The Walking Dead 2.3 – Save the Last One

Does shaving your head really help get all the crazy out?


We start this episode with a Shane shaving his head and staring into steam-fogged mirror. From the expression on his face, what he sees looking back is something monstrous. I’m just glad he didn’t keep the whole thing going—shaving off eyebrows and nipples—like Pink, in The Wall. Shane is not doing well. There’s obviously some psychic turmoil going in that thick head of his.
Shane. Shane. What have you done?

Now Rick is regaling Lori with a tale of Shane’s high school exploits and, in particular, one where Shane turned the principal’s prize Hyundai into an impromptu chicken coup. (The story pairs nicely with cuts of what’s currently going on in the high school.) It’s a story she’s heard a thousand times, but it’s comforting in its normality and better than the silence that comes with their vigil over Carl.  Lori tells Rick that he needs to keep his strength up so he can keep providing transfusions to his son. (PB&J with a tall glass of milk. There’s hope for humanity if you can still enjoy a PB&J with milk.) They both know that Shane will come through with the medical supplies that he and Otis have gone to get. No question.

Meanwhile, on the floor of the Winnebago, Daryl is having a tough time catching a few winks with all of Carol’s blubbering. Look, if she’s not going to sleep and is going to just lie there and sob, she should at least give Daryl the bed. That way, he’ll be well rested for any zombie killing he needs to do. Andrea is making a bunch of noise, too. She’s loading clips with bullets and hands one to Daryl when he asks for it, saying that he’s going to walk the road looking for Sophia. (Maybe if he can find her, he can finally get a good night’s rest without all the boo-hoo-hooing, Jeez.)

As Daryl leaves, Andrea follows. Dale, who is on watch duty, asks them if they think shining a light around is a good idea. Andrea shuts him up and stalks away. That guy is a serious worrier. I can’t believe their looting efforts have failed to turn up ANY benzodiazepines. He and Carol need them as much as T-Dog needs antibiotics.

At the high school, things have gone all kinds of wrong. Shane and Otis are trapped at the very top of some folded up bleachers in the gym. There is a pep rally sign posted on  the wall behind them that reminds us all just how awful pep rallies actually were. Everyone might have looked better, but the people who were really into those things were pretty much zombies as well. Well, now Alice Cooper is finally right, “School’s out FOREVER!”

Anyway, Otis realizes that they don’t have enough ammunition to shoot their way out and that he won’t fit through the small window that is the most direct way to the outside. He’s going to need to make it to the locker rooms in order to escape. He is a nice guy. He just wants to do right by Carl. Shane seems to respect this and agrees to lay down some suppressing fire with their limited ammunition.

After a bit of trouble with a legless zombie, (guess that one’s not really a “walker”— Shane comes through with a gun blast through stumpy’s eye. Otis runs for the locker rooms, while Shane races in the other direction, pursued by a couple of walkers. He shoots the one clad in a FEMA vest and it falls against the other. They both go over the railing. A nice 2-for-1 shot. A real plus when you’re this low on ammo!

Shane chucks the purloined medical equipment and his rifle out of the window. He carefully prepares to follow, but the jump is a long one. He hesitates. And in that moment, a zombie grabs him from inside the window. He punches the undead guy a couple of times in his rotting face and then grabs his handgun and shoots him in the head. The uncontrolled fall results in an injured ankle. Uh oh.

Injury or no, he’s on a mission and is up and moving right away, especially when he hears three shots from somewhere inside the school. Apparently we shouldn’t count Otis out just yet.

Glenn and T-Dog finally reach the farmhouse in the old yellow Wagoneer. They notice drops of blood on the front porch first thing. Not a promising sign. Glenn asks if they should ring the bell since it looks like people live there. T-Dog, looking like he feels awful from the blood poisoning, replies, “We’re past this kinda stuff, aren’t we? Having to be considerate.”

From the porch, Maggie offers to make Glenn and T-Dog something to eat once she’s assured that they’ve locked the ranch gate, that T-Dog’s injury is not a bite, and that he’s on antibiotics and painkillers.

Inside, the vigil over Carl continues. T-Dog and Glenn visit Carl’s room. Glenn removes his ever-present baseball cap. Clearly he’s not ready to dispense with all social niceties just yet. They let Rick, Lori, and the Doctor know that they will do whatever they can.

