FX, 30 October
Shane and Otis’s Excellent Adventure doesn’t end so well, while Lori and Rick face losing their son…
While there’s more of the wandering about in the woods (at night, would you believe it?) and the tedious hunt for Sophia continues, this instalment of The Walking Dead features some welcome moral dilemmas.
Without the medicine or equipment needed, vet Hershel prepares to operate on wounded Carl, a procedure the kid may not survive. As with the previous episode, the cast do their best with the material presented to them, but both Sarah Wayne Callis and Andrew Lincoln deliver lines and performances that are a bit too obvious. Both have been better elsewhere (and, indeed, in this show). There is a great moment, however, when Carl appears to stop breathing and just for a second you think ‘they’re going to kill the kid!’ After all, anything seems possible on this show. The parents debate about what kind of future their son might face kicks off the live-or-die theme of the episode.
Wandering the woods brings Daryl and Andrea face-to-feet with an unhappy camper who has hung himself, then turned zombie and is still twitching. It’s a great image, and faced with his suffering, Andrea re-evaluates her own desire for death.
Finally comes the main talking point of this instalment: Shane’s shooting of Otis. Clearly, the big man is slowing Shane down, and he needs to get the supplies back to the farmhouse. It’s about survival. Factor in that Otis also shot Carl in the first place, and Shane’s motives in shooting him in the leg and leaving him to the zombies (versus shooting him in the head and sparing him that fate) and his decision looks like righteous punishment. He’s clearly shaken by his own actions, and this should make for an interesting character trajectory in episodes to come (especially as Shane exits the comic books much earlier).
Verdict: Gripping stuff, with some much needed character development.
Episode 3: ‘Save the Last One’: 8/10
Brian J. Robb