‘Walking Dead’ goes ’18 Miles Out’

Tonight’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” “18 Miles Out,” got at least a couple of its characters moving again, which is a good thing.

Rick and Shane went on a road trip with the hapless goober who Rick rescued last week in his expedition to town. Rick irritated Shane — not that difficult a thing to do — by deciding that instead of killing the guy so he can’t lead his interloper friends to Hershel’s farm they would take him some distance — a little more than 18 miles, as it turns out — away and set him loose.

On the road trip, Rick and Shane seem to be on their way toward smoothing over their differences, which revolve around Lori, Rick’s wife and Shane’s one-time girlfriend.

They pull over at a water treatment plant and plan to drop the interloper off there. Of course, things don’t go as planned. There’s a grandly grotesque walker killing shown. Let’s just say the scene wouldn’t be out of place in a commercial for tires.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch — er, Hershel’s farm — Lori and Andrea get up in each other’s grills. Andrea, who flirted with suicide and Shane, in that order, risks the wrath of the Hershel household by allowing Hershel’s formerly comatose daughter to make her own choice about ending it all.

Much of the cast was off screen and out of the picture tonight. It’s not a bad way of constructing an episode. By focusing on just a few players/storylines, the episode seemed stronger and more cohesive.

A couple of interesting things:

Rick and Shane (mostly Rick) talked about how to prepare for what might unfold in the next few months. Is it me, or is this the first time we’ve heard characters plan or even guess about what could be on the horizon (beyond the early push to go to the CDC)?

There was a lot of emphasis on killing walkers with knives — rather than guns — tonight.

And, perhaps tied into that, was tonight’s episode the first in which characters tried to puzzle out how a couple of people became walkers even though they hadn’t been bitten? “Must have been scratches,” Rick and Shane theorize.

Or … something else?

Three more episodes remain this season. With the announcement the other day that actor David Morrissey would play the Governor — a particularly twisted character from the comics — next season, I’m going to assume that the bulk of the remaining episodes this season will take place on Hershel’s farm.

Sigh. After seeing next week’s preview, in which the survivors bicker about what to do with the hapless goober, I was thinking, haven’t we seen this episode already?

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