RECAP: ‘The Walking Dead’ – S02E03 – “Save The Last One”

NOTE: Let’s be mindful of all the new viewers participating in this conversation and try not to spoil plot points taking place deep into the run of the comic series. Mild speculation is fine and encouraged, but don’t get too explicit with regard to future surprises. They will be deleted. Thanks!

“Save The Last One”


“There’s No Living With a Killing”

Flash forward! In a quaint bathroom someone showers and then buzzes their hair off. It’s supposed to be a mystery but we’ve probably all seen the Scream Awards promo where Shane has a buzzed head. So, yes, it’s Shane and he looks like he’s had a bit of a rough time.

Opening credits!

Back to where we left off last week! Shane and Otis are trapped in the high school surrounded by zombies and if they were naked it would be just like a dream I had once. In a voiceover, Rick tells Lori and Carl how awesome and badass Shane was in high school while we watch Shane and Otis run from a horde of zombies through the hallways of the school. It’s dark and there are a lot of zombies and it’s all very terrifying. Back by Carl’s bedside, Rick assures Lori that Shane will make it back in time with the equipment they need to save Carl. Despite just hearing the story of Shane stealing the principal’s car right out of the teacher’s parking lot, Lori is not convinced.

Over in the RV, Andrea noisily loads her gun and Carol cries which means that Daryl is getting NO SLEEP. He decides to go look for Sophia, who is still missing. He probably wants to take this opportunity to ponder why he always gets stuck with the women with all their emotions and whatnot, but before he gets five feet from the RV, Andrea announces that she’s coming with him. Great.

In the high school, Shane and Otis are trapped on top of the folded up bleachers in the school gym. They’re having a rather calm discussion about possible escape plans considering that they are mere inches from the grasping hands of dozens of zombies. Otis plans to make a break for the locker room thus drawing the zombies away from Shane so he can escape through a window and go save Carl. This doesn’t seem like a good plan but they do it anyway. Otis leaps off the bleachers and hurts his leg. The zombies almost swarm him but for Shane’s well placed shotgun blasts. Otis runs for the locker room and the zombies give chase, giving Shane his chance to head for the window and make a run for it. It’s a long drop to the ground and just as Shane starts to lower himself down, a zombie grasps his arm and tries to get himself some Shane. A well placed pistol blast to the face and Shane drops to the ground and hurts HIS leg. Shane and Otis should not be allowed to go out on missions together anymore.

Meanwhile, Glenn and T-Dogg arrive at the house, but they’re confused as to the etiquette involved in approaching a strange house in these tough zombie times. Their problems are solved because Maggie is hanging out on the porch (again) and Glenn becomes all tongue-tied around the cute girl.

Inside, Glenn and T-Dogg see Carl and immediately pledge their loyalty to Rick and Lori. Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man, tells Rick and Lori that if Shane and Otis don’t get back soon with the equipment they’ll have to operate without it. Rick should look into getting a new HMO.

Back in the woods, Daryl tells Andrea charming stories of life in the mountains to explain that Sophia could very easily survive living alone in the wilderness. It involves wiping his butt with poison oak leaves. At this moment I really am quite happy to have grown up in Manhattan.

Lori and Rick are out on the porch and she tells him that maybe this isn’t the kind of world for children. The world is now rated NC-17 for language, some sexual situations, and intense zombie violence. Lori tells Rick that if Carl doesn’t survive it might not be the worst thing in the world, which is kind of an awful thing for a mom to say but then, these are awful times. Lori thinks that Dr. Jenner back at the CDC was right–dying would be better than being the early bird special for a bunch of zombies. Rick does not agree. He won’t give up. It’s not Rick’s way.

Back at the school Shane is not making it off school grounds as fast as he would like, what with the bum leg. But what he lacks in speed he makes up for in shotgun blasts. Shane finds his way out blocked and all hope seems lost until Otis shows up, gun blazing. The Bum Leg Brothers hobble off together commiserating over the fact that they are both out of ammo for their rifles.

