I've been a fan of The Walking Dead television series since the very first episode. It's been a love/hate relationship for Season 2, but I enjoyed Sunday nights episode a lot. I still find some of the things that the characters do to be totally idiotic - but over all I enjoy the show.
This post contains spoilers, if you follow the series but haven't seen Sunday's episode yet.
There's been several blog posts elsewhere about something one of the characters did Sunday night. Most of the comments have been along the lines of "What a Douche bag...." Here's a very brief synopsis of the show and the circumstances surrounding the incident:
Zombie outbreak has occurred. A small group of uninfected people are trying to survive and find someplace safe and secure. The main character is a Sheriff who was in a coma during the beginning of the outbreak and awoke to find the world in turmoil and his wife and child missing. During his coma, his best friend and co-worker, Shane, had an affair with his wife and developed a relationship with his son. They had all given the Sheriff up as dead. They are all reunited in Season 1 and Shane backs off to do the right thing and allow the little family to get back together.
At one point, the Sheriff and his son are in the woods and the boy is accidentally shot by a hunter. The hunter is part of another small group that includes a Vet with medical training. The boy's condition is dire and he needs surgery to live. They decide that if they can get medical supplies from a zombie infested area the boy might have a chance. Without those supplies, the boy will die - Period.
Shane and the hunter who accidentally shot the boy, Otis, go to fetch the supplies and things soon go awry. Shane hurts his leg and is unable to run. Otis is a fat, out of shape guy who can't outrun the zombies either. They have the needed supplies, but the zombie horde is bearing down on them and they are down to their last rounds of ammo.
There is no way out. It looks like the zombies are going to get them. That's when Shane does the deed that is catching him so much flack. He looks at Otis - who is a really likeable guy even though he accidentally caused all this - says "I'm Sorry...." and then he puts a round in Otis' leg. The zombies all dive on the now helpless Otis to gobble him up and Shane is able to hobble away and take the supplies back to the injured boy whose life is saved as a result.
Ok.... did Shane do the right thing?
Some of the comments that I've read paint Shane as a coward for sacrificing Otis to the Zombies and escaping. I think that's ridiculous. If Shane was a coward he would have stayed at the RV or at the Farmhouse with the wounded boy or he would have bailed all togther at the highway and gone off on his own. Other comments seem to stem from people putting themselves in Otis' shoes, and how they wouldn't want someone on their team that would do what Shane did.
I tend to look at scenarios like this and imagine what I would do if I were there.
Fact: There's about 30 zombies gaining on you. They WILL catch you if something doesn't shift the balance.
Fact: You have the medical supplies with you that could make the difference between a young boy you love living or dieing.
Fact: The guy you're with is responsible for the situation you and the boy are in.
Yes, Otis is likeable. Yes, wounding the boy was an accident. Yes, Otis is trying to "make things right".
None of that changes the base fact that if you don't get the medical supplies back to the farmhouse the boy you've come to think of as your son will die.
This isn't even close to a difficult decision for me. I actually made the analysis and the call seconds before Shane shot Otis in the leg. I'd be sorry that it came to that, but given the exact same circumstances that Shane found himself in - I would have made exactly the same call. No bones about it. Change some of the circumstances and a different conclusion would be reached by me. No boy waiting supplies? Then you stick with your partner and fight to the death with the zombies. Find yourself with your Wife or other loved one and you certainly go down together if there's no other choice. Faced with a choice between loved one and stranger where someone definitely has to die, though?.... Otis has to go.
Is it cold? Yep. Would I have wanted to be Otis and have someone sacrifice me to the zombies? Nope.
When it comes to protecting the ones that I love though, there's very little that I wouldn't do. Period. Some may consider Shane a bastard for what he did.... but the boy and his parents probably wouldn't. I don't either. I'm perfectly comfortable being a Bastard if thats what it takes to keep my loved ones safe. People in those circumstances who aren't capable of making hard calls like that need to give up and get eaten or stay at the relative safety of the farmhouse, IMO.