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Save the Last One

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Save the Last One
Season 2, Episode 3
AMC TWD Save the Last One
Air Date October 30, 2011
AMC (United States)
November 4, 2011
Fox (United Kingdom)
Written By Scott Gimple
Directed By Phil Abraham
U.S. Viewers 6.10 million
Episode Guide
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"Cherokee Rose"
Cast Guide
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale Horvath
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Also Starring
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Pruitt Taylor Vince as Otis
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
Picture Gallery

"Save the Last One" is the third episode of Season 2 of AMC's The Walking Dead. It originally aired on October 30, 2011 at 10/9c on AMC.

Plot Synopsis

After showering in the bathroom at the farm, Shane stares into the mirror at himself after shaving his head. As he wipes away the steam, there's a look in his eye that says something about him has changed.

Earlier, Rick and Lori wait patiently at Carl's bedside for Shane and Otis to return from the FEMA command post at the high school, so that Hershel Greene can perform the surgery that will save their son’s life. Rick, weak from multiple blood transfusions to keep Carl alive, tells her a familiar story about a prank Shane pulled on the principal when they were in high school. Focused on her son's health, Lori begs him to eat to keep his strength up, while Rick tries to convince her that Carl will be fine.

In the RV, Carol is crying over Sophia's disappearance in the bedroom, which is keeping Daryl awake. Andrea is still trying to put together a gun, this time using Daryl's and doing much better. But he takes it back from her when he decides to go out looking for Sophia. With nothing else to do, Andrea decides to go with him. When Dale tries to object to them heading out in the middle of the night, Andrea shuts him down as she and Daryl head into the woods.

Otis and Shane, still with a full head of hair, have gotten themselves into the high school's auditorium, but they can't outrun the walkers. When Shane spots a window and suggests they try to jump through, Otis rebukes him on account of his size. He instead tells Shane to go for the windows on his own, while he draws the walkers away to the locker rooms - where the windows are larger and he can escape.

Otis' plan works, and he's able to draw most of the walkers from the auditorium, growling and reaching for him as they go, while Shane shoots at the dead from the atop the bleachers. Shane makes it to the window, but a walker follows him, grabbing for him through the broken window frame. He grabs his gun and shoots the walker, but falls two stories below and lands hard on his ankle.

Glenn and T-Dog arrive at the farm and nervously discuss whether they're supposed to knock; they hadn't knocked on anyone's front door in months. But they're surprised by Maggie Greene, sitting in a darkened corner on the porch, listening in on their conversation. "Close the gate up the road when you drove in?" she asks, and Glenn sputters a yes. Maggie smiles and invites them inside, where they find Rick and Lori and Carl's bedside with Hershel.

Shane and Otis are taking too long to return and Carl's condition is growing worse. Hershel informs Rick and Lori that he may have to attempt the surgery without the equipment, and that they’re going to have to make a choice sooner rather than later. The two talk it over and Lori wonders if Carl might be better off dead, but Rick doesn't want to hear it. He asks her what's changed since the CDC, when Jenner offered them a way out. Remembering how Jacqui committed suicide, Lori sobs, "Maybe this isn't a world for children anymore. We live with a knife at our throats every second of every day." She begs him to give her a reason why it would be better to live.

But Rick decides to fight for his son as Shane fights for his life at the school. Limping, Shane is about to be overrun when Otis saves his life from approaching walkers, though they both use their last rifle rounds. They start to limp away as the walkers tear at the fences.

Carl wakes briefly, and talks excitedly about the deer that he saw, but he then has a seizure. His pressure bottoms out and Rick desperately offers to do another transfusion. Hershel doesn't want to take any more blood from him in case he goes into a coma or suffers cardiac arrest, but he begins to take out his kit anyway - it's the only way to keep Carl alive until Shane and Otis get back. "You're wastin' time," Rick says.

While they search the dark forest, Daryl tells Andrea about the time he was lost in the woods when he was a child. As they discuss Sophia's chances - he's hopeful, she's not - they come upon a Walker, hanging from a tree. His feet have been chewed at by walkers. He had committed suicide, and Daryl scoffs, "Dumbass didn't know enough to shoot himself in the head."

Daryl wants to leave it alone and not waste an arrow, but Andrea, disgusted, asks him to kill it. Daryl kills the Walker in exchange for asking Andrea if she wants to live yet; she says she doesn't know if she has to live, wants to live, or if it's just habit.

Unable to sleep, Carol joins Dale on the roof of the RV to take watch. She can tell that Dale is worried about Andrea, and tries to comfort him. But Dale leaves her alone on the roof, handing her a rifle she doesn't know how to use.

