12 March, 2012

The Walking Dead 2.12: Better Angels

The penultimate episode delivers an epic showdown and more strong character beats to lead us into a season-ending last stand.

With the end approaching its worth noting that one thing the second half of Season 2 has accomplished, likely due to the internal shenanigans, is building its characters into individuals worth caring about. Tonight I liked the scene between Glenn and Andrea; two characters who often don't get to interact much, but who clearly shared the greatest bond over the now absent Dale.

Other big improvements included the group's decision to move inside and fortify the farmhouse and their decision to go ahead with drop and dash plan with Randall. The one thing dramatic character deaths are good for is motivation. Lori's talk with Shane perplexed me a bit, but in the context of the whole episode it seems like it was certainly a set up for Shane's breakdown at the end. I also liked Carl’s scenes with Shane and Rick which showed how truly the survivors must leave behind the ways and laws of the old world. The culmination of having him be the one to execute zombie Shane was a fitting final nail in the transformation.

Obviously the biggest events in this episode came toward the end. My one problem with the episode was the decision to go wandering off in the woods (at night no less) looking for Randall, which seems totally illogical in light of their recent security crackdown. Randall, even by Rick’s own admission in the episode, is basically an undernourished, sniveling kid with a bum leg, who is unlikely to make it in the zombie filled swamps on his own (even with Shane’s favorite piece!). It also risked the lives of both Daryl and Glenn who are probably my two favorite characters, so I was a bit unhappy with that. Rick and Shane’s show down went on a bit long for me despite its significance. I could have done with one or two less minutes of Rick trying to convince Shane not to shoot him, when it was clear that was how things would end one way or another.

The transformation of Shane and Randall opens up a whole new chapter in the mythology of the zombie disease and how it spreads. I am at a loss on this one, especially since we haven’t seen zombie Dale wandering around. It would almost seem to be related to the morality of the characters (Shane was clearly crazy and Randall didn’t exactly seem to have the highest moral standards since he was living with a gang of rapists). On the other hand its clear that the virus still spreads via bites/scratches (Sophia presumably), so based on copious movie and television experience I’m gonna say its mutating possibly? Changing its characteristics to account for dwindling human population to feed off/transform? Either way I intrigued to hear what peoples thoughts are on it.

If I had to rate this episode I would give it a 93 out of 100

I didn’t quite like it as much as last weeks, but its hard to complain since the episode tied up a lot of loose ends and set things up well for the finale next week. It did pretty much everything a pre-finale episode should do and kept things moving quickly.

- So the Shane mouth-breathing was deliberate foreshadowing this week?
- Carl making that shot at the end was remarkable considering it looked like his hands were shaking the whole time
- Maggie; shot down again! Also, would have thought Glenn would have jumped at the chance not to sleep in the living room with T-Dog and Hershel.


  1. Dale was shot in the head when he was dying. This would prevent him coming back as a zombie

  2. I think we're going to find out next week that the secret the CDC doctor whispered into Rick's ear at the end of last season will have to do with the virus and how it spreads. (I initially thought he was telling Rick that Laurie was pregnant, but nope).

    Basically, everyone is already infected. You don't need to be bit to turn into a zombie. You just have to die.

    They have been building up to it with the two dead cops outside of the school a few weeks back and yesterday with Randall and Shane.

  3. This show really has recovered from some weak stuff earlier in the season. I watched the last two in a compressed manner.

    I like Greek Geek's theory that they are already infected. I guess that means the virus has morphed into something else. I wonder what the implications are, though, other than shooting everyone in the head once they die, no matter what of.

    The original group is dwindling. I wonder if that is just to save money and have a smaller ensemble or if they will be adding people once they inevitably start moving onward. I like the idea of adding and subtracting from the ensemble as they move on. It's very Lost-like.

    1. It has improved a lot since the first half of the season, and I'm happy with some of the changes they seem to be making, especially with the character-building stuff. As for the ensemble, I would definitely like to see some new characters, but only if the show can find enough space to fit them in. I feel like one of the things it struggles with is giving certain characters enough dialogue and time for you care about them at all.

  4. I went back and watched this episode again after I wrote the review and it does seem like the "already infected" theory is the more obvious answer. So everyone just has to get killed with head wound then I guess? Or risk coming back as a zombie.

    1. You hit the nail right on the "head" (pun intended). ;)