It’s The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 12 entitled “Better Angels” – I apologize for my lack of Recap last week, but I was sick all week with a crazy inner-ear infection (here’s Dennis Hopper’s medication to prove it). I enjoyed the ‘cold logic’ vs. ‘symbolic humanity’ debate, but two parts really bothered me in last week’s episode (and not just cause I was high on meds and kept having nightmares about murders on my block):
1) How did Dale not see that walker?? He approaches a cow with its stomach torn open laying in the middle of a field, with his gun drawn because everyone is constantly on the lookout for zombies, and manages to get attacked from behind by a walker while the camera’s on him in a tight “Horror Movie 101″ shot. Also, did the walker tear the cow’s stomach open, start eating it, then walk away and hang out kind of nearby so it could get the drop on Dale? And we’ve established that the walkers possess regular human strength minus the decay of their bones and cartilage (hence the well fall-apart guy), but one manages to tear Dale’s stomach open with its bare hands while he’s struggling? I call walking BS on that entire scene.
2) Also, how frickin’ unsupervised is Carl?? He wanders into the prisoner’s barn alone, then wanders off and almost gets killed by a walker in the mud, then later wanders into the prisoner’s barn again just as Rick is about to execute Randall. He wouldn’t be that unsupervised in a world that DOESN’T HAVE THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE OCCURRING, let alone one where THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS SUPER OCCURRING.
Anyway, onto this week’s episode! And if you liked Regular Crazy Shane, you’ll love the intensely-90s commercial for Shane – Nacho Crazier flavor:
The episode opens with Rick delivering a stirring eulogy at Dale’s funeral:
Rick attempts to appeal to the group’s emotions, saying they ought to honor Dale’s legacy by coming together and proving that they’re not ‘broken,’ though his message turns somewhat muddled when after every other word he throws in “COUGHCOUGH SHANE COUGHCOUGH” and stares at Shane for thirty seconds.
Rick’s touching sentiments are intercut with shots of Shane, Daryl, T-Dog and Andrea taking out their frustration on random walkers, almost as a kind of cathartic vengeance for their fallen comrades and perhaps further evidence of their waning humanity. Or the show wanted to cram some crazy violence into the cold-open and succeeded:
Looks like that walker just made “Best New Decapitation” on PITCHFORK! (This show has cost me my joking humanity.)
After Funeral Number 800 (what is this, The Walking Dead?), Carl blames himself for Dale’s death, and confesses to Shane that he’d seen the same walker earlier that day and failed to kill it. Shane’s like, “You were allowed to wander off alone during the zombie apocalypse while both your parents were in the farmhouse constantly setting the dining room table? I may not know right from ultrawrong anymore, but that is crappy parenting.” Shane tells Carl to keep the gun he snatched from Daryl and run along (Daryl’s married to that crossbow now anyway):
Glenn and Andrea cope with their Dale-grief on their own, and share an emotional moment when the RV won’t start and Glenn adeptly fixes the problem with the knowledge he’s acquired from Dale:
Lori, sensing Shane’s continued estrangement from the group (if he were any more estranged at this point, he’d literally be one of the dolphins from the Guns n’ Roses “Estranged” video), decides to talk to him one-on-one, and it doesn’t go so great:
Lori makes the emotional mistake of admitting she doesn’t know whose baby she’s carrying, and even though the conversation is intended to dissuade Shane from further violence, Shane continues to hear what he wants to hear: The baby is his, and Lori is leaving the door open for them to be a family. Unfortunately for Lori, Shane’s facial cues are unreadable:
Shane storms into the barn where Randall is being held, raises a gun to his head, but a really f*cked-up lightbulb goes off in his mind and he instead unshackles Randall and guides him into the woods. He tells Randall he’s going to let him go in the woods to make a run for it, but after carrying him out some distance, he calmly snaps Randall’s neck behind a tree with ‘Arnold in True Lies‘ proficiency.
