I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this episode based on the teaser trailers from last week. By all accounts it looked like there would be a lot of drawn-out torture, which I don’t usually choose to spend my Sunday evening watching. Unfortunately I ended the show in a violent fury. Let’s see how it all unfolds, shall we?
Daryl questions Randall alone in the barn. He finds out Randall was previously with a group of about 30 heavily armed people, the men of which would go out and scavenge. He was with them for protection and comfort until one night they came across a man and his two daughters. The men of the group forced the dad to watch as they raped the two girls. Randall claims he took no part in it, and that he’s not “like that.”
After hearing what Daryl found out, Rick tells the group that his plan is to eliminate the danger, which in this case is Randall. Dale is upset. He wants to talk to everyone, but Rick doesn’t want to draw out the decision. He gives Dale until sunset to convince everyone to spare Randall. Dale asks Andrea to guard Randall – he’s afraid that Shane will get impatient and just shoot the prisoner. He tells her, “Keeping our humanity – that’s a choice.” Andrea finally assents, though she doesn’t agree with Dale.
Randall is able to listen in on the conversations that happen around the barn. This may or may not be relevant in upcoming scenes, but it seems important to note since it’s a chance for Randall to eavesdrop and plot. Shane shares an idea with Andrea, an idea about taking control of the group by locking up Rick and Hershel and taking their guns. Carl sneaks into the barn and Randall chats him up. Carl doesn’t speak but gets closer and closer until Shane catches him. Shane is furious and tells Carl to stop trying to get himself killed.
Dale’s first appointment is with Daryl. He appeals to his decency, but Daryl thinks the group is broken and doesn’t care what happens to Randall. Lori finds Rick in the barn loft, where he’s arranging a noose. She says she’ll support whatever decision Rick thinks is best.
Carol finds Carl at Sophia’s grave and offers comfort by saying they’ll meet Sophia in heaven one day. He retorts that heaven is just another lie, and if she believes it, she’s an idiot. Carol confronts Lori and Rick, saying he’s disrespectful. I would have called it mouthy and rude, but whatever. Rick catches up with Carl, who again says that heaven isn’t real. Rick tells him to apologize to Carol and “don’t talk, think.”
Dale meets up with Hershel, who doesn’t to even want to know about what happens to Randall. He also says he’ll leave the decision to Rick. Hershel has three daughters left, and is a nice throwback to the story Randall told about the father and daughters earlier. Hershel has every right to be concerned for his family. Looks like Dale is out of luck on this one too.
Carl finds a gun in Daryl’s bike pack and takes it out into the woods. He comes upon a walker by the creek. His first reaction is fear, but when he sees that the walker is stuck in the mud, he comes closer and throws rocks at it. This can’t end well, am I right?
Next on Dale’s journey is a surprise – Shane. Dale doesn’t deny that they’re in danger, but killing Randall won’t change that fact, it will only change them. Shane tells Dale that if he can convince the rest of the group not to kill Randall, he won’t dissuade them. Back at the farm, Hershel takes a break from tending to Beth to give Glenn a family heirloom pocketwatch. It’s his way of giving his approval of Glenn and Maggie’s relationship. I know these are extreme times and they call for extreme measures and all that, but it feels a bit like Hershel is handing Maggie herself over to Glenn. Shouldn’t she be around for this conversation, or to receive the watch herself?
In the woods, Carl gets closer to the walker, aiming the gun at him. He gets within arm’s reach and suddenly the walker frees his foot, getting enough slack to grab onto Carl. Carl panics but is able to escape, running back towards the farm.
Sunset arrives and the group convenes. The issue is that Randall can’t be trusted to live among them, and he would also be a strain on their already low resources. No one is able to come up with a better solution than killing Randall. Dale begs for everyone to do what’s right, to spare Randall because he is a living human being, and Andrea finally sides with him. They are the only two who stick up for Randall, and Dale is brought to tears. On his way out of the farmhouse he tells Daryl that he was right and the group is broken.
Randall is escorted to the killing barn by Rick, Shane, and Daryl. He is blindfolded but before Rick can shoot him, Carl comes to the door, saying, “Do it, dad.” Rick loses his nerve and tells Daryl to take Randall away. Rick holsters his gun and walks Carl back to camp, where everyone is gathered. The new plan is to keep Randall in custody for the time being. He tells Lori that Carl wanted to watch the execution and couldn’t go through with it.
Dale comes across a gutted cow on the farm and is attacked by Carl’s creek walker. Dale holds him off but the walker literally tears into his intestines. The group comes running and calls for Hershel, but it’s too late to do anything for Dale. Carl sees that his zombie was the one to rip into Dale. Dale is suffering, and everyone looks to Rick to make a decision, but Daryl is the one who finally shoots between his eyes, killing him.
I CANNOT BELIEVE THEY KILLED OFF DALE. He was the last moral compass of the group. As we discovered in this episode, everyone else seems to have already figured out that Shane killed Otis, but Dale is the only person to have an issue with it. I was also extremely disappointed in Rick. His famous decree of “We don’t kill the living” sure didn’t last very long. If he was going to kill Randall, he should have done it when his leg was impaled back in town. What was the point of dragging him back and healing his leg and saving his life AGAIN in the last episode if he was just going to torture and shoot him? The rest of the group was more than happy to leave the decision to Rick. Why? So they could blame him later when they felt guilty about it? Or so they wouldn’t have to make the decision at all? This group has quickly adopted a new moral code, demonstrated both by Carl’s rapidly dissolving innocence and the death of the last man who stood up for what’s right. To be honest, I hated this episode. The decision-making was drawn out to an absurd degree, and then the decision wasn’t even followed through on! The only thing that can appease me now is the arrival of Michonne, which better come in a hurry.
What were your reactions to the show? Is anyone else as fired up as me? And if you do weigh in, please note if you read the comic as well or not. I’m interested to see if this is just an issue for lovers of the comic.
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read ‘The Walking Dead: 18 Miles Out’ recap.