The Walking Dead “Better Angels”

Posted on March 12, 2012

Question: Was the penultimate episode of this season an indication that the writers have figured out where they want to go and thus the episode itself was the best one since Season 1 or is this just the show’s tendency to save all the good parts for the last 5 minutes of an episode writ large?

Either way, we’ll take it.

We’ve been saying for a while now that the show needs a couple big deaths and with Shane’s rather dramatic exit from the story, that feeling we’ve been wanting to feel all season is finally back: all bets are off; no one is safe. In fact, this feeling of dread seems to have been something of a theme for the show. Rick had a heart-to-heart with Carl where he pulled no punches about what he can expect out of life: death. And lots of it. It’s a philosophy that would be (quite obviously) labeled as fatalistic in the real world, but in the world of the walkers, it’s just good common sense. “Lots of death is coming, so you better be prepared for it.” If anything, this should be the overall theme of the show. We wonder if the writers have it in them to keep things so dark for the long term.

As an aside, we’d just like to apologize to a friend or two out there because we just recently spoiled the book for them, thinking it would have no effect on the TV series. Shane died very early in the story in the books and wasn’t ever a major character. He’s stuck around so long in the TV series that we honestly thought the writers were going to disregard his death completely. They’ve been getting so much story possibility out of keeping him alive, after all. So, not only did we recently tell a friend about Shane’s death, we included the part about Carl killing him, blithely secure in our assumption that it would never come to pass in the TV series. Whoops.

To be fair, they really did wring as much story out of the nutty little sheriff for as long as they could. In retrospect, his death last night seems so obvious. This has been building since last season, and the tension in the Lori-Rick-Shane dynamic has fueled the entire story up until now. We thought Lori’s appeal to Shane put a nice coda on that story but we were pleasantly surprised that that scene had more nuance than we realized. Lori thought she was putting an end to her time with Shane but all she managed to do was get him even more fired up. She thought she was saying “We’re over,” and he thought she was saying “We still have a chance.” It was a cleverly written scene and for once, we though Jon Bernthal nailed the acting (Seriously: we’re not going to miss his collection of acting school tics). With that dynamic removed completely, it’s exciting to realize we have no idea what this group of people will do going forward. The Grimes’ marriage troubles and paternity issues simply aren’t engrossing enough, so we’re thrilled that the writers seem to have finally figured this out. We will refrain from making any demands of the writers, but if there’s still a focus on Rick and Lori and their big bag of bullshit going forward, we’re going to use our power to say very intemperate things about them on the internet. We’re warning you, writers. Were wagging our fingers and everything.

Thankfully, it seems that they’ve recently understood that there are more people in this group than the conventionally attractive triangle at the center of it. Not only did T-Dog move and speak, he actually showed a little personality! Good T-Dog! Now go curl up on the floor next to the couch. We also got a bit more of Andrea (she’s not going to like the news coming her way and we’re REALLY curious what she’ll think of Rick’s version of events) interacting with Glen and taking the time to remember Dale. Plus, Darryl’s now Rick’s Number Two and we can already tell we’re going to love that. He was immediately suspicious of Shane’s story and – because he’s clearly the smartest person in the group – took the time to examine things and figure them out. That’s going to help Rick in the long run (assuming they both survive what’s coming) because he’s going to need some form of corroboration for the group to accept that he murdered one of their own.

And we clapped our hands in glee because they FINALLY unveiled one of the most important aspects of the story: you don’t need to be bit to turn into a walker; you only need to die. Everyone alive is already infected with the virus. This realization should drastically change the dynamic, assuming it ever gets out. We suspect Rick already knew this (remember the whisper in his ear at the CDC) and may try to keep it from the rest of them, but it also looks like Darryl and Glen figured it out. That entire scene in the woods was constructed so that Rick’s story would be corroborated, we think. Otherwise, if he came back telling everyone that he killed Shane and that they’re all infected, they’d have no reason to believe him and we’d be stuck with endless conversations about whether or not to believe him. Having all this stuff instantly corroborated is going to make it easier to propel the story down the road. This, too, fills us with glee. It’s showing that the writers have a plan and that they’re aware there’s probably been a little bit too much standing around and talking.

It looks like next week’s going to be a bloodbath and it says something (something very good, for once) about the show that we honestly don’t want any more main characters to die right now. Kill off all those nameless farm people and give us a core group of characters we can get behind, we’re thinking. And the fact that we’re thinking that is a good sign that we’re back to feeling a connection for the main group. Killing off two of the bigger characters has energized the show in a way that Sophia’s death never could. We’re excited about Walking Dead again! How much does it suck that there’s only one episode left?


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  • BigShamu

    Nice episode.  Much movement forward in many areas.  T-Dog Speaks.

    •  Even though what he said was the cliche, “Oh hell no!”

      • BigShamu

        Don’t forget him laying claim to the bed.  We can only hope for a full paragraph.

      • Tiffany Lodge

        I thought the same thing! Yay he speaks, but really?

  • HobbitGirl

    I stumbled on some spoilers from the comic, including Shane’s death, but given TWD’s willingness so far to go off-book I still was NOT expecting that to happen last night! The finale is looking like we’re going to get some serious peril, which has me excited: less talking, more Walking!

  • I applauded when I heard words come out of T-Dog’s mouth. The virus plot was one of the best things in this episode since it confirmed what they saw at the school. I’m excited for next week’s episode. 

  • Clearly the best episode in a long time – as much as I can’t wait for Mad Men to come back, I’d take 2-3 more eps of Walking Dead to follow this narative through.  Still some clear holes in the writing (why would Shane want to leave the guy’s body far away but shoot Rick in an open field right next to the house? and why was it Carl’s gunshot that alerted the walkers when Shane already fire a shot when Rick stabbed him?  But Darry Mother F***ing Dixon is back to the front, which is awesome… And why does it now take about 10 seconds to go from dead to walker???

