The Walking Dead: Judge, Jury, Executioner Review

“Judge, Jury, Executioner” can be summed up as a split show featuring a day in the life of Dennis the Menace during the zombie apocalypse and a bare bones production of “12 Angry Men” put on by the Herschel Greene Improvisational Players.

Hey, Mr. Wilson!
Today is the day that we get to follow Carl around and see what ind of shenanigans a grade school boy gets into when stuck on a farm with nothing but a bunch of adults while the rest of the world is filled with zombies. First up Carl sneaks into the barn where Outsider Randall is being held and coming off like one of those creepy Children of the Corn kids. Shane busts Carl and of course is angrier at Outsider Randall than Carl even though Randall is the one being held prisoner in the barn. Next up, Carl decides to sass Carol about her belief in heaven (even calling her an idiot). this leads to the one and only time I have enjoyed Carol where she basically calls out Lori for being a shitty mom. Way to go, Carol! Now you can die without being the most useless person on this show. Rick then has a little man-to-man talk with Carl that Carl pretty much forgets two seconds after it is done because he promptly goes out and steals Darryl’s gun.
Now armed, Carl wanders off into the woods (the same woods that have been prone to zombie incursion on a regular basis based on the zombie wrangling that Herschel used to have Otis do) where he comes upon a hibernating zombie that is stuck in the mud. Being the likely future serial killer that he is and because there were small animals around for him to torture, Carl starts chucking rooks at the zombie. then he ups the ante by getting dangerously close to the now fully awake undead freak and pointing the gun at him. Of course the zombie gets unstuck from the mud, Carl drops the gun and then runs on back to the farm without retrieving the Darryl’s gun or telling anyone that their is a free range zombie trolling the perimeter of their home. God, this kid is a dick.

Dale’s Lament
Back at the farm we are treated to Darryl getting his Sayid Jarrah on by torturing Outsider Randall. The torture provides some info (there are 30 people in the Outsider group and they have no problem gang-raping women) which leads Rick to come to the decision that Outsider Randall needs to die. Everyone seems on board with this except for Dale who thinks that killing Outsider Randall would be tantamount to killing the groups last link to their humanity. Rick gives Dale the rest of the day to try and convince the rest of the group to spare Randall so Dale sets out to plead his case. The scene between Dale and Shane may be my favorite between the two of them because you see the grudging respect that Shane has for Dale and Shane agrees to not fight if Dale convinces everyone to spare Randall. He does however, let Dale know that if they spare Randall and Randall kills someone that the blood will be on Dale’s hands. Dale next tries to appeal to Darryl’s sense of humanity but Darryl tells Dale to kick rocks and lets him know he doesn’t give a damn about what the group does. Darryl also drops a little nugget about realizing that Shane killed Otis which shows that Darryl is a lot sharper than most give him credit for. He also seems to be expressing a bit of jealousy at the fact that Rick still leans so heavily on Shane despite his assumption that Rick is smart enough to know what type of person Shane really is. Dale also makes an impassioned plea to Andrea and when it becomes obvious that she agrees with Shane, Dale asks her to stand guard over Randall until the group has had a chance to deliberate over his fate. During her time standing guard Andrea has a chat with Shane about Rick’s shortcomings as a leader and how a mutiny may be necessary to remove Rick and place Shane in the leadership position.
Dale also strikes out with Herschel who has now decided to go with whatever Rick decides to do. The group then assembles in herschel’s parlor and Dale argues his heart out that they can’t kill Randall in cold blood but everyone in the group, even Glenn, are on the side of killing the guy. Feeling defeated, Dale storms out to be alone with his thoughts but not before interrupting T-Dog’s one line of dialogue! Say what you want about Dale but he has the good taste to not want to hear anything that T-Dog has to say.
Then Andrea has a change of heart and decides to side with Dale. No reason is given for this change of heart and I can’t think of anything that happened that makes sense. Rick and Shane go to the barn to bust a cap in Randall’s head but just as Rick is about to pull the trigger Carl shows up and starts egging his father on. The sight of his son being so cold and calculating when it comes to killing another human being gives Rick pause and he makes the decision to not kill Randall but instead to go back to the original plan of driving him far away from the farm and dropping him off.
An angry Dale is taking a moonlit stroll through the filed when he comes across the half-eaten carcass of one of Herschel’s cows and then a Super-Ninja Zombie sneaks up behind him! The Super-Ninja Zombie lunges at Dale, Dale drops his rifle and struggles with the Super-Ninja Zombie trying to keep him from taking a bite. While concentrating so hard on keeping the Super-Ninja Zombie from biting him, Dale doesn’t notice the Super-Ninja Zombie ripping his guts open with his spindly arms. By the time the rest of the crew makes it to Dale’s position and kills Super-Ninja Zombie it is too late…Dale’s guts are all over Herschel’s land and he’s dying a painful death. The show ends with Darryl putting a gun to Dale’s head to put him out of his misery. We did get one last patented Dale look though.