Doc Herschel has grim news. Rick and Lori are going to have to make a decision if the medical equipment doesn’t arrive very soon. They will have give their okay to proceed with the operation to stop Carl’s internal bleeding even though there is no respirator and the chances of his survival are small. Lori leaves the room, too upset to comment.

Back in the woods, Daryl and Andrea are searching for Sophia by flashlight. Andrea wonders aloud to Daryl if he thinks that they might actually find Sophia. She thinks that since Sophia is only 12, her chances are slim. Daryl, on the other hand, comments, “It ain’t the mountains of Tibet, it’s Georgia.” He thinks Sophia could be holed up in a farmhouse anywhere.

He goes on to tell Andrea that when he was younger than Sophia, he got lost in the woods for 9 days, lived on berries, and wiped his ass with poison oak. Nobody missed him. (His dad was on a bender with some waitress and his brother was doing another stint in juvie.) He found his way back home on his own, went straight to the kitchen and made a sandwich. He was okay—aside from the itchy asshole. The only difference, he says, is that Sophia has people looking for her. He calls that an advantage. (Of course he neglects to mention the undead people who are also looking for her. Personally, I would call that a distinct disadvantage.)

Back on the farmhouse porch, Lori is having a bit of a meltdown. She wonders if this is a world where children have any place and if maybe it would be better to not live with constant fear and horror. A  place where all you can do is run and run and become an animal whose only goal is survival. This is not a fleeting thought she’s had. She has become fixated on the idea that maybe she should use her parental authority to sign Carl up to opt out. (She has a point. We’ll put a dog down when we judge its quality of life to be wretched or beyond hope. But, for some reason, a pillow pressed lightly over a dying kid’s face during the zombie apocalypse is frowned upon.)

Rick disagrees. He’s a “no surrender—die trying” kind of guy. He wants to keep on working to survive as long as there is even a “slim chance” that their situation could improve. He certainly isn’t ready to give up on his son. It’s out of the question.

Back at the high school, Shane is exhausted and slowed down by his injured ankle. Just as he is about to be attacked by a plaid-shirted walker, he shoots it in the face at the same time it is shot in the back of the head by Otis. He then takes out a second walker as Shane takes out the third. All right Otis! This is one stand up guy. He may be hefting around a lot of extra weight, but he’s the kind of guy who will do whatever it takes to make things right. (Sadly, you know that means things can’t end well for him.)

As Otis shoulders one of the heavy packs of medical supplies, he and Shane both comment that they are now completely out of rifle rounds.

At Doc Herschel’s Rick and Lori sit in tense silence, when suddenly Carl coughs and wakes up. He’s conscious and talking. Lori is all smiles. Then Carl starts to describe the deer he saw and how amazing it was to be so close. Then he freezes. A seizure wracks his small body.

When the seizure finally abates, Doc Herschel says that Carl needs another transfusion because his brain is not getting enough blood. Rick is ready without a second thought, even though the threat of coma and cardiac arrest is looming larger and larger for him. Even so, Doc readies the transfusion bottle.

At the high school, Otis needs to catch his breath, but as soon as a wall of gnashing and clawing zombies held back by chain-link surges forward, he unhesitatingly helps move the ankle-injured Shane quickly away.

On the highway, Dale keeps watch from the roof of his Winnebago. He’s thinking about having a smoke when Carol comes topside and offers to let Dale go down and sleep if he’d like. He decides to stay with her and points out the place where Daryl and Andrea set off.

In the woods, Daryl and Andrea hear a noise in the trees and come upon a campsite. Hanging from a noose in a tree is an undead man, er, poet. He’s left a note on the trunk of the tree. “Got bit. Fever Hit. World gone to Shit. Might as well quit.” Daryl, not very compassionately says, “Dumbass didn’t know enough to shoot himself in the head. Turned himself into a big swingin’ piece of bait. Look at that mess.”

Andrea, trying not to puke, asks to change the subject. She asks how Daryl learned to shoot. He says, “Gotta eat. That’s one thing we, and these walkers have in common. This is the closest he’s been to food since he turned. Look at him. Hangin’ up there like a big piñata. The other geeks came and ate all the flesh off his legs.” At this Andrea finally pukes and says, “I thought we were changing the subject.” Daryl replys, “Oh. That’s payback for laughing about my itchy ass.”