    • Every walkers “arousal” time is different but I think screen fading to black and coming back to Rick crying over Shane was to show that some time had elapsed.

      • marjzilla

        I was wondering that too–how they accounted for how quickly Shane turned.  When Andrea’s sister was killed, it took her at least a whole day before she turned.  

      • if you consider that Carl probably heard the gunshot (when Shane shot as he was being stabbed), and they weren’t near the house… it’s probably only a few minutes. I thought that was a pretty quick turn around, myself, but stranger things have happened.

    • MilaXX

       How much did I love the Mad Men/TWD comparison promo?

      • baxterbaby

        “…drinks the way Herschel used to”!!!!!

  • You got something totally different out of the Lori/Shane scene than I did.  I thought she was purposely stirring Shane up, knowing he’d do something stupid and Rick would be forced to kill him.

    But, I think her talk almost did rein Shane in until he went to talk to Rick.  When Shane thought Rick was blowing off his concerns about Carl (he didn’t know that Rick changed his mind and did talk to him), that’s when he thought up his plan for offing Rick.

    ETA: Who else thought Carl was going to shoot Rick before Shane woke up? Also, since when is Carl such a good shot? That bullet whizzed right over Rick’s shoulder to his Shane square in the head.

    • jtabz

      So true. Is this the same kid who couldn’t hit a trapped walker from three feet away last episode?

      Maybe he was trying to hit Rick after all. Muahaha.

    • gsk241

      I thought the same thing about Lori’s little chat with Shane.  By admitting that she had feelings for him and that there is a good possibility that the baby is his, she was making Shane’s confrontation with Rick inevitable. 

      Whether it was intentional on Lori’s part or not, she set up a scenario where if Rick didn’t kill Shane, Shane would kill Rick.  If it was intentional, Lori is a horrible person for wanting to pit the two against each other with herself and her children as the prize.  If it wasn’t intentional, she’s an idiot for not seeing that coming.

      • Vodeeodoe

        Regardless of her intention, Lori’s conversation with Shane was ultimately something to unload/relieve her own conscience. She flat out tells him she doesn’t know who’s baby she’s carrying. She set off Shane’s last button. She’s the reason the episode ended the way it did.

    • he did target practice with everyone a while back. paniced the last time. did not make the same mistake twice.

      • turtleemily

        Especially since Rick had just told him that he (Rick) was going to die some day and that Carl couldn’t act like a child anymore.

    • jeeplibby02

      I can accept that Carl can shoot; after all, he had lessons, AND he had his dad’s permission to use the gun this time around, which made him less hesitant than he was with the swamp walker.  I did, however, take exception to the fact that Rick apparently could not hear Shane rise to his feet and shuffle toward him, groaning all the way. 

      •  Well, Rick had just murdered what used to be his best friend and it looked like his own son was willing to shoot him, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

      • marjzilla

        But why did Carl already have his gun out and pointed before Shane had gotten up?  Did he somehow know that you only have to die to turn into a zombie?  Otherwise, he was pointing the gun at Rick.  

      • Jay Taylor

        I’m with you about Rick apparently not hearing Shane shuffling towards him, jeeplibby02.  Same with Dale not hearing the zombie that offed him in the field.  That kind of plot hole irks the dorkus out of me.  And why wouldn’t Carl have shouted some kind of warning to Rick, so that there’d be less chance of Carl shooting Rick, and less chance of Rick getting Shane’d if Carl missed altogether.  

    • marjzilla

      My husband noticed Lori’s similarities to Lady Macbeth–she keeps manipulating her men.  That time in the tent where she told Rick that Shane thought the baby was his, that he was a danger, and then Rick runs off to town with Shane where they beat the crap out of each other.  Then she went and told Shane how grateful she was to him, how the baby might be his…she knew full well she was forcing a showdown between Rick and Shane.  

      •  TOTAL Lady Macbeth, and about as likeable, too! Ugh. She needs a smackdown.

    •  My thoughts exactly – Lori has been pushing them both to off each other, so she was just stirring up shit. I find her completely unreasonable, and most of the time I see her I just want to scream. She’s manipulative as hell.

      As for the shot…yeah, the kid could hardly hold the gun before, then gets the perfect head shot? My dead great Aunt Frannie. That’s some bullshit.

  • Even though I liked Shane’s crazy it was time for him to go. (And what an exit!) But where the heck did all those zombies come from? Haven’t they been making a ton of noise and shooting off guns year the house for a while now? But all of the sudden a zombie horde has decided to make a move?

    • BigShamu

      I was too busy doing Walker math in my head, Large Number Walkers + 50 head of Cattle = Very Hungry People Trapped in Farmhouse.

      • Pennymac

        LOL @ Walker Math.

      •  esp since the cows seem to be converting, too? at least partially?

        yeah, Maggie’s right – ring that dinner bell.

  • Macasilver

    If the virus/infection became airborne (and everybody has it) then it must have mutated because back on the highway they showed a lot of dead bodies inside cars. I still think that is what Rick found out on the CDC, but it would be incredibly dangerous (stupid) on Rick’s part not to share that info with the group. Not to mention forgetting to destroy Shane’s brain after killing him. I remain intrigued.

    • I just read an interview where someone asked that question about the people in cars.  They said if you look very closely, all of them had some type of trauma to the head either from the car accidents or people who came along before Rick and Co. and took the car bound walkers out. 

      Also, I think Rick wasn’t sure if what Jenner said was true.  He may have been waiting to see if Shane woke up or not.

    • mommyca

      I read in Alan Sepinwall’s blog that Kirkman said in an interview that those dead, not zombies, in their cars died of a head trauma, thus, they did not become zombies/walkers…. Also, only those who died after the virus pandemic can become walkers, not all dead people in general…

      • Zippypie

        There were an awful lot of dead in the traffic jam though – all died of head trauma?  It was more of a traffic jam than a mass pile up from what I remember because most of the cars seemed intact.  I smell something not quite ringing completely thought out on the part of the writers….hmmmm

        I’d buy it more if the virus only became airborne later in the epidemic when infection reached critical mass and the people in the traffic jam died earlier on before they were infected. But whatever. I guess it’s a minor point.

