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'The Walking Dead' recap: Episode 203, 'Save the Last One'

Body count rises and mood darkens in Sunday's episode

By Andrew Conrad, aconrad@tribune.com

8:39 PM EDT, October 30, 2011

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Things have started getting pretty heavy in "The Walking Dead," not that it was a game of Candy Land before this week's episode, titled "Save the Last One" (referring to a bullet, in case the zombies catch you, so you can go out on your own terms and not theirs!)

If you haven't watched the episode yet, you might not want to read any further because I'm about to discuss some fairly significant plot developments.

Lori Grimes, a.k.a Debbie Downer, strongly considered letting her firstborn son perish so he could stop enduring the endless nightmare, and Shane Walsh took a serious heel turn, capping poor, fat Otis and letting him get devoured by walkers. Not cool, bro, not cool at all.

As if all that existentialism and nihilism wasn't enough to digest, Glenn and Maggie discuss the existence of God on the porch of Greene Manor, where characters really like to stage philosophical debates, it seems.

The action picked up in this week's episode after a pretty slow showing last week, when only one zombie was eradicated. In "Save the Last One," there were around 10 zombies popped before the first commercial break. Shane and Otis were getting after it at the high school, home of the Fighting Cougars, accounting for about 90 percent of the zombie murders. At one point those zombies were really piling up against that chain link fence. It was like teenagers clamoring to get into a Spin Doctors concert in 1992.

I can't quite figure out why exactly Shane did Otis like that, other than that Otis was slowing them down. Or maybe it was a strategic move, using Otis like a big pile of hot dogs to distract the zombies. Either way, Shane was looking at himself pretty long and hard in the mirror when he got back to the farmhouse.

For the record, he did say "I'm sorry" before shooting Otis, and Otis saved a lock of Shane's hair to remember him by.

The maneuver did pay off, allowing Shane to get back to the farmhouse with the medical equipment just in time for Hershel to successfully operate on Carl. Things got worse for Carl before they got better though, as he went through a pretty wicked seizure after reminiscing about the time he almost touched a deer.

Meanwhile, back at the highway, the relationship between Dale and Andrea continues to play out like that of an overbearing father and his icy teenage daughter. To get a little space, Andrea goes off on a little ghost walk with Daryl, leading to one of the coolest scenes of the season so far.

Out in the woods, Daryl and Andrea find a lonely fellow who decided to "quit" by hanging himself. Now he's a zombie and stuck there like a pinata. To add insult to injury, other zombies came along and ate his slacks and leg meat, leaving a pair of skinny, fleshless stilts dangling there for all to see. Nice...

Alas, Daryl and Andrea's search for Sophia turns up empty. So one child saved, one to go. "Save the Last One," get it?

Most haphazard use of capitalization

The sign in the bathroom at the Greene farm house, which read:
"Wherever You Wander, Wherever You Roam Be Happy and Healthy and glad to come Home"

Worst place to try to catch 40 winks

Daryl's spot on the floor of the RV. Behind him, Carol is sobbing loudly. In front of him, Andrea is menacingly loading bullets into a clip. I think I would have wandered off into the zombie-infested woods, too.

Best hug

Tie: Rick on Shane, and Rick on Hershel. Rick is really turning into a great hugger. Can't wait to see what type of embraces he pulls out next week.

Creepiest zombie

The crawler who was missing its legs and dragging itself across the gym floor. I have a feeling I'll be meeting him again in a nightmare sometime in the next few days.

Zombie dominos

Remember when Shane shot that zombie in the FEMA jacket, and it fell and knocked that other zombie off of the bleachers? That was awesome.

Best pickup line

When Glenn walks up to the Greene family farm house and finds lovely girl-next-door Maggie on  the front porch: "Well, nice to see you again, we, uhh, met before, briefly." The kids got game!

Hottest new couple

Glenn and Maggie! It's not official yet, but the touch on the back, the meaningful glances, the long talks...I think we have a match!