Andrea wants Daryl to put the poor dead poet out of his misery, but Daryl doesn’t want to waste an arrow on someone who isn’t hurting anybody and who has made his choice and opted out. As Andrea stares, transfixed, at the snarling thing in the tree, Daryl asks her, “You want to live now? Or not? It’s just a question.”

She replies, “An answer for an arrow. Fair?”

“Mmhmmm.” he says.

“I don’t know if I want to live, or if I have to, or if it’s just a habit.”

“That’s not much of an answer.” Daryl says. He shoots the zombie in the head and remarks that it’s a waste of an arrow.

On the roof of the Winnebago, Carol tries to get Dale to stop worrying about Andrea. He decides to take a break and wants to leave the rifle with Carol. “I don’t know how to use that!” she says incensed. (Girl, you better learn to use it! The mother-fucking zombie apocalypse is NOW. Your kid has disappeared. Grow some BALLS. Your helpless female crap is going to get you killed. And hopefully it will only be you! Not the people around you who try to save your sorry ass, because, “Oooooh guns are scary!” Um, not as scary as what’s been going down all around you!)

Back at the ranch, T-Dog is getting his arm sewn back together, but is still unwilling to be grateful for Daryl’s contribution of his brother’s antibiotics.

On the porch, Glenn gives praying a try for the first time in his life—for the safety of his friends. Maggie interrupts and Glenn asks if she thinks that God exists at all. She sounds like she’s pretty much all out of faith, but that she’s okay with the old, “God helps those who help themselves” thing.

Dale strolls through the cars and worries. (Look in the purses for the benzos, man! I’m not kidding!)

Rick tells Lori the story of the deer in the woods and how when Carl woke up and was talking about it, he was speaking of something beautiful. Something living. Not about the nightmarish ugliness they’ve been surrounded with constantly. So there’s your answer Lori. It’s better for Carl to live in this world—even as it is now— because he still finds beauty in it.

Um, yeah. But there is no beauty in the scene going down at the high school right now. In fact knowing what it would take to get the medical equipment to Carl, would probably make Lori certain that a simple pillow smothering would be merciful. It would make her doubt that there is any hope for mankind. And it would certainly snuff out any hot masturbation or 3-way fantasies about Shane.

Shane and Otis are almost to the truck. Otis explains what they need to do to get there. Shane is ready to give up. Otis says that he’s not leaving him behind.

Two men count their rounds.  Otis has four. Shane has five and one in the pipe. Ten shots. They pick off two walkers as they stumble ahead of the endless throngs of the undead.  Now they are down to eight shots.

It is now the 11th hour. Since Doc Herschel thinks Carl will die otherwise, the decision is made to do the surgery without a respirator.

Just as the doctor tells Rick and Lori that they may want to step out while he does the surgery, they hear a truck pull up outside. It’s Shane with the equipment. And without Otis. When Doc Herschel finds out that Otis did not make it, he says, “We say nothing to Patricia. Not till after. I need her.”

Shane says that Otis said he’d cover him, and that he should keep going. He looked back and… Rick finishes Shane’s statement for him, “He wanted to make it right.”

On the road Daryl and Andrea have returned, much to the relief of Daryl. When Carol sees that Sophia is not with them, she just goes inside and slams the door with a sob. As Andrea goes to take watch, Dale gives her gun back and apologizes for making decisions that weren’t his to make. He asks for forgiveness. Andrea says she’s trying.

During Carl’s surgery, Maggie opens up to Glenn about those she has lost. She’s broken up about Otis since she’s known him since she was a kid. She points out the photos of those she’s loved and lost.

The surgery goes well and Carl seems to have stabilized. Rick and Lori are ecstatic. But now someone has to tell Patricia that her husband did not make it back. Rick tells Lori to go to Carl and that he’ll go with Herschel, but Lori watches as Patricia gets the news about Otis. Shane watches as well and then limps in to see Lori with Carl.

Shane is out of it. Emotionally wrecked. As he leaves Carl’s room, Maggie brings him some clean clothes to wear after he showers. They’ll be big on him. They were Otis’s. Ooof!

