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Recap: The Walking Dead, Episode 2.10, “18 Miles Out”

“You can’t be the good guy and expect to live.”

Let’s talk math.

Shane’s new life is a numbers game. There’s the number of the group, the number of the useful people in the group, the people who are important to him, and himself. This is the math that rolls about in his head. This is the logic that comes out of his mouth. All season long, this has been the major tension.

1 missing girl is less important than 10 or so survivors.

1 stranger’s life is less important than 1 small boy’s, or his own, depending on which variables you use.

1 woman + 1 potential child is more important than 20 years of friendship.

No one’s life is more important than (his) survival.

 

If you’ve been watching the show, none of those equations are a surprise.

 

Randall is his new equation. Somewhere between the end of the last episode (+ 1 week) and this one, Rick’s managed to get his way, driving the miraculously healed captive (+ Randall) “18 miles out.” Shane goes along, fuming, quietly, in his head. They find a promising site, some place with a modicum of protection and resources, where you could dump someone while convincing yourself that maybe, just maybe, the guy you’re dropping off here could survive. Rick uses the opportunity to show Shane some of his logic, his math: bullets (aggressive, blustering force) versus knives (clever, plotting, thinking) for 2 fewer zombies.

Rick has moved away from his absolute morality. We knew this when he took off his Sheriff gear and when he killed the two drifters from Philadelphia. We see it again when he drops a tied-up Randall on the ground and a knife some distance away and walks off – there’s just enough possibility, just enough tinge of hope to satisfy the man he once was and the realities of the new world order.  When Randall opens his mouth and reveals he knows Maggie and the farm, the equation changes.

 

Everything is out on the table now. Shane and his brutal world view. Rick and the truths he juggles, trying to stay human in an inhuman world. The fight that had been simmering bursts out, the two former friends beating each other, and seemingly ready to kill one another. Until Shane, impulsive as ever, releases a waterfall of bottled up zombies. At least they have the walkers to unite them.

Shane finds himself bottled up, alone, inside a school bus. Outside, Rick finds Randall and the two slip away during the chaos. But Shane sees them.

Here is the reality of his viewpoint. When the odds are against you, you cut your losses and run. Shane never thought about being on the wrong side of those numbers, and the way his face crumples meant he always believe Rick would come save him. He was the one above his own worldview. He was the special one.

 

And there is a moment, a deliberate moment, where it seems like Rick is actually going to walk away. Why not? Shane did just try to kill him. He admitted he wants to take Lori and Carl and the baby away. Ugly math. It would be hard to find fault with him if he did, but of course he didn’t  – Rick figuratively rides in on his horse to save the day, shooting a pistol, whooping it up, getting Shane out of the mess he got himself into. He might not wear the hat anymore, but he’s always the Sheriff.

They take Randall back to the farm.

On the farm, the stakes are more intimate. Maggie’s sister is out of her fugue but unwilling to live. Lori tries to murmur words of comfort that sound hollow but aren’t meant to be. Maggie berates her and tries to guilt her into staying alive. And Andrea, poor, damaged Andrea, whose approach is as well-meaning but as poorly delivered as anything Shane has ever said, says she should be allowed to kill herself if that’s what she wants. Andrea even walks off when she’s supposed to be protecting the girl and is no where to be found when she’s slitting her wrists in the bathroom.

In between, Lori and Andrea argue over their own new world order. One where Lori tries to bring stability and a sense of normality, and Andrea on the other side, liberated by her gun and her possibilities. Andrea doesn’t think washing clothes is productive. Lori thinks Andrea is shirking responsibility by hanging out on top of the camper keeping watch over a farm that has only been under threat when Shane is off the leash. Neither of them are wrong, not exactly, because they have to eat, they have to be clothed, and they have to be safe, but neither of them have pushed their logic past old boundaries. There’s no longer “women’s work” and “men’s work,” there’s just survival, and every single person on that farm needs to be contributing in every sphere. Someone just needs to wake the fuck up to that.

The girl chooses to live, ultimately, or is just too scared to die, which Andrea seems unable to differentiate. And she’s banished for her viewpoint, kicked out of the domestic sphere, out to the wilds. It’s no small thing that the last shot we see is of her is Andrea walking away, while Lori goes back inside, Angel of her new house.

 

By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of powderroom.jezebel.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at slay@persephonemagazine.com.

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

34 replies on “Recap: The Walking Dead, Episode 2.10, “18 Miles Out””

I was going to make a comment about how Rick is way too nice or Lori might be suffering from some sort of head trauma but really, I just want to know:
Why doesn’t TDog get any lines?

