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'Walking Dead' recap: Girls, guns and a giant wrench in the plan

February 27, 2012 |  6:15 am

The Walking Dead

Andrea has never been my favorite character in "The Walking Dead," but I'm starting to rethink my opinion of her.

In Sunday's episode, "18 Miles Out," Andrea seems to be the only person in this post-apocalyptic world willing to question the wildly regressive gender roles the survivors on Hershel's farm have adopted. Take Lori:  she's really going to take issue with the fact that Andrea would rather actively defend Hershel's property from walkers than spend her time in the kitchen preparing meals or doing the laundry?

Of course, the larger underlying conflict between the two women is their differing ideas about choice in a world where the dead are trying to eat the living. When the distraught, suicidal Beth, who's still grieving the death of her zombified mother, asks Lori how she could give birth to a child, Lori responds that she has no choice--which is particularly interesting in light of the fact that she so seriously considered trying to terminate her pregnancy and then ultimately decided not to.

When it's Andrea's turn to sit with the girl, she unlocks the door to the adjacent bathroom, giving Beth the opportunity to take her own life -- if that's truly what she wants to do. Andrea's argument? It was wrong for Dale to have forced her to continue on after her sister's death, and it's equally wrong for Maggie and Lori to do the same to Beth now that she's lost her mother. After all, things are not going to get better.

The conflict between Rick and Shane isn't quite so philosophical. Driving away from the farm to find a reasonably safe location to drop off Randall (Michael Zegan) -- the young shooter they rescued during their escape from the bar -- Rick stops the vehicle in the middle of a deserted rural road to explain to Shane how things will need to proceed from here on out. Namely, he tells his former partner that he needs to get his temper under control, and he needs to understand that Lori, Carl and the new baby are not his family. Rick insists that he is perfectly able to protect them, to keep them safe. Shane says little, but he doesn't need to. The determined set of his jaw and the menacing hunch of his shoulders speak volumes: he does not agree.

The tension between them erupts in an all-out brawl once they arrive at a compound where only a couple of easily dispatched walkers initially venture out -- that is, until punches start flying. Shane shatters a window with a wrench he's thrown at Rick and ends up freeing dozens of the creatures. By this time, Randall, who had been rather ungraciously transported to the location bound and hooded in the trunk of the car, then dumped on the pavement, is struggling to free his hands and his feet with a blade Rick has left for him to use to defend himself.

Randall and Rick make a break for the car, while Shane is trapped inside an old school bus, doing his best to take out walkers with a knife of his own. Although it first appears that he's about to be left behind, Rick, of course, does the right thing and goes back to retrieve Shane.

Before long, though, Randall's back in the trunk (which, frankly, seems a bit excessive) as the trio heads back to the farm so that Rick can deliberate over what to do with the young man, who, it turns out, had gone to school with Maggie and would be perfectly able to lead anyone he chose back to the farm.

Shane, naturally, continues to advocate that they shoot Randall to protect their location. As they ride along in uncomfortable silence, Rick at the wheel, Shane spies out the window a lone walker in a field, the same one he'd seen earlier in the day, a reminder of the ever-present threat of death lurking all around.

What did you think of the episode? Please leave your comments below.


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Photo: Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) ponder the most economical way to kill the undead in "The Walking Dead" Credit: AMC