Shane then breaks his own nose against a tree and urgently storms back to camp to try to get everyone to buy his story:
Shane claims that Randall escaped, got the drop on him, then ran off into the woods and Shane followed him for a while then lost him after Randall smashed his face with a rock and took his gun. Hershel notes that the wood where Randall’s handcuffs were attached was secured from the outside, and Daryl can’t believe that tiny Randall could outmuscle Big Crazy Shane, but everyone goes along with Shane’s plan, if only because Rick wants to set aside his skepticism in the forgiving off-chance that Shane actually has turned a corner. He has, it just so happens that it’s the corner that leads into Total Asshole Alley.
Oh wait! This explains the Viewing Guide’s Episode Description:
“Someone may be loose near the farm” is the whole synopsis. Thrilling! It’d be funny if someone wasn’t loose near the farm and the descriptions were just messing with us by saying stuff that “may” happen. “Dale’s hat may be magic, and may possess the key to defeating the walkers.”
The search party splits into two pairs; Rick and Shane head off alone (Full House wooooooooo! sound), and Daryl and Glenn pursue a set of forest tracks that of course Daryl can read because everyone on tv can frickin’ track people. (Remember on Lost how everyone was randomly an expert at tracking and also 1-3 other disciplines? That really was the most skilled planefull of people in aviation history.) Daryl notes that there’s two sets of footprints, because either someone was being dragged along or Jesus wasn’t doing his job, and they lead to a tree splattered with Shane’s nose-blood (yeesh, how badly did he smash himself?)
Before they can jump to any conclusions, it’s ZOMBIE RANDALL:
Glenn struggles with the walker but manages to defeat him, Daryl compliments his zombie headsmashing prowess, and everything is back to normal. UHOH – there’s still fifteen minutes left in the episode, and as us Law And Order: SVU devotees know, that means some crazy twist-sh*t is about to happen! I’ll bet it turns out that Herschel’s quiet elderly companion was running the rape syndicate this whole time! Nah, that’s SVU, but this twist is about as shocking.
Rick follows Shane into an open field, never wanting to question Shane’s story and prolong the cycle of mistrust he’s tried so hard to break, but also never truly believing him:
Finally, Rick can’t deny the truth that’s becoming more and more evident: Shane’s flimsy story was a ruse to get Rick away from the group so Shane could finally kill him, since the two clearly can’t co-exist either as group leaders or sex-with-Lori-havers. Shane draws his gun on Rick, telling him that he’ll pin the killing on Randall and that even though it’ll be tough for Lori and Carl to swallow, they’ll manage to forget Rick because they’ve already done it once.
Shane is also jealous of Rick because he’s now gone so crazy, he literally can’t close his mouth:
Rick refuses to fight back, telling Shane “you’ll have to shoot an unarmed man,” and calmly unhooks his holster and sets it on the ground. He approaches Shane and reassures him, “there’s a way back from this…” Even though Rick’s idea is just as implausible as Shane’s fantasy about moving in on Rick’s family, it’s enough to give Shane pause, and he hesitates for a second with his weapon as Rick draws closer.
Cut to pretty field shot:
Cut back to Crazy Rick:
Close-up on Bloody Shane:
And it’s done.
And of course, Carl is right there, because why the f*ck wouldn’t he be?
A shocked, teary-eyed Carl raises his gun towards Rick, who breaks down and pleads with him that “It’s not what it looks like…” Carl can’t explain to Rick why he’s actually raising his gun, because there’s no time for Carl to just say like two words and have Rick be like “oh cool, go for it”:
Shane is back! And he’s equally as capable of compassion as before:
As it turns out, Carl isn’t raising his gun to shoot Rick (no time 2 explain or even 2 write out the word ‘to’!!!), he’s raising it to shoot zombie Shane, and to symbolically make the choice between his actual father and his crazy, amoral shell of a father figure.
So, that’s that. Walking Dead Twist City! I did kind of think Shane wasn’t gonna make it through this season alive, but I didn’t expect the showdown to come in the second to last episode rather than the finale, so well done there, Walking Dead. I know Shane dies much earlier on in the comics, but it’ll be interesting to see how the show stays afloat without its main human antagonist in place. Time for Maggie to step up?
Also – ‘child forced to tearfully shoot his beloved but irreversibly diseased pet?’ We’ve seen this story before:
Walking Dead Episode 12 Thoughts? Reactions to the big Rick/Shane moment? Predictions on where the show goes from here? Leave it in the comments – only one more ep to go this season. The one where Rick dies.