Carl wakes up! He’s hurting and doesn’t know where he is but he’s really excited to tell Lori about the deer he almost touched. His story doesn’t last long before he’s hit with a major seizure. Chandler Riggs is good at playing deathly sick; it’s hard to watch.

Back at the school, Shane and Otis have enacted a three-legged race formation to try to get around, not knowing that they are risking their lives and limbs to save a boy whose mom isn’t even sure she wants him to live. I’m sure they’d appreciate the sentiment.

In the woods, Daryl and Andrea come upon a poet who got bit by a zombie and then hung himself with a noose from a tree before he could change. His legs are half gone from other zombies taking nibbles before he turned and Daryl finds it all very fascinating. Andrea just vomits. Daryl wants to leave the writhing and moaning (and probably very hungry) be, but Andrea wants to kill him. Daryl doesn’t want to waste an arrow but he does anyway because Andrea says that if he shoots the zombie she’ll tell him if she really wants to die or not. Daryl agrees but Andrea gives him a non-answer and now Daryl has wasted an arrow. Chicks, man.

In the house, T-Dogg gets his arm worked on. The unidentified lady sewing him up–apparently without anesthetic–says that without the antibiotics he probably would have died. So, thank Merle and his tendency to contract VD, T-Dogg! Glenn heads out onto the porch to be alone and pray but he’s interrupted by Maggie. They talk about God and whether or not he exists, which I imagine is a common discussion after a zombie outbreak.

Back at the highway, Dale wanders alone through the abandoned cars. Does he see something? Is he just old? It’s hard to tell.

Inside the house, RIck tries to convince Lori that they can still make a life in this awful new world and that giving up and letting their son die is not an option. He bases this on the fact that the first thing Carl wanted to talk about after waking up in pain was the deer. Seems thin, but fair enough.

Outside the school, Shane and Otis collapse in a heap because it’s hard to maintain the three-legged race formation. Both of them have hurt legs and they try to convince the other to go on alone. Neither is going anywhere so instead they count their ammo and the news is not goo: ten pistol shells between the two of them. They take off running from the zombies as fast as they can, and with their hurt legs they look like zombies themselves. I’m sure they can’t wait to get back to the house to find out that Lori was voting to let Carl die.

Back at the house, Dr. Herchel says they can’t wait any longer for Shane and Otis, they need to operate on Carl NOW and Rick and Lori give him the okay. Preparations are made and just as Dr. Herchel is about to cut into Carl, a truck barrels into the driveway! It’s Shane! He has returned, limping, with the equipment! But where’s Otis? WHERE’S OTIS??? Herchel decides that they can deal with the emotional fallout of losing Otis later and grabs the equipment and runs back inside. Rick hugs Shane who starts babbling about how bad of a spot he and Otis were in and how he couldn’t do anything about it and it all just starts sounding fishy.

On the highway, Daryl and Andrea return… sans Sophia. Dale apologizes to Andrea and gives her gun back. He’s sorry he kept it from her despite the fact that she has already tried to kill herself once. He asks her for forgiveness and she says she’s working on it. But she doesn’t immediately put a bullet in her head so that’s something.

At the house, Maggie has a good cry about her childhood friend Otis and this whole thing starts to feel rather icky. Glenn makes her point to and identify all the photos on the fridge of people she lost. That’s no way to get to second base, Glenn. Dr. Herchel has good news for Rick and Lori: Carl is stabilized. But now to pressing matters: someone has to tell Patricia (the mystery woman!) that her son Otis is dead. Rick volunteers to go with the doc to break the news while Lori goes to sit at Carl’s bedside. Shane sees Patricia wailing to Dr. Herchel’s arms and doesn’t look too happy. He stumbles into Carl’s room and Lori invites him to sit with her. He wordlessly declines, and wearing quite a guilty look on his face he runs into Maggie, who gives him a pile of Otis’ clothes he can change into. This is awkward. Someone get Shane a drink.