At the farmhouse, Patricia is busily stitching up T-Dog’s arm while Glenn is trying to pray for the safety of Carl before Maggie interrupts him on thee front porch. He's never prayed before, and he and Maggie discuss if God exists. Before she goes back inside to leave him alone, she tells him, "Feel free to believe in God, but you gotta make it okay somehow - no matter what happens."

As Carl sleeps, Rick returns to his conversation with Lori, having left it with her wondering if the world was worth living in anymore, and needing Rick to tell her something to hold on to. He says that Carl's reminisces about how beautiful the deer was when he woke up told him that there was still a world out there for them. But the latest transfusion wasn't enough, and Rick's hope is able to convince Lori to allow Hershel to do the surgery without the anesthetic. Patricia pulls the shade off a table lamp as Hershel sterilizes his equipment. He's getting ready to start when the pick-up pulls into the driveway, the headlights shining in through the window.

Shane has arrived with the supplies, but Otis isn't with him. He's stunned, quiet. He tells them they were swarmed, and Otis didn't make it. Hershel demands that no one tell Patricia until after the surgery, and Maggie sobs as Rick embraces Shane for bringing back the equipment, and comforts him saying that Otis wanted to make it right.

Daryl and Andrea return safely to the RV, without Sophia. Carol returns tearfully to bed, and Dale stops Andrea before she heads in for the night. He apologizes for making choices for her and gives back her gun, adding, "I can still ask. Please don't make me regret this."

"I'll take watch," Andrea tells him, and he asks if she forgives him. She stops before she climbs up the ladder, and says, "I'm trying."

Glenn comforts Maggie over the loss of Otis, and she tells him about her stepmother and stepbrother, who both became Walkers. Hershel is able to stabilize Carl, which leaves Rick and Lori near tears. Rick offers to help Hershel with informing Patricia about Otis. As she sobs, Shane looks on from the living room.

He goes to Carl's room, where he finds Lori at his bedside and stands back nervously. "Stay," she says to him, but he can't. Maggie finds him in the hallway and hands him some overalls. "I brought you some clothes. They won't fit well; they were Otis'."

Shane goes to the bathroom and has his shower, and with his full head of hair he finds a bald spot, where it looks as if hair has been pulled from his scalp. He remembers what happened at the high school and looks around the bathroom for the electric razor.

Otis pulls Shane along after he collapses from his ankle injury. They manage to get to the parking lot, each of them down to their last round of ammunition. Shane tells Otis to leave him and take the supplies, but Otis refuses to leave him there and pulls him up.

Shane hobbles as the walkers get closer with every step. He looks at Otis. "I'm sorry," he says, and Otis looks on, confused, as Shane shoots him in the leg with his last bullet.

He grabs for Otis' backpack with the supplies inside, but Otis fights him, grabbing at a chunk of his hair and punching him, but Shane is able to overpower him and take the man's gun.

The Walkers descend on Otis, devouring him while Shane is able to hobble away unnoticed.

Back inside the Greene bathroom, Shane shaves his head to hide the bald spot and protect his secret.

Other Cast






"Save the Last One" was originally broadcast on October 30, 2011 in the United States on AMC. It was viewed by 6.095 million viewers, and attained a 3.1 rating in the 18–49 demographic, according to Nielsen ratings. The episode was the highest-rated program of the day, garnering considerably higher ratings than a stock car racing event as part of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on ESPN and Next Iron Chef on Food Network. Similarly, the episode became the second highest-rated cable program of the week dated October 30, attaining significantly higher ratings that WWE Raw but scoring considerably lower than a game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars as part of the 2011 NFL season. Total viewership and ratings for "Save the Last One" moderately declined from the previous episode, "Bloodletting", which was viewed by 6.70 million viewers and received a 3.6 rating in the 18–49 demographic.

Critical Response

"Save the Last One" was critically acclaimed by television critics. IGN's Eric Goldman praised the episode, giving it a nine out of ten, signifying an "amazing" rating. He opined that it was his favorite episode since the series' pilot episode, "Days Gone Bye", and added that "it had scary zombie scenes, good action, interesting character interaction and a revelation at the end that gave us a whole lot to process." John Serba of The Grand Rapids Press was split on "Save the Last One"; while asserting that it was "imminently watchable", he felt that the episode was unbalanced as a whole and criticized the dialogue. Serba wrote: "The show continues to display a disproportionate amount of dialogue compared to the development of its characters. It needs to do a better job of biding its time between crowd-pleasing zombie attacks." HitFix's Alan Sepinwall echoed similar thoughts, opining, "the characters need more depth. The show seems to be setting itself out to be a slow-burning character study in the context of a zombie apocalypse — and with enough chase scenes and other scares to entice folks who just want brain-eating action — and the characters need to be more complex than they've been shown to be so far."

