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Published on October 31st, 2011 | by Ernie Estrella


The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 3 Review: The Sacrifice

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The Walking Dead Save the Last One Zombie


When Shane (Jon Bernthal) returned from the FEMA shelter without Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who else had a sinking feeling that something bad happened? Or when Shane couldn’t tell Otis’ girlfriend Patricia (Jane McNeil) to her face what had gone down, did anyone else’s ears start ringing? The opening scene of “Save the Last One” left you with an ominous premonition, but no one could have expected what would be revealed at the end. In addition to a riveting escape from the FEMA shelter, this episode had two big conversations about what has so far been the central theme this season: Surviving vs. Forfeiting.

After what seemed like a never-ending battle with the walkers–one which Shane and Otis fought, protecting one another–Shane popped a cap in Otis’ knee in a final, hobbling attempt to escape. The zombies had a large feast to devour, and Shane got all of the supplies and booked it to the truck alone to work on his story on the drive back to the farmhouse. He made a sacrifice to keep Carl alive. Desperate times. Desperate measures. How desperate were the times? Did they justify the measures? Let’s take a deeper look into that pivotal event.

Let’s remember, accident or not, Otis shot Carl (Chandler Riggs), and he took Carl in as his own son when the apocalypse hit, knowing his father was in the hospital. Shane had no tie to Otis other than to let him know where the supplies were. Before Shane could get away, Otis put up a mighty struggle and ripped out a chunk of Shane’s hair. I watched every frame again to see if Shane was clawed or bitten by a zombie, Otis too, but both of them–well before Shane’s kill shot–miraculously made it out cleanly. Now, having to come up with a lie looked all too easy for Shane, but then again he is a survivor.

Was he really doing this to survive? Already slowed down with a sprained ankle and a fat farmhand, if he didn’t shoot Otis there’s a chance that both of them would have perished, along with Carl in surgery and Rick trying to keep him alive with transfusions. Hard and difficult decisions need to be made every day as the world is changing. And that is how Shane is going to justify his actions, whether he tells anyone or not. Could he have tried to get out without shooting Otis? Maybe but his plan worked.

All in the Plan
What people will be talking about this week is whether or not Shane planned all along that he was going to go back alone. I for one don’t think so. To me, he processed the situation, thought about his injury and the people he loved who were dying. He knew that the walkers wouldn’t stop unless they had a reason to. Nothing stops a walker than live food.

The Aftermath
Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) asked Shane to stay after coming through with the medical supplies. Stunned at this discourse, does this fuel Shane’s desire to stick with the group? Was he serious in leaving? Does this force Andrea to stay too? Does this add to the guilt in staying with strangers knowing that he killed one of them. Will Shane crack and confide in someone with the truth? Should Shane die, will anyone from the farmhouse find out the truth? Will Shane or others try to take over and impose their will on the farmhouse? Will this episode reinforce Shane’s belief that he is a better leader (and better father to Carl)?

No doubt this is a turning point for Shane, and clipping his hair signifies that. Yes, he’s hiding the missing patch of hair that Otis ripped out, but the cold hard stare he gave himself in the mirror afterwards looked as if his primal instincts were kicking in. If Season 1 was about Rick (Andrew Lincoln) reuniting with his family, Season 2 might be about Shane taking back what he felt was his. Rick was hysterical in “Bloodletting” and couldn’t comprehend the idea of staying with his son to help give him blood. Clearly Rick is not in the best state of mind. Or is he?

The Walking Dead 203 Save the Last One

Conversation #1
Carl wakes and talks about the deer to his parents, just seconds before suffering a seizure. While mulling over the decision to go ahead with the surgery without the medical supplies, Rick and Lori have a key discussion about whether to fight on or give up. Lori wonders if it’s better to let Carl die and escape the madness, the fear, and the horror of seeing others torn to shreds, or fight for his survival. In fact, in her case, Lori was able to bring back Jacqui (who we all remember chose to die at the CDC, right?) into the conversation (it was nice to see someone talk about Jacqui and recognize her absence).

Rick: You really think it’d be better if Carl– if we just gave up?
Lori: Tell me why it’d be better the other way.

Rick didn’t have a good answer or at least a very convincing one. Eventually he remembered that Carl spoke about the beautiful, living deer when he woke, instead of the living nightmare they’re stuck in. But is Carl right? Or is Lori right? In Lori’s defese, Is it really giving up, or is it dying in a graceful way?