We return to the scene from the cold open. Shane showers and inspects his wounds, including a spot on his head missing a tuft of hair. We flash back to the school where Shane and Otis stumble away from the zombies. They exhaust their ammunition until they are left with one round each. Shane looks at Otis, says he’s sorry, and shoots Otis in the leg. The dinner bell has been rung and Otis falls, and after a brief struggle is set upon by the zombie horde which gives Shane his chance to escape. Back in the bathroom, Shane finds a set of hair clippers and buzzes his hair off to hide the missing patch. He looks in the mirror and looking back is a monster just as bad, if not worse, then those that tore Otis to pieces.


This episode really hits home one of the greatest strengths of the show, which is that Shane is still alive. Readers of the comic book know that Shane is killed almost immediately but here he is not only still alive but all indications are that he is going nowhere anytime soon. That’s a good thing. Not only does keeping Shane around add a level of tension to the group that doesn’t exist in the comic book in that he makes life really uncomfortable for Lori, but what we have now is not so much an anti-hero (that’s Daryl) but the makings of a true villain in the core of the group. We now know that Shane will not hesitate to kill someone in order to save his own life, the big question that will be hanging over the show now is who will get in his way next? And what will happen to them when they do?

With its mix of intense action and pointed, and perhaps more terrifying, character work, this week was one of the strongest and best episodes of The Walking Dead yet. Or, as my friend comic book writer Joe Keatinge said last night, “Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead really embodies the series’ original title, Everybody’s Fucked.”


  1. “We now know that Shane will not hesitate to kill someone in order to save his own life…”

    I’m not so sure about this. I saw it as Shane wanting so badly to help Carl and make sure he survived (his loyalty to Lori) that he’d do whatever was necessary to make that happen.

    • Yep.

    • Agree

    • Also agree… ah, 3rd’ed?

    • Considering Shane had no problems pushing Carl to the side, and the fact that he wants to get the fuck out of the group, I very much doubt he was doing it for Carl.

      He did a good job making it seem like it when he came back though, I’ll give him that much.

    • Thought that too as earlier he was telling Otis to leave him, he must of changed his mind and thought he had the better chance.

    • I think it’s very possible for him to be motivated by both ideas. He’s not an old school comic character that has either completely noble intentions or completely evil ones. He definitely wanted to live, but he originally told Otis to leave him and Otis said no. I saw it as him doing what he felt he “had to do” to both survive himself and help the people he cared about.

      Not the most heroic thing to do, certainly. But 100% evil? I dunno…

  2. I couldn’t believe what Shane did. i was shocked……yeah keeping him around his definitely the wildcard. We just have no idea where its all going or how he’s going to effect things.

    I was kinda surprised that the zombies cannibalized another zombie. (dude hanging from the tree). I guess they only do that when there is nothing else around? Hmm thats a potential logic trap…seems like they’d turn on each other more often.

    I think there was an easter egg towards the beginning….a painting of the barn with a heart on it, but it was super quick.

  3. This episode really displayed one of the things that I love about the comic: That the people are usually far more dangerous than the zombies.

    • Agreed with you 100% To me the zombies are just a back ground setting. Watching people stuggle to hold on to there sanity and try to be good people during a time of totally choas is just a blast to watch. It’s funny how I couldn’t stand Shane in the comics but he’s becoming one of my favorite characters on the show.

    • Yup, my favorite thing about the comic is that the humans are more dangerous than the zombies. I love that the show is finally getting to that point.

  4. Chicks, man.

  5. The best thing about this show is that it’s not following the comic exactly. There are things that they have used, but they have also made it there own. The two best examples are Carl getting shot and Shane still being alive. I thought they were going to kill Shane in S02E02, but low and behold they didn’t. Now we get to see Shane slowly loose his mind. Which, in my opinion, is much creepier.

  6. I like what Shane did (because it makes the show more interesting), but it really makes no sense.
    Assuming he needed to shoot Otis to escape (I’m not sure he did), why would he shoot him in the leg instead of the head? Three problems:
    1) He’s got to fight Otis for his pack, because he’s still alive (this slows Shane down massively while he’s trying to escape).
    2) Otis can shoot Shane, because he’s still alive AND just told you he still has a round left.
    3) Otis has to suffer while being eaten.

