In which Shane makes a horrifying choice...
"Save The Last One"
Writer: Scott M Gimple
Directors: Phil Abraham
THE ONE WHERE Shane brings back the medical supplies needed to save Carl’s life… but in the process, makes a horrifying choice.
VERDICT Episode of the season so far – but only just, and only because of an utterly breathtaking finale, which channels all the darkness and moral complexity of the original comic.
Up until that point, this is pretty much a case of more of the same, with Rick and Lori hanging around Carl’s bedside looking anxious, and the interminable search for Sophia continuing to drag on and on and on - honestly, I’m beginning to wish they’d just find her half-eaten remains. Still, at least Carol actually shows signs of being affected by the disappearance of her child this week. In previous episodes she’s looked about as traumatised as someone who’s mislaid their car keys.
For every great character moment, such as Rick and Lori’s harrowing discussion about whether Carl would be better off dead, there’s something dreary to balance the scales, like the desultory attempt to drag religion into it as Glenn asks Maggie whether she thinks God exists - what a pointless shrug of a scene that was.
But oh, that ending. Admittedly, it’s undermined by the unsubtle foreshadowing. Kicking off the episode with an ominous teasing shot of Shane shaving his head was a bad idea – they might as well have flashed the words SHANE’S GONNA DO SOMETHING BAD on screen. But not for a moment did I expect him to murder Otis to create the breathing space needed to escape the undead. And it’s a horrible, brutal, animalistic killing too.
It’s a fascinating choice, because it’s so morally complex. Shane does it to save Carl’s life, not his own... but then, perhaps his motivations are muddier than that. Does he think that by returning as the hero there’s a chance of worming his way back into Lori’s affections? Whatever his motivations, thank god they didn’t kill the character off. You never know what Shane will do next. At the moment, he’s the best reason to keep watching.
BEST LINE Patricia to T-Dog: “Merle Dixon’s clap was the best thing that ever happened to you.”
IN THE COMIC… [POSSIBLE SPOILERS] Otis lasts 21 issues before getting zombified, while Glenn and Maggie quickly become a couple.
Read all our Walking Dead season two reviews here.
The Walking Dead airs in the UK on Friday nights on FX .