Episode Title: Save the Last One
Original Airdate: 10-30-11
Shane and Otis are stuck in the local high school, completely surrounded by Walkers. They split up to escape, hoping to meet up outside in a safe area. Rick and Lori continue to watch over an unconscious Carl, but Hershel informs them that a decision needs to be made soon if Shane and Otis do not return with the necessary medical equipment. Lori thinks that maybe it’d be best to let Carl die peacefully instead of face this cruel new world everyday, but Rick doesn’t agree. Glenn and T-Dog arrive at the farmhouse, where T-Dog’s life-threatening cut is stitched up and Glenn makes a better acquaintance of Maggie.
Back at the RV, Daryl can’t sleep due to Carol’s crying over a lost Sophia, so he and Andrea go scouting for her in the dark, with no luck. Upon their return, Dale returns Andrea’s gun to her and apologizes, while she claims she’s trying to forgive him. Back at the school, Shane hurts his ankle while trying to escape and Otis simply can’t go much further. The two are almost out of bullets and stamina, with a large group of Walkers bearing down on them. Hershel tells Lori and Rick that if he’s going to help Carl, it has to be immediate, equipment or not, just as Shane returns, alone, with everything they need. While Shane is in the bathroom cleaning up, he has a flashback to the school where, in a last moment of desperation, he shot Otis in the leg and left him behind to distract the Walkers as Shane escaped back to the truck with the equipment.
The Carl-got-shot plot starts to wane at this point. In the graphic novel, he gets shot in the shoulder and it’s resolved in maybe two pages. Two full episodes later, and it’s like “Save him or don’t, but just get on with it.” It does show some great moments between his grieving parents. I love that Lori isn’t sure if she wants him to survive or not. I would be in the same boat. This is one of her most honest moments on the show. Some may think she’s horrible for saying it, but I get it. And to voice that in front of a stubborn man like Rick took courage.
Most of the stuff with the Group still in the RV was throw away. We learn a little bit about Daryl’s background and his tough upbringing while he and Andrea are on their night scouting, but it’s nothing we couldn’t have guessed in the first place. And Andrea finally admits she’ll keep fighting to live, probably more out of habit than anything. Then she and Dale continue to be obnoxious in their odd relationship, with Carol’s constant crying in the background.
The real character development happens with Shane. We’ve known that he’s been sliding down a slippery mental slope since Rick returned. First he beat Ed into a bloody pulp and trained his gun on Rick while the two were doing a sweep in the woods outside of Atlanta; then he tried to rape Lori at the CDC. Now he has graduated to murderer. But it is a matter of what would any of us do in these particular circumstances. He loves the son of his best friend and is being slowed down by the man who shot the very same boy, albeit accidentally. The only chance to save the boy is to sacrifice the stranger, or three people end up dead. I hate to admit it, but it’s a tough call. And he did try to get both he and Otis out until there were no other options left, except both of them dying. It’s easy to write Shane off as a jealous psychopath, but here I don’t think his actions are clear cut, black and white. And while many of us would not seriously consider killing our best friends and raping their spouses, we might consider sacrificing one so another may live. It’s a shocking revelation, but it’s also good for more than that, as it gives the audience a lot to consider, which, truthfully, isn’t something frequently done on this show.
And now that Carl is saved, we get more of the never ending search for Sophia…