    This leaves two possibilities: Either Shane is simply a moron OR Shane is REALLY fucked up and wanted Otis to suffer for accidentally shooting Carl.

    I enjoyed the episode, but I grow weary of the characters behaving like idiots.

    • If he shoots Otis in the head, he can’t come back as a zombie later and freak everyone the Eff out.

      Also, don’t zombies prefer living people over dead people? His screaming and fighting stuff would be a better distraction?

    • I think he was just winging it. No need to overthink it.

    • You’ve got me on the first point. That would be awesome.

      They seem to be willing to eat anything. We saw that they ate the legs off a man that hung himself.

      I can’t imagine Otis’s struggling would’ve gained him more time than he lost fighting with him for the pack.

    • and then if he comes back they’ll somehow see a zombie bullet wound and be all “OMFG You shot him!!!!” and then drama drama fighting. =)

  7. The problem with Shane living is the trade-off. Once Carl shoots Shane in the comics, that was such a huge, definitive moment. Its at that point you being to realize that this just might Carl’s story, not his father or any other survivor.

    Shane continuing to be around a while longer is not bad, but at some point, he does need to go and its NEEDS to be Carl that does it.

  8. This is the episode that broke me. I am done with this show after how cringe worthy it was.

    The acting is terrible and the writing is so poor. All the characters are one note and they’re so predictable you can tell what they’re going to say before they say it. Rick is the foolish leader, Lori is an ungodly bitch (her bitching at Herschel made no sense), Andrea is still the depressed and suicidal bitch, and finally Dale and Daryl are still the only two characters the writers have any idea how to write. (Also, Dale clearly flubbed a line when he confronts Andrea with the gun, yet the editors kept it in? How do you excuse that!?)

    Then you have that stupid ending which makes no sense character wise or in a practical sense. So Shane shoots Otis because……He was slowing him down? How was he slowing him down if he’s moving just as slow as him!? Hell it would’ve made more sense if Otis tried to shoot him because Otis isn’t crippled from falling down twenty feet to the ground! It’s like the writers had to make Shane go from undecided antagonist to full blown asshole before this episode was over. If Otis had to be left behind they could have done it in so many other ways:

    A) Have Otis be the one who wanted to leave Shane behind
    B) Somehow get to the truck in time but Shane has to leave Otis behind for some reason. (Like a zombie bites his leg or something)
    C) Have Otis decide to leave himself behind even if Shane knows there is a better way.

    SOMETHING else other then making Shane the biggest asshole in television.

    That stupid, idiotic character choice was (again) the breaking point for me. This is just a terrible show and it seems as though people are making excuses for it because it’s a comic adaptation. The show is badly written, badly acted, and poorly directed. If this wasn’t based off a comic book then I am 100% certain no one would watch this garbage.

    • Shane shot him because they were both moving too slow to outrun the Zombies. Shane knows that he’s not getting out of there so he shoots Otis so the zombies will forget about him while they feast on the fat guy, giving him the chance to get to the truck.

      Also, the season premiere had 11 million viewers. That’s way more than just comic fans watching a comic show.

    • Please don’t give up on the Walking Dead TV TNC. What will I read every Monday morning?!

      I haven’t been watching this at all, because of how bad the first season was. It wasn’t even a “this doesn’t live up to the comic,” kinda thing for me, which is what many of my friends assumed. I just thought it was boring TV.

      What I’m getting at though: Even though I don’t watch the show, I really enjoy reading this column every week and seeing everyone’s thoughts, good and bad. Keep up the good discussion!

    • @StupendousMan But that doesn’t make any sense because why would ALL of the zombies just stop on Otis? I get it that some will go after him but we never know how far the truck is so who’s to say Shane isn’t limping further from zombies? Hell he’s got two heavy bags of medical equipment on his back now, slowing him down even more!

