Monday, March 12, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 12 - Better Angels

WOW, that was one intense helping of drama last night!  What a great episode, even if the climactic moment may have been a bit spoiled for some people.  There definitely were lots of leaks over the past few months of our most recent fallen character.  And even the twists that circled around his death, some may have seen coming for a bit now.  (if they have read the books or just have a basic knowledge of what has happened in the books)    But damn, if they didn't execute it all brilliantly!  This whole season has been one slow burn to this episode right here.  I'm a firm believer that the payoffs of all the build-up are usually worth it.  Even crazy Carl's arc contributed to the intensity!  Anyway, call me a satisfied viewer as always and let's get into the discussion!

The deal of Dale sparked a lot of change within the group, and lot of the same old issues resurfaced.  There was still Randall to deal with, but now there was the fact that Hershel's farm is becoming less and less of a safe haven from the walkers.  Here's some of the key things that went down.
  • Rick gave a touching eulogy at Dale's funeral which was awesomely spliced with Shane, Andrea, T-Dog (2 episodes in a row folks!), and Glenn patroling and whacking some zombies.   Rick is determined to not let Dale die in vain.  He wants to prove him wrong that this group is not broken.  So yeah, the whole "humanity before cold-blooded survivalist" debate will continue on throughout the show. 
  • Hershel, after many many many many episodes of hemming and hawing, finally broke down and let everyone move into the farm house.  They figure it's their best line of defense against the imminent threats.  Hershel offered up his bedroom to Lori and Rick with the whole "baby on the way" thing.  We even found out he spent many a night on the couch anyway.  And T-Dog got a line folks!  He offered to take the bedroom if no one else was gonna sleep in it.  Awww what a guy!  (I have read that T-Dog will once again become a prominent figure in the finale, so no fear!)  Oh right, and Maggie offered for Glenn to move into her room with her.  Glenn totally shot her down!  Probably being more of a gentleman in her dad's house and all, but come on Glenn!  It's the zombie apocalypse!
  • Rick has changed his tune again on Randall.  He is planning to bring Daryl with him to set Randall loose somewhere.  It's the humane thing to do. It's what Dale wanted done.  Shane got his "crazy face" on again and was obviously totally against this decision.   Rick also, without saying it, thanks Daryl for taking care of Dale the night before.  Daryl says you're welcome without saying it stating that there's no need for Rick to carry all of the weight.  Awww...a new bro bond!   I see a new Jack/Sawyer love/hate relationship forming before our eyes.
  • Meanwhile, it didn't take Carl too long to come clean about his accidental involvement in Dale's death.  He explained the whole deal to Shane and gave him Daryl's gun.  Naturally, Shane went right to Rick to prove to him how bad of a parent he is.  (well, baby steps to eventually yell at him during the full moon later that night)  So, Rick was in the know about Carl.  And he went to Carl to have a heart to heart.  It was a touching scene that every father and son have.  You know, when he hands you your first gun and says that everyone's going to die so let's just stay alive as long as we can.  Inspiring words DAD!  To his credit, he said he didn't have the way with words that his father had.  Then again, his father didn't have to lead a band of survivors through such times either.  (note, no one told Daryl that Carl had his gun.  Shane gave Daryl Dale's gun instead.) 
  • Andrea and Glenn have a nice moment remembering Dale. The RV wouldn't start. Andrea remembered Dale's trick to start it as did Glenn. But Glenn remembered that he had to do some screwdrivering on the engine/battery to get the points uncorroded. Andrea couldn't help but smile. Glenn felt that he let Dale down in the end with voting against him. Andrea said she has her regrets too but feels like Dale knew how much they cared for him. And just like that, they fixed the RV and got the thing running. awwww
  • The minute I knew something was going to happen this episode is when Lori, after 2 seasons worth of "keeping in her true feelings" finally vented to Shane.  She apologized and started to look at things from his point of view.  She admitted she didn't know who the father of her unborn child is and knew that must be killing Shane.  She thanked him for everything he did to keep her and Carl alive when they thought Rick was dead.  The final moments of the episode, in hindsight, could be looked at as Shane begging to be taken out of the equation because he knew he was a liability.  But there will be plenty of time to debate that after I actually talk about that moment in the recap. 