The Characters
Dale: I know I may be in the minority but I am a bit bummed that Dale got killed. Sure he was a bit of a busy body but he (initially at least) served a purpose as the moral center of the group. Plus I always felt that the TV Show Dale was so much shallower a character than Comic Book Dale. TV Dale was only around to make bug eyes (which he did at an incredibly high level) and give his unpopular opinion where no one was really looking for his input. I also call shenanigans on the zombie using subterfuge to get the drop on Dale. When we first came across this specific zombie he was a hissing, growling mess yet he kept it super quiet while sneaking up on Dale and don’t even get me started on how the way the scene was shot it made it look like the zombie set up a distraction with the cow to make sure Dale’s attention was elsewhere before he pounced. And what was up with Dale being so feeble that he couldn’t fight the zombie off? We have precedent that an anorexic pregnant woman with a concussion can easily dispatch two zombies all by her lonesome but Dale, who seemed pretty healthy, was taken out by one equally as anorexic looking zombie. I guess Jeffrey DeMunn was really itching to leave the show after Frank Darabont got the boot and the show was just as eager to see him gone for this to be the way he is killed off. Plus the manner of his death was just so pointless and did not pack all that much of an emotional punch mainly because Dale had been relegated to a lesser role in the show than he was given in the comic book. Dale being a bigger part of the group and having closer ties to so many of the characters made his death a really poignant and emotion packed situation. With TV Dale all I am really going to miss is all of those wonderful faces that Jeffrey DeMunn makes.

Carl: Thanks to this episode I have vaulted Carl’s little rotten ass to the top of my “Needs To Die” list even over T-Dog. The kid is supposed to be becoming desensitized but all I saw from the little fucker was brattiness and the last thing this show needs is yet another unlikeable character since it is chock full of so many of them already. I don’t know if its because the director wants him to act this way or if the actor can’t do what needs to be done but this turn into obnoxious territory is not something I want to be watching every week.

Lori: Is it too early to give this chick the “Worst TV Mother of The Year Award”? What the hell is wrong with her letting her precious little bastard roam around unsupervised in zombie infested countryside all day long? She really has no other responsibility aside from maintaining a 200 calorie diet and taking care of her bad seed. She is aces on staying a skinny mini but she is really screwing the pooch on the child rearing side of things. Its like they didn’t just lose a young child not too long ago. I thought Lori was supposed to be all overprotective of Carl after the shooting and Sophia’s death. Maybe she was too busy planning new ways of using her feminine wiles to get Rick to kill Shane. A three way murder of Carl, Lori and that unborn fetus by zombies, aggressive outsiders or Andrea’s itchy trigger finger would be right on time.

Rick: Rick seemed to have split personality disorder this week. One minute he seemed assertive and sure of his decisions, the next he was unsure of what he wanted to do and questioning himself. While I like that Rick takes his duties as group leader seriously there has to come a time when he makes a decision and stands by it without all of the mealy-mouthed navel gazing that has become the hallmark of the character.

Shane: I hated Shane less this episode than in previous ones. His exchange with Dale was a really good one and I even liked the scene he shared with Andrea where they discussed ousting Rick as leader.

Randall: Randall spiked the creep meter when describing the more heinous actions of his gang and after hearing how he retold that tale I doubt he didn’t partake in the rapes and I was perfectly fine with his being killed. I have actually been fine with him dying since he was first introduced and don’t get the teeth-gnashing that the group is going through over it. The guy was shooting at them when they first met him! That is enough to not give a damn about what happens to him.

Andrea: I am completely confounded by Andrea;s change of heart concerning killing Randall. The show has spent the majority of Season 2 completely eroding the relationship between Dale and Andrea. It has gotten to the point where it seems like she doesn’t even like Dale all that much so for her to switch sides like she did made no sense. I’m assuming that it was doe to make Dale’s death seem more tragic or something but instead it was just confounding.

Carol: Telling off Lori was the highpoint for this character. there is nowhere else for her to go but down so she might as well die.

Herschel and Glenn: What the hell was that scene with these two where Herschel gave Glenn his watch? Was it really necessary and is Glenn still being a douche about his relationship with Maggie? The show hasn’t gotten back to that particular plot point since it was introduced.

Darryl: I like that Darryl was involved more this episode and his comments about Shane and Rick show that he seems to want to be involved more as maybe Rick’s second in command. The show needs to run with this because Darryl is still the best character ion the show and having him sidelined for so many episodes is not cool.

T-Dog: Still needs to die as soon as possible.

Final Verdict: Coming off of two particular good episodes, “Judge, Jury, Executioner” was bait of a disappointment. The acting was good (especially Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale) and even the dialogue was well written. My problem is that what the characters are focused on is not anything I care about. It is like The Search for Sophia all over again. The writers introduce a situation that causes drama within the group but the situation is so contrived and devoid of true meaning that I can’t be bothered to care as much as the characters seem to. Having all of this consternation over killing a guy who tried to kill members of their group is stupid. Rick saving Randall to begging with was stupid. And then drag gin it out over an entire hour like this seemed like overkill. They could have skipped to the meeting in the parlor and let Dale make all of his pleas then and there instead of showing him going from one person to the next. Not even killing off a major character was enough to make this nonsense work. C

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