Oh yeah, this was the episode I needed to pull me deep into season 2. The highs mixed with lows, the moral quandaries, the survival situations, the present zombie danger, and the human extremist mentality all written into one hour-long block. Characters are evolving, relationships are sprouting, chapters are getting closed…”The Walking Dead” is getting real. “Save the Last One” reveals the true colors of our characters, unearthing their inner most tendencies down to their previously hidden core. Finally, we get that commentary on humanity the show has slowly been eluding to, and we see how far our characters are willing to go to survive. Being a true throwback to the mood our dark comic sets, I’m left finally excited to see what next week holds.
Recap! We catch up with Rick and Lori waiting over Carl’s still unconscious body, without any change in situation. Back to the RV, and Daryl is kept up by the fidgety campers. He grabs Andrea and offers to go Sophia searching, knowing no one can rest until the child is found. Cut to Shane and Otis, and we reach the intensity of our episode. Trapped in what we now know is a high school, the two split up to thin out the zombie herd. Both injured, we watch Otis and Shane head different ways in hopes to meet up safely later. The group itself is thinned out terribly, reduced to the buddy system, but we get some clarity as Glenn reaches the farm with T-Dawg just as his infection is getting life threatening. There’s some eluding to possible sparks between Glenn and Maggie, but nothing serious yet. Rick and Lori have a discussion about whether to let Carl die in peace or live in this hellish existence, finally depicting the twisted mentalities our survivors are starting to suffer from. Blah blah blah…
I’ll skip most of the details because there are a few important points filled with long drawn out scenes. First off, Carl’s condition is dropping considerably and Hershel is forced to start the surgery with or without equipment. Just as he’s about to cut into Carl, Shane pulls up with the goods. Shane, and only Shane. He explains how Otis couldn’t out run the zombies and how he told Shane to go ahead without him. In any case, with the supplies Hershel is able to stabilize Carl’s condition and once again bring up the survivor’s mood. All but Shane though, who is apparently still shaken from Otis’ death. And then we learn how Otis really died. With one bullet left in each of their guns and a pack of zombies closing in, Shane makes the rash decision to put his last round in Otis’ leg and leave him as bait. Shane is visibly not the same man, as he copes with his decision in privacy. Carl’s recovering, Shane’s losing it, but Sophia is still missing…once again becoming the main objective.
You’re getting the opinion of the comic reader on this one, and man was I psyched about the turnout of “Save the Last One.” We got to watch the psychological prodding that caused the comic book to become so deeply rooted in our minds. All the breathless page turns and suffering from anxiety issue to issue is finally thrown into the show. Shane is the vessel for this selfish act of survival, as he makes the conscious choice to kill Otis for his own survival. I mean, OK, given it were the zombie apocalypse and it was either you or another living, breathing, human soul: could you do it? And does this make Shane a “bad” person? Again, in the superb graphic telling of “The Walking Dead,” we’re constantly changing opinions of our characters as they attempt just to live another day doing whatever they “have to.” Time for the TV show to follow suit. We can get our normal bullshit “he said she said” drama from any other generic soap on TV. This is the zombie apocalypse…show us what we can’t imagine! It’s these situations that keep us hooked and wanting more from “The Walking Dead,” and this should be its bread and butter. Disappointed it took 9 episodes to uncover such acts, I’m reassured knowing the TV show won’t shy away from safety. But more importantly, Shane can now follow a whole new story arc. As characters are evolving, none will see more of a change than hero/villain/survivalist/whatever you want to call him Shane. We already saw him shave away his guilt and take on his new persona, and can only assume we’ll get to watch him spiral into madness due to guilt or any other emotion that comes along with murder. Game on for what comes next.
This episode also highlights the ups and downs that make “The Walking Dead” so freakin’ addicting. Again, reverting back to the comic, NOTHING is sacred. Just when life seems to stop raining shit on Rick and his followers, God turns on the faucet and showers the group even harder than before. In the first three episodes Carl gets shot, T-Dawg is dying, Sophia is missing, and the group is split. Here we get a seemingly healthy Carl, a recovering T-Dawg, a house to seek refuge in…so get ready for an explosion of negativity. I won’t put Otis’ death in this category because that was simply put to further Shane’s character. With good comes only bad, and sadly Sophia has not been found yet. Think she’ll pop up? Gah, I want to know!!
First time this season I’m excited for the next episode. Mark it dude. We’re getting more of that comic feel I’ve been looking for, and the excitement I’ve been wanting to share with non readers since the start. Shane’s act is a small spark that I hope ignites a flaming inferno of chaos, so what comes next is really going to dictate just how far “The Walking Dead” is willing to take its viewers. Can it match where the comic has already taken its readers? I’m waiting happily to find out…