  • Shane took an opportunity when no one was watching Randall, to go in and face him himself.  There was a very strange moment where he was staring at Randall and slapping himself in the face.  He was either getting himself psyched up to shoot the guy and be done with it.  Or something was changing inside of him.  Since there was finally a reveal in this episode, we can discuss some stuff that is just like the book in a few bullets.  But, there may be more of a twist brewing here.  Maybe not though.  I'm just taking my cues from some discussion on the "TALKING DEAD" talk show.  Chuck's Zach Levi was all "conspiracy theories" last night and had some crazy thoughts. 
  • Anyway, Shane was going to shoot Randall, but then saw the scrapes on his wrist from trying to break free from the cuffs.  He had a better idea.  He took him out into the woods.  Found out some details on where the rest of his crew was (camped out off the highway like 5 miles away).   Shane said he wanted to be part of their crew.  Randall seemed to change his tune right away.  Maybe an indication that he would never betray his crew.  Maybe not.  Anyway, it didn't matter, Shane snapped his neck and that was the end of Randall! (well, sorta)
  • T-Dog went to get Randall for Daryl and Rick.  A little nod to a probable major character in season 3, he says "The 'Governnor' called.  You're off the hook!"  Of course, Randall wasn't there causing pandemoneum with the group.   Shane returns to see the chaos, hides his gun and tells one whopper of a story!  Randall broke loose from the cuts and clocked Shane in the face breaking his nose. (oh yeah, did I forget to mention Shane slammed his face into a tree?)  
  • Rick and Shane go out with Glenn and Daryl and they split off into those respective pairings to comb the forest!  ("comb the desert you hear me?  COMB THE DESERT!"  Anyone notice Spaceballs has been on HBO like non-stop these days?)  
  • Glenn and Daryl stumble upon Randall's blindfold and a bloody tree.  Hmmm.   Oh wait and there's WALKER RANDALL!!  Wait a sec, he wasn't bitten!  Wait a minute, what about those cops a couple episodes that onl had scratches on them?  Huh?!?!   But without having time to think about it, Glenn and Daryl are fighting for their lives.  Glenn ends up giving Randall an ax to the head, followed by a complimentary "NICE" from Daryl.  Aww everyone is getting along again! 
  • That is everyone except our 2 alpha males who just happened to be walking out into a huge full-moon for one heckuva final showdown.   Rick and already speculated that Shane was lying.  And he knew what was happening here.  Shane was ready to once and for all get rid of his best friend.  Finally, all of those frustrations brewing on both sides came to the surface.  Rick said that Shane wouldn't be a happy man living someone else's life with his 2 children and his wife.  He knew Shane wouldn't be able to live with this.  Shane called Rick an awful leader and an awful parent.  But then, Shane put his gun away and started begging Rick to take some action and shoot him.  And here's where we could argue, maybe Shane did want to be taken out.  Of course, that didn't last and the gun was back on Rick.
  • Rick played a little trickery on Shane.  He said he'd have to kill an unarmed man.  He walked slowly to Shane to hand him his gun.  And when Shane grabbed it, Rick took his knife and stabbed Shane in the heart!  (also could have been to avoid drawing the walkers from all over town)   Rick yelled and Shane "You made me do this!!  Damn you!  This was you not me!  Not me!!!"  Manly cries filled the night. And before we had a chance to be sad for Shane's loss, here comes Carl all confused and what not.  He pulls his new gun on his father (or at least it seemed he did).   Rick says that it's not what Carl thinks and to put the gun down.  But at this point, surely everyone knew what was going to happen with the non-brain trauma killed Shane, right?  Walker Shane has risen and is coming right towards Rick!  OH BOY!!!!   Carl, taking all the knowledge he got from Shane's target shooting practice and gun training, shot right past he father's shoulder and right into Shane's head. (cue Back to the Future II reference.  "I'm a crack shot at this!"  Ahh good ol Wild Gunman.) 
  • And thus, the gunshot heard round the world awoken 100s (HUNDREDS!!!) of walkers just standing around in the forest.  And they're all coming right towards Shane and Carl!!  OH BOY!!!!
And that's where we leave things for our season finale next Sunday folks!  What an episode.  Okay, so I can now state that many of us have probably known for awhile that Shane was history this season.  1.)  He already had outlived his graphic novel counterpart and Robert Kirkman (author) has finally acknowledged it was only a matter of time.  This is Rick's story.  Not Shane's.  2.)  He was cast in recently ousted as showrunner Frank Darabount's new TNT drama.   Kirkman says that when AMC decided to split the season into 2 halves, this caused the casting announcement issue.  They went from the angle that he could film both shows, but most realists knew that wasn't possible.  3.)  Someone leaked Shane's death in the DVD Ad for season 2.  I'm sure someone lost their job or at least their credibility over that one!   So, if you didn't know Shane was toast, good job avoiding all of that news!!