As Shane runs the shower, he checks his injuries. He is scratched and bruised, but one injury stops him cold. A missing patch of hair. Angry scalp shows through from where a fist-sized patch was pulled out.

And then the flashback starts.

Two men count their rounds. Otis has four. Shane has five and one in the pipe. Ten shots. They pick off six walkers as they stumble ahead of the endless throngs of the undead.  And they keep shooting.

Now they are each down to one shot.

“I’m sorry.” Shane says. He shoots the totally unsuspecting Otis in the leg and immediately begins to pull his pack of supplies off. But as sweet tempered as he is, Otis is a fighter. He gets a hold of Shane’s hair and holds on. Shane keeps punching Otis—sometimes in his bullet wound—and finally wrenches his gun (and patch of hair) away, squeezing off the one remaining round. The monstrous, stinking horde falls on Otis and begins to tear at his flesh and eat him alive as he screams in agony and terror.

But the undead cannot choose to be monstrous. That choice is uniquely human.

Shane lurches away carrying both packs of supplies. He is a man who has made his choice.


NEXT WEEK: Will Shane be able to find a secret stash of GLH in order to cover his bald spot and allow him to live with what he has done? Will Carol finally grow a pair, pick up a gun, and ask someone to show her how the damn thing works? Wait. Who is Sophia again? Will the search for God finally be called off?

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  • Katy

    I literally called Shane a bastard out loud for what he did to Otis. But he did what he had to to make sure he survived.

    I’m really hoping we find out something about Sophia, it’s kind of driving me nuts not knowing.

    • Kristi Edwards

      I know Shane did what he thinks he had to do, but I still think he’s a bastard for it and hope he gets his in a most horrible way. (I like that Otis left him with a little “remember me” mark. I hope that patch of hair never grows back and he has to look at it in the mirror for the rest of his miserable life.)

      The whole incident made me remember a T-shirt I recently saw. Because, of course, all the important lessons in life can be learned from a pithy phrase on a T-shirt somewhere.

  • DAMN SHANE, THAT SHIT WAS COOOOLD. But now you’re thinking like a survivor.

    Also, show some damn respect for that running HOT WATER. Turn that off and save it while you shave. COME ON, GUYS.

    And I groaned in aggravation when neither Andrea nor Daryl opened the tent by the poet to check for Sophia or supplies. And I want Glenn and Maggie to fall in love and ride horses and be quippy and awesome forever.

    • Kristi Edwards

      You most definitely have to respect the hot water you ungrateful bastard!

      I don’t think Herschel’s people are going to allow this new group to use their blissfully unsullied oasis indefinitely. Their time/welcome has got to be running out. (And they’ll get an immediate boot to the ass—if not a bullet to the head—if Otis’s desiccated hand is ever found, still wearing his wedding ring and still clutching a chunk of Shane’s scalp.)

      I cannot believe they didn’t look in that tent either! They’ve been at this long enough to know that you NEVER, EVER leave a chance to look for loot! They need to even be turning out zombie pockets. And now that I think about it, lots of people keep their best drugs in their shoes. It’s revolting, but they need to check that nasty footwear as well.

  • I was hoping for a Shane/Rick pre-zombie-kill-kill flashback, seeing the shower scene, but got a birdpoop prank instead. Really? As a cop you guys have no good Shane stories?? Anyway, am I the only one who blames dad for the son getting shot? Shane was gonna drop that sweet bag of meat and you wanted that fantasy petting zoo moment, dumb ass!! Fat Otis was doomed, we all knew that. I liked the zombie 5K where Shane and Otis were picking the leaders off, while running away in that drunken, hobbled, mall-walker style.
    I liked Dale, but slowly am beginning to dislike him. He’s all grand powerful Oz, behind the scenes making decisions and performing pantomime. Finally he does right and returns the hot lady her gun which instantly makes her hotter.(my fetish, sorry)
    Am I becoming desensitized to head shots??? Those arrows are running out, how about looking in that tent for more? Dumb asses!
    Sophia is twelve, but was last seen carrying a rag doll? Huh? Creepy, knowing her Daddy was a sick fuck. She’ll make it. We’ll find her later, playing rock, paper, scissors with Murle since patty-cake is now out of his skill set.
    Shane made some tough choices since all Hell broke loose. Otis provided a sweet destruction for the pursueing mob of walkers. Somebody took a bite off his cheek meat, I was eyeballing his luscious mid-drift. Does anybody have some A-1?
    Why didn’t anyone go back for the deer carcass? Dumb asses!