      That’s another problem with the end is that we never figure out how far the truck is in relation to where Otis is shot. If they are near the truck then it really is a dick move on Shane’s part. But if it’s still a good walk to get to then shooting him makes no sense because, again, it’s more weight and limping to carry on.

      Just because Otis is fat doesn’t mean he’s dead weight. Hell he had a better chance because he has 2 good legs and he seemed to be doing a better job with heavy bags on him.

    • when you go into a show/comic etc expecting to be disappointed you’ll never enjoy anything.

      i honestly don’t know what you’re having problems with or see what you’re hating. The show is pretty damn fun for me.

    • @wally: I go into each episode hoping it’s better then the last. It’s how I always go into a show whether it’s good or bad. I don’t expect each episode of this show to disappoint me but it does at the end of the day.

      Heck I was sort of fine with it right until we got passed the Hanging Zombie. After that the show went downhill pretty quickly.

      (Also, not to sound like a douche but….did you read my original comment? I give the problems I have with it. lol)

    • yeah i read your points… I just don’t see em. Honestly i think you’re grasping. Not sure what you’re looking for or expecting here, but the show obviously is not for you.

    • If you like the show, that’s fine. I’m not bashing anyone who likes it at all, but I mostly agree with TNC. I disagree that Shane shooting Otis was that bad, it was cool and it made since, this is what people would do, this is how they would act in real life.

      However, the writing is PAINFULLY bad and getting worse every episode. The whole exchange between Carl and his wife was AWFUL, especially all the “It’s the deer, he talked about the deer” crap was cringe worthy, as well as ALL of the dialog between Maggie and Glenn.

      For now I keep watching for two reasons, there are good moments and the next episode can always be better than the last one. Also I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s not bad because millions of people are watching it….. millions of people watched Transformers 2, ha.

    • Well not all people, but I mean Shane wanted to live and that was a good way to make sure you lived and made sense to me.

    • I would agree with TNC, I am done with the show. Although I know it not the comic, some of the conflicts which came about seem to be just shifted to other characters. Some charcaters are really becoming dead weight with no development. The constant monolouges from Rick. They seem to be showing everything to legitimize a character. I don’t think we needed to know what happened with Shane and Otis, it was a great chance to just imply. Everything is really face value to name a few things. It just my opinon though of why I am quitting give the show my time.

    • You honestly think Andrea is just gonna be a suicidal weakling? It’s not obvious what’s going on with her character?

      If you can’t get over a logical hurdle that Otis would cause a zombie pileup, then it’s gotta be difficult to watch fiction of any medium

  9. Not to pile on TNC, but if your having so many problems with the show you need to do what Daryl suggests, opt out. Stop watching something your not enjoying. My friend is a huge Batman fan. Absolutely loved Arkham Asylum. Cant stand Batman: Arkham City. Why? It wasnt the linear story driven experience he expected. No one can convince him its is a great game, despite millions of sales and glowing reviews because he wanted a different experience.

    I think you should take that into consideration when you call it “garbage”. Millions of people, comic book fans or no think its pretty damn good, with strong acting performances most episodes. Does it have problems, sure. I think they have spent way too much time with the distraught couple Rick and Lori and the Sophia search is dragging on. But every episode manages to move the series forward and bring at least one “Oh Shit” moment.

    The strength of the show for me is that it challenges your assumptions of the characters from the comic. Shane is the perfect example of this, i am really enjoying Shane’s devolution. You can really see him start to lose it, but at the same time you start to pity a guy who is trying damn hard to be a good man, but keep falling short. Each time he does, he loses a piece of his humanity. It compelling in any drama setting. Daryl is there to keep the cast from falling in self pity and Andrea is a far cry from the confident assassin we love in the comics. T-Dog for me is the only true weak link, I hope they find something to expand his character now, because his screen time is being wasted.

  10. This could possible be my favorite episode so far, if I can get over Shane killing Otis because he lived much longer in the comics. Shane has been my favorite character in the past two episodes and I loved his badass moment when his back is against the fence with a horde of zombies reaching through the fence and he elbows the fence. My biggest problem, other than Otis dying, was why did Shane shoot Otis in the leg instead of the head?