Then there's the whole TWIST!  I had read in a recap earlier this season on or somewhere that in the novels, there is eventually a reveal that everyone that dies eventually becomes a walker.  This threw me off because of the whole highway scene in the first episode.  But we were confused why it looked like all of these humans were brutally killed.  Maybe someone came around and killed them before they could turn.   Who knows?  Anyway, they have been leading up to this reveal all season.  The scratches on the cops, not to mention everyone talking of killing themselves to avoid the walker fate.  That discussion will most definitely change now!  Now, Robert Kirkman would not confirm that this is what CDC's Jenner whispered to Rick in the season 1 finale.  But he did say that Shane's death will lend itself to the reveal of what he whispered.   (The whisper will be revealed next Sunday, it has been promised)   So this is where they were speculating on TALKING DEAD that maybe it has something to do with what state your SOUL is in when you die.   Randall and Shane were both sketchy figures vs. Dale who was righteous.  Then again, Daryl shot Dale in the head so he wasnt' coming back.  I don't think it will be that complicated.  I think it's ANYONE that dies becomes a walker.   And this gives credibilty to the title of the show, the WALKING DEAD (kudos to regular blog viewer/commenter AuStarWars for that observation made via email). 

And that's all I have folks!  Definitely lots to discuss/debate.  So get to it! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and see you next week for the finale!

End Credits
  • This season I am recapping FringeTerra NovaThe Walking Dead and Alcatraz
  • Other shows that are being discussed in comments recently:  Sons of Anarchy, How I Met Your Mother, Once Upon a Time, American Horror Story, Dexter, Chuck, Shameless, Mad Men (March!!), Game of Thrones (April 1st!), among others.  Feel free to join in!
  • See trailers for the Mid-Season shows I'm looking forward to: Awake and Touch.  
  • As always, there are other shows that I watch as well and would be happy to discuss with all of you in the comments of any of these blog posts.


Mike V. said...

Shane Speaks!

Kirkman Speaks!

Leslie said...

No kidding, WOW! These last two episodes have been really intense! I can only imagine what the finale will bring! I don’t know anything about the comic books, but it was hard to miss reading that Shane wasn’t going to be around forever, but frankly, I suspected it would be in the finale, not the week after we lost Dale.

That opening scene was crazy going back and forth with the funeral and the guys (and Andrea) on patrol and that killing scene with the pitchfork and shovels was GROSS! After seeing the last scene, it certainly was a foreshadowing when they were talking about them all moving into the house and someone said, with the loose cattle, it was like they had rung the dinner bell.

Then, good old Carl, went from telling Shane it was his fault Dale died, to saying he was never touching a gun again, to that heartwarming (really?) scene between dad and son, to killing walker Shane! Wow, talk about growing up fast!

I realize Shane has been on the edge for awhile, but when Lori had that talk with him and admitted that whatever went on with them (and, she said it wasn’t just him), I think that was the final straw for him, and he knew something had to give. When Shane went in to see Randall and hit his head all crazy like, I thought he felt like he was thinking too much and was actually trying to slap the thoughts out of his head and wanted to just act and stop messing around. When we got to the end with Shane and Rick in the woods, I think Shane’s original intention was to kill Rick, but it seemed like he went back and forth between wanting to kill Rick to wanting Rick to take him out. I think he was somewhat torn, but knew that one of them had to go.

