Walking Dead Recap: 18 Miles Out

Last week's episode of AMC's The Walking Dead would be hard to top, it seemed. 'Triggerfinger' [...]

Last week's episode

of AMC's The Walking Dead would be hard to top, it seemed. "Triggerfinger" pleased both the audience who was there for character development and those who were there for cracking zombie skulls with an episode full of gunplay and tension between the survivors and threats from both inside and outside of their group. This week promised more of the same, with the conflict between Rick and Shane coming to a head while the group decided what to do about Randall, who took some pot shots at our survivors last week before being severely injured, saved by Rick, Glenn and Hershel and returned to the farm. As always, remember that these recaps are intended for viewers who have already seen the episode, or for whom spoilers are a non-issue. SPOILERS ON.

This week's episode opens on visions of an abandoned school, its buses and athletic fields gathering dust as the grotesque sounds of roamers feeding on something fill the air. Shane and Rick are being pursued by dozens of the ghouls as they crash through windows, shamble between parked vehicles and snarl. Elsewhere on the same location, Randall--bound behind his back--is quietly squirming along the ground. As he inches toward a filthy, bloody knife on the ground, Shane takes shelter inside of a school bus, locking a group of roamers out behind him--but if there's anything fans remember from the series pilot, it's that hiding out in a vehicle isn't exactly the safest tactic in the world of The Walking Dead. Cut to a time before all of this, when a decidedly less harried Shane and Rick are pulling up to an intersection in the middle of nowhere in Shane's car. Rick tells him the pair need to talk, and Shane at first dismisses him before Rick tells him that he knows Shane killed Otis. Shane tells him that it was a survival decision, and describes the circumstances surrounding the killing. This devolves into a conversation about whether Shane thinks that Rick's entire philosophy is likely to get him and his family killed. Rick tells Shane that he will do whatever he needs to in order to keep his family alive, and that Shane doesn't really love Lori. He says that the only way they can move forward together is if Shane can accept that, and he begins to walk away. Shane stops him, telling him a story of the early days of the plague and how his relationship with Lori began. Rick leaves, then, to check the ropes on Randall, who is bound in the trunk, blindfolded and listening to blaring music. Back at the Greene farm, Lori and Maggie are talking about Glenn, his trip into town and Lori's general philosophy that women will be blamed for whatever goes wrong in their men's lives. She advises Maggie to talk to Glenn and takes Beth's food into the other room.

In the car, miles away from the farm, Rick is extolling the virtues of using knives to save ammunition and keep kills quieter, preventing the roamers from gathering at the sound of gunshots. He tells Shane that they need to start storing up for the winter--that he assumes winter will be hard on the roamers, and that if it doesn't kill them outright it will at least incapacitate many of them. As he discusses plans for the winter, Shane is clearly only half-listening, staring out the windows at a roamer shambling through a field. In Beth's room, she's finally at least somewhat responsive. Lori offers her some food and Beth confronts her about her pregnancy. She expresses the same doubts that Lori has been feeling, but this time it's Lori instead of Rick who has to put on a brave face. As Rick exceeds the agreed-upon eighteen miles from the farm, Shane alerts him to it but Rick tells him that he's looking for an acceptable spot to drop off Randall that might give him a chance at survival. As they enter a small town, Rick sees the Department of Public Works and pulls up to it. Here, there are a series of buildings behind a chainlink fence. Out from behind a bus walks a zombie in a sheriff's uniform. Rick cuts his finger and uses his blood to attract the creature to the fence, then plunges the knife into his skull. When a second sheriff-zombie shows up, Shane does the same. The pair enter the DPW grounds with a bolt cutter and begin to search for dry goods they can scavenge before they leave Randall; here, they find a trio of burned corpses and while Rick is investigating the site, Shane enters a bus that appears to have been used as a campsite for another group of survivors, including a child's car seat.

Outside, Shane is examining the bodies of the sheriffs. He tells Rick that he doesn't see any sign of bite marks on their bodies, and while Rick tells him that they must have been infected by scratches, it's clear that Shane isn't completely convinced or put at ease. With the coast apparently clear and their scavenging done, Shane pulls the car around and they unload Randall. Lori returns to Beth's room to see if she has eaten, only to find Beth sitting in her room crying. She tells Beth that she understands what it's like to lose your mother, but that she has plenty of familiy that she has to stay strong for. Beth thanks her for her encouragement and appears to calm down, and Lori excuses herself, saying she'll be right back. Moments later, she sees that while Beth hasn't eaten anything off her plate, she had taken the knife and secreted it away. Lori returns to the room, takes the knife and then goes to find Maggie and Hershel. At the DPW, Randall realizes that Rick and Shane are about to leave him and tries to convince them to stay. He tells them all about his ordinary, nonthreatening self and the life he used to lead before the plague. While the pair of them are unmoved by his story, they stop and exchange looks when he reveals that he had gone to school with Maggie. This, of course, means that even despite their best efforts, Randall knows where they live.

