Walking Dead
Better Angels

Episode Report Card
Angel Cohn: A- | 6 USERS: B
Another One Bites the Dust... Twice

Andrea, T-Dog, Daryl and Shane are mending fences (in the literal sense) to protect the farm as Rick delivers his eulogy for Dale. Seems that Dale's death and the encroaching zombies have finally convinced Hershel that the farm isn't the safest place in the world, and maybe letting these people he has a love/hate relationship with sleep out next to the woods isn't a fabulous idea. So he allows them all to move into the big old farmhouse.

There is a lot of packing and discussion about sleeping arrangements (Glenn doesn't want to sleep in Maggie's room for fear of offending her dad; Hershel thinks Lori and Co. should have his bed because she's knocked up) that is tedious and boring, but I suppose the entire episode can't be zombie attacks. Sadly.

Andrea and Glenn have some trouble moving the camper, as it hasn't been started up since they've been here. And as they tinker with the engine, they discuss their feelings about Dale and how they both feel they let him down in various ways. As if the judgmental crazy eyes didn't make that obvious. But they decide that he knew they cared about him, and finally the camper starts. Like a heavy-handed sign from above.

Speaking of heavy-handed, Lori apologizes to Shane. If the Internet hadn't already been spinning about Shane getting offed (since Jon Bernthal got cast in L.A. Noir), this obvious scene where she forgives Shane for being a total asshole would have been a major red flag. She admits she doesn't know whose baby it is, that she's grateful to him for getting them the hell out of zombiefied Atlanta and is sorry about putting a rift between the two best friends.

And Carl, the stupid moron that he is, decides to confide in Shane that he stole the gun, taunted the zombie and is almost certainly responsible for Dale's death. He's got the gun (which I thought he dropped in the swamp, but maybe he retrieved it?) and gives it to Shane, prompting Shane to immediately run to Rick and tell him what happened and chastise him for his poor parenting skills. Shane's methods might be questionable here, but he's got a point. Rick's more worried about Randall tied up in the shack and what to do with him, than disciplining his own child.

Rick reluctantly postpones his plan to drive an hour away, dump off Randall some place random, and then return back that same night. This is a terrible plan. Why doesn't Daryl, who is Rick's wingman for this one, put the kibosh on it? Why can't they just leave at dawn? Or leave Randall tied up in the shack to suffer a little while longer? Why take your two strongest men and have them go on what could be a suicide mission to save one person? And an hour's drive seems like a remarkably long way to go without coming across some sort of trouble of the human or zombie variety. Not to mention the waste of gas. I'm not advocating killing Randall necessarily, but at some point, the cost of being a decent human being outweighs the reward. Even Dale would have seen that.

Rick's conversation with Carl is ridiculous, as it ends with him giving the kid a gun for his own protection and telling him that he has to man up. Why would you give this kid a gun? He's been nothing but reckless since Sophia's death. It's just asking for trouble.

While Rick and Carl are having their heart to heart, Shane goes to the shack and wonderfully flips out (in ways that we only caught a glimpse of before in that head-shaving mirror scene). He sees that Randall has rubbed his skin raw and nearly to the bone trying to escape the handcuffs and concocts a very confusing plan in which he makes it look like Randall somehow escaped, took down Shane and stole his gun.

He walks Randall out into the woods, finds out where the other people have set up camp, tells the kid he's thinking about joining that group instead, then snaps Randall's neck. Disappointingly, this is off screen. To slightly make up for that, Shane smashes his face into a tree, to really make it look like he was attacked.

After he stumbles back into camp all covered in blood, he tells his half-assed tale, and Rick, Glenn and Daryl follow him out into the woods to find Randall before he can bring back his friends. Glenn and Daryl split off in one direction, and even though it's dark (and they are stupidly traipsing around the woods even with the threat of walkers) Daryl's excellent tracking skills lead them right to a zombiefied Randall, and Glenn gets to stab him in the head. It's probably the best thing he's done all season. But Daryl senses something's fishy, because he sees the blood on the tree and the two sets of footprints and notices that Randall didn't die of a zombie bite, but instead of his neck being snapped. His spidey sense is tingling and he and Glenn run off to find Rick.

Rick is being lead to a big open field, where Shane plans to kill him under a giant moon. It's almost romantic. Rick figures out quickly what's going on, and there's a lot of conversation here about Shane's motives, but it is all crap we've heard a hundred times before. The important part is that Rick slowly moves towards Shane, offering up his weapon, saying that Shane's going to have to kill an unarmed man. But when he gets within arms distance, Rick goes and stabs Shane dead. Yeah, you heard me. He kills his best friend in cold blood. It may have been self-defense and all, but who's the heartless killer now?

Of course, Rick starts crying over the dead body. And of course dumbass Carl followed him into the woods. Seriously, how did that kid make it through the woods at night, on his own, without getting eaten by a zombie or noticed by Daryl? And why, as we see the farmhouse in the distance, did Shane decide to commit murder on a hill relatively close to where people are instead of further away in the woods? Anyway, Rick tries to explain and Carl picks up the gun and looks like he may shoot his dad. Instead he shoots at zombie Shane, who has taken this moment to wake up and stumble after Rick. He still looks pissed, and out for revenge, even in his zombie state. And all that bullet-wasting target practice in the woods paid off, as Carl makes a clean headshot.

But as Rick goes to check to make sure that Shane's all dead and not mostly dead, we see that there are thousands of walkers in the woods who heard the gunshot and are now heading towards them. How convenient! Since while Rick and Shane wandered the woods looking for Randall they didn't see a single walker. One can only hope that this means that Carl might be next to go.

While I'm sad to see Shane get killed off, as he was one of the more interesting characters, he did outlive his comic book life expectancy so I guess I'm grateful for that. And things eventually had to come to a head between him and Rick because hearing them have the same argument on a weekly basis had gotten really old. I just wanted a bit more of a blaze of glory for Shane, instead of seeing him stage a poorly executed stunt to lure Rick into the woods. For a minute I hoped he would go get Randall's crew and come back to stage an all-out war between the two groups, but that was not to be.

The interesting thing that came out of here is that we got to see that people who are killed off don't necessarily have to have been infected by another zombie in order to turn. So anyone that dies can turn, except those bodies in the car on the road? I guess? Unless this is a new development? I'm sure the writers have some sort of way that they are going to explain it. But the idea that people are already somehow infected with the zombie virus (or whatever made-up sciencey stuff) is kind of disturbing in a potentially interesting way (could Lori's baby be born a walker?), so I'm going to give it a pass. For now. Especially since next week's the season finale and there are lots of zombies on the horizon.

Walking Dead




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