The Walking Dead: Sacrificial Ham.

This week’s episode starts off in the farmhouse bathroom, where Shane, after taking a hot shower, shaves his head with an electric razor. This really makes me question Hershel’s rationing plans. The hot water tank is cranked AND every outlet and light in the friggin’ house is on. I bet he doesn’t even have low-flow toilets installed.

After Shane finishes, he wipes steam from the mirror and stares off into the middle distance. It’s more than a little Taxi Driveresque. I hope Shane doesn’t decide he wants to impress Jodie Foster any time soon.

Flash back to present time. Rick is telling Lori a story about this one time, in band camp, when Shane pranked his teacher by shoving a flute up his b’hole stealing his car, parking it in a chicken coop and then running three miles back to school before class started. I guess he’s telling the story as a way to reassure Lori that Shane will make it back in time with the supplies Hershel needs, although it could also serve as a parable illustrating the similarities between the Occupy Wall Street protesters and chickenshit.

Back in the RV, Daryl is trying to get some sleep, but is kept awake by Carol’s crying and Andrea’s constant fidgeting with Daryl’s ammo clip. (That’s what she said!) Fed up, he grabs his crossbow and leaves to go looking for Sophia. Andrea, now faced with a choice of staying in the RV and listening to Carol sob or sitting up top and listening to Dale’s constant muttering about walkers keeping off his lawn, wisely volunteers to go with Daryl.

Cut to Shane and Otis sprinting down the school hallway, chased by a group of walkers doing their best mall walker imitation. Seriously, the speed at which these so-called “walkers” are moving is becoming more than a little annoying, at least to those of us who adhere to the slow zombie mythos. Eventually, our two heroes end up on top of the gymnasium bleachers, surrounded by a herd of walkers trotters.

The windows are too small for Otis to squeeze through, so he volunteers to draw the trotters away through the locker room, which fortunately has a window doorway that Otis can fit through. They’ll meet up outside and head back to the truck. When Shane asks why he would take such a risk, Otis says he needs to make things right with Carl. He and Shane shoot a few zombies in the face, then Otis jumps down to the gym floor.

Of course, he hurts his ankle, and almost gets bitten by a legless walker who’s been slithering under the bleachers waiting for a big meat sack. Otis escapes the walker slitherer and makes it to the locker room, leaving Shane a clear path to the windows. Well, an almost clear path. Two walkers hear him, and turn to follow him up the stairs. He pops both of them in the head and dangles out the window. Just as he’s about to let go, a third walker reaches through the window and grabs at Shane’s face. He shoots the walker in the head and falls 20 feet to the ground below, injuring his ankle in the process.

Does it bother anyone else how much better lit the stills are than the show itself?
Or am I the only production nerd around these parts?

Glenn and T-Doug finally make it to the farmhouse; Maggie takes The Doug inside to get him stitched up. Carl, meanwhile, is not looking good. Hershel says if Shane and Otis don’t make it back soon, they’ll have to decide whether or not to do the operation anyway. If they operate without the respirator, it’s extremely unlikely Carl will survive. But if they don’t operate at all, it’s extremely unlikely we’ll have any child actors on the show this season, since we all know Sophia is walker-food.

Speaking of Sophia, Daryl and Andrea are back in the woods looking for her lost little ass. Again. Andrea wants to know if he thinks they’ll find her. He answers with an amusing bon mot about berries and an itchy ass. “It ain’t the mountains of Tibet,” he says. “It’s Georgia.” Although, in Tibet’s defense, at least they don’t promote incest and barbeque as their official state sports.

Lori, meanwhile, is lamenting that maybe Carl’s death could be a blessing. If he dies tonight, he doesn’t have to live through the zombiepocalypse. “What changed,” Rick asks, referring to her previous Pollyanna outlook on life, when she thought Rick was dead and she was sleeping with Shane. “Maybe Jenner was right,” she says. (Jenner was the doctor at the CDC who tried to suicide the group at the end of last season. He finally let them go when Lori begged him for a chance to survive as long as they could. There might have been a handjob involved as well.) Rick doesn’t agree, and tells her that Jenner gave up. Lori admits that she forgot Jacqui chose to die with Jenner, and when she remembered Jacqui was dead, she realized Jacqui was lucky because didn’t have to be scared any longer. She wants to know why it would be better if Carl lived. Apart from the fact that her son would still be ALIVE, of course.

Shane is limping across the high school athletic field, and is about to fire his final shotgun shell when Otis steps out from around the corner and shoots the walkers closest to Shane. Together, they limp off toward the truck. But when more trotters start chasing them, they both collapse onto the pavement. Shane tells Otis to take the supplies and leave him behind. Otis won’t do it, though, because he’s a stand-up guy. A stand-up guy who happened to accidentally shoot the kid whose life they’re trying to save. Certainly Shane won’t hold that against him.

“Dammit, I could’ve sworn we parked the truck in this section.”

In the farmhouse, Carl wakes up. He’s in a lot of pain, but he’s cognizant enough to tell Lori how pretty the deer was. Suddenly, he goes into a seizure. Hershel says it’s because his brain isn’t getting enough blood; I say it’s because he’s upset about not getting enough attention from his parents. Hershel reiterates that they’re going to have to operate soon, whether Shane and Otis make it back or not.

