The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 3: “Save the Last One” TV Episode Review
Directed by Phil Abraham
Written by Scott M. Gimple
2011, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on October 30th, 2011
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane
Sarah Wayne Collins as Lori Grimes
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Steven Yeun as Glenn
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Scott Wilson as Herchel Greene
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
James Ferguson: The second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead shuffled along with this week's episode Save the Last One premiering the day before Halloween. Shane and Otis escape from the high school with the supplies they need to save Carl’s life with a herd of zombies on their tail. Meanwhile, Rick and Lori watch over their son hoping he makes it through, Andrea learns a valuable less about life, and T-Dog finally gets that ugly gash on his arm looked at. There are spoilers throughout this discussion. You have been warned.
First off, what was up with that scene at the beginning with Shane in the bathroom? It was a flash forward. What is this? Lost? Between that and the flashback in the previous episode, I really hope they’re not making this a pattern. That whole scene felt out of place and completely unnecessary, especially since most of it was seen again when they actually get to that point of the story.
Steve Pattee: Yeah, that seemed a little odd to me, too. When I realized it was a flashback, my first thought was, “Hey, what? They haven’t done this before. Weird.” It didn’t bother me too much, it was just an interesting thing to pull. In the context you mentioned — with the flashback last week — it’s a bit out of place. Plus, there was no cliffhanger to it. Usually when something like this is used, there’s some sort of plot that leaves you hanging until you get to the point in the episode where it makes sense. Instead here it’s just Shane shaving his head. I think it was done for the ladies.
JF: I’m just going to come out and say it: This episode was f-ing boring. Yes, there were zombies in it and that’s always fun but all anybody did was talk. It wasn’t even interesting dialogue either. It was all this meaningless “Life is for the Living” garbage. We get it. The world has gone to shit and you need to be happy you’re alive but I don’t need an entire episode devoted to those words.
SP: It’s rare when we disagree on this show, but here is one of those times.
JF: Are we about to have our first real fight?
SP: The honeymoon may be over, James, because I loved this episode because of the dialogue. I’ll agree with you that “Life is for the Living” was a weak attempt at a rah-rah speech, but I loved Daryl and Andrea’s conversation. It’s probably one of my favorite dialogue driven scenes in the show thus far — including season one. It added another layer to Daryl’s character which shows that he’s really starting to care for the people he’s with (even though he doesn’t show it). Plus, forcing her to confess if she was still considering suicide was well played. I have a feeling that he was going to shoot that zombie regardless, but he took the opportunity to call her out. I also liked the conversation between Glenn and Herchel’s daughter. That too was a much needed developing piece to Glenn character. Aside from the sappy speech from Rick, the rest of it was pretty damn solid.
JF: I can see what you mean with Daryl and I think a lot of that has to do with positive fan reaction to the character, but if you took the zombie out of that scene it could easily be transplanted into any run-of-the-mill romantic comedy. Speaking of that, am I the only one that things Daryl and Andrea are going to hook up? I doubt that her comic book romance with Dale will end up in the show because I think the mainstream audience doesn’t like to think about old people doing it with younger broads...or anyone for that matter. The scene between her and Daryl felt like a throwaway one and only served to bring them together for a possible future hookup.
SP: I don’t think so. Like I said above, I feel that was for the benefit of Daryl’s character. I’m with you that audiences don’t want to see a May / December relationship when Mr. December might as well be Santa Clause, but I don’t see Daryl and Andrea hooking up for a different reason. Shane and Daryl are the only ones in the group who have their shit together and Daryl doesn’t have time for drama, which we all know Andrea is a big bag of.
JF: Maybe Andrea, Daryl, and Shane will start their own group of refugees. Unfortunately everyone will want to follow that group as it’s clearly the cool one without a bunch of whiny douchebags.
SP: Lose Andrea and I’m with you. She is an emotional wreck right now who needs to be babysat. Shane and Daryl should just cut loose from them all, since it will give them the best chance of survival without half of these knuckleheads trying to drag them down. They would have to be sneaky, though, because the others would want to come along.