Randall and Shane certainly turned into walkers pretty quickly! And, as you said, this should confirm for them (and us) that it doesn’t take being bitten to turn into a walker, and that is probably what the guy at the CDC whispered…that it is everyone’s fate.

MJ said...

I am so behind after being away - but made sure to watch last night! Never did get back to read all the comments from last week, but will today.

Maybe see if there are any comments on Once, Ringer or River. River has been fabulous. Awake too ! But I guess I'm too far behind for comments now. LOL

I'm sorry if was anyone was spolied here for this week with that link that I put in last week !

Despite knowing that Shane would die I was still surprised as I did not think it would be last night. THought the finale would be it. Figured his actions ast night would lead to something next week ! As soon as Shane was saying what he said my husband immediately said Shane is dying and coming back as a walker !

But I should have realized that Shane would buy the farm (pun intended) when Lori was nice to him. Afterall, last week Shane was nice to Dale last week. LOL It's this show's tell !

Loved the walker hunt - cleaning house as it were.

Watching Rick purposely walk behind Shane - never taking his eyes off him. Really ratcheted up the tension.

I did not feel that Shane was committing 'suicide by Rick' at all. I felt he just wanted Rick to be on the offensive, wanted to get Rick to be attacking to offset his own guilt. But things said on Talking Dead and then today in an article by the E.P. on tv apparently say different. he even said that Shane was lowering the gun when Rick pulled his knife.

Not buying the 'soul' thing really - though Zach Levi was fun ! Snd Maggie with a brit accent surprised me. I think that everyone of them is actually infected and an actual death just makes them then re-animate, unless that death kills the brain. Funny how just a couple of weeks ago I learned that Walking Dead actually refers to those left behind and not the walkers from either an article or Talking Dead. Think I mentioned it here on the blog and you had also heard that Mike.

Mazzarra speaks

AUStarwars said...

Mike, thanks for the shoutout! I dont think the whole "soul" thing is correct, thats way too "Lost" for this story that I truly believe is just a survivalist/zombie story told from the perspective of a man and his son (and others)..i never got a whole metaphysical vibe, but that is an interesting way of looking at it..there is a priest character in the Graphic Novels but Im not sure that was brought up..

AUStarwars said...

also, i feel the scene in the comic where Rick goes back LATER, digs up Shane, and "final deaths" him (really sorry to use a Vampire term) was one of the most powerful that was robbed by Carl (who btw killed Shane in the comic), but i guess since Rick knew anyway with Jenner telling him, that wouldnt have happened anyway..that "everyone is zombie/walking dead" reveal is after what is at least 2 seasons away of the show at this point

Mike V. said...

@Leslie -
Surely you sensed the sarcasm in my tone when I said the Dad/Son scene was heartwarming, right? lol But yeah, totally agree with all of your commentary.

Makes sense that Shane was torn on killing Rick. Especially after Rick had gone out of his way to save his best friend's life against all better judgement.

As for them changing quickly...i totally agree. Definitely much quicker than we saw in that first season. But Jenner did say that each case varied with the "bite" victims. I wonder how it works with a non-bite victim. Probably the same. But for the sake of intensity and this week's story...they definitely had to
change quickly! lol

@MJ - I don't think much commentary has happened since you've been gone. Turns out you may be the one that keeps things lively around here! lol And Welcome back!

Don't worry about the spoiling either. I was already assuming it was going to happen anyway. And if I didn't before last night, I would have as soon as Lori went on a full out apology tour to Shane. lol Definitely is the show's tell. It happened a lot on LOST and other shows too. Each time, I see in hindsight, there were lots of character interactions and closure scenes that just conveniently were in the same episode or the episode before. Rescue Me was another example in the final season. Lou and Tommy had had all of their big scenes pretty much saying goodbye to each other "just in case"...and then when that building blew...I kinda figured who was going to be gone. What does all of this mean? I watch too much television!!! lol

The whole Rick/Shane build-up scene was awesome. agreed.