Seriously. What does he do all day? What is his real name? Why didn’t they just kill him off or have him leave when the larger group split up in season 1?
Just….WHY?

T-Dog is another issue on the show — he had some decent scenes at the beginning of the season, but once he got sewn up, he basically hasn’t had anything to do. At least lines wise.  (Oh, and as some time fuckery, note he’s still wearing his bandage, but the boy who got shot in the lungs is running around like nothing ever happened to him.) I can’t see anything really happening with him — I mean, they have their hands full with two fleshed out characters already!

 

I honestly thought the argument was ridiculous.  It didn’t make sense to have that come out. We’ve seen it brewing between Shane and Rick. But Lori and Andrea? No.

All that argument showed me was that the female characters are really poorly written.

First, let’s step back. Lori, decided on her own, to take abortion pills. She also decided to go out on her own when she crashed the car. So, where is the “women are supposed to be in the kitchen” mentality coming from? I mean really. She’s done things on her own, without input from any men before. And now, all of a sudden she’d deferring to the men to “protect” them (I would argue with that; it’s not like they’ve been doing the best job either). Plus, the whole stability argument was bullshit. Everyone provides stability. Not just the women. Everyone. Her argument doesn’t follow  through. Even earlier she’s telling Maggie about a woman’s place…and it didn’t feel sincere with the rest of her character. It’s normal for a character to be contradictory but as a whole she doesn’t make sense.

As for Andrea, her position was sort of understandable but also ridiculous.  Remember how much she grieved over her sister? If her sister had decided to want to “opt out” do you think Andrea would have let her? The only reason she was okay with Beth making her choice was because Beth wasn’t her family. She had no obligation to her. If she was in that same position, there is no way in hell she would have been okay with it. Did she really think that people would be receptive to her way of thinking? Also, it’s one thing to believe it, but then to leave Beth alone despite the fact that Maggie was worried sick? Come on.

When I was watching the argument, it just struck me as so ridiculous that they were actually arguing about those things. It seemed really out of place in the episode.

It amazes me how much better they would all be if they stopped bickering like a bunch of babies (that goes for everyone).

As for Shane’s face when Rick was leaving (but before he came back) was awesome. A good actor. His face crumpled and he finally realized, in this world, you need some help. You can’t just do it all on your own.

Didn’t Lori just leave Andrea in charge of Carl the week before? You’re right — there’s not been that kind of tension between them so far. I suppose you could say its somehow related to Shane, but there hasn’t been any power plays or issues in that direction either.

I thought the shift in the Rick/Shane dynamic was one of the most interesting parts of the show. Rick isn’t pleading or reasoning anymore, he’s setting the terms. Post-saloon, I think he has become a much stronger leader — he knows he can best Shane if he needs to, but he wants to see if he can keep him in the fold. That’s why I didn’t see Rick going back for Shane as a weakness or a throwback to his old-school mentality of the first season. He’s supremely and calmly confident that he’s in complete control, and he can afford to take the long view.

I’m a dog person, and the pack dynamics in this show have intrigued me this season. A lot of people think that the dog that is most aggressive is the alpha, but in reality, that’s the beta’s role. Real alpha dogs are almost serene a lot of the time. I think I saw some of that serenity in Rick. He knows to his core that he’s the boss now, and Shane’s sulky demeanor suggests that even if he continues to scrap and posture, he knows it too.

Really like the dog analogy. I can certainly see that dynamic between those two, with Rick as the alpha/leader, and Shane trying to usurp him.

I wonder how much Shane really WANTS to be leader, though. I think he likes the idea of it: being respected, looked up to, seen as the protector, etc… but when it comes right down to it, can he make the really tough choices one has to make in that position? He’s quick to kill a stranger like Otis to survive, but he wasn’t the one to put a gun to Sophia. I’m not sure if he could. That’s why Rick is the true leader in this scenario, and Shane just covets the illusion.

I kinda get the feeling that Shane’s character has always been a little covetous of what Rick has. I don’t think they’ve established too much about his relationship status pre-zompocalypse, other than that he dated/screwed around a lot “back in the day.” But maybe, deep down, he was always just a tad jealous of his good friend Rick, who had the pretty, supportive wife, a nice kid, and the seemingly-ideal home life. So when Rick was seemingly out of the picture, he thought he could swoop in and take his place.

Which makes me wonder if he really IS “in love” with Lori, or if he’s just in love with the idea of having what his friend had.