        • mommyca

          yes, that’s a good point… but also it could be some of those dead had been shot in the head (and left still sitting in their cars) by someone else before Rick’s group got to them….. (oops, somebody already replied the same…)
          also at the beginning when military was gunning people down in the hospital, did they shoot them in the head? i don’t remember that…. if that’s the case, it would give the idea that they knew the virus was airborne….

        • Macasilver

          That’s what I was thinking, it became airborne after those people died (virus mutated). Other flukes I thought of were the guys from the bar, who were shot but not to the head (almost certain). Those bodies did not come back and they were at this bar for quite some time. Still wondering about some holes in the plot.

          •  I don’t know about the one behind the bar, but Rick stepped directly over to the other guy and shot him in the head after he was down.

          • Pennymac

            The guy behind the bar was definately a head shot, I remember the blood splatter on the mirror. And I can’t believe that I just typed that…

        • The thing is, if they knew about airborne thing, why would you not start cremating all bodies?  Of course, I’m never clear on how zombie hordes get so far in taking over the world — yeah, they attack people and turn them into more of themselves, but they’re also stupid and not superpowered, except for a resistance to pain and non-head shots. 

          • Glammie

            Yep, I wonder those things myself.  There are already plenty of cremation traditions and ways of dealing with viral outbreaks–the lack of any kind of containment’s just sort of strange.  You even got something going during the Black Plague when the whole transmission thing wasn’t understood.  

            But, then, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be building the equivalent of medieval keeps, ditches, moats, fortresses, etc.  Walkers are less agile and dumber than live humans.  

            Oh, let’s see, also don’t know why you wouldn’t work out various signals–i.e. smoke signals–to communicate with other living people.  

            Well, anyway, I suspect next week is Herschel’s last stand–the farm will be overrun and our gang will be on its way, or captured by Randall’s buddies.

          • Because the only people who can survive a zombie apocalypse are morons, that’s why! 

          •  My family thinks we’re strange because my husband and I actually have conversations about what buildings would be the safest in a zombie apocalypse.  He likes WalMart buildings because there aren’t a lot of windows so barricading it would be relatively easy and there’s a lot of food and clothing.

          • Glammie

            Hmmm, not back, but you are on a ground floor and you have those big back entries. I’m partial to something where there’s an upper story that could be readily sealed off and that had cellars and stuff that could be sealed off–a winery might not be bad.  Some kind of tower, where you had look-out/signaling possibilities.  You’d need some sort of cistern/water supply.  

            Simplest thing, though, might be a houseboat–you simply anchor out on the water at night.  Supplies would be an issue, but you could move locations which would be helpful.  But then, I’ve been in favor of finding an island, anyway.  

          • apollonia666

            Hm… but given that some reanimate quickly and cremation can take a while, what about when they reanimate before the brain is destroyed?  Then you have FLAMING ZOMBIES ON FIRE after you!

          • Glammie

            Which would be kind of cool–however, you just tie ’em up before lighting ’em up.  That’s how they burned people at stake.  There’s also weighing them down.  And, well, crematoriums work very fast at a very high heat, but I’ll give a pass on that as there’s been a breakdown of the power grid.

            Though, if that’s all happened, we should have radioactive wastelands and radioactive zombies.

          • Zippypie

            Oh please!  I DO want to see that!!

  • I thought it was T-Dog’s time to go, simply based on the amount of words he got to read this week. I was more excited to see it was Shane. Would have rather it been Carl though. 

  • MilaXX

    I have to say that when Shane was filled all I could think was ” ’bout time.”  That said I agree that have Dale & Shane, but especially Shane die upped the ante in a way that Sophia and Hershel’s red shirt daughter could never do. If the seemingly holy trinity of Shane/Lori/Rick can be broken then everyone if air game. Also? Horde of walkers coming for them? Excellent. I still get annoyed at these people wandering off alone or going out at night, but last night was the first time in a good while that I watched both East and West coast feeds.

  • Frank_821

    I loved the intensity of Shane’s death. It was brutal but necessary. Rick’s comments and rage towards Shane about how Shane thinks he can just take his wife and raise his children after killing him showed they reached a point of no return. Rick loved him and hoped to get the old Shane back but it was clear to him, he was too far gone and had to be taken out.

    Also interesting how Randall comes across in the scene before his death. There was something that was clearly a little untrustworthy, desperate and weasely. It’s hard to feel sympathy for some one who seemed to be willing to go along with any horrible act or rat anyone out if it ensured his own survival

    •  Randall came across as the kind of guy who’d think “So what if she’s underage and says she don’t wanna- who’s gonna stop me?”

    • Zippypie

       Completely confirmed that Randall was a nasty little rapist who would do/say anything.

      • BigShamu

        Although he did say that Shane would “…fit right in…”.

        • MattCooper27

          And he’s right Shane would have fit right in. I never liked him to begin with.

      • jeeplibby02

        How so?

        • Zippypie

          He completely glorified his former buddies to Shane, his former rapist buddies, and seemed pretty damn happy he was going back to them.  Told Shane he’d be one of the guys.  Yeah, guys that rape teenage girls.  Now that’s something to aspire to.

  • Randel Wiley

    I agree all the way. GREAT episode to re-energize the show in a much-needed intervention.
    And I really have to give it up for Laurie Holden who plays Andrea. There was that one shot of her as she and Glen were remembering Dale while fixing up the RV, and she didn’t even have to say a word. She conveyed the emotion of what her character was thinking just with her eyes and the expression on her face alone. The silence really gave us the chance as viewers to get in her head and feel the same thing in that moment.

