Nice wrap up, kdalton. As usual, I'm late to the orgasmic post-episode debrief that has become a weekly ritual in this thread. My thoughts on this latest installment are:
* Holy awesome zombie slaying action, Batman! Yeah baby! Yeah!
* I really, really enjoyed the parallels between the Shane/Rick conflict at the municipal station and the Andrea/Lori tete-a-tete back at the farm. In both cases you had two extremely strong personalities with almost diametrically opposing view points, and in each case a young person's life was very much in the balance. And non-lethal blood letting was mirrored in both conflicts. I think that parallelism was a really elegant way to structure the episode.
* Law of narrative economy says that lone walker in the field means something; especiallly since Shane noticed it both on the way out and back again. Not sure whether it symbolically represents Shane's growing isolation, or a harbinger of his ultimate fate. But it means something.
* I hadn't thought through the blood baiting tactic until you'all started criticizing it. You're all absolutely right, of course; very unrealistic. As is plunging a folder into a walker skull and not worry it might spring closed. Thing is, I just don't sweat stuff like that nearly as much as some of you do. I'm much more willing to suspend my disbelief about details like that and just go with it. It's a TV drama, they're going to take liberties to further the story. Drawing your own blood is a dramatic way of showing how dire the situation is. It also shows how the undead are literally driven by blood lust. And you have to admit, Shane gicking that walker as it was licking his blood off the bus door frame was pretty priceless ("Schlipp-lipp-lipp-lipp--GLITCH!"
). C'mon, where else are we gonna get that kind of quality programming?
* I have not been a huge Andrea fan, and as other folks have said, she could have done a better job following her own advice regarding her delivery, but her instincts were absolutely right on about letting Amy choose her fate. And I disagree with folks who said that Andrea's behavior in that regard was born of her anger or lack of caring. On the contrary, in doing to Amy what she did, I think Andrea showed more empathy, compassion -- hell, respect
for that young woman than either Lori or Maggie. Andrea alone seems to understand that given the current situtation everyone is in, to say nothing of everyone's likely ultimate fate, the decision to end life on one's own terms may be the most sane and rational course of action. And whether or not you happen to agree with the idea of suicide, in a zombie apocalypse, that really is each person's decison to make. Andrea was absolutely right to leave Amy alone to make that choice. Otherwise you might as well have kept her bound and muzzled, just like Randall.
In each case, whether the young person was restrained literally or figuratively, any meaningful control over their own fate was being taken away from them.
Hey, there's that parallelism again.