“The Walking Dead” Review – Season 2 Episode 10 “18 Miles Out”

Written by Chris Beaulieu February 28, 2012

In terms of The Walking Dead’s focus on character ideology, “18 Miles Out” is the most straightforward and focused episode in the series has been. As Rick and Shane try to mend their relationship by compromising over each other’s views on safety and survival, Lori and Andrea push themselves apart over their differences in opinion over Beth. It is no coincidence that Rick and Shane stop at a crossroads to clear the air as the two must either find common ground or go their separate ways in order to keep the group safe.

Rick spends much of the episode trying to make peace with Shane while asserting himself as the leader of the group, and more importantly, as the protector of his family. Whether or not Shane listens to Rick is debatable, especially when one considers the enigmatic walker in the field that Shane sees at the beginning and end of the episode. In the first instance, Shane looks apathetically out of the car window while Rick voices his hopes for safety when winter comes. It is clear that Shane could care less. While Rick is a man of logistics, Shane is one of action. Shane would be happier to take care of the walker in the present than concern himself with the future. On the way back as Shane is mulling over all that has happened—considering if he should listen to Rick—the walker in the field reassures Shane that danger is not in the the future, but the present, and that he is correct.

Beth, who has now woken up, serves as an inciting element for Lori and Andrea to share their personal ideologies. Andrea asserts herself as a libertarian, saying that Beth should be able to choose to take her life, while Lori believes that others should have a say in the decision. Andrea contradicts herself a bit when she seems to nudge Beth into attempting to kill herself, imposing her own view on the situation while she believed she was helping.

There was certain ritualistic element to Rick and Shane dropping off Randall. As Rick talks about doing things “the right way” he instructs Shane to cut his palm and use the blood to attracts walkers to be killed at close range. After seemingly being left for dead by Rick, Shane was put in Otis’ position for a moment: He experienced being the weakest link left as bait. It is significant then, that Shane seems to over apply Rick’s advice and smears his own blood over the bus door to attract the walkers, as a kind of final desperate act. Rick giving Shane one of the guns he took from the dead police officers signifies two things: One, that that Shane has completed a rite of passage, and two, that their camaraderie is not merely one of mutual survival. If Rick and Shane had not had a personal bond of being partners between them, It would be all too easy to leave him behind.

One of the most interesting parts of this episode is when Rick and Shane fight each other, because the two look and sound like walkers as they do. This is particularly evident as we see Randall crawling towards the knife, and all that can be heard is grunts in the background, which sound eerily similar to walker screams. Shane looking at his bloody reflection in a window displays his own savage nature of act first, think later.

The result of “18 Miles Out” seems to be that Shane cannot be convinced away from his beliefs, and that he will soon be moving away from Rick. Whether or not he tries to take Lori and Carl with him will be what to look forward to.

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About Chris Beaulieu

When Chris isn't studying film, reading English literature, fencing, or watching re-runs of Frasier on TV, it's because he's writing awesome reviews for We Eat Films.

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