  • dickylarue

    I stay spoiler free. I haven’t read the books. I didn’t know Shane was going to die. I’m much happier to watch these shows that way. It’s the same reason why I avoid Game Of Thrones books like the plague even though everyone else I know has read them. There’s something special about seeing these stories fresh that reminds me of being a kid at the movies in the 80’s and how wonderful that was. All this marketing that tells us todays audience needs to know every plot point before watching something really bothers me as there are a shit ton of movies I don’t go see once the trailer tells the whole story in 3 acts.

    Last night’s episode was amazing for me. When I realized Shane was leading Rick off to kill him for sure I honestly thought they were going to kill Rick. The writing was great last night. Having Rick tell Karl, “I’m tired” and then getting into that scene with Shane had me thinking we were about to see Rick get offed and see Shane take over the group, Rick’s family and take the series into a much darker place. 

    I thought the opening scene of the episode when they were killing walkers might have been a flash forward where Shane was leader and Rick was dead.

    Big credit to the show team and the actors for pulling off something totally unexpected and brutal last night. This season hasn’t been perfect, but it has major moments. If anything, they should take the time to make sure every act in every episode contains moments and not throw stuff. They have the talent, they just need to focus on execution. 

    I rewatched the death scene a couple of times last night. I wanted to see if Shane was going to take the gun and lay his down. I wanted to see if there were any indication that Rick lulled him back to his humanity, but the way they played it you couldn’t tell. 

    What I do know is I love that Rick fought for his family. It made his character even stronger. I was afraid all the “in memory of Dale” was causing Rick to go soft, but that wasn’t the case. Great episode.

  • Zippypie

    Now this was more like it!  Keep wagging those fingers at the writers, TLo, because if this show goes back to a tortured endless talk fest, I can’t take it anymore. This ep balanced the moral dilemmas of living in such a world with the reality of survival in such a world fantastically.  I really think Dale’s death took off the lid, so to speak.  Now that the “moral conscience” is gone, these people can become who they really are – Shane is a complete moral-free zone, Rick can drop his “sheriff” persona and activate his internal instincts (which luckily he did with Shane without a second thought or he’d be dead) and T-Dog can actually not only speak, but crack a joke about the governor pardoning Randall which neatly foreshadows what lies ahead next season (and I haven’t read the comics, just the casting notices!).

    What a relief that Rick has gotten over his moral high ground.  Seriously.  It’s taken up until this very episode for him to shed that suit of armor and just get down to taking care of what needs to be done.  I hope his talk with Carl continues to be his way of being – telling the truth but not agonizing over it.  Now I think both Rick and Carl have a chance at survival.

    Lori’s conversation with Shane – honestly, I didn’t know what her motivation was at all.  I got mixed feelings again, that she was still going back and forth as to which man she felt could protect her and her unborn kid again.  The words were saying “it’s over” but her manner of conveying those words still read ambivalence.  Perhaps it’s just the actress, but I didn’t get “it’s over” from her, which of course, triggered Shane into thinking she still wanted him, not Rick.  I didn’t think it was just in Shane’s head.  Was she trying to provoke Shane so that Rick would kill him?  It would kind of fit with her Lady Macbeth scene from 2 weeks ago but I’m just not sure.  The actress just doesn’t do subtly very well – or at least, I don’t see it.

    Really liked Andrea and Glenn’s scene at the RV – now that’s how to do a talking scene that actually has meaning.

    I didn’t know the comic secret that the virus was airborne – I actually thought perhaps Shane cutting his hand for blood with the same knife he killed zombies had something to do with him freaking out so much this ep – I thought he was getting sick perhaps – but with Randall, all was clear and thank the gods for Darryl Mofo Dixon, who is no fool and figured that shit out in seconds.  I’m really looking forward to Darryl being Rick’s No. 2.  He is definitely the most the savvy of the bunch.  I also liked the brief shot where he was looking at Carol during Dale’s funeral.  I thought that was a nice insight into Darryl’s true self and how much he really does care for her.

    What I don’t get is that the four of the men were wandering through those woods pretty far, crunching around, using a flashlight and didn’t see a single walker besides Randall and now all of a sudden there are hundreds of walkers pouring out the woods….  I know they were chowing a cow, but really?  Seems rather arbitrary.

  • “we’re going to use our power to say very intemperate things about them on the internet. ”  I can’t believe you just said that.

  • BookishBren

    I read somewhere that there will be a character, I thought it said a major character, who will be alive at the beginning of the finale and dead by the end. I hope the show considers the Nameless Farm People We Don’t Care About to be major characters. Kill off Hershel’s blondie daughter, Otis’s wife, the boy who randomly shows up—any and all of those folks will do. I truly hope Hershel survives the standoff at the farm. I really think he could be a great character moving forward and they undoubtedly have to leave the farm (finally!). 

    CDC guy took blood or saliva samples from everyone, if I remember correctly. I think maybe he was telling Rick his people were carriers or the virus was airborne. Something to that effect. At this point, I am thinking the virus is dormant and awakens at a person’s death. I also think that maybe the government knew it could spread through the air or body fluids because those soldiers were wearing gas masks when they were shooting people in the hospital back in season 1. Right?

    The zombie herd could have come from that infested neighborhood, the nearby freeway, or any number of places. It looks like they were in trouble either way as the herd was nearby and drawn to them because of the cattle. I hope Darryl survives for a very long time. He is really one of the best characters on the show. I look forward to seeing him “come into his own” and also develop something with Carole. 

    And finally, WHAT THE HECK, LORI?!!! How did Carl sneak out of the house to even be in the field?!! Seriously. Worst zombie apocalypse mom EVER!

    • BigShamu

      Not in the Queen of the Stupid’s defense but I think Carl was on watch duty.  I seem to remember him with binoculars. Given that he seems to go wherever he wants to go at any time with no repercussions from his parents going out in the dark to Shane pointing a gun at his father would seem in character.  I’m fairly certain that the Queen was too busy testing out her new bed in the Royal Bedchamber to notice Carl’s absence….yet again.

