The Walking Dead: Better Angels Review

Dale’s dead and some of our friends on Green Acres have decided to do what most of us do when dealing with the death of a loved one…namely go HAM on a stray pack of Walkers. Shane, Andrea, Darryl, and T-Dog (remember him?) open several can’s of whoop ass on these shambling undead fools and teach them that they better not never bring their punk asses on their turf again! Pitchforks are shoved through faces, mudholes are stomped, and brains are splattered all while Rick’s eulogy of the dearly departed Dale serves as our voice over of the festivities. Then we are back to Dale’s funeral where Rick reflects on Dale’s admonition that the group was broken and vows that they will all prove that dead know-it-all wrong by pulling together and getting their heads out of their collective asses. He also makes mention of Dale’s “look” which made me laugh hysterically because Dale’s look is one of the things that I will miss most about the character. Cue theme music and opening credits!

Moving Day
Herschel has decided that it is time to move all of the castaways into his house since it is pretty dangerous to have them sleeping out under the stars while man-eating zombies are wandering through the field all willy nilly. Too bad it took Dale being gutted like a fish for good old Herschel to realize that fact but what are you going to do? Ya gotta break a few eggs to make omelets or something. The show continues the absolutely useless sub-plot of Glenn being a total dickhead towards Maggie. She offers to let him sleep in her room and have regular coitus with her and he shoots her down for some reason that I can’t even recall. This plot is just too stupid to go on and the show needs to drop it immediately.
Rick decides that he is going to go back to his original plan of dropping Randall off somewhere far away from the farm which does not please Shane. Shane is further displeased when Rick lets him know that he will be taking Darryl with him as his new wingman. Rick also asks Andrea to keep a watchful eye on Shane while he is gone. Andrea being the huge “see you next Tuesday” that she has come to be makes sure to bust Rick’s balls before finally agreeing to do what he asked.
Carl goes to Shane to comes clean about stealing Darryl’s gun and inadvertently causing Dale’s death. He also somehow got his hands on that gun again which he dropped last episode and left in the woods. This leads me to believe that sometime after a zombie murdered Dale, the worst mother in the world allowed her small child to go wandering off unsupervised long enough for him to trek out to the woods and reclaim the stolen gun. Lori is damn lucky that civilization has collapsed because if not she would have had CYS all over her for being a neglectful mother. Anyhoo, Shane barely blinks about the whole zombie killing Dale part and instead tries to get Carl to keep the gun. Carl protests and proclaims that as God is his witness he will never touch a gun again!!!
Shane seeing an opportunity to criticize rick’s parenting skills makes a beeline to him to let him know what’s up with Carl and warns him that he better talk to the boy. Rick wants to get rid of Randall first but Shane doubles down on his criticism of Rick as a father. I hate to say it but Shane was right about this. Rick needed to take the time to talk with Carl about how his actions have consequences and he has to be smarter in the future. Of course Rick just laments the fact that Carl will not have a normal childhood, absolves him of all sin regarding Dale’s death and then gives him a loaded gun. This kid is doomed with the unholy parenting trio of Rick, Lori and Shane guiding his upbringing.
Meanwhile Andrea is trying to get Dale’s RV started to no avail. Glenn wanders over and uses some of the dope RV repair skills that Dale taught him to fix the problem. He and Andrea then have a warm moment reflecting on their feelings about Dale. It was nice to see these two characters remembering Dale because they were the two he as most close to and it showed the impact his death is having on the members of the group. Good scene.
Shane has decided to blow off steam by fixing one of the windmills on the farm. Lori goes over to have a talk with him for some reason. I am not sure what the hell was going through this broads mind. I understand she wanted to let Shane know that she appreciated all he did for her at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse and what she said to him was very reasonable but she has to be dumb as a tube sock to think any of it was a good idea. Shane just declared his intentions toward her and that baby a few episodes ago. She already thinks he is capable of killing her husband because of his obsession with her. he just had a knock down, drag out brawl with Rick where the two of them almost killed each other and the tension between the two men is evident to even the dimmest moron on the planet. Yet she not only is nice to him, she admits to not knowing who the father of the baby is and then she walks away from their conversation without prefacing the reality that she does not want to be with him and that she plans on raising this kid with Rick. All she accomplished by her little chat was stirring up Shane’s overwhelming simp gene and got the wheels in his brain working over time on how to get rid of Rick because Lori just gave him a glimmer of renewed hope.

