the group except for Carol and Mrs Otis.

Plot B for Blah
Let’s get the horrible part of the show out of the way first and focus on Plot B. Beth is awake but still morose and wanting to commit suicide. Lori is playing down home nurse/lady of the manor handing out relationship advice to Maggie and trying to feed Beth. Beth being the wily lass that she is tries to steal the knife form her dinner plate to aid in her suicide attempt but Lori has the instinct of a woman who has been bedded down for years by lawmen and quickly realizes the chicanery afoot and takes the knife back. This leads to a confrontation in the kitchen between Andrea and Lori. Andrea has become a proponent of the “if you wanna do something then do it, it’s the zombie apocalypse after all” school of thought and tells Lori that beth has every right to kill herself or at the very least decide whether that is truly what she wants. Loris is on the side of “suicide is bad”. Their civil conversation then takes a turn to Lori criticizing Andrea for not joining in on the chores like the rest of the womenfolk. Andrea claims she is carrying her weight by being an armed sentry atop Dale’s Winnebago (conveniently forgetting that her first time at that gig she ended up shooting Darryl in the head) and an added gun for when the shit goes down. Lori tells her that zombies and gun play are man’s business and Andrea needs to drop the guns, kick off her shoes, start washing clothes and probably get herself knocked up like a good little woman is supposed to. This rightfully pisses Andrea off who hits Lori a bit below the belt by calling her the delusional ho who has everything…a husband,a son, a baby, and even a boyfriend! OH SNAP! Then Lori ripped her wig off, kicked off her shoes and attacked Lori right there on Jerry Springer’s stage…or not. Before Lori could think up a witty comeback, Andrea left which is a boss move, when you drop a verbal bomb on someone you should always walk away and let that shiznit marinate.

Andrea goes into Beth’s room and offers her trademarked brand of self-help to the confused girl which of course leads to Beth attempting to slit her wrists. The sight of her own blood seems to snap Beth out of her doldrums and she realizes she ants to live. Beth’s moment of clarity thanks to the teachings of Maharishi Andrea don’t go over too well with Maggie who tells Andrea to keep her punk ass out of the farmhouse. I guess this means Andrea won’t be invited to those Waltons-esque Sunday dinners anymore.
And that is the end of Plot B.

Plot A for Awesome
Over in Plot A, Rick and Shane stop at an intersection to finally have The Conversation. Rick begins The Conversation by asking Shane about how Otis died. Shane comes clean that it was a case where only one of them was going to make it out of there alive and get back to the farm with the medical supplies for Carl so Shane decided it should be him. He also said Otis should have never been out there which is the most insightful thing Shane has said all season. Who takes a 400 pound man into a situation that is going to call for serious cardiovascular conditioning? Rick seems to take the whole killing Otis thing in stride and quickly moves on the Lori and her thoughts that Shane is dangerous. Shane seems a bit rattled at the idea that Lori would say that which is a sure sign that he is pretty far gone because he was extra-strength creepy last week. Rick tells Shane that he figured out that Shane and Lori had been bumping uglies pretty early on and that he wanted to beat the hell out of Shane but he showed restraint. he also tells Shane that he understand how Shane and Lori ended up doing the horizontal mambo but he emphatically lays down the law that Lori is his wife, Carl is his son, that is his unborn baby and whatever Shane though was going on with Lori that Shane does not love her. Rick tells Shane he needs to accept that whatever happened between him and Lori is over and he should move on. Shane just looks really pathetic and sad.
The guys then drive on some more and have a discussion about using knives instead of guns to dispatch single zombies to conserve ammo and not draw the attention of other zombies. This was a great idea on Rick’s part and one that I was hoping someone would have on this show. These people have been very loose with the ammunition like they have an endless supply of bullets on the farm or something. Rick puts on a demonstration on how to kill zombies with just a knife by cutting his find and smearing the blood on a fence so that the lone zombie would put his head right at stabbing level. I was curious as to when the zombies on this show became sharks. It was like the second Rick cut his finger that zombie cam zooming over to him like it had a heightened sense of smell or something. I they had this ability all along then T-Dog’s useless ass should have been killed in the first episode of this season.

