Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review: The Walking Dead "Save the Last One"

Non Spoiler Review:
As Carl's condition worsens, Rick and Lori debate the merits of surviving in their current situation or just giving up and going the Jacqui route. The search continues for Sophia, allowing Andrea and Daryl some time to get to know one another better. Otis and Shane remain stranded at the high school and are forced to take drastic measures to escape.

The tension remained high with more focus on Shane and some difficult choices that will have long term ramifications. Maggie also gets some more screen time, with introductions to Glen. Rick's idealism is firmly contrasted with Shane's pragmatism this week, leaving the viewer to debate a huge moral grey area that ends the episode.

Three episodes in, and I wouldn't mind seeing events at the Hershel farm accelerate a bit. I really have no idea how this Sophia arc will play out in this new continuity, so I hope it comes to a satisfying conclusion and other plot lines beyond the two children get a chance to play out. Save the Last One remained an effective one, with several great moments (including Rick and Lori tension) and nail-biting zombie action at the high school with a classic shocker ending.

Spoilers Now!
Someone is taking a shower and shaving their head, and we see that it's Shane (but is this pre-apocalypse?). He stares intently into the mirror. Flash to Otis and Shane fleeing from the walkers through the school while Rick recites a well known story to Lori about Shane's teenage exploits. The two of them are sitting by Carl's side, and she encourages her husband to keep his strength up for their son. 

In the RV, Daryl is woken up by Carol crying and Andrea loudly cleaning her gun. He decides to walk the road to look for Sophia so Andrea decides to join him and leave Dale on watch. The old man isn't happy to see her go off into the night.

At the school, Shane and Otis have taken refuge atop some bleachers in the gymnasium. Otis decides to draw the walkers away and give Shane a chance to get through the window. Otis barely manages to get to the locker room after jumping to the floor, but Shane makes his break for the window and gets out, though it's a two story drop and he injures his leg, as well.

Glen and T-Dog arrive at Hershel's farm and are greeted by Maggie on the porch. Glen's brought some painkillers and antibiotics, so she takes them inside and gets T-Dog some attention for his infected arm.

Hershel tells Rick and Lori they need to make a decision to operate, as they can't wait much longer for the others to return with the respirator. Lori wonders if Carl should even survive given the world they live in, and it might be better for him. Rick is horrified, and wonders what changed since the CDC when she begged Jenner to live. She muses in hindsight that Jacqui hasn't had to face what they've seen since, and thought maybe Jenner was right. Rick doesn't accept that, but Lori wants to know how it will be better if he survives.

But Carl wakes up (briefly), and tells his mother about the amazing stag. Just briefly. Then he goes into a seizure and they have to watch it play out as his brain isn't getting enough blood. Rick tells Hershel he'll give him another transfusion, despite the danger to himself.

In the woods, Daryl chides Andrea for wondering if Sophia will survive in the woods, given he was lost for nine days in the wilderness as a kid, and he never had anyone looking for him. They suddenly come upon a walker hanging from a tree. The victim had been bit and tried to kill himself by hanging, but didn't know enough to shoot himself in the head. Daryl won't kill it, though, and decides to let him hang, given that was his choice. Andrea is sickened, but stares at it with some fascination. Daryl asks her if she wants to live now or not. She bargains her answer in exchange for an arrow to kill it, and tells him she doesn't know if she wants to live, or if it's just a habit right now. Daryl shoots it for her. 

Carol gets up to keep Dale company, but he decides to go off down the road given he's concerned for Andrea. Daryl and Andrea make it back, and so he calls her aside and apologizes for the gun issue, and returns it to her. The choices he made for her weren't his to make, he admits, and wishes that she not make him regret it. He asks if she's forgiven him, and she replies she's trying.

Rick explains what happened in that moment in the woods with the deer to Lori. Carl was fascinated by its beauty, and because of that there's still a life for them. The first thing Carl talked about was the deer, and not about all the death they've seen. 

Just when they're about to get started Shane arrives, but without Otis (!). Otis had told him he'd cover him and to keep going, which is what he did. And he didn't make it. Rick is grateful for him making it back.

Following the operation, Hershel tells them Carl appears to have stabilized. Rick then volunteers to go with Hershel to tell Patricia about her husband's death. Maggie is also disconsolate over losing a friend to the family. Glen asks her who else she's lost and she refers to her step-mother and step-brother.

Shane comes in to see Carl while Lori sits at his bedside. She tells him to stay but he goes on to shower up. Maggie's given him some of Otis' clothes to change into. He checks his body in the mirror and there's an odd mark on his head. Then he flashes back to their flight from the walkers. Both he and Otis are down to their last bullet, so Shane abruptly shoots Otis in the leg. The walkers swarm him and Shane struggles to get the other bag from him. Otis manages to tear out some of his hair, but is overwhelmed and left to be devoured while Shane runs off.

Back in the bathroom, Shane shaves his head and looks at himself in the mirror.

The Verdict:
After last week's character-heavy episode, the zombie action was stepped up to follow Shane and Otis' arduous escape from the high school. Much is going to be said about Shane's choice to sacrifice Otis for Carl, and it really is a morally grey area given that it was unlikely they could escape together. The decision will undoubtedly weigh on Shane as the season progresses. However, if Otis was a mercy kill in addition to a sacrifice for the greater good, why wouldn't Shane have shot him in the head instead of leaving him to die a really horrible death (and possibly reanimate). Would Shane have made the same decision had it been one of his own band of survivors, like Glen?

In contrast, Daryl continues evolve into the hero. It's clear he would not stop searching for Sophia without some hard evidence she's dead. Would he have made the same choice with Otis? He's already gone back for T-Dog on a couple of occasions now, so it's up in the air what he would have done if faced with the same situation. It was fun to see him and Andrea get some bonding time, too, and it wouldn't surprise me if the two hook up (much to Dale's consternation).

Lori's begun to play the devil's advocate against Rick's idealized and hopeful vision for their situation. I was half expecting Rick to reveal what Jenner said (if what he said was that she was pregnant). It will be interesting to see if the two grow closer or this begins to drive a wedge between them (again, that all depends if Lori is pregnant, and Rick would have to assume he's not the father all this time, anyway).

A great episode delivering some chills and gore, in addition to the usual character drama. I'm still not sure what to think of Sophia's situation, aside from driving all this other plot. I hope it comes to a good resolution that gives Carol some additional development, but I don't want it drawn out much longer either, given there's so much else that can be going on at the Hershel farm.

And speaking of him, where are the other members of his family we saw on the porch when Rick arrived with Carl?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...