    • It could be something that is kept in check by the immune system, and once the antibodies stop being produced, it takes over. 

    • Macasilver

      I really hope Daryl gets to live, he’s my favoritw character. However I’m NOT rooting for him to have something with Carol, he needs to find someone cooler.

    • turtleemily

       I truly hope Hershel survives the standoff at the farm.

      I haven’t been having good feelings about his survival since he gave the watch to Glen. I could see him choosing to stay behind to help his family escape, especially if it comes out that he’s going to become a walker anyway whether he gets bit or dies naturally.

  • One thing really stood out to me – Carl pointing the gun at his father first.  Was he really planning on shooting Rick?

    I think that Daryl’s brother Merle is the leader of Randall’s group.  It’s a convenient way to bring him back into the picture.

    • BookishBren

      That would be good. Imagine the complications and turmoil it would create for Darryl!!!!

      And I can maybe see that group riding in and rescuing the farm group. Otherwise, why mention them and keep driving home the idea of the threat?

      • Yes, that was my exact thought. SOMEONE’s going to have to come in and save them, because it sure looks like a mob of the undead are headed their way.

    • jeeplibby02

      I think he is part of the group, but I don’t believe he is the leader.  There was some casting news a while back that suggested to me that the leader of the pack of villains will be someone else.

  • God, I love the zombie carnage. What does that say about me?

  • SVLynn

    Agreed, best episode of the season thus far, I thought this was the finale, so you made my day reading that we get to see what happens with all those walkers next week! You are right, Darryl is the smartest one on how to survive, maybe he and Rick will be a better duo. As much as Shane was hard to like, he was right about Randall, great episode. I hope next season they are going to leave the farm tho, it’s better when they’re on the road.

  • DinahR

    Lori – I too liked the conversation and found it nuanced, but I didn’t see it the same way you did. (which is why I love tv show blogging, love the different takes) What I see are Rick and Shane each doing their best to deal with this love triangle. Lori finally forced Rick to demand Shane leave her alone.  Before Lori’s convo with him the tower, Shane was forced to accept he can’t have Lori if he wants to stay.  He seemed to be doing an honest job of leaving her and Carl alone — but they don’t let him.  
    Meanwhile, with the tensions in the group and the differences in opinion over Randall, Lori’s unsure which of them are going to emerge as the alpha dog. Lori is also aware she ain’t the popular ‘first lady of the group’ she used to be, either. Even Carol got fed up with her. Lori doesn’t want to lose her place in the group that affords her & her children safety, the best of everything, and influence via a voice whispered in the leader’s ear. Lori is thinking about her own preservation here, and her kids. Shane is clearly trying to let Lori & Carl alone per his agreement with Rick and what Lori stated as her preference.  Lori knows Andrea is ready and willing to console Shane.  Lori wants Shane as a fallback option and she doesn’t want another woman in his heart. He won’t be a slave to his feelings for Lori forever if she doesn’t keep ‘innocently’ encouraging him. The only reason for her to approach Shane in private to talk about ‘old times’ when he’s peacefully minding his own and Rick is gone is to keep her hat in both rings. It was certainly another manipulative conversation on her part.

  • ShivaDiva

    Loved it.  I’m glad they seem to be getting their narrative crap together.  I still think the original version of Shane’s double deaths was more powerful — how they buried him alive without realizing it and Rick went back to dig him up and execute him again — but I’ll take it!   There were just too many posturing alpha males around to make any of them interesting.  Now, with Rick in charge and Daryl as Bad Lieutenant, things are definitely looking up.   Now the ladies need to step up and grow some ovaries!

  • And so much for committing suicide, unless you blow your own head off.  Any other method guarantees you a return performance as a Walker.  Which means that if Maggie’s sister had been serious about slitting her wrists, the group would’ve had an unexpected guest for dinner.

    • BigShamu

      Does this mean that if Lori’s baby dies at birth or soon after that we will get a very freakish Zombie Baby attempting to eat it’s own mother?  WOULD they go there?

      • Glammie

        Probably not, but that’s pretty twisted and funny–sort of like the psycho siamese twin baby in that X-Files episode.

      • Zippypie

         Reminds me of that campy crazy movie “Basket Case”!

        • BigShamu

          Holy shit, I had NOT thought of that movie in a great long while. (silently applauds Zippypie’s memory and internal freakiness)

  • I find it hilariously coincidental that you spoiled the Shane thing for your friend; At the start of the episode, I mentioned to my husband the same thing, not even thinking it would come true in the actual episode. He gave me a LOOK at the end of the episode as I apologized profusely. 

  • Well now you’ve spoiled the book for me too. I had no idea Shane was killed off early & not a major character in the books. That I just bought. Grrr.

    I’m so glad I wasn’t spoiled for his death in last night’s episode. I was totally shocked. I really thought this Shane vs. Rick dynamic was going to go on forever. I’m glad it’s not! They’re running a little low on “name” characters now though. I hope they add some new ones next season. And that T-Dog gets a bigger role. Also, how awesome was that last shot of all the zoms just over the hill? (Though I did find myself wondering how they could not hear hundreds of groaning, shuffling zoms. I guess killing a lifelong friend and having him come back to life and get killed by a 10-yr old *is* pretty distracting.)

    • sound travels in odd ways in big open places.

    • turtleemily

       Same way Rick couldn’t hear zombie!Shane coming up behind him, maybe? Because The Writers Said So. 😛

  • So…if they hadn’t done all that blabbing, no one would have understood the intense dynamic that brought us to this point. It would have just been corny.  And what? no complaining that once again Carl is running around a field at night by himself?   I actually can’t understand why you’d like this episode so much and not many of the other ones.

    Also left out of the ongoing discussion is some of the truly beautiful camera set ups, using comic book framing at its best. The frame of Carl and Rick in the barn window, and Rick and Shane on the ridge in the moonlight.  A great meld of two art forms.

