‘The Walking Dead: Better Angels’ – Recap

Posted Monday, March 12th, 2012 04:00 pm GMT -4 by 0

There’s a certain event that some of us have been waiting impatiently for, a certain hinted-at event in recent spoiler talk involving the season 2 DVD set.  Will it be tonight?  Read on!  Spoilers ahead!

Rick gives the eulogy at Dale’s funeral.  He wants to prove Dale wrong, that they’re not broken, but intercut with Rick’s inspirational speech are scenes of Shane, Andrea, Daryl and T-Dog brutally slaughtering a group of zombies they come across in a field.

Rick talks to Andrea and Shane

Preparations are made in response to the stray zombie that attacked Dale.  Everyone will squeeze into the house and stockpile supplies in case they are sequestered there.  Rick plans on taking Randall out and dropping him off instead of killing him.  Shane doesn’t agree, but Rick tells him to “swallow it.”  Understandably, tensions are high.  Everyone’s worried about zombies finding a way through the farm’s fences, and on top of that they’ll be living in very confined spaces together.  Carl confides in Shane that he took Daryl’s gun and loosed the walker that killed Dale.  Shane tries to give the gun back to Carl, but Carl swears to never touch one again.

Hershel offers his bedroom to Lori, Rick, and Carl.  This combined with something he said earlier to Rick about Shane having to obey their orders shows a marked change in Hershel’s attitude.  He considers Rick (and certainly Glenn)  family now, and the rest of the group relatives by association.

Lori finds time alone with Shane to say she “made a mess of things.”  She admits that she doesn’t know whose baby she’s carrying.  She finally thanks Shane for taking care of her and Carl and apologizes for the way she acted when Rick returned.  Shane is moved to tears, but I think the “Rage and Jealousy Have Made Me Crazy” train has already left the station.  As much as I like Lori making amends with Shane, I think this talk only fuels the fire for what happens later.

Shane tells Rick about Carl and the walker, but Rick wants to take care of Randall before talking to Carl.  Shane even offers to go with Daryl instead, but Rick is stubborn.  This is a strange sort of scene, almost a stand-off between Rick and Shane.  “Be a good father and talk to your son about his guilt over setting free the zombie that killed the nice old man!”  “NO!  You can’t tell me what to do so I’m going to do the opposite of what you say!”  Shane walks away in disbelief, giving Rick Daryl’s gun.

Carl and Rick

Andrea has trouble starting Dale’s camper, and Glenn helps with the engine, using the tricks Dale taught him.  Glenn worries that he let Dale down by not voting with him about killing Randall but Andrea is confident that Dale knew he was loved and respected.  It’s a nice quiet moment with Andrea and Glenn, two characters we don’t see together much.  Rick manages to find time to talk to Carl (there, was that so hard?) and assure him that Dale’s death wasn’t his fault.  He also offers him Daryl’s gun again.  This time Carl takes it.

Randall is working steadily at his handcuffs.  It looks as though he is wearing away the skin on his wrists so he can slip his hands out.  Shane comes into the barn to check on Randall and generally act like a psychopath, including slapping himself in the face.  MENTAL BREAKDOWN HAPPENING HERE.  He almost shoots Randall but sees Randall’s bloody handcuffs and has another idea.

T-Dog enters the barn to fetch Randall for the drop-off, but he’s missing.  (Side note – I did like T-Dog’s mention of the Governor’s pardon.  I know that’s a real thing, but I also liked the sly reference to the character of the Governor who will be coming in season 3.)  Shane has taken him into the woods and tells Randall that he wants to be led to his old gang so that he can join.  The murder of Randall happens offscreen, but it’s clear Shane snaps his neck.  From the woods Shane watches the group search for Randall, then comes out screaming for Rick.  He claims that Randall attacked him and then took off.  Rick, Shane, Daryl and Glenn search the woods while everyone else heads for safety at the house.  Shane grows considerably shifty and nervous.

The four split into teams, although it’s dark now and impossible to see much.  Tracker Daryl finds two sets of tracks and follows them.  They spot a walker nearby – it’s Randall.  Glenn stabs him in the head with his knife.  Daryl can tell that he died from a broken neck but there are no bite marks on the body.  This is the second time a character has made mention of zombies that had no bite marks.  Has the infection gone airborne?

Shane grows more and more frantic about his story, telling Rick that Randall also made off with his gun.  Rick continues to watch Shane with a strangely bemused look on his face, like he knows he’s making things up but is allowing it to go on because he finds it entertaining.  Coming upon a clearing, Rick finally confronts Shane.  Shane claims that Randall hit him with a rock and escaped, but when T-Dog came up to the barn the door was locked from the outside.  Shane suggests that Randall climbed out through the hole in the barn roof, but Daryl had repaired it that day.

