This review contains spoilers.
2.10 18 Miles OutThis week’s episode of The Walking Dead seems to be pretty evenly split between two story lines, which is a big improvement over how schizophrenic the show was in the beginning of the second season. The A story is obviously Rick, Shane, and their new friend/kidnapping victim Massive Legwound Harry.
Making a major leap forward in time frame not seen since, well… ever, I guess, The Walking Dead skipped right over Randall’s leg surgery and healing process to jump him right back to the peak of health. That means it’s time for Rick and Shane to drive him away from the farm and dump him out of the back of Shane’s handy Hyundai Tuscon and into a field somewhere so he can either be painfully eaten by zombies or lead his gang of armed thugs back to the farm to kill Rick and his entire family. Meanwhile, Shane just wants to kill him and get it over with, which leads Rick to his first moral crisis of the week.
The B story is Lori, Andrea, and one of the many blonde-headed girl members of Hershel’s farm family. Apparently, Beth the Suicide Blonde wants to kill herself, and it’s up to the two worst decision-makers in the cast to try and stop it while arguing with one another. It’s actually a better storyline than it sounds like, and it seems like the writers on the show have significantly improved ideas of just who Lori is (Lady MacBeth) and who Andrea is (Lady Trial-By-Fire).
Lori, the manipulative 1950s housewife, wanted to shame Beth (Suicide Blonde) into not killing herself by watching her like a hawk. Fortunately, Maggie is kind of dumb (and Lauren Cohan’s accent slipped multiple times this week) and she left Andrea to watch her suicidal sister. Since Andrea’s the least caring person ever, she basically leaves Beth to either kill herself or not. Andrea is the empowered woman, I guess, and empowerment means being free to slit your wrists with the nearest bathroom mirror. Interestingly, the last time Andrea was featured so heavily on the show was when she herself wanted to end her life via CDC explosion; weird how everyone left Jacqui to blow herself up, but nobody will let Beth Elliott Smith herself.
Part of that has to be the show’s new writing crew, with Scott M. Gimple and Glenn Mazzara taking over the scripting for this episode, we can see more of the idea Mazzara has for the show’s main characters, and this is leading to more consistent motivation for pretty much everyone. The characters can be crazy or stupid, but I want consistently crazy or consistently stupid, or at least realistic levels of those things. Things are changing for the show; they’re changing slowly, but I’m pretty confident that season three will be much better than season two, unless AMC cuts more money out of the budget and runs everyone else off.
Moving on from that, the entire set of Shane/Rick/Randall scenes are pretty brilliant, and The Walking Dead keeps turning up the creativity on the zombie kills. From Rick’s insistence that they use knives when possible to a zombie head being splattered by a car wheel, the zombie kills keep getting better and better. More importantly, we’re seeing more walkers and less wide open CGI farmland. These things should be everywhere; they’re outside of Atlanta, which is home to well over five million people if you count all its feeder counties. They need to at least see them in a place other than Hershel’s barn, if only because Shane needs to have a deep thought while driving past one wandering aimlessly in a field.
After this, there are only three more episodes left for this season, with the promise of major cast changes (rumored) and the need to keep viewers coming back for season three and beyond. Perhaps as important, the show needs to set up a beloved villain from the comic book that is being brought into the television universe by Kirkman and company. If The Governor is coming, shouldn’t we also get a certain katana-wielding black female to perk up the show, too? It seems only fair.
Read our review of the last episode, here.
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