    This was a great episode, but this whole season has been a lot of fun to watch. Without everything that lead to this we wouldn’t have interesting ideas to discuss like: while everyone was busy debating whose point of view was right, Rick or Shane, in terms of keeping the group safe, no one was discussing that maybe the best thing the group could to keep itself safe was to get rid of Shane.  It turns out that was true, and Dale had been alluding to that all season.

    So glad Darryl has come back from his pout. So sorry there’s only one more episode left.

  • mjude

    great episode, but i have thought all along they were good. as for shane, i didnt think it would happen until you knew rick was over it.  as for carl, i never got the impression he was aiming at his dad.  please dont kill daryl motherf’ng dixon. i just couldnt take it.

  • I don’t know where to begin with last night’s show. I read the spoilers last week and knew that Shane was going to die, so I spent the whole episode on pins and needles, swearing that if it were true, I would never watch again. However, when it came down to it, even though I’m Team Shane, I agreed that Rick did the right thing. I also thought Shane was beginning to turn when he was sitting in the barn with Randall and was slapping himself in the head. 

    The opening sequence was brilliant. All the talk of taking back their humanity juxtaposed with killing the hell out of zombies in the most brutal ways we’ve seen. 

    Oh, Carl, you inconsistent bastard. He goes from “I’ll never touch a gun again” to aiming one at his dad then shooting Shane right between the eyes. I’ll let it go because I truly believe he was aiming at Rick well before Shane stood up. What will he do now that he knows Daddy is a killer and he is one too? I think we will see a lot of crazy from this new Carl. At least I hope so. 

    When Lori was talking to Shane, I almost liked her, and she almost looked pretty. I don’t think she has it in her to be Lady MacBeth. I think she is one of the weakest links and doesn’t think beyond the moment. 

    Darryl…sigh…I never really “got” it concerning him, but I get it now. He was in top form last night. I don’t want to see him as Rick’s #2, I want to see him as #1. But I don’t know if he can work through his issues to do that. 

    Overall, brilliant. I yelled at the tv, I gasped, I said “no, no, no!” and “Oh my God!” more than I have in a while (at tv), and I still knew that Shane was going to buy it. So, if you can produce a show like that for someone who already knows the spoilers, I’d say job well done. 

    • Vodeeodoe

      Who does Carl go to for confession and help? Shane. Shane is the guy who was more like a father to that kid. Rick can’t deal with that job. I’m sorry for Carl that Shane died, and it took so long for Shane to get up, that I find it a little difficult to believe that Carl wasn’t initially pointing that gun at his dad, because he kind of figured that he just killed Shane.

  • Pennymac

    I half assed watched this ep on the DVR last night, but after that ending, I’m going to watch it again. I felt like peeking through my fingers while Shane and Rick were in the woods, wondering what was going to happen. YAY!!!!

  • BigShamu

    Did anyone flash to the printer murder scene from Office Space when they were kicking the shit out of the cow killing walkers?  Made me giggle.

    • turtleemily

      I thought that too and said so in my comment. I should’ve read all the others first. 😛

    • cornpicker73

      YES! I said to my husband, “just like Office Space when they beat the shit out of the crappy printer.” Just needed some gansta rap is all. 

  • DinahR

    City Girl here, with a zombie question regarding cows.  They seem kinna huge to me, and while not violent, they seem strong and sturdy.  Not like something a person can kill with their bare hands. Cows can run away, stampede over slowpoke, fragile zombies, bulls seem kinna badasss maybe? heh  They seem tame, but not exactly stupid enough to just let someone come up and gnaw on them without reacting.  Anyway, I just don’t get how walkers are taking out healthy cows without weapons. A simple bite wouldn’t kill a cow, right?  Wouldn’t they be harder to rip open than poor Dale?  Couldn’t a cow just stomp them down?   Obviously I’m thinking too hard about this.  I’m sorry if I’m missing the obvious here…

    • BigShamu

      You’re pretty much right about the cattle.  They are not tame (and like to go thru fences) but I’m not really sure how the zombies are killing them in Walking Dead World.  They’ve only shown them post-zombie attack.  I guess they are leaving it up to your imagination Dinah.

      • DinahR

        Thank you for the reply!   It’s good to know I’m not missing something.  I am happy to just accept for the sake of the narrative that zombies are killing cows.  I just wondered if this was some sort of new ability, or if I was just that clueless about cattle.  

    • Glammie

      Yeah, the whole superhuman powers of zombies seems a little strange, doesn’t it?  Particularly since they seem to be always hungry.

      • DinahR

        It does!  I am confounded by the things zombies can do (track Carl, kill a cow) when it seems easier things (like a bunch of them breaking out of the barn) they can’t manage.  Mysterious zombies. 

    • Zombies feel no pain, and wounds that are fatal on a human aren’t to a zombie, with the exception of head trauma or catastrophic damage like from being set on fire.  So they wouldn’t be stopped by cows inflicting pain and trauma.   And the human jaw can inflict over 400 lbs of pressure in a bite, so they could take down a cow with a bit of luck — as long as they didn’t get trampled to severely. 

      • DinahR

        I’m going to be the only person worrying about the poor defenseless cows on the show now!  I guess if zombies are relentless in pursuit eventually a cow is going to get tired too.  I like you’re idea that luck is the a key ingredient too.  

    • turtleemily

      The same way they swarmed the horse, maybe? Or maybe they’re going for the throat? It could also be that these ones we’ve seen killed got injured after they got out – all it would take is a wrong step in a gopher hole to break a leg.

      • DinahR

        The injury idea makes sense to me too.  Good point.  If a single cow was swarmed or overwhelmed I could see that too — like with the horse.  But just one or two zombies is what got me to wondering…  thanks for the reply! 

    • Vodeeodoe

       I thought that in the first season when that zombie was eating a deer. How’d that happen? Plus, only one zombie took out that cow. Kind of hard to believe.

