Shane Goes Back To School [The Walking Dead Dissection]

Posted by on October 25th, 2011

One little girl missing in a woodland area littered with zombies. Her mother is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Another of her rescue party is barely hanging on to the will to live.

These are three of the major problems we barely deal with in The Walking Dead episode Bloodletting. Which means you know things have really upshifted from “this is heartbreakingly awful” to (collapse into a helpless, weeping heap).

There’s a one-handed man wishing he’d brought his bag of fun, Shane should really avoid schools and Rick finds the best doggone doctor he can. Let the blood flow, AFTER THE JUMP…

First, let me credit Gerrald Peterson for giving me the idea to call this column TWD Dissection by mentioning it on my Google Plus last week. Second, if you want to see more or less of something in this weekly breakdown, email JustinRobertYoung@Gmail.


Rick spends the entirety of this episode in some degree of hysterics. Running with his perhaps fatally wounded son, fainting at the dinner table or woozily demanding to aid in a desperate supply raid. His calming influence? Primarily Shane.

From giving Rick advice on how to forgive himself for bad decisions, something Shane’s got plenty of frequent flyer miles on, to barking tough love during the high points of crisis, Shane cements himself as the equal leader of this group and a necessary counterbalance for Grimes. Shane reassures Rick that his part in a run to a walker-riddled medical station for supplies to mend Carl’s wound is easier than sitting with the boy and giving blood.

Specifically with Carl’s injury coming just as he was distancing himself from the boy, Shane’s got a Chicago-style deep dish pie of guilt and self-loathing. If he risks his life, at least he can pay penance.

Although some have called Rick’s actions in Bloodletting repetitive or inconsistent, I found his repeated insistence to go help as a device to see the parallel relationships that Shane and Lori play in his life. If we continue to see a bonding between Rick and Shane over this crisis it’s going to make the inevitable While You Were Sleeping reveal all the more epic.

By the time that Shane and Otis end up locked inside the high school at the end of the episode, you have to wonder how much the former lawman cares about his own well being. He needs to get the respirator and equipment to save Carl, but if he could give his life to make that happen, one gets the sense that he wouldn’t think twice.


skitched-20111025-012023.jpgSpeaking of schools, our episode begins at one. Pre-outbreak, we see the opposite side of Shane and Rick’s “Light Switch” convo from the pilot. Namely, we get a little more insight into The Marriage Grimes. As we found out in episode one, the day Rick gets shot he and the Mrs. had a fight, but what Lori confesses to Random Mom #1 is that it was her fault. She continued to push Rick, not even fully sure why.

Most importantly, we get the sense that Rick and Lori were growing apart and it was Lori doing the pushing.

That is, until Shane rolls up and tells her Rick was injured.

Two points:

– Continuing our Lost addiction theme from last week, the only thing this flashback needed was the wooooooosh sound effect.

– I really don’t want to beat a dead horse with my “the television series is better than the comic series” rant, but bundle this awesome opener with T-Dog’s slow decent into madness and Daryl’s zombie puncturing “shut up” punctuation as three of the strongest elements in the episode. None of them exist in the comics.

Maggie’s Farm

Speaking of beatings and horses, a zombie gets hammered in the head by a horse-riding Maggie from Herschel’s farm.

Like the CDC, this new safe haven represents a glimmer of hope in an endless midnight and might prove just as fruitless.

Cons: Looks like there is way less whisky and wine.

Pros: Not wired to incinerate.

Pay careful attention to Herschel’s sunny hope for a zombie “cure”. If you thought this plague was curable and two members of your family came down with it, would you immediately kill them? Probably not.

The farm also sets up what I suspect might be the arc for this season. Now that the survivors have realized the world is not going to snap back and there are things like farms were people live sustained lives, what is the plan going forward? Philosophy and ideology will again have time to take root.

Merle Came Prepared To Party

Daryl reveals a pack of antibiotics (to combat Merle’s frequent bouts with The Clap) mingling among meth and ecstasy. The find is crucial to help T-Dog whose arm laceration is quickly turning bad.

Something tells me T-Dog is not long for this world. And he might be our first introduction to a key element of TWD mythology.

How Many Episodes Do We Have Left Of Frank Darabont?


Where Are We Now?

Carl needs a breathing machine to live. Shane and Otis are trapped trying to get it to him. Sophia is still earning her “alone in the woods by herself trying to avoid being eaten by zombies” merit badge for Girl Scouts.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Save The Last One

(via The HD Room)

2 Responses to “Shane Goes Back To School [The Walking Dead Dissection]”

  1. Xcamr Says:

    Great article Justin!  Insightful and funny as always.

  2. Andrew Mayne Says: