Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Walking Dead S2E12 "Better Angels" (3/12/12)

 Rick's eulogy over Dale's grave is the soundtrack as Shane, Andrea, T-Dog and Darryl go zombie-hunting.  They kill a lot of them.  They kill some of them particularly viciously, including kicking one to pieces.  That was Shane's instigation, by the way.

Since more and more zombies are starting to show up at the farm, Rick's crew is given permission to move into the farmhouse where it's safer.  Herschel is feeling magnanimous and gives up his bedroom to Rick, Lori and Carl, saying he and the couch are old friends from his drinking days.  Rick has decided that they're going back to the original plan of releasing Randall into the wild.  Shane disagrees with this plan of course and says he won't be part of it; Darryl gets enlisted in his place.  Later, Rick asks Andrea to back Herschel up while he's gone.  She immediately assumes this means "babysit Shane," which it does.  Andrea takes offense on Shane's behalf but agrees to keep an eye on things.

Carl tells Shane how he failed to kill the zombie that killed Dale.  Shane tells him that it wasn't his fault, although it really sort of was.  Carl hands him the gun he stole from Darryl, saying that he doesn't want to touch another gun ever.  Shane insists that he needs it for protection but Carl refuses to take it back.

In the midst of moving their things into the farmhouse, Lori sees Shane working on the farm's windmill and goes to talk with him.  She thinks that he's okay with how everything has shaken out and so misguidedly admits that she doesn't know who the baby's father is.  She goes on and on (the writing is pretty lame here), crying, thanking Shane for saving her and Carl.  You just know that this is totally going to mess with his head and make him think he's got a chance with her.  She apologizes for what happened between them and as she walks away, Shane has a "WTF just happened?" look on his face.

Next, Shane tells Rick about Carl's zombie guilt.  He thinks that Carl needs to talk to his dad even though Rick is raring to go on his Randall-release fieldtrip.  Shane hands over the gun Carl stole from Darryl and sneers that the prisoner is more important to Rick than his own son.

Glen and Andrea try to get Dale's RV going again but it's cranky without Dale's light touch.  They talk about him a little, Glen sad that he let Dale down by not supporting his "don't kill Randall" position.  Andrea reassures him.  They get the RV started.

Rick finds Carl pouting in the hayloft.  He returns Darryl's gun to him and drones on and on about how what happened to Dale wasn't his fault (even though it really sort of was). Blah blah blah I wish you had a better childhood blah blah blah everybody dies blah blah.  Anyone think Carl is going to redeem himself with that gun?

Out in the shed, Randall is shredding his wrists trying to get free of the handcuffs.  He's still blindfolded and gagged so when Shane comes in, Randall doesn't know who's there.  Shane does some of his patented "I'm crazy" head-ducking and -tilting.  He holds his gun to Randall's head but doesn't shoot him.  Meanwhile, Rick and Darryl are ready to go so T-Dog (who's had like five lines this episode - atta go, T-Dog!) goes to fetch the prisoner.  When he gets to the still-locked shed, however, Randall is gone.  "Aw, hell no!"

Shane manhandles Randall through the woods.  He removes the blindfold and gag and asks where Randall's group is.  Randall wants to know why.  Shane says he can't stand his group anymore and wants to join new people.  Randall is totally psyched about this: "It's a tough bunch of guys ... you'll fit in good!"  Okay, heh.  They walk behind a tree where, out of sight, we hear a scuffle and a yelp.  Shane walks back out alone and then runs himself face-first into a tree, knocking himself down and breaking his nose.  Dude is bugfuck crazy, y'all.  He creeps back to the farm property where he observes the rest of the group scurrying around all frantic over the missing Randall.  Shane staggers out of the woods, yelling dramatically, "Rick! He's armed! He got my gun!"  Rick, Glen and Darryl arm up and head back into the woods with Shane while everyone else barricades themselves in the farmhouse.  Carl takes the binoculars and watches the men head out.

Darryl is a little skeptical that wee Randall could have gotten the drop on big ol' thug Shane but they split up anyway (Darryl and Glen; Shane and Rick) and start searching.  Anyone think Shane is going to try to kill Rick now?  He looks like a complete madman with the blood pouring down his face and Rick, to his credit, doesn't seem to trust him very much.  Meanwhile, it's gotten dark and Darryl grumps about how pointless this random searching is.  He and Glen start again from the edge of the woods and Darryl soon finds Shane and Randall's trail, and Shane's bloody tree, and Randall's blindfold.  But no Randall ... until a walker that looks A LOT like him attacks them.  Glen offs the zombie with a machete chop to the skull and the boys check the body.  He was killed by a broken neck (the scuffle and yelp) but there are no bites anywhere that they can see.  Glen: "How is that possible?"  They exchange extremely freaked out glances.  Seriously - how is that possible?  It goes against zombie cannon.

Rick and Shane come out into one of the pastures.  Shane draws his gun.  Rick holsters his and says, "So this is where you plan to do it?  Have the balls to call it what it is: murder."  Shane: "It ain't gonna be easy, but Lori and Carl will get over you - they done it before."  Rick: "I know you.  You won't be able to live with this."  Shane is all, you have no idea what I have to live with and then they start shouting at each other, fighting over who's better for Lori (she's really not that much of a prize, boys), who's a better father to Carl, who's a better man.  Rick tries to talk Shane down, saying it's not too late for them to put this behind them.  He holds his gun out to Shane and when Shane moves to take it, Rick stabs him in the heart with the dagger he had stuck in his belt.  Slick!  Shane falls, dying, and Rick screams at him, "You did this to us! You did this, not me!" Shane dies and Rick just howls, mourning his friend.

There's a strange zombie flash.  Rick gets to his feet.  There's another zombie flash - oh, Shane's totally going zombie, don't you know.  And then goddamn Carl shows up.  He pulls his gun; it's aimed towards Rick who thinks his son is about to shoot him for stabbing Shane.  Carl fires at Zombie Shane lurches towards the unsuspecting Rick and the bullet goes right through Zombie Shane's skull.  Nice shootin', Carl!  But don't linger over your success because at the far side of the pasture, a hella lot of zombies are staggering your way.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time (which looks to be carnage-filled) on The Walking Dead


  1. Did Rick go deaf? Z-Shane is gurgling, lurching, and not generally being very stealthy only a few steps from Rick, yet Rick can't hear him. Was he that focussed on Carl? Not a great survivalist.
    And again, they have no qualms (or discussion) on Randall knowing EXACTLY where the farm is, down to his buddies camp being "5 miles" away. Seriously.
    An interview I saw on the EW blog with the head writer says the you die and become a zombie thing has been there. The group just hasn't seen someone die from something other than a zombie-related cause, so how would they know? After I read that, I thought about the hanging zombie from the first half of the season. They assumed he hung himself after he was bitten, but did we ever see them confirm it? The writing is so bad, they may have just gotten lucky that it now might back up their no bite needed to be a zombie angle.

  2. Thanks for pointing out the weak writing when Lori was speaking to Shane. I think the writing has been very weak this season. In S1, Dale was one of my favorite characters, yet I wanted him dead in S2. The difference in quality between the two seasons is very telling and not just via special effects budget, the writing has definitely suffered. Don't get me wrong, it's still my favorite apocalyptic zombie show on television, but S1 set a bar that S2 has not met. Last season, I religiously watched each episode as it came out and then again immediately afterwards. This season... meh, I watch a tivo'd version when I get around to it.

    I actually wonder if the ending of this episode is one of the reasons that Darabont left (if it wasn't over budget). The idea that (SPOILER) Rick kills Shane rather than Carl is a major change from the source material. With the whole Columbine fear that still grips our society, I could easily see why AMC decided to not have a child shoot and kill an adult who acted as a parental figure to said child earlier in the episode. That said, that is exactly why it is should have been kept as is. The original scene (in the comic) was far more climatic/dramatic with much bigger impact.

    Don't think I'll be buying this Season on DVD/Blu-Ray anytime soon.

  3. Wait - in the books, does Carl kill Shane when he's still ALIVE and not just when he's a zombie? That seems out of character. I gotta start reading the books. I also read that in the books, Shane gets killed off a lot earlier but Dale sticks around a lot longer. I liked Dale too but they wrote him too one-note. At least offing some major characters might bring some change to the show.

    I guess I can accept the whole getting zombified without getting bitten from the hanging guy earlier in the season. It's just such a huge departure from traditional zombie canon to have it happen this way in this universe. I suppose that helps explain why there are so damn many of them walking around, tho'.

    Thanks for commenting, y'all!

  4. From what I've read in the WD wiki, in the books, Shane (alive and not a zombie) is about to kill Rick and Carl shoots him first.