  • Oh, and thanks for getting Alice Cooper stuck in my head, that shit was funny though!

  • Christy

    Am I the only one who thought Shane was a hero here? Sure, it was cold as hell, but it was necessary to save Carl. Was he supposed to sacrifice himself or the kid to save the dude who shot him in the first place? Nuhuh.
    I can barely deal with Lori. She is such a whine butt. Is this like Sex and the City where we all pick which character we would be? Because I call Andrea.

    • Kristi Edwards

      Oh, I’m sure he’s a hero to Rick and Lori and Carl.
      But to Patricia, mmmm not so much.

      With this murder, Shane has probably sealed his fate to a gruesome (and creatively constructed) death. I can’t wait! *rubs hands together gleefully*

  • Peyton

    I certainly don’t think Shane is a hero. He’s a murdering, lying summbitch who needs to die slowly and screaming. You know what would have actually been heroic? Staying behind and covering Otis’s escape since Otis was actually more fit, useful to the group as an EMT, and faster when he wasn’t dragging Shane’s injured sorry ass around.

    Glenn and Maggie need to be sitting in a tree. Yesterday.

    • Kristi Edwards

      Agreed. On all points.

      Glenn and Maggie may be the future of our species. Maybe Daryl and Andrea, too.

    • Chris

      Adding my vote to all of this! Shane was giving up, it was Otis who had more drive to save Carl when the outlook was bleak. :(

      Glenn had me at “Hey you in the tank”, so I’m looking forward to more of a storyline for him! :)

      • Kristi Edwards

        Yes. It was Shane that deserved Otis’s last round to the leg. But Otis’s downfall was that he was a genuinely nice guy and he didn’t realize that he had teamed up with someone who wasn’t.

        I’m with you. More Glenn. Less Carol. (But if nature takes its course, there will be less of Carol. A lot less.)

  • Samantha

    First of all, I cannot fucking BELIEVE they have a person in their party WHO REFUSES TO USE A GUN. What the hell, dude?! Like, I am kind of uncomfortable with firearms, but if tomorrow was the zombie apocalypse, I would pick up the first gun I found and learn how to shoot the damn thing. I have no patience for Carol, and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to feel sorry for her and like her as a character as the weeks go on.

    And holy hell, that ending. My fiance was like, “There’s something he’s not telling… he did something bad!” the whole time after Shane’s return. I just started open-mouthed at the tv lol.

    • Kristi Edwards

      Just watching this show has made me seriously consider buying a gun—and of course learning to use it. I’m not exactly anti-gun—I do live in Texas—I’ve just never felt comfortable with one in my house. But if I’m going to put together an apocalypse pantry, it will have to include several guns. And Daryl’s made me think I need to include a couple of cross-bows as well. With lots and lots of arrows.

      Carol needs counseling, but since that’s not likely, I’m afraid if she doesn’t suck it up and get tough real fast, she’ll just be another bag of meat. Too bad Otis ended up that way instead of her.

      Your man is an astute judge of character. Marry him quick.

  • If you worry about keeping a loaded shotgun in the house, I like Adam Carolla”s fourth bullet idea. The first two are blanks, making it nearly impossible to kill yourself or someone else, accidentally. If somehow a neighbor gets into your house, drunk, on accident, late….you can fire off a warning shot or two, allowing them to identify themselves. The third round is rock salt. Slowing down any real offender and also not killing any prankster, drunkard, accidental intruder, or dumb kid. The fourth round is live ammo. You can rip through all of these, pretty fast, if you need to and it adds a bit of safety to your kill stick. Plus, you might “season” an attacking zombie, making them tastier to the zombies that come after. Just thought I’d share. I like this idea.

  • Geeka

    I love this show…. It gives me so many ideas for future use.

    Gun subject… For my birthday, I asked my dad for a shotgun. He bought me a Taurus Judge instead. Shoots 45 cal and 410 shotgun shells. I love it. He said it would be safer for me. I still want a shotgun and a rifle to round out my arsenal.

    Thanks for the recap!