I didn't notice Shane lowering his gun....weird. I'll have to check out that interview on TVG...I read them everywhere else just not there. lol

Well Maggie did have a foreign accent on Chuck didn't she when she was Vivian Volkov? lol I just thought that was funny that Chuck just happened to be guesting the same time as one of his former co-stars that is now on TWD was there. Good stuff. You did mention that TWD refers to the "living" yes. It was on one of those "scene breakdowns" on Talking Dead. But I had heard it before too. It just takes on more meaning now that they're inevitably going to become these walkers.

@AUSW - No prob on the shout-out! Yeah...I didn't look much into it either. As I've said from day 1 of TWD...the show reminds me of Season 1 LOST, before they got TOO philosphical or sciency. Pretty much a survival tale. I don't try to look too much past the surface level of this stuff and the interesting situations these people are put in and the decisions they have to make.

Interesting to hear about Shane's demise in the comics. I knew it had happened by this point but I didn't know how! How are we 2 seasons away from that reveal? It pretty much was revealed to us last night. And the producers confirmed we will know exactly what the Jenner Whisper was in next week's episode. I'm sure you were just digging at the pace of the show. lol But, I'm sure the pace is going to liven up next season based on the feedback a lot of people have been voicing and due to Frank D's departure.

Leslie said...

Mike, yes, I noted your sarcasm and was echoing it! On the quick change, I think I remember the CDC guy saying that there was a range of time it takes for the change from minutes to hours. I don't know what plays into how long it takes.

Did you hear that Stephen Hawking will appear on Big Bang Theory in addition to Leonard Nimoy's voice?

Yes, welcome back MJ! Did anyone watch Once yesterday? Don't want to say much until I know.

Mike V. said...

Understood Leslie! Lol. I don't think the CDC had figured out how to determine why some walkers changed quickly and others slower. They just knew it varied but I could be wrong!

Didnt know about hawking! That's nerdvana right there! Lol

I saw once so talk away! I'm on my phone or I'd say more. Lol

Leslie said...

ONCE - I don't know about you, but I was surprised that they revealed that Red was the wolf! Now we know why Granny is a little grumpy with her granddaughter and daughter being wolves! Didn't expect that! And, what was up with David in the woods standing right in front of Mary Margaret and not seeing her? So, I assume it's Regina setting up Mary Margaret with her fingerprints on the box with the heart??

Weasel said...

Nice recap Mike V., and it's nice to read you again! I finally got time to watch this series and got caught up before Sunday's episode. My favorite show since LOST, I must say. Still catching up on all the other recaps, but nice job! I have no insight to offer, just popping in to say hey.


Mike V. said...

Hi Weasel! Good to see you back! And glad you're enjoying TWD. It's a great show. Definitely plenty of quality television in LOST's wake. Not all as fun to discuss in the detail that we did, but great television nevertheless!

Look forward to seeing you around here. Now, off for a quick alcatraz recap!

Mike V. said...

@Leslie - Totally forgot to respond to your ONCE commentary last night!

ONCE - The reveal of Red as the wolf was definitely quite the twist. The whole episode I kept saying to my wife. "uhhh duh...don't leave Grandma alone, the wolf will get her. We know this story!" lol Well, they got me. It was a good time.

As for David in the woods....I dunno that was kind of crazy!

Regina is definitely setting up Mary Margaret. Unless Mr. Gold is involved somehow. I always suspect the queen though.

How about the heart though? I guess it was a non-beating heart? Does that mean the Queen killed whatserface and she's just not missing? I know we didn't see the heart, but you'd think Emma would find it strange to see a still beating heart in a box. lol

mj said...

Good point about Rescue Me doing the closure thing as well.

On Chuck I just assumed that the actress was actually faking the accent then ! I used to laugh that she was supposed to be Russian and had the brit accent though. Kinda like Sean Connery in Red October. The actress that played Sarah was an aussie in real life afterall.

I actually have 2 Onces on the DVR - hope to catch up tonight with a mini-marathon.

How about the River - I think you watch that Leslie ?!? That has been just great lately I think. Only has a couple of weeks left.

Awake - finally up to date on that one. I've been enjoying the show. Really like how the police cases are really kinda tying together too. My only head scratch is this - if I woke up each day and was switching worlds wouldn't you leave yourself a post it on the fridge in one world then see if it's still there in the other ? LOL

Mike V. said...

