Walking Dead: The Bane of Shane

There’s an effective narration towards the beginning of “Save the Last One,” the latest episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s a story about young Shane, as told by Rick. The voiceover plays out over images of present-day Shane running from zombies in the school he’s gone to for medical supplies, and the careful pairing of the story and the action invite us to consider Shane an unlikely hero, setting us up for an intense, action-packed episode.

The whole episode takes place in the middle of the night, in a matter of just a few hours. Our group of survivors is still split up, and they are, literally, all over the place.

Shane, Lori and Carl are still at the farm, waiting for Shane and Otis to return with a respirator. Dale is still at the camper with Carol, Andrea and Daryl, all of whom have stayed behind to look for Sophia. (Yeah, she’s still missing.) Glenn has gone ahead with T-Dog to the farm, so that T-Dog can receive some medical assistance for his arm.

Honestly, not too much happens plot-wise to move the story forward. Instead, the episode chooses to explore everyone’s feelings and ideas regarding the state of the world they now inhabit. Lori struggles with Carl’s fate, wondering if he might be better off leaving this world. Is this a world that children should have to live in? Andrea still wonders whether or not she wants to die and what the point of continuing on could be, if there is one at all. It’s a great scene that plays out while she and Daryl go out in the middle of the night to search for Sophia. It’s probably my favorite scene of the whole episode, because of the character development we’re seeing in Daryl. and the cool zombie scene that plays out during their search.

Though there is more character movement than story movement in this episode, I feel it’s probably the best-written installment of the season so far. Yeah, it’s still early on, but we get to explore everyone’s reactions to what has been happening in the first two episodes. It’s a nice breather that I feel is important. We need to know where everyone stands and what they are thinking.

Glenn decides he might just try praying for the first time and confides in Maggie about how he feels. There are seeds planted there for a bigger story, I hope, and fans of the comic know what I’m talking about.

And, as always, there are zombies. Apparently, they’ve lost the ability to smell the living, because as Shane tries to escape the school with Otis, he hides several times, right near the zombies, and none seem to sense he is there. Also, the walking dead have quickly become the running dead, because they pursue the two very, very fast. Forget calling them “walkers;” call them what they really are: “sprinters.”

There’s no way I will spoil the end of this episode, but it’s a doozy. It ties back to the opening scene, but it’s oh so much more than that. Frankly, I never saw it coming. You know, just like our heroes never seem to see the zombies, until it’s too late.

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Terry Blas is the creator of the web comic Briar Hollow and cohost of The Gnerd podcast.image

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