Hey there, TWD fans. Welcome to the 203 minicap. Let’s get to it!
We open on Shane in the upstairs bathroom at the Greene homestead. This is a flash-forward, taking place after the events of this week’s episode. He’s shaving his head with an electric razor. When he finishes, he puts the razor down and stares at himself in the mirror. He’s undergone some kind of transformation. Let’s see what happened…
Picking up where we left off last week, Carl is in dire need of an operation but Dr. Greene can’t proceed without the medical equipment Shane and Otis have gone to fetch. Soon Rick and Lori will have to make a decision: do they keep waiting for Shane and Otis to return, or do they let Dr. Greene proceed with the surgery without a respirator?
Lori is starting to lose hope. Privately she’s had some terrible thoughts. In her mind, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if Carl actually did die now. The members of their group who’ve died, like Jacqui, have at least been spared from experiencing some of the horror. Maybe Carl would be better off dead because he’d at least be at peace. Rick refuses to let her entertain that possibility, but when she puts him on the spot, he can’t come up with a reason why living in the zombie apocalypse is better than dying.
Meanwhile, zombies have chased Shane and Otis into the high school gymnasium and now have them trapped on top of some folded-up bleachers. The only access point the zombies haven’t overrun is a tiny window leading to a twenty-foot drop, and Otis can’t even fit through that. They only have one option: Otis will jump off the bleachers and draw the zombies away so Shane can make a run for the window and break through. If he’s lucky, Otis will escape into the locker room where there might be another set of windows he can climb through himself. And if both of them can dodge the zombies and survive the drop, they’ll have to find each other outside.
Right away the plan starts to snarl up. Otis hurts himself jumping off the bleachers and can barely keep ahead of the pursuing zombies. Then when Shane breaks through the window a zombie nearly grabs him and he falls to the ground without bracing himself, which really fucks up his ankle. They do manage to find each other outside the schoo, but both of them are so hindered by their injuries they can’t stay ahead of the zombie hordes. They’re down to their last few bullets and have a long way to reach the pickup truck.
Back at the house, Carl briefly regains consciousness and asks Rick what happened to the deer—i.e., the last thing he saw moments before being shot. But then he promptly goes into a seizure. Dr. Greene is forced to extract more blood from Rick, pushing HIM close to death as well. But later, Rick has a realization: the fact that Carl was so focused on the beautiful moment with the deer means Carl doesn’t think of the world as an entirely horrific place. The fact that Carl has at least SOME optimism is proof enough that fighting to save him is better than mercy-killing him. Lori agrees, and they allow Dr. Greene to proceed with the surgery.
And Dr. Greene is just about to make his first incision when the pickup truck pulls up to the house. Rick, Lori, and Shane run out to greet it. Shane gets out with the respirator and the other supplies and gives them to Dr. Greene, who quickly takes them inside to begin the surgery properly. That’s when they realize that Shane has come back alone. He tells them Otis didn’t make it.
The surgery is a success, not without a price. Particularly for Shane. The show brings us back to the bathroom where he was shaving his head. He starts having flashbacks to the high school parking lot. He and Otis weren’t going to outrun the zombies, so Shane had to make an awful decision. With just one bullet remaining, he shoots Otis in the leg. Otis becomes instant zombie bait. Shane has ensured that at least one of them will and save Carl, and managed to make himself a murderer in the process.
There’s your main story of the week. Here’s a quick look at the other main one…
Dale, Carol, Daryl, and Andrea have stayed behind at the RV to wait just a little longer in case Sophia showed up. But on the last night before it was agreed they would join the others at the farmhouse, Carol is sobbing into her pillow and Daryl can’t sleep. He decides he’ll search in the darkness, and Andrea tags along, ignoring Dale’s warnings of danger.
Down in the woods Andrea asks Daryl how he can still be so optimistic they’ll find Sophia, and he tells her a story…when he was a kid, Daryl got lost himself in the woods and survived for nine days on berries until he found his way home. He wasn’t any worse for wear because of it. There’s still a tiny chance Sophia is alive, and that’s enough for him.
Later they find a gruesome scene. A live zombie is hanging from a tree by a noose, and a note pinned to the tree explains why—the zombie used to be the guy who was staying at the camp sight, but when he got bitten he decided to end it all. But his body came back to life, and since then other zombies have come along and eaten the flesh off its legs. The whole scene makes Daryl and Andrea reflect, like Lori and Rick are doing back at the farmhouse. Daryl wants to know if Andrea really has committed to living again after she tried to blow herself up in the CDC. She doesn’t really know for sure.
Eventually they have to return to the road without Sophia. Their mission made Dale anxious for her safety all over again, and now that she’s back he’s decided to try to repair their relationship. He apologizes for forcing her to leave the CDC, and he returns her pistol to her. In response, she tells him she hasn’t forgiven him yet, but she’s trying.
We’ve also got a tiny Glenn story involving his difficulty finding the strength to keep fighting, but it’s so minor it’s more of a moment stretched out over a couple scenes rather than a story proper. I’ll have it all in the recap Tuesday. Until then, you can catch up on last week’s recap here.