Conversation #2
In another attempt to find Sophia, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) go out in the middle of night–mostly to escape Carol’s (Melissa McBride) whimpering. Now I find it silly that Sophia hasn’t gone out looking for her daughter herself and can’t carry a gun, but there was a grounding perspective on the situation from Daryl in that there stands a good chance that Sophia is alive and is finding her own way of surviving. When they come across a zombie hanging from a tree with a note that read:

“Got Bit, Fever Hit, and the Whole World’s Gone To Shit”

His legs were gnawed off to the bone and Andrea politely asked Daryl to use one of his arrows to put it out of its misery. In exchange she tells Daryl that she’s not sure if she wants to live or die. Right now Andrea is at the crossroads of who or what she wants to be in this messed up world: a hardened survivor, or another victim. Honestly, Andrea would be glad just not to be attacked for a single episode. Coming face to face with someone who was bitten and decided to take life into their own hands was an eye-opening experience for her. She had already made that choice once, but Dale took that away from her. Maybe seeing the hanging zombie showed her that there is a reason to continue on.

Finally, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) owned up to that mistake and gave Andrea her gun back, on the condition that she not make him regret doing so. You’ve gotta love Dale. He just finds more ways to piss Andrea off. I don’t want to spoil the comic for those who have not read it; I’ll just say that this too could be Andrea’s turning point in the show in becoming one of the stronger characters; she’s seen enough now to not let herself fall all the way down, hasn’t she? Have faith, folks. It’s the vogue thing to do. Even Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) have bonded over whether or not God exists. Glenn takes to prayer for the first time in life, whereas Maggie has already lost too much. It’s awfully hard to argue that given their experiences. But what else keeps you motivated in this world? As I said. Desperate times. Desperate measures.

The transformation or re-surfacing of a Shane who acts on primal instincts pushed the meter back up on Walking Dead after an episode of seeing Rick unravel. Where the two groups of survivors go from here keeps the interest high and the suspense on the edge. We may look back on “Save The Last One” as one of the more memorable episodes of Season 2. It was easily the most shocking.

the walking dead otis

Rotten Thoughts
• On Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick, The Walking Dead producer, Gale Anne Hurd was a guest who commented that Shane operated in shades of grey, that he justifies what he’s doing because the world’s changed. She also felt that it was necessary for Shane to do what he did. Then again, it’s her show.

• T-Dog (Irone Singleton) is still hopped up on more drugs was kept alive thanks to Merle’s clap. T-Dog just can’t separate himself from the Dixons and their ugly ways.

Catch the latest episode of The Walking Dead this Sunday night on AMC, 9/8C. Share your thoughts on what Shane did below and where you think his arc will go!

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  • Anonymous

    I’m sure there will be a lot of fans who will, once again, try to make excuses for Shane’s behavior, mostly the female variety I’m guessing because they think Jon Bernthal is great eye candy. Sorry, but I haven’t liked this character since early in S1, and what happened in last night’s epi just confimed to me he is the scumbag I always thought he was.

    First, he was the one with the bum ankle. So if he was mainly thinking about getting the medical supplies back for Carl, why not shoot himself and give Otis a better chance to survive? And maybe I’m showing my zombie illiteracy here, but would the walkers have stopped to feed on Otis even if he was freshly dead? If yes, why in the blazes didn’t Shane put a bullet in the back of his head rather than let him suffer the supreme agony of being ripped to pieces by walkers while still alive?  The answers to both questions, I think, is the same – he acted like a coward. Even though Otis had already saved his life once, and was only there because he volunteered to go with Shane, the scumbag still sacrificed his life for his own. And he probably didn’t just outright murder him because he didn’t have the guts. He wanted the walkers to do that for him. 

    Can there be any doubt now that Shane did know for certain that Rick was dead in the hospital and got the hell out of of Dodge anyway to save his own skin. And is there also any doubt that at least on a subconccious level he was thinking about taking up with Lori and becoming Carl’s new daddy when he left Rick, because that had been something he had wanted for a long time. As for Lori, my guess is that she was a brief step away from fooling around with Shane anyway, given that she was expressing doubts about still loving her husband just before he was shot – thus the incredibly short “mourning period” (two weeks…less?) before she invited Shane into her bad after she thought her husband was dead, thanks to Shane’s lies. What disgusts me even more, is that they hinted in the previews that Lori still may have feelings for this low-life, despite him having sexually assaulted her at the CDC.

    Yes, I know this is all a work of fiction, but I think it’s till fun to think of fictional characters as good, bad – or a little of both. So if this low-life ends back up with Lori, even temporarily, that would be  a very disappointing turn of events, as far I’m concerned.        

    • Asprout967

      time line is often a reoccurring question. rick was left unattended at the hospital, shane split out on the road w/his new family. the question begs how long can an already weakened man in a coma survive w/out life support?