Shane turns to shoot Randall, and Rick stops him with a quick body check. Rick tells him that they need to bring Randall back to the farm for a night before he can decide what to do with him. Shane's simmering anger finally bubbles up, and he tells Rick that he doesn't believe that he (Rick) can protect Lori and Carl. Rick spins and the two fight. While they do, Randall begins his crawl toward a knife dropped in the scuffle. Shane knocks a nearby motorcycle down onto Rick's leg while Rick is on the ground, grabs his discarded gun and heads toward Randall. Before he can fire, though, Rick grabs him from behind and ultimately jumps him. He tells Shane that he won't let him make life-and-death decisions anymore, and Shane spins around to throw the bolt cutters at him. It shatters the window in the building behind Rick, and for a brief moment Shane's own reflection is all he sees in the window--but then a parade of roamers make their way out. Shots of Rick, Shane and Randall attempting to survive the onslaught are intercut with footage of Maggie and Beth sparring over Beth's suicide attempt, and a discussion between Lori and Andrea about the argument in the next room. Andrea tells Lori that, like Dale taking the guns, Lori was wrong to take the knife. Lori argues that Andrea's role at the camp is wasted, that she avoids helping the women with their work while not really contributing anything to what the men are doing. Andrea argues that Lori is a spoiled bitch for whom everything always seems to come out OK in the end. After finally freeing himself, Randall takes on his first roamer with a kind of twisted glee while Rick has a literal pile-up of zombies falling on top of him while he kill sthem one by one until he's out of bullets and will be forced to live by his earlier warning to use quieter weapons as much as possible. At the farm, Beth is trying to convince Maggie that the pair of them need to enter a suicide pact--that she wants to die her own way, before the farm is overrun--a reality she calls inevitable.

The episode, then, finally catches up to its opening moments and Shane struggles to keep a small army of roamers at bay through the doors of the school bus, smearing his blood on the door frame as bait and then beginning to take them down one at a time, using his knife, as they attempt to enter in a feeding frenzy. Maggie, unaware of Andrea's "we should let Beth try to kill herself" philosophy, agrees to take a breather while Andrea keeps Beth's suicide watch. Andrea, then, opens a door and offers Beth escape. "The pain doesn't go away," she tells her before leaving through the open door. "You just make room for it." Rick catches up with Randall, who is trying to escape, and Randall immediately begins trying to convince him to leave Shane behind. Saying that the ten roamers attacking the bus are too much for Rick to be of any help, he pleads to get out of there and use Shane as cover. It's a curious request coming from someone who has, over and over, told Rick and Shane that he's nothing like the men he was riding with. You know--the ones who left him for dead rather than taking a minute out of their day when they thought it meant their hides. Rick grabs Randall by the collar and drags him around the edge of the fence, leaving Shane to believe he has been abandoned. Back at the farm, there is breaking glass and a kind of choked, staccato verbalization in Beth's bathroom. When Maggie and Lori rush to open the door, it's locked and they're left pleading with Beth to open it. When, after no response, Lori uses a fireplace poker to pry the bathroom door open, Beth stands in the center of the room, crying, her wrist cut, apologizing to her sister. Standing over the corpses of the sheriff roamers, Rick guides Randall back toward the car. He takes the guns and bullets from the roamers' belts and has an idea. Inside the bus, Shane's ruse appears to be losing its effectiveness as the blood smeared on the bus door is less than what's coming from the slice on his hand. With Randall behind the wheel, Rick rides in to save Shane, literally guns blazing, and takes out about half of the roamers while his partner escapes out of the bus' emergency exit and into the back seat of the car. When Maggie confronts Andrea about having left Beth to her own devices, Andrea justifies her behavior, saying that she allowed Beth to make her own decision and that Beth obviously didn't really want to die anyway or her suicide attempt would have been successful. When Andrea tries to enter the house to check on Beth, she's physically barred by Maggie who tells her she's no longer welcome inside; while she doesn't confront Maggie in front of Andrea, Lori does tell her once Lori is gone that it appears that her dubious methods may have yielded genuinely positive results. Back at the car, Rick tells Shane that while he knows they'll probably have to kill Randall, he still needs a night to consider his options because, as SHane knows, taking a human life shouldn't be a snap judgment. He tells Shane that if he's going to stay with the group, he's going to need to trust Rick and follow his lead. "It's time for you to come back," he tells his old partner, handing him over his gun. On the way back to the farm, Shane once again sees what appears to be the same roamer making his way through the field. This appears to help him resolve something--what, at the moment, is not clear.