Best storyteller

Daryl. His story about getting lost in the woods as a child can be summed up with one quote:

"Nine days in the woods eatin' berries, wipin' my ass with poison oak."

I also liked the part at the end when he found his way home and went straight to the kitchen to fix himself a sammich. I think everyone can identify with that. Who doesn't like fixing themselves a sandy after a long day? And his story had a happy ending. As he puts it, he was "no worse for the wear except my ass was itchin' somethin awful."

Worst storyteller

Rick Grimes. He's trying to lighten the mood (and sell cars) by telling a story about how Shane played a prank on the principal in high school by parking his Hyundai in a chicken coop.

Rick: "Your coupe's gone. Coupe like chicken coop?" Lori: "I get it."

The joke is never as funny when you have to explain it, Rick.

Biggest pessimist

Lori Grimes. Come on Lori, we get it, life sucks in the post-zombie apocalypse world you live in. But didn't you ever see that movie, "Life Is Beautiful"? You're supposed to act all happy and silly and whimsical to make the kids think everything is still cool. Instead she's dropping all of these  sky-is-falling lines like "Maybe this isn't a world for children anymore," "If he dies tonight it ends for him," and "It's like we live with a knife at our throats every second of every day." Sheesh. Who invited Allison Reynolds from "The Breakfast Club"?

Second place, Andrea: "I don't know if want to live or if I have to or if it's just a habit."

Blood Donor of the Year

Rick Grimes. He gave about ten pints in two days. He should get the Red Cross tee shirt, golf umbrella AND tote bag for that performance.

Best four-line monorhyme poem

The one posted on the tree that tent-man hung himself from:

"Got bit
Fever hit
World gone to shit
Might as well quit"

It's too bad that guy died. I bet he knew some pretty hilarious dirty limericks that he could have entertained the other survivors with.

Biggest cheapshot

Maggie, handing Shane a pile of Otis' old clothes: "They won't fit well. They were Otis'."

Yes Maggie, Otis was fat. And now he's dead. Why don't you go tease Carl next for having a seizure or make fun of Carol for crying because her daughter is lost?

Second place goes to Daryl, who really let that hanging zombie have it: "Dumbass didn't even know enough to shoot himself in the head."

I'm surprised he didn't also insult that guy for his unintelligible groaning. At one point, it actually sounded like that zombie was trying to form words! Daryl should have held his hand up to his ear like, "What? I can't hear you. Cat got your tongue?"

Best use of an antiquated term

Daryl, describing his favorite target of derision, that zombie who hung himself: "Those other geeks came and ate all the flesh off of his legs."

Worst house guest

Shane. After killing Otis, he starts rooting through the medicine cabinet and then proceeds to give himself a buzz cut into the sink. Where do you think all your nasty, greasy chunks of hair are going to go Shane? Next he's going to use all the TP and leave the cardboard tube there, finish off the milk and put the carton back in the fridge, clip his toenails in the living room and empty the Brita pitcher without refilling it.

Best zombie kill

They were all pretty generic, but I'm going to go with Daryl's mercy-killing of the guy hanging from the tree. One, because of the scenario, and two, because of his quip afterward: "Waste of an arrow..."

Death count

Zombies: Hard to keep track of all the carnage, but by my count it was 20 confirmed kills for a total of 29 on the season.

Humans: One, Otis. Carl and T-Dog seem to be out of the woods with their ailments, but Sophia is still missing.

Lingering questions

What did Jenner whisper to Rick? What has become of Merle Dixon, Sophia and the father-son team of Morgan and Duane Jones? What does the '22' on Shane's necklace refer to? His jersey number for some sport, or just that he loves drinking deuce-deuces?

A look ahead to next week's episode

The search for Sophia picks up. Daryl finds an old house that may or may not contain Sophia. Shane continues to struggle over the decision to stay with the group. For some reason (maybe to impress Maggie, or maybe because someone dropped their car keys down there) Glenn gets lowered down a well that has Sloth from "The Goonies" splashing around in the bottom. Click here for a preview, of the episode, called "Cherokee Rose."