  • Ori

    Shane is a human. He didn’t know Otis, but for a long time had adopted Carl as his own and clearly has some form of paternal love for him still. Otis shot Carl and to Shane it was as if he was shooting his own son. Whether or not shooting Otis and not killing him was on purpose, knowing that for some reason it would be more beneficial than if he killed him I don’t know, but he saw a way to keep Carl alive and himself alive and the price was the life of the person who put them all into this mess in the first place. That being said, I don’t blame Otis as he is clearly not a malicious character and what little we saw of him showed that, other than an accidental shooting, he is a good man. I wouldn’t, however, pin Shane as the epitome of a low-life, rather someone willing to do anything to protect himself and those he cares about in a time where the very existence of morals is constantly in question. 

    • Betsey

      FINALLY…somebody agrees with me!! He’s a survivor, people!!!!!

  • Lacrevex

    I agree with turretgunner, Shane is a no good coward! and don’t forget shane once thought about shooting
    Rick while checking the woods for walkers in season 1. Nothing can justify Shane actions, he should have shot Otis in the head so he would not suffer, I believe zombies will still eat a freshly dead corpse.
    I wish Rick and his wife could see the monster that shane really is…

  • Gustav

    If he truly wanted Rick to die, he wouldn’t have barricaded the door shut with the gurney. What could he have done with a comatosed Rick? leaving him there was the best choice, they could of at least left him a note and a gun lol. 

  • Iseeadarkness

    So, TWD season 2 episode 3: “Better Otis Than Me…”
    Yes, I’m sure that thought did ring through Shane’s mind before he shoots poor Otis. However, Shane did this once before when he left Rick in the hospital. Also, ever since Rick showed up to the camp, Shane’s been resentful. He’s been trying to prove himself to Lori ever since (remember when he beats up the redneck wife beater in the camp?). I think part of shooting Otis was about Shane wanting to look like the hero to Lori, and wanted all of that credit for himself. He didn’t want to share it with anyone.

  • Iseeadarkness

    So, TWD season 2 episode 3: “Better Otis Than Me…”
    Yes, I’m sure that thought did ring through Shane’s mind before he shoots poor Otis. However, Shane did this once before when he left Rick in the hospital. Also, ever since Rick showed up to the camp, Shane’s been resentful. He’s been trying to prove himself to Lori ever since (remember when he beats up the redneck wife beater in the camp?). I think part of shooting Otis was about Shane wanting to look like the hero to Lori, and wanted all of that credit for himself. He didn’t want to share it with anyone.

  • upallnight

    the theroy i am starting to believe is that shane is possibly a phychopath destine for lori’s love again and only went on this mission with otis not for carl but for lori’s approval. i am starting to anticipate serious conflict between shane and rick this season for a few reasons, i believe this killing of otis that shane commited has unleashed a darker and more despret side to shane and in his sickness he could possibly (re)consider to kill rick in order to get back with lori. i do agree that the cutting of shane’s hair symbolizes a change in shane’s character.

    maybe i am looking to much into it and shane really only did kill otis strictly because he knew that was the only way there mission would succeed. after all otis only went on that mission because he felt he was indebted to carl for his accidental shooting, knowing the possiblilty’s of this mission could be death.

    either way, this event has caused a great deal of possiblility’s and conflict’s for the rest of the season. some senerio’s could be, does some one find out what shane did?, does he confess to anyone?, does shane continue this violent behavior towards other’s in the group (specifically rick)

    all in all this episode has paved the way for a dramatic, electrifiying, and tense season. 


    • Stevenhawking243

      hey man your comment sucks. you are ignorent and should not be writting reviews, you are not quailified for it or any good at it. may you and your family perish in a horrible, slow, painful way and feel the wrath of satan for all of eternity!

      • Ori

        Yes…he is “ignorent.” Well put. 

        • Betsey

          Ahahaha! Good one. =))

    • Asprout967

      interesting insight, all the characters specifically in this case shane, love/hate great drama.

  • Rmcjr

    I think it’s horrible the way Otis had to die but if Shane did. It do that the little boys would have not had a chance. When one Dies another one is born in this case Carl was more important. He hadn’t even lived life yet, it was the first time he had seen a deer for heavens sake. Dale may have moments of resentment toward Rick but he is still doing his best to protect the people he cares about. Also when Shane left the hospital he put a stretcher in front of the door to make the dead not pay attention to that room but how was he supposed to know that Rick was not going to die. Rick was on life support so Shane made the choice to leave Rick and try to give him a chance. It’s hard to justify him and Lori even if Rick had died but Lori needed someone to lean on. This is a great show and he cast does pretty well keeping you wanting to watch the next episode.