Showdown At Schrute Farms
Shane sneaks into the barn where Randall is being held and looks like he is going to shoot him. Then it’s like a light bulb goes off and he has a new idea on what to do with Randall. He tells the kid that he is letting him go and the two of them are gong to find Randall’s crew together because Shane is defecting to the other side. The two of them head out into the woods with Shane telling Randall how sick he is of his current crew which pleases Randall who tells Shane that he will get along awesomely with the guys in the other camp. Shane has Randall walk a few feet ahead of him until the two men are out of camera view and then there is a snapping sound and only Shane comes walking back into view. This was a really well shot scene. Shane then proceeds to ram his face into a tree seemingly breaking his nose.
By now the rest of the farm dwellers have noticed that Randall is on the loose. Shane sees them all congregating outside of the barn so he stashes his gun and then staggers out of the woods. He tells them that Randall got the drop on him, bashed him in the face, took his gun and ran off into the woods. Rick puts together a search crew of Shane, himself, Darryl and Glenn (really?) while telling T-Dog and Andrea to get everyone else back in the house and make sure they are secure. The search party splits up with Rick and Shane going one way while Darryl and Glenn (seriously you pick Glenn for this?) go another.
Darryl and Glenn wander around the woods for a bit before Darryl decides to use his tracking skills to retrace Randall’s steps. As he and Glenn move on in their search Darryl starts to notice tracks and other evidence that contradict Shane’s story. Just as they are about to head back and find Rick and Shane they hear a sound. The two men hide and see a figure walking in the woods. Before they know it the figure is upon them and its Randall…only now he is a freaking zombie! Zombie Randall tries to eat Glenn but eventually the two guys kill Zombie Randall for good this time. Darryl then inspects the body and notices that Randall’s neck was broken but he has no bites or anything on his body. No bites!?!? Then how did he become a zombie??? Curiouser and curiouser.
Shane is leading Rick through the woods still sticking to his lame ass story but Rick is highly suspicious by now. The two men exit the woods into a clearing where Shane’s plan becomes apparent. He plans to kill Rick and blame it on Randall. Shane pulls his gun on Rick and so starts one of the tensest scenes in the short history of this show. Shane makes his feelings toward Rick very clear here. He curses the fact that Rick ever came back claiming that everything got worse when Rick showed up. He tells Rick that Lori is broken, Carl is weak and Rick has no clue how to fix them. Rick tries to calm the situation by offering Shane his gun and appealing to his and Shane’s lifelong friendship. Rick tells Shane that they haven’t crossed a line yet, that the two of them can go back to the group and act like this never happened; all the while inching closer to Shane attempting to hand over his gun. And just as he gets close enough, Shane drops his guard for a second and Rick shanks him. Rick brought a knife to a gun fight and won a flawless victory! That is some gangsta bidness right there.

Up Jumped The Devil
Rick is very shaken by what he just had to do and kneels over Shane’s body sobbing and cursing Shane for letting things get to this point. Rick is just a blubbering mess by this point and it is made all the worse when he looks up and sees Carl standing there. Skip the fact that this kid doesn’t listen to a damn thing anyone tells him to do, what is up with the adults in that house? Lori is a lost cause when ti comes to being a fit mother or guardian but shouldn’t any of the other grown ups in that joint not have noticed that Carl is gone? What is he a ninja? But back to the scene…Rick tries to explain to Carl that things aren’t what they look like when Carl draws his gun. Rick is still trying to calmly talk to Carl which is insane because if my son pulled a gun on me I would lose my shit and be threatening that little bastards life. While pleading with his firstborn child, Rick doesn’t notice that Zombie Shane is up and swiftly shambling towards him. Thankfully Carl has developed into a crack marksman since those long ago days when he couldn’t hit a zombie stuck in the mud with a rock. Carl makes a trick shot past his dad and right into the dome of Zombie Shane finally ridding this show of a character that should have died by episode three of the first season. But that gunshot has alerted a herd of the undead who have wandered into the perimeter of Herschel’s farm. It may as well have been a dinner bell because they are shuffling right towards an unsuspecting Rick and Carl.

