Episode Title: 18 Miles Out
Original Airdate: 2-26-2012
Apparently some time has passed on the farm. Randall’s leg has healed and Shane and Rick are driving him (robbed of his sight and hearing) eighteen miles from the farm to abandon him with a few supplies and a prayer. Of course everything goes to hell. As the two walk away from a pleading Randall, he mentions having gone to school with Maggie, which leads Rick and Shane to believe that, despite their best efforts, he knows where the farm is. Shane decides to execute Randall right there, but is thwarted by Rick. Fueled by a confessional conversation they had during the long drive, including Otis’s murder and the affair with Lori, the two friends finally have it out over everything. During their kerfuffle, Shane breaks a window and Walkers begin piling out of what the men thought was an abandoned building. Shane becomes trapped, and after barely escaping with his own life, Rick grabs Randall and plans to leave, but changes his mind at the last minute to rescue his friend, who gets a stern talking-to on the way back, which fell on deaf ears.
Back on the farm, barely-been-a-character-up-to-this-point Beth has come out of her state of shock, but has also turned suicidal. Lori alerts Maggie, after Beth keeps the knife from her lunch tray. Maggie and Beth scream it out for awhile, with Beth trying to talk Maggie into a suicide pact, as Lori and Andrea have their own heated discussion in the kitchen. Andrea, who should never man a suicide hotline, believes that Lori should have let Beth keep the knife to make her own decision, by trying to kill herself or finding a reason to live, because that’s what Andrea had to do after Amy’s death. She also notes that Lori is the last person to be giving end-of-the-world advice since she’s been lucky enough to have a husband and son both return from near death, plus gain a boyfriend and a baby in the process, while everyone else has just been counting their losses. Later, Andrea convinces Maggie to let her sit with Beth so Maggie can rest, which allows Andrea to let Beth make her own choice. Beth locks herself in the bathroom and slices her wrist with a broken mirror, but not deep enough to end her life. Though banned from the house by a livid Maggie, Andrea seems to feel justified in her know-it-all actions.
This episode works for me because it feels very confined, keeping to only two plot lines, and two small groups of characters, and it feels like it’s been awhile since we haven’t had to keep up with several different stories. The Rick and Shane showdown was a long time coming. And it was brutal. Nothing is actually resolved, since Shane is insane, but at least the two got to clear the air. The Walker attack was a nice switch up, as time on the farm has been mostly quiet. And there was never any doubt that Rick would actually leave Shane behind, because that’s not who Rick is (or wasn’t at the time). The Randall story line doesn’t feel tapped out just yet, but knowing that he’s going back to the farm for more discussion of his fate is starting to wear out, much like “save Carl” from earlier in the season.
As for Beth, I get it. She’s been protected from the real world on the farm, so after the barn massacre, it’s easy to understand why she’s suicidal. Lori and Maggie’s reactions make sense. Even though the world ended a couple months prior, they still remember a time when people tried to talk others back from the edge. But this is the time I wanted to punch Andrea through my t.v. more than any other during her tenure on the show. She is too self righteous toward a situation that has nothing to do with her. She acts as though every suicidal person is the same, but Beth is practically a child at maybe sixteen, with her father and sister still alive, yet Andrea acts as an expert on the subject. And though I’m no fan of Lori, I had to side with her during their chat. I don’t think only the men can keep everyone safe (sexist!), but Andrea does have too high an opinion of her shooting skills for someone who just learned to use a gun, so her “ability” to keep the camp safe isn’t much to rely on. Plus she couldn’t even tell an injured Daryl from a Walker. So, to reiterate what I’m trying to get across with every episode review, Andrea is just the worst.