    I think that Shane thought that he was doing the right thing but he will soon realise that what he did was wrong after all before the disease happened he was an officer off the law and he made an oath to be a power off good he will not be able to live with himself

    Christine Conroy Dublin

  • Seansmom76

    Shane has shown his true colors more than once. Lets not forget he lied to Lori and carl about rick being dead, almost raped Lori at the CDC and has now murdered someone. While im sure he thought he was doing what it took to survive he knew what he was doing was wrong because he said “I’m sorry” right before crippling Otis. Why didn’t he kill him instead of letting him be eaten alive? I’ve always had a bad vibe about Shane and now I’m certain he’s a selfish jerk! He only went on that mission for loris approval anyway. I can’t wait for everyone to find out what an ass he is!

  • Jimmym223

    Everyone seems to hate on Shane, but I pity him. In the hospital he left Rick behind because he thought he was dead after listening for a heartbeat. After the power went on and killed Rick’s life support, how was Shane supposed to know Rick would live? His death was more likely, but Rick beat the odds. Shane and Rick go way back, they’re close friends, so Shane has always been close to Rick’s family. Of course he falls for Lori. In the affair, I think Lori did more wrong than Shane. She slept with Shane before she had a chance to even consider letting go of Rick, and in doing so she tried to fill Rick’s vacant space with Shane. She slept with him because she was depressed and lonely. At least Shane actually loved her. Shane’s discusses his love life in the first episode of season 1, and it isn’t going well. He didn’t know Lori needed her space, and tried to comfort her instead. When Rick returns, the guilt sinks in. He left his friend behind and lied to a woman he loves. His biggest mistake is he doesn’t face his guilt, he tries to ignore it and act like it never happens. At the CDC center Shane gets drunk and forgets himself. He thinks Lori loved him and doesn’t understand how she doesn’t appreciate all he did for her. Lori, on the other hand, never loved Shane at all and only used him in place of Rick. I think during this scene it finally clicks in Shane’s head that he’ll never get Lori back. Now it’s not only guilt he’s drowning in, but rejection as well, and a feeling of inferiority. From then on, Shane is driven by a feeling that he has to redeem himself in the eyes of Lori, Rick, and even Carl. His actions are guilt driven defense mechanisms. In season 2, he goes to get Carl’s supplies because he’s the only one who really can at Hershel’s, and also in another attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of Lori and Rick. (Rick, for leaving him behind in the hospital, and Lori, for unintentionally lying to her about Rick’s death). If he doesn’t get the supplies back, he’s also guilty about Carl’s likely death. At the end when they’re running from the mob of zombies, Shane tells Otis to take the bags and go without him, but Otis refuses to leave him behind. Shane knows they won’t make it and decides he doesn’t want to disappoint his friends with his death, decides he should live for Lori and Rick and Carl (mostly Lori), and doesn’t have the heart to shoot Otis in the end so that he has to wrestle him for the supplies. Maybe a part of Shane didn’t give Otis a clean death because he wanted Otis to fight back. When returning, he tells everyone that Otis died to save Carl, he tells them the story that he should have been the sacrifice in. One sin leads to another with Shane. One lie makes him feel more guilty, and instead of facing the punishment he knows he deserves (the opportune moment would have been killing himself so that Otis would live and save Carl with his death), he kills a man and burdens himself with the weight of more guilt. Also, since he shot Otis in the knee, in his head he just crippled the man. The walkers are the ones that killed him. Shane should have died this episode, but he forced Otis to take his place. At the very end of the episode, Shane looks in the mirror and I can only think of one other moment in the show when Shane didn’t have a trace of guilt on his countenance: when he had the gun pointed at Rick in season one. The question is, has Shane lied to himself so much about his guilt that he now believes he’s guilt free, past the point of drowning, (dead inside)? Or is there still some “life” left in Shane to make amends?

    • Asprout967

      sidenote: after dale witnesses shane placing rick in his gunsights, notice dales reaction to shanes recount of otiss demise…telling and most likely to reemerge.

  • Alfredzur

    Season two really sucks.  It’s way too talky and some of the acting is weak.  I think they’re trying to turn this into a “message”, but most of us would prefer some good gory fun. 

  • Jeff Swystun

    My biggest issue with the series is the Lori Grimes character. I am unsure if it is the writing for her or the acting of Sarah Wayne Callies or both. However, I find the character annoying, self-righteous, contradictory, and preachy with no credibility. Callies tends to over act as she tries for an intensity that resembles constipation. Any scene with her slows down the entire series which is too slow in the aggregate. The series needs to change over the characters from the first season that are resonating – Lori Grimes is top of the list.

    • Asprout967

      i agree w/ your insight concerning lori, of all the actors characters hers does not do justice.

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