Blick Tolkien reviews The Walking Dead – Episode 016 – 18 Miles Out

The Walking Dead - Episode 016 - 18 Miles Out 45 min., 2012
Written by Scott M. Gimple/Glen Mazzara
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
Language: English
My rating: ★★★★★

We’re just goin for a little ride see…

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Show Premise:

Sheriff Rick Grimes after waking from a coma, finding his family and a small group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie infested world. He attempts to lead his family and survivors to safety at Fort Bennett after the CDC and its lone scientist are destroyed, the search for Sophia ending with her corpse in Hershel’s Barn the group hopes to reside there for safety.

Warning

The following review is rated SIN (Sincerely Intrigued Negro), it contains several rants that appear at random. The views here do not reflect the thoughts of a completely sane person. They are being presented by a person of African-American descent who has grown up in a rather unseemly portion of town, taken recreational narcotics and has been molested by a clown. Feel free to skip certain paragraphs, if you simply want a recap and continued review of the episode. Hipster, child, feline and vegan discretion is advised.

Review:

My review’s gonna contain a full episode recap, so spoiler alert bitches!

This episode starts out letting you know in no uncertain terms that Rick and Shane are hip deep in shit being swarmed by zombies and their prisoner is tied up and left out like a roast pig at a luau. Fortunately all of these things aren’t really how the episode starts, it’s just set up that way to give you a glimpse of the middle and draw you in. There is a good chance this could be foreshadowing, but the show has done enough already to set the continuous tone of unease that the foreshadowing wouldn’t really be a necessary element here. That shit was cool to watch though.

Previous to them fighting for their lives, Rick and Shane are actually doing what in the pre-apocalypse would have been looked at as a simple prisoner transfer. The guy whose leg they patched up an episode ago is being dropped off “18 miles out” with water and supplies to give him a fighting chance to get back to his people or at least last a little longer out in the wild. Rick stops midway through his trek to have a chit chat with Shane. Talking man to man with him would have been great before chaos wrecked their lives but now it comes off more like a proprietary pissing contest, Lori and Carl being the objects to be doing the pissing over. All the talk seems to do is make for an uneasy truce between them even though good natured Rick doubtless sees this as it all being settled. They move on, but before they can Shane actually gives a little insight into what perspective he has on Lori and Carl and all that went down during Rick’s coma. It seems his fixation on them was more because they gave him purpose, drive, and a reason to live. There are plenty of quotable moments during their exchange like Rick saying they can only move forward if he isn’t going to be dangerous to him or his family. But realizing the resounding thought here is that Rick seems to have stolen his reason to live, it creates a very poignant question. What do you do when someone takes your sense of purpose? I would have to believe even in the best of situations that without a sense of purpose or direction any of us would definitely resent the person that took it from us and likely go a little crazy ourselves.

Lori and Maggie touch briefly on Glenn being pissy about caring more about staying alive for Maggie than protecting Rick and her Dad. Lori, of course, being a cop’s wife breaks it down to its simplest form by saying that at long as they come home that’s all that matters. It’s amazing how as a cops’ wife she must have had to get used to the idea he may not come home. It’s kind of a sick preparation that is just now come in handy since Rick’s sense of duty has kept him running headlong into the fray since he crawled out of that hospital bed. Honestly, that means their dynamic as husband and wife hasn’t changed much but her level of fear know the assailants he faces don’t stop or feel pain is actually pretty tragic.

Anywhore, it seems like Maggie’s sister Beth is recovering and the womenfolk are tending to her and the house needs. She seems to have lost the will to live and since Lori and Andrea have both stared this feeling right in the face they try to help her get past it in two starkly different ways. Lori tries to seduce her with promises of sunshine and platitudes about everything being alright. But after she doesn’t get her knife back from the lunch she brought her and knows she is planning on suicide, Andrea lets her make the attempt believing she has to choose life or death like she did at the CDC (season 1 episode 6) to truly survive. After a failed wrist slitting incident, Beth lets her sister into help her after Andrea leaves her to do as she will. Andrea is elated at the news because it means that she has truly chosen life but leaving her unattended has earned her Lori’s scorn and Maggie’s rage. So much so, she has, at least temporarily, been banned from the house and isn’t to come anywhere near Beth.

Meanwhile, back on the highway, Rick and Shane find a place to drop their live cargo and do so both happily and willingly until the prisoner ruins Rick’s illusion of safety by claiming to know where he was while they were holding him since him and Maggie are former classmates. This makes for all kinds of hiccups in the plan. Hearing this, of course, Shane and Rick both know he can’t be left alive. Shane, as usual decides to take matters in his own hands and shoot the guy in the head. Rick, of course, fouls his shot which causes the bullet to pelt the concrete a foot from its intended target. He and Shane have words because he wants to think it over for a night before he just sentences the guy to death. Shane takes this as surefire evidence that Rick is still soft, won’t make the tough decisions, and damn sure can’t keep Lori and Carl safe. The second those statements fly out of Shane’s mouth Rick tries to put his fist in it, but Shane dodges and knocks Rick on his ass. They keep going on like this until Shane lobs a pipe wrench at Rick that sails past his head and crashes through a window stirring the dozen or so walkers inside. They all get whipped into a frenzy and the mission objective changes from kill the dude to escape certain death. Shane takes shelter on a bus. Rick and his prisoner make it back to the car. Now knowing truly how dangerous he is Rick leaves Shane stranded until that damn conscience of his sends him back to the bus for a harrowing last minute rescue. This leaves the hope that by saving his sorry ass life Shane will recognize him as the Alpha male and Rick can finally see an end to these miniature insurrections.

This was the most poignant episode so far I think. Rick is evolving with the world he lives in as well as making harder choices without becoming Shane in the process. I love the show and this is creeping toward the end of the season so I can only see it getting better. I’m hoping with the rash of shows dropping off the face of the earth it can stand the corporate slayings to come. I’ve seen elements of the comic pop up here and there and they are a treat to see for me as a fan boy. For example, the knife to the brain technique he shows Shane. Overall, I just love what’s become of it. Kirkman gets a pat on the back for what he’s done and a pass for going off script to make it happen. I am genuinely excited here and that isn’t a normal thing for me to get invested in a show but when it happens I fall hard for it. I just don’t want to see it go the way of Firefly, Lie to me, House or the Closer. Keep your fingers crossed people that it, like most good shows, doesn’t go the way of the Dodo.

Next episode folks is, Episode 11: Judge Jury Executioner. So I will see you next review. Until then, may all your films bring fright.

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About Blick Tolkien

About Blick Tolkien: The bastard half brother of Zeb Carter, he grew up in Chicago's urban jungle, forced to be the victim of racial injustice and daily bullying until the day he saw Night of the Living Dead. the immersion into violence on film gave him the tools to externalize his hate and make the world a horror show for all his enemies. A card carrying member of the Black Panther party, he hates whitey and all forms of coonery including any and all Tyler Perry films. You have been warned. About Zeb Carter: The younger brother of Blick Tolkien, he used horror films as a way to open him self up to the social and story telling aspects of cinematic fear as well as his love of the silver screen. After seeing Gremlins at the drive in he was hooked. He also writes short fiction, has 2 daughters and a pack of animals that he is currently serves as the alpha male over. You can read his fiction at forums.drabblecast.org.
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One Response to Blick Tolkien reviews The Walking Dead – Episode 016 – 18 Miles Out

  1. John Bruni says:

    That fuckin’ pipe wrench was wicked. Could you imagine the damage that could have done if it connected?

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