      • DinahR

        Yup! I remembered that too but I thought (and I could well be wrong…) that the deer had been shot by Daryl who was hunting it but zombie got there first.  I recall him being annoyed the zombie was eating it because he’d been tracking it.  This idea goes along with turtleemily’s below.  thanks!

    • I grew up around cows.  They do not defend themselves, except to run, or sometimes kick.  They don’t really even kick much.  Their tongues are like sand paper. If they lick you (I’ve never had one even bite), it can tear your shirt (but probably not your skin).  They are so docile.  If you stand in a field with cows in it, before long they will amble over and surround you, like you are another cow. It’s a weird phenomena. 

      A stampede is dangerous only because there are so many of them. They’re running in a big herd and they’re all scared, so they don’t stop.  A stampede of cow the same way a human stampede is dangerous. You get trampled, but not because anything is trying to trample you to death.

      So, yes, a boney, fingernails keep growing after death could walk right up to a cow and rip it open.

      • DinahR

        All I can say is poor cows!  But now I’m all worried about that herd in the field. ha  I love the show so I was willing to just go with it but its nice to have an answer too.  Thanks for taking the time to reply! 

  • Kim

    Question about continuity.  Did anyone else wonder how Randall was supposed to get out of the barn with handcuffs (which Rick and everyone could see weren’t there)?  and it appears that as a zombie he didn’t have the handcuffs on, given that he had them on when he was walking with Shane in the woods.   But what the hey, it only took them xx weeks (Zombie weeks not episode weeks) to ask where his group was camping.

    • turtleemily

      Randall’s hands appeared to be tied with something else (rope?) when Shane was walking him through the woods. Shane probably removed it after killing him to corroborate his story of being attacked.

      What surprised me was how decomposed Randall already was. His eyes were sunken and his face appeared to have parts rotting.

      • I think that was partially due to the injuries to his face from the beating Daryl gave him.  Being dead made them look worse.

    • I didn’t like the scene with Darryl and Glenn finding Randall. I wasn’t really clear on whether it was Randall. I assumed it had to be, but it wasn’t as clear as I had hoped. 

  • turtleemily

    Did anyone else immediately think of Office Space during Dale’s eulogy when T-Dog, Darryl, Andrea, and Shane were kicking and beating the walkers?

    Lori apologizing to Shane pissed me off. HE STILL TRIED TO RAPE YOU!

    And either the writers don’t know the context of “better angels,” or they meant to use it ironically. I think I prefer the former.

  • Vodeeodoe

    I guess I’m the only one who’s gonna miss Shane. I felt like the confrontation at the end had Shane not caring either way how it would end. He either wanted to die or have Rick die. If anything good comes from Shane dying, I hope the writers pay more attention to T-Dog, maybe start calling him by his real name, and make him a developed character. Rick and his decision/indecision and his boring family are the worst thing in this show besides Sophia’s mom (who needs to stay away from Daryl, please). I’m hoping Carl gets it next. Either that, or he learns quickly how to stay near adults and stop doing things that will kill everyone he knows. Get Andrea, Glen, his girlfriend and T-Dog to break off and start their own group. This show could use a few new characters. Last thing – what’s up with Daryl? If I’m not mistaken, after the group decided to think over what to do with Randall for a few hours, wasn’t he all up in the barn beating the snot out of him and torturing him? Then he informs the group that Randall’s group will kill and rape everyone, then he’s fine with letting Randall go? The writing’s a been a little sketchy with his character, since the Sophia thing.

    • asympt

      They were going to dump Randall an hour and a half away, fifty or a hundred miles away from his group.  While Rick salved his conscience by giving him some supplies and some kind of a chance, Daryl couldn’t have believed he’d have a chance in a thousand of surviving long enough to get back to his group–nor would the frightened little opportunist have worried as much about revenge as about finding some other group he might be able to glom on to to protect him.

      While he was near the farm and so was his old group, that was the easiest way for him to try to survive, but not after he’d been dropped off west of nowhere.

      And realistically he’d’ve been dead within days anyway.  So I easily see Daryl going along with it to calm the group down.

      • Vodeeodoe

         Thanks for your viewpoint – it makes sense. Me, I’m a pessimist, I would have killed that guy, not believing anything he said about how many and where the other miscreants were located.

    • I LOVE Shane. I will miss him terribly. 

  • bellafigura1

    OMG, finally, I’m out of work and home and can … bond with y’all over the most. tense. episode. ever. I could barely stand it!  I had no idea what was coming and was stunned. I too kind of loved Shane, like a lot, and will definitely miss his stomping around and big face and head-rubbing.  I too thought the scene with Lori was fabulous and sexy-tense, so much so that I thought he might try another liplock right there and then. Their profound misunderstanding of each other was fantastic, understated, subtle writing. A great scene. I lurf a lot how little Carl is turning into a freaky child-of-the-zombie-apocalypse!  It’s so great to see a complex kid with a dark side on tv!!  I just completely love this show, thank you so much for being a FASHION BLOG THAT ALSO LOVES WALKING DEAD.  It’s almost too much goodness for me to bear.

    • cornpicker73

      Ditto everything you said.

  • glennethph

    I wish Rick or Lori died.

  • MattCooper27

    While I understand the heart-to-heart talk Rick had with Carl in the barn, it seemed a little unbelievable that Rick told him to keep Darryl’s gun. Basically it seemed he was saying to him, “You’ll need to protect yourself next time you stupidly wander off into the woods.” I know Carl has been trained to use the gun, but come on, does he really have the emotional wherewithal to know when and where to use it. And wasn’t it more than just Dale who didn’t want Andrea to have a gun? ‘t seemed as if it was a set up for him to be part of the climactic moment of pointing it at his father then shooting Shane. 

    • Vodeeodoe

       Seems slightly believable seeing as an episode or two ago his wife was berating Andrea for not leaving the zombie killing to the men so she could do her womanly duty of warshin’ dishes, cleaning and doing laundry. With that kind of writing, it’s no wonder T-Dog gets no dialogue and Glen constantly gets chosen to be human bait.  Dale didn’t really want anyone to have a gun. Remember when he endangered the entire camp by trying to get rid of all the guns in the forest?