Finally they come across some sort of county facility that is fenced in and Rick decides this would be the perfect place to leave Randall. Once Randall is let out of the trunk he blurts out that he used to go to school with Maggie, that he will die if they leave him, that he wants to join their group and that the only reason he was with the other group was to survive. The new that he knows about Maggie and the farm is bad news for Randall because now Shane wants to kill him. Rick says he needs time to make that decision, Shane basically calls Rick a pussy and the two men finally come to blows. This fight was intense! While the fight may have begun over what to do with Randall it quickly becomes obvious that Rick and Shane are fighting over a lot more than that. This little scuffle has been brewing between them for a while now and once that door was opened they both went after each other with reckless abandon. In the scuffle both men have their guns knocked away from them, Shane drops a motorcycle on Rick and then in a fit of rage hurls and big ass wrench at Rick. Luckily Rick ducks the wrench. Unluckily the wrenches goes flying through a window of a building that was home to an gaggle of zombies and once they got “awakened” they came pouring out that building like an army of ants.

Shane takes off with a conga line of zombies on his ass and takes refuge in a School bus. This is another example of how not smart Shane is because those school bus doors are the flimsiest things ever made which meant he had to stand against them to keep the zombies out. He periodically took time out to smear blood on the door and use Rick’s zombie killing with a knife routine on a few of the walkers. While Shane is being an idiot, Rick uses some more of his knife fighting skills on a zombie and then takes off in search of his gun with three zombies in hot pursuit. This leads to a really cool scene of Rick taking out his zombies with head shots as they lay on top of him complete with him popping one zombie in the head after shooting through the mouth of another zombie. While all this is going on Randall gets his hands on a knife to free his hands and feet and then gleefully (almost too gleefully if you ask me) stabs a female zombie in the head.
Randall and Rick then hook back up and it looks like they are going to leave Shane to die on that school bus but of course Rick comes back in the SUV (with Randall driving) to perform a daring rescue of Shane.
Rick and Shane then throw Randall back in the truck and Rick tells Shane that he is considering killing Randall but that is not a decision that they should be making as easily as Shane wants to. Rick says he needs a night to think on it and decides that they will take Randall back to the farm while he mulls over what to do. Rick makes one last attempt at a detente with Shane telling him that if he can accept how things are with Lori, leave his family alone and stop undermining his leadership then they can start over fresh and leave the past behind. From the look on Shane’s face I doubt he has any intention of agreeing to abide by those rules.

The Characters
Rick displayed all of the qualities about the character that make me like him. He showed his leadership skills as well as his desire to salvage his friendship with Shane in their initial discussion and he showed that he’s no punk in their brawl later on and also in how he took out the zombies he faced. I still think that his point with Randall would have made a bit more sense if Randall hadn’t been shooting at them moments before Rick decided to be so merciful to him. BUt I guess that is what the show is trying to convey with Rick, that he is desperate to maintain some semblance of civilized behavior despite the horrible conditions that he lives in.

I think this was the most I have liked Shane in a very long time. I agree with him on how idiotic it is to risk the group for this Randall guy and I felt for him slightly when he was looking so wounded by Rick’s words. I also though Jon Bernthal did a really good job this episode especially the look of utter disbelief he had when it seemed like Rick was going to leave him there to die.

Lori was such a cow this episode. All that bullshit she was spewing to Andrea about what was a woman’s place in the new society they are building was sickening and I really don’t get why the writers would even have her saying such preposterous things. If the point of this show is to make Lori a wholly unlikeable character then they are doing a helluva job.

I don’t like Andrea. The character has been so unevenly written that it has been hard to get a bead on her personality and find things to relate to. I also think the way Laurie Holden portrays the character only adds to the unlike ability factor because she gives every Andrea such a bitchy vibe. That being said I actually cheered when she put Lori in her place. Hopefully the character gets a little more consistency to her so that I can take her off of my “Please Die Wish List”.

Maggie is my favorite woman on this show and I like her being more assertive. Still think this contrived drama for her and Glenn is unnecessary.

Randall is a skeevy dude and the extra gusto he put into killing that zombie coupled with how quickly he wanted to leave Shane to be eaten leads me to believe that keeping him alive is going to come back and bite Rick in the ass.

Beth is a cypher whose name I didn’t know before this episode and whose relationship to Maggie and Herschel was also unknown to me until last week and the resolution of catatonia plot showed just what a time waster it was from the start. At the very least she should have been bitten and in the process of becoming a zombie or she could have successfully killed herself and come back as a zombie proving that no matter how you die in this universe you are destined to rise from the dead. But just being a half-assed PSA for suicide prevention is a bunch of garbage.

T-Dog wasn’t in this episode but he still needs to die.

Final Verdict:
Half of this episode was amaze-balls while the other half was pure ass. If we are going to be getting a lot more of Plot A then this show will begin living up the expectations that I had for it at the beginning of the first season. But if we are going to be subjected to more of the crap we were given with Plot B then I fear for this show and my sanity. Plot A: A+ Plot B: C+ Whole Show: B

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