The Walking Dead’s 18 Miles Out Explained

Rick and Shane have a little talk.

By Steve West | Updated

The Walking Dead 18 Miles Out

The Walking Dead‘s “18 Miles Out” picks up a week after the previous episode as Shane and Rick take Randall out, you guessed it, 18 miles from the farm to drop him off. All of the personal intensity from the previous episode has dissipated, only to be replaced by an impassioned and careful concern.

The result is a deeper building of tension between many characters. Decisions and discussions are had by all, and yes there are zombies. But more importantly, The Walking Dead lines are drawn.

”The pain doesn’t go away, you just make room for it.” – Andrea

This The Walking Dead episode is bare-bones and that makes for an intimate feeling. We would not have gotten so much time with Beth with the entire cast involved. Beth’s attempted suicide and Andrea’s stance that it was no one’s decision but the girls’ showcased a dividing line in the group.

The ideologies of Shane and Rick have conflicted with some people have chosen sides. Sure, there had to be a moment where the group began standing behind one of the two men, but each character’s worldview is being tested throughout this season of The Walking Dead.

Are The Walking Dead characters willing to do whatever it takes, or is there room for a selfless act to benefit the fellow man?

”One of us wasn’t gonna make it out, it had to be him.” – Shane

This is exemplified throughout this The Walking Dead episode with the confrontation between Rick and Shane. The episode focuses so heavily on the two that the Andrea, Lori, Maggie, and Beth secondary storyline is almost a way to keep more of the group involved so as not to turn this into a purely contemplative Waiting for Godot hour.

But focusing on the two men was necessary at this point in The Walking Dead. We were done waiting for them to hash it out and wondering where everyone stands.

The confrontation starts at a crossroads for both men, quite literally in fact. Rick begins by laying it out clearly that Lori, Carl, and the baby are his family. His alone.

He understands what happened and even explains to Shane that he knew soon after his return and wanted to knock Shane’s teeth out. He knew but held back. He also understands, but it’s time for Shane to let it all go and move on.

So they continue on, looking for a decent spot to release Randall, only to find it in a small town. Unfortunately for Randall, he makes a plea for his life and reveals he knows Maggie from school. Wow, talk about a huge mistake.

It puts a twist on The Walking Dead theory that Randall is no threat, and Shane makes the immediate decision to shoot the kid. It is an act that Rick stops, and finally, we get the showdown this show has been building toward.

”I will stay alive to keep them alive.” – Rick

And here we finally are; the The Walking Dead battle has begun. On the one hand, Rick still exists in a world where there’s got to be some semblance of law and order. He holds to his police background despite his insistence that he is capable of doing the unthinkable for his family.

But he is transformed, and while he may not have fallen from grace in the way Shane has there’s still a darkness to the man. The light in the world has gone very dim, and Rick tries to fight for his family and what light is left.

Shane, on the other hand, is a survivor. He’s a man who is willing, able, and capable of doing anything to get through the day. That doesn’t make him evil, but he is dangerous. A fact that others have begun to notice, some, like Dale and Lori, have personal reasons for calling him out, but Rick knows that his friend is a bit lost. Rick can’t let Shane go without battling to the end.

So as the men begin to fight a zombie onslaught occurs, dividing the men, and giving us our hourly The Walking Dead dose of superb zombie battles. This includes a full-on zombie pile(!!!) on top of Rick as he resorts to using a dead zombie’s head as a muzzle extension. And it concludes with Shane being trapped in a bus with a dozen or so walkers vying for his tasty flesh.

”If I could take it all back, I would.” – Shane

It’s here that Rick abandons Shane, taking Randall with him. We don’t know exactly what Shane was thinking as he watched Rick trot away, but it only took him a moment or two to continue defending his life.

Abandoned or not, he’ll be a survivor…or die trying. Then Rick returns with a derring-do rescue and gets Shane out of the bus.

Afterwards, Rick explains to Shane that he knows the kid will likely have to be killed, but it’s a decision that takes time.

Even in the current situation, it just can’t be so easy to take human life. Perhaps Shane does not agree with that, but there’s a chance he sees that there is reason behind the decision. It’s not weakness, simply an alternative.

In The Walking Dead, There doesn’t have to be bloodshed, but when it’s inevitable, there has to be a moment to pause and reflect on the decision to take life. It’s a commodity that is exceedingly precious in a walker-infested world.