“The Walking Dead” S2E10: “18 Miles Out”- Joe’s Rating~”A”
“18 Miles Out”, though a great name for a Christian rock band, was an episode with a lot to prove. Both last week’s “Triggerfinger” and “Nebraska” were episodes that I expected to see from “The Walking Dead”, full of action and great zombie scenes. however, the law of diminishing returns demands that sooner rather than later the quality is going to dip. Shows like “The Walking Dead” are equal parts action and character development. In this show’s second season we’ve seen every time there is character development the episode is a snooze fest. Fortunately for us, tonight’s episode was something special.
Unfortunately, of course, we start with what I consider one of the largest missteps in genre TV. For no reason, we are give a glimpse into the future, and then we go back to find how our characters got into that situation. I really hate that, because it gives us unnecessary expectations on the plot. Granted, I love that we are told that there’s going to be a lot of action in tonight’s episode, and I Must admit I loved the parallels to the Otis scenes earlier in the season. Overall though it seemed wholly unnecessary.
The relationship between Rick and Shane has always been one of the best aspects of “The Walking Dead”. When you think about it, male/male relationships have it easy in the modern world. They don’t have to deal with the true ego vs. ego that would exist in a post civilization world. the type of conflicts that our ancestors would get into simply don’t exist in our cushy world. However Rick and Shane have to deal with all the macho male bullshit that exists when there has to be an alpha male. I’m not just talking about the D-bags in the club trying to impress a woman, but the type of alpha male that needs to exist in order for a tribe to continue. The natural leader.
“18 Miles Out” is essentially an experiment in human sociology. We already understand that “The Walking Dead” is about the fall of civilization and how our characters try to retain what it means to be human by modern society standards. In tonight’s episode we start to see the great devolution of polite society into the primal ape rage of our distant ancestors.
Week after week I comment on how much I love that Shane was not killed in the first season, like he was in the comics. However, as this season continues, I realize that Shane and Rick cannot simultaneously coexist. Eventually Shane is going to die, because lets face it, Rick is our protagonist. Rick and Shane are alpha males and as anyone who studied basic psychology could tell you, that is not a good combination. So the two men finally have it out in a glorious brutal fashion. It is truly a silverback ape on ape fight complete with grunting.
This of course leads to a nice zombie surge.
On the flip side we have the women’s B story back at the farm. Here the women aren’t fighting about leadership r power, but about the roles they have to play. Essentially, what began as a discussion on suicide in the post zombie world takes a u-turn as Lori and Andrea battle over gender identity.
Once again we have conflict between the old vs. new society. Just as the men are reverting to their primal male identities so are the women. Andrea, however, is having difficulty adjusting to her assigned role. This isn’t new for the character, as she is written to be the character who is consistently struggling against the norms imposed on her. What greater taboo to break than suicide? It’s understood that Andrea wanted to commit suicide in the season 1 finale, and her convincing Beth to follow suit is just further evidence of her fighting against the restraints of this new society.
Back to the A story has Rick essentially murder Shane in much the same way Shane did in Otis. Before he can metaphorically pull the trigger, he is reminded of their old life. The constant struggle between the characters old lives and their new is the bedrock of this show, and “18 Miles Out” hit every note pitch perfect.
- I like how the show is finally start to focus on a few characters at a time. I understand that a lot of stuff is going on in the background, but it’s nice to focus and give us conflict enclosure in the same episode.
- Andrea finally had some really meaty moments in tonight’s episode
- Even though I love the focus given to specific characters, I feel that this half of the season is the Rick and Lori show. This episode in particular highlighted that the other survivors aren’t really that important.
- I wonder if the show has a car sponsorship deal, because they are getting the wimpiest wiener cars to pull off the action stunts. Let’s face it, no one looks cool in an Aveo
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