I cannot believe that they wrote, acted, recorded, produced, and released the steaming pile of dialogue that was Lori’s half of the argument with Andrea. “The men can handle keeping us safe.”???????? WHAT THE EVERFUCKING LOVING HELL IS THAT? It is a goddamned zombie apocalypse. How about EVERYONE learns how to keep themselves safe. Fuck Lori, fuck her “women’s work,” fuck her attitude toward Andrea (I mean, there are plenty of things to find fault with Andrea about, but not washing underoos is not one of them), and fuck her whole fucked-up world view. I’m on Team Andrea, and I NEVER thought I’d say that. If the alternative is Team Lori, though? I’m hitching my wagon to the blonde with a shotgun.

Lori needs to be eaten by a walker. I’m so done with her.

Oh, and I really wish Rick had actually left Shane. If only because I’m pretty sure he would have made his way back to the farm eventually, and that’s a showdown I’d love to see.

I appreciated the part of her viewpoint that was ‘we’re giving a sense of normalcy so that everyone doesn’t go crazy’. From where they’re sitting, the farm is a pretty sweet deal. They might be able to make a go of things (you, know, if this wasn’t a tv series) there. It is important to keep people from going crazy. But the whole gender essentialism part of it was bullshit. And with her undercutting her own argument with ‘well, I killed two walkers last week, so I can take care of them, but let the guys do it’?  And Andrea with her ‘I’m better than you other women’ come back? It just.. there’s really no reason for the two of them to be at each other’s throats, except that the writer’s have no idea what to do with the girls other than ‘bitches be crazy’.  Its just fucking insulting, like we don’t remember the conversation last year where the women all brought up that the men still think the women and the minorities need to be the maids.

I did really think he was going to leave Shane. And that Shane would make his way back to the farm and shit would go down. It was a good moment, because it felt like it could go either way. Which is good character development. Maybe they could try that for Lori and Andrea.

(I made an account here just to respond to your Walking Dead articles). ;)

I was curious about your take on the Lori/Andrea argument. Personally, I’m really starting to dig Andrea more and more. Meanwhile, Lori is grating on my nerves more with each episode! I do feel that she’s got more “old fashioned” values when it comes to everyone’s roles. In her mind, it seems to be the men who do the hunting/protecting, while the women are relegated to cleaning/laundry/cooking, and general “stability.” She lambasts Andrea for wanting to take on a non-traditional role, even though Andrea’s sharpshooting skills could certainly come in handy (and not just for shooting Darryl!)

I felt that Andrea made a multitude of good points during that argument. They ARE treating whatshername like a child, and pre-zompocalypse rules no longer really apply. If someone decides they want to off themselves to avoid being eaten by walkers, then that’s their prerogative, and who’s to say it’s not the right choice? Besides, if she’s really determined, she’ll find a way to do it. I like Andrea’s “make your own choices” attitude. It’s similar to Shane’s in its sheer practicality, but without the brutal edge. I think she and Shane are perhaps the only two who see this new world for what it really is: a case of survival of the fittest.

Now, that’s not to say I’d want to follow Shane’s lead. As you pointed out, he can be a tad hypocritical (every man for himself… um… except when that man is me and I’m stuck in a bus surrounded by ravenous zombies!) Rick’s old-world morality is much more reassuring and fair, and I’d follow him any day rather than ol’ headstrong Shane. But I do like that the writers are setting them up with diverging philosophies. Maybe at some point it DOES all come down to numbers, and maybe sometimes it IS best to sacrifice one for the good of the many. I’m curious to see how that’ll all play out, and whose philosophy will prove more applicable in the long run.

Hi Astra! That’s a big compliment.

I think that the writers have gone out of their way to make Lori wildly unsympathetic and that the actress doesn’t have the same chops as Shane, Rick, or Daryl to make her character’s point of view compelling. (They seemed to spend a lot of time earlier this season making Andrea equally as irritating.) She’s not entirely wrong — survival isn’t just killing every walker that comes by. They’ll last longer if they believe there’s something worth fighting for. Lori just tries to sell it on this weird 1950s mentality. I mean, its sort of even a Little House on the Prairie mentality, if you ignore that  settler wives also hunted, defended the household, and did a lot of ‘household’ things that would be awful ‘masculine’ in today’s world. And Andrea’s not wrong either — but that food doesn’t appear on her plate by fucking magic.

I’m not so sure about the kid. I do think that in that world people shouldn’t be shamed for wanting to check out of it — but I don’t know if letting a girl kill herself because she’s upset over the trauma of her mother dying is.. right? I feel very conflicted about it. Andrea chose to live because someone basically forced her to make that choice and didn’t let her kill herself because she was hurting after her sister’s death. She was as mad as hell at Dale about it — but she’s here to be mad at him, right?