Shane

Rick calls Shane’s bluff – he knows that Shane brought him to the clearing to kill him.  Shane draws his gun.  He intends to kill Rick and return to the farm with the tale that Randall shot Rick.  Shane believes he would be a better father and husband because would fight for his family where Rick won’t.  Rick offers his gun to Shane, saying he will have to kill an unarmed man.  As Shane gets closer to take the gun, Rick stabs Shane with a knife and kills him.  He takes some time to wail over his best friend.  As he sits next to Shane’s body, Carl wanders up.  Why isn’t anyone ever keeping an eye on Carl!?  Was nobody standing by the door!?  Distraught, he aims his gun at Rick.  Shane awakens in zombie form, behind Rick and therefore unseen by him.  It looks like Carl will shoot Rick, but instead he shoots zombie Shane through the head.  The noise grabs the attention of a zombie swarm in the woods, who quickly make their way towards Rick and Carl, but Rick is unable to leave Shane.

So the big event went down, and I felt nothing.  The stabbing felt very anti-climactic to me.  I imagined Shane would have a louder, more explosive end, perhaps with fireballs.  I’m trying to separate the comic from the show, so I won’t mention how this ending was a HUGE COP-OUT from the way it goes down in the book, but I’m pretty sure that’s why I didn’t have a strong reaction to it.  Shane’s building, feverish, crazy-eyes delusions made it impossible for him to continue living with the group on the farm.  If Rick didn’t kill him now (and really, what other choice did he have?), Shane would have put everyone else in danger with his impetuous decisions and growing jealousy.  His death was inevitable and not so shocking.  What were your thoughts on tonight’s show?

As for Carl, I’m glad he has overcome his fear of shooting guns, because it looks like next week the farm is under attack for the season finale.

Check out this teaser for next week’s finale:

Did you miss an episode? Here’s our recap of last week’s ‘Judge, Jury, Executioner’.

  • JasonMBowles

    Cop out is right!  Having Carl re-kill Shane was just pandering!  Somehow I knew they were going to botch this!

    • http://www.hydeandgeek.com Scott

      AMC tries to prove that it has the balls to make shows like Walking Dead, but then balks when it comes to showing a young kid shooting an adult in the head. That change nearly blew the entire season for me and is making me nervous about how far they’re willing to go with the Governor next season.

      • Kammecat

         I agree.  There are things coming up that are a thousand times worse than Carl shooting Shane, and if they can’t even show that, I wonder what else is going to be whitewashed. 

    • AnOutsider

      How did it happen in the comics?

      • JasonMBowles

         In the comics, Shane goes for Rick and Carl shoots and kills him.  He didn’t just re-kill the zombiefied Shane.  It’s a major turning point in the comics and one of the bigger developments with Carl.  I don’t know why they decided to change it, other than they didn’t think it was appropriate.

  • Xx_forget_u_den_xx

    Thanks I enjoyed reading this!

    • Kammecat

       Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.sciencefiction.com Patrick Ruddell

    I am so happy Shane is gone. I’m also very excited about this major attack coming. I am getting very tired of them living at the farm.

    Oh, and how are they becoming zombies without being bitten or scratched? I haven’t read the books.

    • http://www.hydeandgeek.com Scott

      The virus is airborne. The only reason Dale didn’t turn was that Daryl shot him in the head.

      • http://www.sciencefiction.com Patrick Ruddell

        How did it get airborne?

        • http://www.hydeandgeek.com Scott

          I don’t remember if it’s ever clarified in the comics. But fan speculation is that this is what the scientist whispered in Rick’s ear near the end of season 1.

    • Kammecat

       They should definitely be off the farm by now.  When the group finds what they believe to be a safe haven is when the story gets boring (exactly the opposite of what you would want in real life!). 

      I don’t know if the show will follow the same rules, but in the books the zombie-creating virus is in the air, so technically everyone’s infected and will turn zombie when they die, whether they die peacefully at home or while being eaten alive. 

      • http://www.sciencefiction.com Patrick Ruddell

        Gotcha, so they at least have to die before turned.

        • Kammecat

          Right, it’s dying that triggers the zombie infection.

  • Ripapes

    Any theories about how the zombie infection spreads? Those of you who read the comics have any ideas? Now, that we’ve seen both Shane and Randall coming back zombified without being bitten, is there a chance that it’s what Jenner secretly whispered to Rick’s ear, that they all have it?

    Any answers, at this point, are welcome…

    • JasonMBowles

      It isn’t explained in the comics, but yes, everyone is infected and no matter how they die, they come back as zombies.

      • Ripapes

        Let’s see then, what they’re cooking for season 3! I’m sure about Merle’s comeback as/with the Governor…
        So, I hope the producers and writers give us some lights, in the near future, about the origin of the infection, although I heard they haven’t even clarified the subject in the comics. Is it airborne? How come everyone have it? 
        I think the show should divert totally from the comics to gain ‘plot independence’…
        Thanks Jason, I didn’t know the story of the popped open eyes of Hershel’s twin daughters heads. That was cool.
        PD: Does it count that Carl re-killed Shane? hahaha

  • pearcedw

    I don’t really see the problem with killing Shane the way they did. Personally it me harder than I’d expected after hearing the way it went down in the comics, more emotional than Shane being teamed up on and killed.