'Walking Dead' Recap: Rick & Shane Are Caught in a Bad Bromance

(Warning: spoilers ahead!) It's Sunday, so you know what that means: tuning into a bunch of shambling underweight dead-eyed humans slobbering over each other in an attempt to sustain their empty ever-ravenous souls. And after the Oscars, it's Walking Dead time! *rimshot*

Last week we left off with Randall the Onetime Enemy Sniper being brought back to the gang of survivors at the farm, Lori was trying to convince Rick it was time to kill off Shane, and Beth was being sedated for whatever mystery ailment she's been stricken with, which better be zombie-itis or I call MAJOR PLOTBARF on that particular storyline.

As for what went down tonight, let's revisit the carnage:

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The episode starts with what seems like a flashback of a zombie attack but it's actually a flash forward—to the end of the episode. Holy shit, Rick and Shane! Too bad you guys aren't watching this at home because you would totally bring more guns.

Now back to present time in Deadville: Rick and Shane are driving off on some lonely-ass road somewhere with Randall in the trunk. Man, Randall, that was the worst Welcome Wagon visit ever. Rick pulls over in order to get out and have a serious man-to-psycho talk with Shane. Rick's like, I know you drilled my wife and I guess that's cool and all but you don't even love her, Shane (me: "Because she's a horrible unloveable person"), and you've got to stop being a dangerous freak, mmkay? And Shane's all, I WILL MAKE THIS JAW MUSCLE RIPPLE SO HARD RIGHT NOW RICK YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.

Meanwhile, the camera pulls back and would you look at that, they're having their conversation at an actual crossroads. The metaphor could only be more terribawesome if there was a single crushed Cherokee Rose lying in the dirt.

Back at the farm, Lori brings lunch to Beth, who it seems has been suffering all along from a bad case of the Mondays. Beth is bummed, Beth has had it, Beth is like "Take me away ... from all this death." With MORE death, because Beth wants to die. Aaaaaand plotbarf.

Rick and Shane drive on, looking for a place to dump Randall, and they find a fenced-in public works station. "This'll do," Rick says, because sure, this looks cozy and not horrifically bleak and crawling with walkers, and they get out in order to confront a couple of—surprise!—walkers. Rick demonstrates his newly-invented technique of smearing his own blood on the fence in order to lure the walker close then stabbing it in the brain. With a knife. Through bone. Okay, fine. The public works place is a super awesome place to live and knives easily penetrate skulls. SURE.

Once released from the trunk, Randall starts pleading for his life and throws out one excuse after another. He's just a regular guy who farts around on the Internet! He lives with his mom! He goes to school with Maggie—waaaaait, what? So much for the "drive the guy out of town with a miraculously-charged iPod on his head so he'll never locate the barn again plan," Rick and Shane! You should probably solve this problem with violence!

So Shane's pissed because Rick won't kill Randall and Rick's pissed because GOD DAMMIT HE CAN SO PROTECT LORI (couldn't protect her vagina from Shane's penis, though, could you? HEY-oh!), and they start duking it out.

Rick and Shane are preoccupied with attempting to beat each other to death. Randall, who's tied up like a chicken, is humping his way along the pavement to a dropped knife. Shane shatters a window and for a second his reflection in the broken glass totally looks like a zombie (another metaphor! DRINK!) and then whoops, here come the real zombies. Hey, this all looks familiar somehow.

Back at the farm, Andrea and Lori are arguing because they both pretty much suck. Andrea tells Lori she has no right to stop Beth from committing suicide, and Lori tells Andrea she should STFU and start doing more women's work because hello, if you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean. Andrea's like, um, I'm doing guard duty? Also pining away for the guy who's in love with your skinny ass, so I am PLENTY BUSY THANKS VERY MUCH.

Upstairs, Maggie tries to convince Beth to live. Beth begs for Maggie to join he
r Jodi Picoult-esque suicide pact. Andrea comes up and offers to watch Beth for Maggie, and once Maggie's gone, she comforts Beth by telling her that the pain never goes away—not ever! So cheer up, Mopey!

She also leaves Beth alone to her own devices, and sure enough Beth breaks a mirror and cuts open her wrist. But it's cool, it's not very deep! It proves she wants to live, and Andrea showed her that! Or it proves she really wants to die but couldn't bring herself to hack into an artery! Whatever, the point is that Maggie is soooooooo pissed at Andrea now, and bans her from the farm.

Back at public works station, it's a total zombie clusterfuck. Shane barricades himself in a schoolbus and starts stabbing walkers in the head with his knife. You know, through the skull and all. AHEM. Rick starts to leave Shane, but the sight of two dead security guards makes him all misty-eyed from What Once Was, and he and Randall jump in their car and pull up to the bus with guns blazing and in a total Dukes of Hazzard move Shane leaps into the moving car and they peel off. Randall's like, "THAT WAS AWESOME!" and Rick's like "SHUT UP!" because he's such a buzzkill who can't even admit when something was legitimately awesome, which that obviously was.

They drive home, but not before Rick tells Shane he needs to suck it up once and for all, and follow Rick's lead. "It's time to come back, Shane," he says, and hands him a gun. I guess he means come back from Crazytown, Population: Shane, but I'd say that ship has sailed. Shane stares out the window at a single walker in a field and in all the scenes of scary zombies there is something profoundly awful about that empty field and the one lone figure shambling along in the setting sun.

I don't know about you, but I really liked this episode. They kept it simple with two main stories happening, and I think that made a huge difference. The balance of survivor drama and zombie action was good, and the characters were neither hateful nor lovable: just human and flawed and (mostly) interesting.

What did you think of tonight's Walking Dead?



Image via AMC

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