JF: Oh, and Sophia is still missing. Who cares anymore? Sure it sucks that a little girl is lost in the woods or something with zombies all around but it’s been at least a day or so and if she hasn’t found her way back to the highway at this point, she doesn’t deserve to be found. Let’s move on already! At this rate we’re never going to get to even a fraction of the awesome stuff that lies ahead in the comic.
SP: Yeah, let’s move on from this. Sophia (and her mom) aren’t big enough characters for me to care about. As I said in our discussion of episode one, they just seem like cannon fodder anyway. Could you imagine if it was Carl who went missing? I’m thinking it would be a totally different feel. But then again he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get a gaping chest wound, so I’m glad he did stick around. But, yeah, they definitely need to hurry the hell up and get to the prison (if that’s where the story will still take us).
JF: The only saving grace throughout this whole episode was Shane and, to a lesser extent, Otis. Their scenes were exciting and I wish the creators had spent more time on them. They’re in the thick of it with zombies literally surrounding them on all sides and have to make it out of there alive in order for Carl to survive. Otis feels responsible — and rightfully so — and you can see that guilt just weighing him down. Unfortunately for him, Shane saw it too and shot him in the leg to bring him down even more.
SP: There was a lot of Twitter response to Shane’s decision to take Otis out of the equation. Some hated him for it, some didn’t. I’m on the "didn’t" side. While I’m pissed that Shane did it, it’s only because I was hoping Pruitt Taylor Vince, who played Otis, would be a mainstay on the show. That said, Shane’s decision only makes me respect him even more. Let’s be realistic, he did what any of us would have wanted to do in that situation. It was a hard decision, sure, and it’s obvious that it has affected Shane. But at the end of the day his loyalty resides with Carl. I have to be honest here, if I’m ever in a zombie apocalypse and it’s down to either shooting a guy I barely know or letting my best friend’s son die, I’m hoping I have the courage to make the same choice Shane did. What happened with Shane and Otis is another example on why I really liked this episode. The writers didn’t wimp out with the two simply getting away, instead they cocked back and punched you straight in the throat.
JF: I’m glad that you’re on my short list of people I’d want on my side during the zombie apocalypse. I agree completely about Shane’s motivations. There was no way they’d both make it out of there alive with the supplies they needed and Otis was only slowing them down. They were out of bullets too...well, almost. Bottom line: Shane did want absolutely needed to be done, but is never seen in zombie fiction. What makes this even more interesting is that Shane was a cop! The guy upheld the law before the world went to hell and now he’s the only one that seems to realize that things have changed and he has to do what it takes to survive. I am absolutely loving that as it’s a total advancement for the character and well beyond anything that we saw of him in the comic.
SP: I know I say this often, but well said. I’ll add, though, that Daryl is also on top of his game. The two are making the hard decisions in order to survive, while the others are either collapsing from the pressure (Andrea), being completely unrealistic about everything (Lori), going through the motions (Glenn, T-Dog, Dale), just there (Carol) or, in the case of Rick...hell, I don’t know what’s going on in his head half the time. Where Shane has been leading the charge as my favorite character, Daryl has suddenly pulled up along side. I’m extremely pleased the writers are adding a bit more to him each episode and, if played right, he could easily pass Shane as my favorite.
JF: I think Save the Last One was the weakest episode of The Walking Dead to date. All the talking was just plain boring. If the dialogue developed the characters even a little bit, it would have been okay, but what we’re given is dribble that is easily forgettable. After the great track record that the show has seen so far, I’m actually disappointed and that’s worse than being mad.
SP: Obviously we are on different sides of the fence on this one, but I will say it’s high time for an hour with nothing but action. While I’ve really liked the first three episodes of this season, I need to see some full on zombie killing.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
Click on a cover to read more episode reviews of The Walking Dead: Season 2.
This page includes affiliate links where Horror DNA may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.