  • MattCooper27

    With the exception of the Rick Shane confrontation which was tense, I’m kind of over this show. There are so many things that are bugging me: Lori, the fact that Carl’s single deadeye gunshot suddenly brings a small army of walkers out of woods that have been virtually quiet all season, the total neglect of characters like T-Dog… everything has left me with a sarcastic desire to suddenly have a car drive up and maybe someone like Austin Scarlett step out. Oh but wait, this is the South. There aren’t any gay people in the South… at least judging from the demographics of the characters the writers are using. 

    • asympt

      I keep relating the walkers to the mouse infestation that took over my house this month.  For quite a while you see one once a week or so, then you go out of town for a week–and suddenly there is mouse poop EVERYWHERE and they’re running all over the living room while you sit there looking at them and trapping four or five a day.  What the f?  You think the one or two you trapped a month was keeping the invasion at bay, until it turns out that sometimes nature is just gonna explode when it’s ready to.

      I’m about to have my kitchen ripped apart by mouse-exclusion guys, and Rick’s group is about to flee the farm.  The single gunshot didn’t bring them all there, it was just Dramatic Television Timing of the floodgates that were gonna open anyway sooner or later.

  • cornpicker73

    I loved it, too. Agree with your read on the Lori Shane convo. I was also irritated given that he tried to rape her, that she was all apologizing to him, but I could see that she was trying to thank him for the good he did do in the hopes that it would lead to peace for all of them. The last 20 mins or so, I was crawling out of my skin. The tension was great, and agree with another commenter who mentioned some of the beautifully set up shots. Nice. 

    I don’t get why Rick would want to keep the secret that everyone is potential zombie. This seems like useful info, you know? “Hey, guys, all dead people (barring head trauma) turn in to walkers, so we have to be sure to stab the shit out of your brains if you die, no offence, ok?” 

    Looking forward to next week and I’ll be jonesin’ for some zombies until next season! Wonder where they’ll head next. Maybe the island theory will take hold. 

    • asympt

      It is useful info, and lucky that Dale was mercy-shot in the head.

      I’m trying to remember if they brained the guys they killed in the bar–

      • cornpicker73

        But Dale got chomped, so they figured they had to do it. Randall and Shane were not killed by the zombies, thus no doing away with their brains. 

        • asympt

          The question is, though, did Rick find out at the CDC that everyone has the zombie virus, and will reanimate after they die if they don’t have a significant brain injury.  If he took care to make sure the bar guys were shot/bashed in the head, it lends credence to the theory that he’d been told that.

  • quiltrx

    My hubby and I are zombie conoisseurs, and we judge how you look when you turn…well done, Shane, you made a KILLA zombie (for a few seconds anyway).

    And HEY…that dude that lives on the farm that I’ve been asking where he was for like a month?  He turned up in the “fortifying the house” scene when the group was moving in the house.  I still don’t know his name, and I don’t know why i give a fuck, but if he’s been alive all this time, where the HELL has he been??? Picking daisies???

    Great ep.  And I love me some Darryl, maybe even more than before.

  • Is there going to be a Season 3? If yes, please show me the link that announces it.

  • Mariah J

    I did the same thing with Shane’s death. After Rick killed him I said aloud “Aww man I really liked in the novels how Carl got to kill him, too dark for tv I guess” and then BAM….kinda ruined that scene for my non-graphic-novel-reading family.  I knew he would die sooner or later though, he’s too crazy and the love triangle thing was getting old fast. I am sad that Dale died, his relationship with Andrea in the novels was one of my favorites 🙁

  • I’m still a bit disappointed they defused the barn so bloodlessly. It was a decent reveal of Sophia’s death, but I thought the big disaster it caused when the truth came out in the comics was a lot more dramatically satisfying. You do something stupid or risky and you pay for it big time. Now it’s just like: hey, look, a pack of walkers.

  • I’m actually surprised y’all liked this as much as you did, because I started checking the clock to see how much time was left about halfway through, and when Rick stabbed Shane I literally started laughing like an idiot. To me, this episode was too little, too late – love the comic books (even though the arguably move as slow as the show, or worse), but when Herschel is the only character that interests me outside of Darrell (because I love Darrell, I have to admit he’s a REALLY nice addition to the characters; I wish he was in the books), that says something.

    Also, are we not acknowledging that there was a zombie cow? What with twenty head of cattle on the farm and all, that’s… worth mentioning.

    I think it’s just ridiculous that the group never seems to talk about what’s actually going on. Their big meetings to discuss things are just a waste of time and energy.

    Also also, how the fuck did Carl disappear out of the house without Lori noticing, at NIGHT no less? Between that and “dammit Andrea, the womenfolk need to be in the kitchen makin’ pies!” I just want to slap the shit out of her. Even in the scene with Shane I found her the least relatable, likeable character I’ve encountered in a while.

    Anyone basing their zombie plan off this show is pretty much doomed.

  • BigShamu

    I really, really dislike the character of Carl.

  • Pcuad

    In the dynamic of Rick, Shane and Lori, Lori wins. She pitted these two men together because deep down inside she knew she had to rely on just one. If Shane survived she would pick up where she left off and tell him she thinks the baby is his and they go on. Plus she had the hots for Shane in a way she did not for Rick. If Rick survives, she has a protector in the man she married, the father of her first child and second, no matter what. She played two men perfectly, winding them up and setting them off and then stands back to see what happens. If Shane and Rick had any sense they would have sat down, exchanged stories, and found out her manipulations and turned on her. Froze her out. Divorce Zombie Apocalypse Style. Then what, Lori? 

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  • rage_on_the_page

    What the hell, Lori?! Keep track of your goddamn kid.

    That would be my review of every episode, ever.