The Baltimore Sun journalist Andrew Conrad commended the episode, citing that the episodic pace was faster than the preceding episode. Josh Wigler of MTV opined: "Tonight's episode was all about pairs. Shane and Otis, two soldiers in a foxhole. Rick and Lori, two parents at odds over how to handle their son's failing condition. Glenn and Maggie, two strangers desperate to make a connection. Andrea and Daryl, two opposites trying to find a reason to move on. Great scenes with all of these duos, and it really goes to show just how fantastic The Walking Dead cast is, both in the loud and quiet moments." Zack Handlen from The A.V. Club awarded the episode a 'B+' grade, and felt that the episode was superior to the previous episode. In contrast, Aaron Rutkoff of The Wall Street Journal was less enthusiastic about the episode, expressing, "truth be told, after three episodes very little has happened so far this season." TV Fanatic's Sean McKenna asserted that despite not having any direction, "Save the Last One" managed to retain the "tension and action that makes this show a thrill ride every week." He added: "I'm sure for some the slow pace in real time is something of a bother, but for me it adds to the intensity of the characters' situation and the show itself." McKenna ultimately gave the episode a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Similarly, Morgan Jeffrey of Digital Spy stated that the episode was the strongest installment of the season as well as amongst the series' best installments.

Critics praised the character development of Shane in the episode, as well as the execution of Otis. Nate Rawlings of Time felt that it was a dark moment for the series, and felt that it added anticipation to future development. He wrote: "At some point, Shane will have to come clean with Rick about what happened to Otis. Given Rick’s extremely rigid morale [sic] code and Shane’s now demonstrated willingness to do whatever it takes to survive, the showdown promises to be bigger than just a battle of two alpha males. The Rick/Shane divide is a battle of two leaders with different ideas of humanity and survival." Mark Maurer of The Star-Ledger opined that "both the multi-layered opening [...] illustrates how Shane’s impulsive nature makes him a valuable if ruthless warrior." Handlen appreciated the character development of Shane, writing, "Shane has long been the dark horse of the group, the one most likely to go off the morality reservation, and this reveal works well to bring him that much closer to darkness. It's not the subtlest moment [...] but, given how friendly and cool Otis was, and given how well the two seemed to be working together, it's a strong twist." He added that because of the death of Otis, the show now has a sense of direction. "His decision to sacrifice Otis is easy enough to rationalize; somebody had to get back for Carl's sake, Shane was faster, and both of them probably weren't going to make it. That's the beauty of it. In a certain light, he made the right choice." Morgan Jeffrey wrote: "This week's installment delivered even more scares than usual — Shane's escape from the high school was almost unbearably tense."

A.V Club IGN
B+ 9


  • First appearence of Annette Greene(Photograph)
  • First appearence of Shawn Greene(Photograph)
  • Last appearance of Otis.
  • This episode marks the final credited appearance of Pruitt Taylor Vince (Otis), after being killed off in the episode. Archive footage of his death in the episode was used in, "Cherokee Rose".
  • Shane becomes the first character in the TV Series to be responsible for the death of a living character (Otis).
  • The title of this episode, "Save the Last One," references the well known rule in zombie apocalypse stories that survivors should always save the last bullet for themselves if surrounded by a group of zombies. This makes the title quite misleading, as Shane doesn't use his last bullet on himself, but on Otis. Similarly, the walker found hanging from the tree hung himself instead of shooting himself in the head to commit suicide.
  • When Daryl and Andrea found the walker hanging from a tree, his "poem" reads, "Got bit. Fever hit. World gone to shit. Might as well quit."

External Links

Episodes of The Walking Dead
Season 1 "Days Gone Bye" • "Guts" • "Tell It to the Frogs" • "Vatos" • "Wildfire" • "TS-19"
Season 2 "What Lies Ahead" • "Bloodletting" • "Save the Last One" • "Cherokee Rose" • "Chupacabra" • "Secrets" • "Pretty Much Dead Already" • "Nebraska" • "Triggerfinger" • "18 Miles Out" • "Judge, Jury, Executioner" • "Better Angels" • "Beside the Dying Fire"
Season 3 "Seed" • "Sick" • "Walk With Me" • "Killer Within" • "Say the Word" • "Hounded" • "When the Dead Come Knocking" • "Made to Suffer" • "The Suicide King" • "Home" • "I Ain't a Judas" • "Clear" • "Arrow on the Doorpost" • "Prey" • "This Sorrowful Life" • "Welcome to the Tombs"
Season 4 "30 Days Without An Accident" • "Infected" • "Isolation" • "Indifference" • "Internment" • "Live Bait" • "Dead Weight" • "Too Far Gone" • "After" • "Inmates" • "Claimed" • "Still" • "Alone" • "The Grove" • "Us" • "A"
Season 5 "No Sanctuary" • "Strangers" • "Four Walls and a Roof"

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