The Characters
Rick was all things this episode: leader, father, protector and cold-blooded killer. As much as I enjoyed the way Shane met his demise in the comic book I have to admit to enjoying this way just as much. rick needed to be the one to get rid of Shane and the way he did it just helps to reinforce that he is capable of doing what needs to be done when the chips are down.

Shane was a mess in this episode. He was desperate, petty, stupid and pathetic. But at least he is dead. No knock on John Bernthal who I think has been great in the role but this character has annoyed the living hell out of me for a very long time now.

Lori continued to be an absolutely horrid human being. her every action or inaction in this past episode only served to make me like her even less than I did before. And start paying attention to that little monster of yours. There are zombies in the world, lady. Stop letting your kid run off unsupervised all the damn time!

Still don’t like Andrea but her scenes with Glenn were nice and if they tone down her attitude a bit I may begin to like this character a bit more.

Maggie and Glenn’s manufactured drama is weak sauce. Not every aspect of this show needs to be mired in sturm und drang; let somebody have a little light in their lives for pity’s sake.

Bye Randall, we hardly knew ya and I don’t lament that fact one bit.

Darryl being moved to the forefront of this show is a long time coming and I am loving it. He showed that he is no idiot by smelling something fishy about Shane’s story from the jump but he also is showing his loyalty to Rick which will be cool as he takes on the role of second-in-command. I could care less about him and Carol being a couple but its not something that I am against either.

Herschel flexed a little this episode too with his telling Andrea that Shane will need to understand that what Rick and Herschel say goes. of course he won’t be tested on that now since Shane is thankfully dead but I am curious to see how much longer Herschel is going to be so ride or die with Rick and his often times questionable decision making.

T-Dog saw the most action he’s seen since accidentally cutting himself and almost bleeding to death in the first episode of this season. He interacted with Lori and Herschel about living arrangements and swooped in to carry some heavy boxes that Lori was attempting to carry himself. he also…aw who am I kidding? T-Dog was just as irrelevant this week as he has been all season. All he did was serve as this shows Token Black Guy even uttering the line “oh hell naw!” with a straight face. The death clock is ticking and I am expecting a quick end for him next week.

Final Verdict:
A step up from last week’s banality. Of course there were some things that stuck in my craw. Namely: what would Shane lead Rick out of the dense woods to a wide open field in direct line of sight of the farmhouse? Mutinous executions are better performed where no one can see them occur. Lori’s conversation with Shane was mindboggling. Rick’s father-son talk with Carl was odd. And everything about Carl was ridiculous this episode. His somehow getting his hands on Darryl’s gun again; his wandering out to the field just in time to see the culmination of Shane and Rick’s showdown; his making that shot to Shane’s head. All of ti just strained credulity. But those things aside this was a pretty decent episode that highlighted more of this shows strengths than its weaknesses. It also finally confirmed the unspoken suspicion that I (and most viewers I’m sure) had about what Dr. Jenner whispered to Rick at the end of Season 1. He told him that everyone is infected and that was proven by Randall and Shane coming back after dying through non-zombie means. Of course that makes one question Rick’s judgment again because he really should have shared this info with the group. What if Beth had succeeded in killing herself? There would have been a zombie inside the house ready to eat everyone. And I understand Rick’s emotional state after having to kill his childhood friend but if he knew Shane was coming back he should have put one between the guy’s eyes first (like he did with the fatso in the bar in the “Nebraska” episode) and grieved later. I am very curious to feet he fallout from this and just what cliffhanger we are going to be given in the season finale next week. I hope its good. B

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s