A weekly recap of every gory detail in the latest episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
That was the dilemma that, most notably, Rick and Lori Grimes grappled with as they decided whether to give Hershel the go-ahead to attempt risky surgery on Carl or to simply let their son cross over to the next, presumably walker-free realm. It was a subject that also came up for Andrea when she and Daryl accidentally happened upon a zombie who not only had a way with a quality stanza, but also mistakenly thought that sticking his head in a noose would let him exit his less-than-idyllic existence as a flesh-eater in the backwoods of Georgia.
And then there was Shane, who was so hellbent on getting the needed medical equipment back to the farm that he sacrificed poor ol’ Otis’s life (in the grossest way possible) in order to save his own. (TV Otises tend to have rotten luck, don’t they?) But while Shane technically may have stayed alive, the episode’s closing shot — which showed the cop with his head freshly shaven and a decidedly flat expression in his eyes — suggests he may be walking dead, in a way, himself.
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The Grimes situation
As Carl struggled to remain conscious, Rick and Lori debated the merits of keeping their boy alive. “Why do we want Carl to live in this world, to have this life?” Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) understandably asked. At first, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) didn’t have a solid response. (“Uh, so he can continue his education, get into the now zombie-fied Emory University and endure the most dis-gusting freshman rush hazing rituals of all time?” I mean, that’s what I would have said.)
Fortunately, Rick was able to come up with a better answer after Carl briefly woke up and spoke in wonderment about the stag he saw right before Otis shot him. “Why is it better for Carl to live, even in this world? He talked about the deer,” Rick told his wife, suggesting that even amid so much death, despair and human beings generally being treated like the free samples at Trader Joe’s, there is still hope. In other words, they can’t let the zombie-terrorists win. (By the way, is Rick suddenly starting to sound more like Hershel, who insisted last week that there has to be a cure for walker syndrome?)
Glenn finds religion
After watching Rick and Lori grieve and T-Dog endure the pain of getting stitched up while under the influence of Merle’s VD medication, Glenn (Steven Yeun) started to lose it. So he stepped outside on the front porch of Hershel Farm to have a word with the man upstairs, at which point Maggie totally interrupted his “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Glenn” moment to remind him that there probably isn’t a God, really, but it’s nice that he wants to pray.
Again, meaty matters related to the nature of human existence were addressed here. But the whole time, all I could think was: Why does everyone keep going out on the porch by themselves in the middle of the night? I realize Hershel Farm seems to have a zombie forcefield around it, not to mention an all-important gate that somehow locks things down. But given what these people have gone through, you’d think they’d be a bit more skittish about the potential for freaky, hungry moaners to be lurking in the shadows. At the very least, any thirsty zombie who catches sight of that porch is going to make a beeline for it. That place just screams “We serve Countrytime Lemonade here.”
Andrea seems less suicidal
Andrea (Laurie Holden) and that increasingly delightful Sawyer — uh, I mean, Daryl (Norman Reedus) — took a romantic, flashlight-illuminated stroll through the woods in search of the still-missing Sophia. They didn’t find the little girl, but — bonus! — they did find the aforementioned zombie whose attempt to cut his life short was about as successful as Lane Meyers’s efforts in “Better Off Dead.” (By the way, that’s the second time in a week that I’ve made a “Better Off Dead” reference during a TV recap. I’ll do my best to work in one more this week in order to achieve the rarely attempted, elusive Lane Meyers Blogging Hat Trick.)
To his credit, the zombie-dude hanging futilely from an ineffective noose did write an extremely poetic and profound suicide note: “Got bit/Fever hit/World gone to [expletive]/Might as well quit.” Which, as most English majors know, was the original ending to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
Anyhoo, the point is that Andrea took pity on the poor noose-swinger and made a deal with Daryl that allowed her to put the guy out of his misery in exchange for an answer to his question about whether or not she wants to keep living.
“I don’t know if I want to live, or if I have to, or if it’s just a habit,” she answered rather candidly. It appears she’s leaning more toward the “want to live” side, though, since she seemed a bit more willing to forgive Dale and, more importantly, super-happy to hear Daryl tell hilarious anecdotes about being abandoned in the woods by his hillbilly drunkard dad. Is there a woman alive who can resist the charms of a using-poison-oak-as-toilet-paper story? Because if there is, I haven’t met her.
And then there’s Shane
After improbably dodging zombies at the FEMA shelter/high school — and, for the record, having his hide rescued at least once by Otis — Shane did the unthinkable: he sacrificed his fellow man by throwing Otis to the “Walking Dead” equivalent of the wolves.
It’s notable that under semi-similar circumstances in this season’s first episode, Rick opted to use himself as a zombie decoy in order to keep Sophia safe. Shane, on the other hand, shot and beat Otis until he became a feast for the walkers, allowing himself time to limp to the truck and make a getaway.
Shane saved Carl’s life as a result of his actions. But he killed Otis in the process. Has Shane lost it? Or did he, as Rick contended when he was first confronted about the Sophia situation, have no choice in the matter?
Go ahead and limp straight to the comments section to start debating about all of these issues, including whether Shane is an evil man with an amazing six-pack, or merely a misguided, emotionally bereft guy with an amazing six-pack.