The other day I Tweeted Glen Mazzara (exec producer of TWD) to ask him if the show would ever address why Carol didn’t search for Sophia herself. As I said, I understand why she didn’t, but it seemed like a lot of people thought she didn’t care or was being lazy. Here’s his response, which was relayed in a series of Tweets:

“Great ?. With Shane, Rick, Daryl, Glenn, Andrea, T-Dig, it’s not plausible that Carol would be effective in the woods w a gun.So she made sure that search went smoothly by making sure the searchers were well cared for. if she kept them fed, rested, etc, they’d continue the search on her behalf. she was a big part of the search by fulfilling her role back at the farm. she needed to support them so they could search. Everyone knows she’d have been eaten in those woods. Very simple dynamic that many people just didn’t think about”

Lori could have said something like that, but didn’t, which reinforces my belief that Lori is not long for this world, because they are making her completely loathsome. (I also don’t think that her pregnancy is a viable storyline, so that’s another reason for them to kill her off.)

 

I can’t say I’d be terribly broken up if they killed off Lori. I don’t really see that happening, but it would certainly be surprising. And I wouldn’t be too sad to see her go.

As for Carol… I get that everyone has certain skills/talents they can bring to the table, and Carol being a bad-ass hunter/survivalist isn’t one of them. Initially, it really irritated me that, not only was she not out there personally searching for her kid, but she was giving Rick & the others grief for not finding her. But I think I’m beginning to see the role Carol is playing, and that scene between her & Darryl, where he just unloaded on her, and she took it, struck an interesting chord. She DOES have her own kind of strength, it seems, even though most might simply view her as a victim. She can take blow after blow, physically or metaphorically, and keep going. Her abuse from her husband, and Darryl’s abuse from his brother, appear to be the linking factor between those two. I’m curious to see how that plays out.

It may just come down to acting ability, sure. I don’t know that I’ve seen or remember Sarah Callies (I think that’s who plays Lori?) in anything else so it’s hard to judge. I wonder if the writers are merely trying to set up a similar dichotomy between Lori and Andrea that they do between Rick & Shane. Lori has the old-school/old-fashioned mentality of “keeping things together” and being the supportive wife/mother that’s always been her role (she IS the wife of a cop, after all), so that’s how she sees the world… even when the world has gone to hell.

Andrea, meanwhile, is much more aware of the fact that the world isn’t like it used to be. It’s about survival and there’s a lot of hopelessness and death out there. Certainly, she was projecting her own struggle with suicide onto the Beth scenario (that’s the little blonde’s name, right?), and that might not make her “right” — but she does raise some good points. In this post-apocalyptic scenario, where everything’s pretty much gone to shit and there’s no sure chance of survival, IS it really “giving up” if you want to check out? Is Beth wrong for wanting to go early, her way?

It’s the same sort of moral dilemma you get when there’s a guy staked to a fence and you have to decide whether to leave him for walkers, shoot him in the head, or try to rescue him (and risk your own lives in the process). Personally, I’d probably opt for shooting him in the head (which is a more Shane/Andrea way of doing things). It’s not without mercy, but it is harsh. Just like killing yourself is rather harsh, but also makes a certain sense, if you’re really looking big picture and know that things will NEVER be the same again. Maybe Beth simply doesn’t want to live in this new world anymore, and I don’t really blame her.

Me, though, I’d probably wanna keep on truckin’. And learn to be a crack-shot in the process, cuz, hey, ZOMBIES! Maybe that’s why I like Andrea so much… I just identify with her most.

It shocked me that during the kitchen Lori and Andrea talk neither one of them said something like “Gee, the world has basically ended.  Why is it women=cleaning and men=shooting still?  NEW WORLD ORDER!”  I told my husband that, but then realized that for many, many women, they wouldn’t bring it up because they see nothing amiss with gender roles, even when there’s no world left.  Even Andrea never said, “Gee, if you need another hand at laundry, ask a fucking man.”  It made me wanna barf.

Nah, I actually do like Dale. It’s funny, cuz my husband can’t stand him — for being a busybody, for pretending to know what’s “right,” for sticking his nose in everyone else’s business… but I kinda like him for all those reasons. Or at least, I feel like I’m figuring out what his role in the grand scheme of things is supposed to be. He’s like Rick (pre-Zophia Rick) to the Nth degree. He’s the moral compass. He’s got his very firm views on what’s right and wrong, and he’ll certainly meddle if he thinks someone’s going astray (like Andrea), but that’s just his nature. But he means well.

Really, though, for all my little gripes and grievances, I gotta say, I DO love this show. I just re-watched this episode, after all this thinking & discussion, and found myself just as gripped as the first time around. It raises so many interesting questions and “what would you do” scenarios. Even when characters infuriate me with their stupid decisions, I guess that’s good — it means I’m emotionally invested!

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