Good question on Awake...but I don't think that's how it works. These are 2 completely different realities that don't co-exist...just that the clues complement each other for these cases. So if he put a post-it on the fridge in one reality...he'd have to put another post-it on the fridge in the other reality. At least that's how I'm interpreting it. lol BTW, I haven't observed this for myself yet but apparently in one reality all the computers in the police station are Windows computers and in the other reality they're all Macs. lol Pretty funny.

MJ said...

That is funny with the computers. I didn't notice either.

I agree - it doesn't work that way but I guess the point I am making is that he should be doing things to test it all out. He should be thinking one is not real and trying to figure it out. I guess I'm assuming he thinks one is not reality - maybe he 's not thinking that way at all

Mike V. said...

Right...makes sense. I guess I go off of his comment in the pilot episode. He doesn't want to lose one reality. He wants them both to be real and doesn't have a problem with it. So while it's intentionally frustrating to the viewer, I don't think he really cares to know if one is fake! lol

I'm gonna guess it's not that simple that one isn't real. Common theories are of course.

1.) They're both dead and he's just dreaming them both.
2.) He actually died too and this is some kind of purgatory (funny how all of these shows get similar early theories lol)

I'm sure they'll layer in more complexity as the show goes and any theories we come up with right now just won't be right. In a way, LOST kinda ruined any future show from getting people to theorize about it at the start! lol

Leslie said...

Once - yeah, surely Emma would have reacted more if she saw a beating heart!

The River - Yes, I've been watching, MJ, and enjoying it. They have maintained a pretty good creep factor each episode. I hope they give us some answers in the next couple of episodes since it probably won't be renewed.

Awake - I've only seen the first episode, so the jury is still out for me on this one.

Plumbarius said...

I found it curious when, after Shane's death, they showed flashes of zombies several times.

It looked to me that those were images going through Shane's still living brain before becoming a walker??

I am pleased to say that I avoided any spoilers from my friends on FB, emails, texts, etc!

MJ said...

Once: I Too was shocked the wolf was red. I thought Peter as they wanted us to and then Grandma, but not Red.

Didn't the Queen have something of each of theirs locked away ? Was it a heart? Maybe she can't have both their Storybrook selves and their fairy tale hearts ??

I missed last week's talk on Once so all I'll say is poor grumpy ! He should have gone with Nova.

River: I was soooo sure they were going to kill that dog last week, and I would have been so very mad Leslie. I won't comment on last nights in case you have not seen it yet.

Mike V. said...

Good job on avoiding those spoilers! It was really tough. I think they were just showing Shane was transforming and the walker virus was taking over. But there could have been more to it. I can't remember if they ever showed it that way to us before!

ONCE - well you weren't entirely wrong suspecting Grandma since she USED to be. lol But yeah, I figured Peter too. I could have sworn Emma said it was a human heart in the box when she broke the news to Mary Margaret and Charming (don't remember his storybrook name). I figured she had something from each of them locked away...I just figured it was their hearts for all of them. lol Could be wrong there.

Definitely poor Grumpy!

Mike V. said...

We were discussing the speed at which Shane became a walker. Glenn Mazarra (new show runner) says this is intentional.

"– On Shane becoming zombie, much faster than Amy, and not getting bit: We worked hard to make sure that revelation landed. We knew what we were doing there. We knew it would land a punch. We’ve never had a main character become a zombie to this extent. Those [rapid flashes of zombie mayhem] represent the storm in Shane’s brain to some extent … Amy was a weaker character. Shane is in a murderous rage … he’s going to reanimate quicker. There’s just more life in that zombie, believe it or not. We do have internal rules for that."

from this interview about the finale and recent deaths

Leslie said...

Thanks for sharing that Mike. Interesting interview. I like his comment about the initial outbreak. I'm excited to see the finale, but don't want the season to end. I'm actually surprised how much I've enjoyed this show.

MJ said...

Excellent article ! And very interesting with the speed that Shane turned. Can't wait for the finale and then Talking Dead afterwards.

Mike V. said...

No problem on the article sharing. I'm equally excited about the TWD finale and Talking Dead afterwards!

Also quite excited that it will lead to Mad Men's return and Game of Thrones won't be soon behind! :)