Back in the woods, Daryl and Andrea come across a camp, with a walker hanging from a tree beside the tent. The walker was a bite victim who tried to commit suicide (“Got bit, fever hit, world gone to shit, might as well quit” was his suicide note; what was he, a third-grade English teacher?); his feet are eaten off, but his torso and head are still undead. Andrea wants to kill him, but Daryl says they should let him hang there, since he was clearly too stupid to shoot himself in the head. Daryl says he’ll kill the guy, though, if Andrea tells him whether or not she still wants to die. “I don’t know if I want to live, or if I have to, or if it’s just a habit,” she says. It’s not much of an answer, but Daryl holds up his end of the bargain and shoots the idiot in the head. “Waste of an arrow,” he says, although I’m not sure if he’s talking about shooting the walker, or not shooting Andrea.

Patricia is stitching up T-Doug’s arm. Looking at the label on the bottle of antibiotics Daryl gave him, she asks if Merle Dixon was a friend of his. Not exactly, T-Doug responds. Glenn says Merle took the pills for the clap, then corrects “clap” to a “sex disease” because Maggie’s in the room. “Merle Dixon’s clap was the best thing that every happened to you,” Patricia says, which is a little ironic considering T-Doug fucked Merle when he left him on the roof. Besides, I doubt Merle would’ve shared his stash with The Doug had he still been in camp.

Glenn heads out to the porch, where he tries to pray for the first time in his life. Maggie comes out and teases him a bit about being a prayer virgin. “Make sure you put a towel down,” she says. “There’s bound to be a little blood.” Okay, she didn’t really say that, but I’m totally going to if I ever come across someone praying for the first time during the zombiepocalypse.

Maggie tells Glenn she’s always been a person of faith, but she realizes that a lot of prayers have gone unanswered recently. (For those of you who’ve read the books, however, you know Glenn’s prayers for a little action are about to be answered big time.)

Rick is trying to explain to Lori about why the deer in the woods is proof that she should want Carl to live: when Carl woke up, he wasn’t talking about walkers or how his mom was banging his dad’s best friend and partner; he was talking about a side of venison he saw get killed right before his eyes. And this is supposed to convince Lori that she’s wrong about wanting Carl to live how?

It may not matter, though, as Carl is continuing to get worse. Hershel tells Rick and Lori they have to decide about the operation right now, or Carl is going to die. Lori tells Hershel to go ahead and cut her boy open. Before he gets knuckle deep inside Carl’s borderline, Otis’ truck pulls up. Rick, Lori and Hershel run outside to grab the supplies, and are dismayed to see Shane, but no Otis. Hershel insists they don’t say anything to Patricia until after the surgery. The last thing they need is for her to get all verklempt about Otis being zombie kibble.

Shane says the trotters kept coming after them. Otis told him to keep going, so that’s what he did. “But when I looked back…”

Back at the RV, Andrea and Daryl return with – surprise – no Sophia. (Eventually, they’re gonna have to give up on the girl and leave, and I’ll finally be able to use Sophia’s Choice as a recap title. Provided I’m still recapping by then, of course.) Dale stops Andrea, apologizes for making decisions for her, and returns her gun. He asks if she can ever forgive him; “I’m trying,” she says. And I say thank Jebus that storyline is over and Andrea finally gets to carry a gun. (For you bookreaders out there, you know what I’m talkin’ about.)

Finally, Hershel comes out of the house and tells Rick and Lori that the surgery was a success. Rick thanks him, and they go inside to tell Patricia what happened to Otis. Lori, meanwhile, goes in to be with Carl. Shane steps into the room, and Lori tells him to stay. Of course, Shane takes that as his cue to leave, although in Shane’s defense I get the feeling she’s talking bigger picture than just staying in the room and looking at Carl. Maggie stops him in the hallway and gives him a pile of new clothes. “They probably won’t fit well,” she says. “They belonged to Otis.” Wow, Maggie, passive-aggressive much?

Upstairs, we’re finally caught up to the opening scene where Shane is taking a shower. He notices a patch of his hair is missing, and flashes back to his final moments with Otis at the high school. I don’t know about you, but at this moment, I totally thought a stray bullet from Otis had nicked Shane’s head. But I was wrong. Oh so wrong…

“You talkin’ to me?”

We see Shane and Otis pick themselves up off the pavement, and they start helping each other shamble down the street, just a few seconds ahead of the walkers. Otis says he only has one bullet left, and fires it back toward the crowd. Shane says he only has one bullet left, too, and tells Otis he’s sorry. Then he SHOOTS OTIS IN THE LEG!

They fight for a moment over the supplies. Shane kicks Otis, who grabs Shane by the hair. Shane punches him in the face – a lot – and finally pulls free. But Otis is still clutching onto a chunk of his hair. Shane picks up the supplies and starts limping away as the walkers tear into Otis.

Back in the present, and Shane is frantically searching for a razor. Finally, he finds an electric one shoved back in a drawer, and shaves his head. After he finishes, he wipes steam from the mirror and stares off into the middle distance.


OMFG! I totally did not see that coming. Suddenly, the writers’ decision to keep Shane alive is paying off. BIG TIME. Shane is now vying for Daryl’s place in my heart as my zombiepocalypse crush. It was hardcore, but when you think about it, it was the only decision he could make: sacrificing one life (Otis) to save two (Shane and Carl). Besides, now that he’s saved Carl’s life, Lori is bound to forgive him, right?

Overall, I was fairly pleased with this episode. There was a bit too much talking at the farmhouse, but the juxtaposition against Shane and Otis trying to escape the high school really amped up the tension. And Daryl’s story about getting lost in the woods was priceless – “I went straight into the kitchen and made myself a sandwich.” Classic Daryl.

copygodd | 11.02.11 | Filed in The Walking Dead

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