What happens next: Major ‘Walking Dead’ Season 2 Death Revealed By AMC

After Lori’s talk to Rick at the end of ‘Triggerfinger,’ it was clear to everyone watching The Walking Dead that Shane’s continued involvement (and existence) weighed heavily on Rick’s mind. Given his penchant for offering everyone a second chance and exhausting every possibility prior to taking drastic action, perhaps it was inevitable that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) would want to discuss the “Shane problem” with the actual Shane – and that’s just what he does in ’18 Miles Out.’

Rick is completely frank with Shane (Jon Bernthal), addressing his partner’s feelings for Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Lori’s unborn child. Rick is even understanding as he bridges the subject of Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince), but the candor, and potential importance of the confrontation is undermined by the painfully obvious fact that the two men are talking in the middle of an actual crossroads (metaphor alert!).

After the rather one-sided chat, Shane sulks in the passenger seat and watches a lone walker skulk through some waist-high grass while Rick broaches the subject of how the coming winter may affect the walkers and essentially comes to the conclusion that snow and freezing temperatures will be a mixed blessing for the survivors.

The pair soon finds an agreeable spot to ditch Randall (Michael Zegen), their captive from the other gang of survivors, and in preparation to do so, make two discoveries: That walkers will approach fresh blood like it’s the dinner bell, and two recently killed walkers don’t have any marks to indicate how they became zombies. However, these revelations pale in comparison to the knowledge that Randall knows Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the location of Hershel’s farm – meaning that, for Rick and Shane, leaving Randall to roam free is no longer an option.

Naturally, Shane’s first move is to put a bullet in Randall, but Rick’s not having it. The disagreement finally brings the long-standing issues between the two men to a head and a mighty brouhaha breaks out, which, after an errant wrench toss by Shane, invites a dozen walkers to attack.

Rick, Shane and Randall all fight for their lives in what is a fairly tense scene that leaves Rick with another life in his hands. Randall suggests he and Rick make a run for it while the walkers bombard the school bus Shane is currently occupying, and after mulling it over, it appears that Rick decides to leave Shane to die. Of course that’s not how sheriff Grimes does things and he quickly reemerges to rescue his partner.  The move gives Rick a leg up on Shane in both the morality and capability department, so when he asks that Shane come back into the fold, and follow his lead, Shane is left with no choice but to step in line.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, Beth (Emily Kinney) has risen from her catatonic state and decided she wants to end her own life. This troublesome subject has been touched upon before in The Walking Dead with mixed results, and this time, three women who each have a unique take on handling the situation visit the suicidal individual. Maggie, Beth’s sister, fears leaving her alone at all. Lori is equally concerned, but she assumes the situation is merely one born of trauma and will soon pass. Andrea (Laurie Holden), having gone through a similar rough patch herself, advises Beth that “the pain doesn’t go away, you just make room for it,” and then leaves the girl to decide on her own whether she wants to live or die.

Beth makes the suicide attempt, but doesn’t get very far (a sign she wishes to live). As a result of her actions, and a weird spat with Lori regarding gender roles in the post-apocalyptic world, Andrea is pushed further to the fringes of the group – the same place Shane seems to be headed.

In between the fisticuffs and arguments, ’18 Miles Out’ managed some interesting tidbits about the walkers and perhaps a few subtle hints as to the nature of the infection itself.

The Walking Dead has three episodes left in season two, which air Sundays @9pm on AMC.