  11. Man, I wish that spoiler warning had covered the other way around. I admit that I knew I was running that risk, it is completely my fault, but I’ve been meaning to read the comics for ages. Two huge plot points are ruined haha.

    Oh well, should have got off my lazy ass and read the damn things already!

  12. I loved this episode. I put it in the top 3 (after the pilot and the digging holes episode). I loved how Shane’s head shaving scene bookended the episode. It provided the main twist of the episode and represented a HUGE turning point for Shane. What a major ethical dilemma. Is it right to sacrifice one person to save yourself and others? This is why I appreciate how the show departs from the comic. I can watch the show and still be shocked by it. I hope the show has found its groove and keeps this up.

  13. What a boring episode! Jesus! A lot of crying and religion again…

  14. Did anyone else feel that the opening scene and ending scene were a bit cliche? How many times have we seen a character in a show cut their hair to signify a major change of sorts (felicity) lol They didn’t really need it Shane’s actions this episode prove that he’s for sure heading down a dark path. I love this show and I enjoy the more character driven episodes like this, but they really need to avoid these tv tropes they come off as weak writing.

  15. loved the epi, they just need to move on with this missing Sophia story. It will take us into epi 4, that’s a lot for the underlying driving motivator that’s been shaping the plot to be a bit character like Sophia.

    • yeah i agree….let us just move on. Geez her poor mother, give her some closure. I was expecting to see a Zombie Sophia to be the “totally F#cked up moment” of the season.

    • Agreed, I was praying that Sophia was in that tent. Hopefully they find her next week so we can move on.

      I definately wish it was moving at a fast clip but I’m still enjoying the hell out of it. I’m looking forward to Shane’s descent into madness which looks like is on the way.

  16. The show is just ok. I never have the feeling of wanting more from the characters like I do on other dramas like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Homeland, Justified, or Gossip Girl.

  17. T-Dogg is such a stupid name…

  18. Walking Dead Ep 3: Bullet Points

    * Could the writers of the show be shaping Shane up to become The Governor? I do believe Shane has gone over to the dark side – completely – and would make for a great Governor. Sadistic and evil and fucking nuts. And how about this one? In the comic The Governor has a “pet” zombie, a little girl, that he is..err… a little too close with. What if Shane does become the Governor and his pet little girl zombie is Sophia?

    * Daryl needs his own spin-off show. Easily the best character on the show and actually working up to be one of the best characters on TV period.

    * There needs to be a main character death soon. The fans of the Television show are getting off easy compared to the fans of the comic book. In the comic each issue there is a dread of a main character getting killed. The show is lacking that dread. KILL SOMEONE GODDAMN IT! (just not Daryl)

    * If they find Sophia alive I’ll be pissed and yell “Bullshit” at my TV. Missing for 2 days, no tracks found by Daryl, no yelling from her, no nothing. If it turns out she was hiding in a tree this whole time? fuck.

    * I can’t wait for the revel of Herchel’s “secret” he is “hiding” (comic readers know what I’m talking about). The shits gonna hit the fan. The barn doors are gonna be blown off.

    *Still liking this show – not as much as that awesome 1st season, but it’s still way better then most things on TV right now.

  19. I was really surprised at how much I liked this episode. I was looking to jump off if this one didn’t do it for me, but I think it’s back on track after the frist 2 which really didn’t work for me. I keep forgetting about Herschel’s secret. Looking forward to that becoming part of the show.

  20. Definitely one of the best episodes yet; what will become of Shane is one of the most intriguing parts of the show.

  21. After being super-harsh on the first two eps of this season, this one really brought back hope for me. There are still some pretty big problems with the zombies (someone said the budget was cut in half – anyone know if that’s true? And WHY?) & you have to make some leaps of logic – but hell, I put this up there with the better eps of season 1. The actors really pulled through here for me especially.

    I’ll stick around for a while longer.