Season 2 Episode 12 “Better Angels”
After losing Dale abruptly, our group tries to move on as best they can. They are all moving into the house together and making a real effort to cooperate. But there seems to be no rest for our friends anymore, as more death occurs within 24 hours of Dale’s passing.
The episode seems to hover around Shane. Carl, Lori, Randall and Rick all get their moments with him. Carl goes to Shane to confess about taking Daryl’s gun and his feelings on not killing the walker that killed Dale. Shane is kind and even tries to get Carl to hang onto the gun. Lori goes to Shane and apologizes for what she’s done to him this entire time. She even admits to having feelings for him and putting him at odds with Rick. She can’t seem to stop causing trouble. As much as the gesture was thoughtful and considerate, all Shane heard was, “I still want you.” Lori really should have known that’s how he’d take it by now and that any interaction with Shane isn’t going to end well. Bad Lori! And then poor poor Randall meets his demise at Shane’s hands. Shane steals Randall from his prison and takes him off to the woods where he lies and tells him to take him to his old group, that he wants to join them. Shane then proceeds to kill Randall and use a tree to smash his own face up Liar Liar style. This is it, Shane is 100% gone now. He’s making a final play and all the chips are on the table.
Before getting to the finale of the episode, we should talk a little about what’s happened to Carl. There’s a change with Carl and how he is treated by the group now. Rather than being told to go in the house, he’s given a job to do. Instead of scolding him for doing something bad, he’s treated like any other who’s made a mistake and supported. Rick gives him a real heart to heart and tells him there’s no more kid stuff. Rick is pretty blunt and even goes as far to tell him that his mom and him are going to die and that’s how it is now. It’s bittersweet that Carl is an equal now but has years of his childhood just taken away from him. It’s a hard world.
Okay so back to Shane. He goes back to the farm and lies to them to get Rick alone in the woods. Rick’s play here is pretty interesting. He picks up on what Shane’s doing fairly quickly, but goes along with it. Shane leads him farther and farther away from the farm but Rick’s just following along. It would seem that Rick wants this to end as much as Shane does. Eventually they have their moment in a field in the moonlight. Shane has Rick at gunpoint and they trade insults about who is better for Lori and Carl.
Rick claims he doesn’t want to fight back. He first holsters his weapon but then takes it back out to turn it over to Shane. He pleads with Shane to resolve this between them. At first take, this is good guy Rick doing the good guy thing. The good guy doesn’t fight his best friend, he reasons with him. He accepts his fate if he can’t convince his friend to stand down. But in reality, this is a different Rick. We saw him a bit at the last Shane and Rick fight at the attempt to leave Randall in the middle of nowhere. The guy who wants to abandon his best friend surrounded by walkers. This Rick will use that good guy image to get close to his best friend and just when he lets his guard down, he stabs him in the gut with a knife.
And that is the end of Shane. Rick is clearly feeling the full force of what he has just had to do. I think the rest of us are probably a bit relieved for Rick’s sake that this is over. But then Carl shows up of course and seems to have witnessed his father kill Shane. Carl doesn’t know the full story and appears to think his father has done something he shouldn’t have and pulls a gun on him. And as Rick walks toward Carl, Shane comes back to life and is creeping up on Rick. Now it looks like we might lose Rick too! Until Carl pulls off an amazing shot and fires past his dad to get Shane right in the head. And as the camera pulls away on the two, we see the most frightening thing so far…..a massive amount of walkers coming up the field right towards Rick and Carl and the farm.
Shane deserves a hardy kudos for being such a good villain. And I think it goes back to us being able to see him when he wasn’t the bad guy that makes his story so powerful. With a lot of bad guys, you just get to see the bad guy, never how they were once a normal person. Shane was a good cop and a good friend. But something happened to him and he took a path that lead him to this end. Yes, I blame Lori for a lot of it, but it really wasn’t all her. Shane took advantage early on to be the leader of that rag-tag group. Maybe partly because of his police training. He liked the power and when it was slowly taken away from him he could not deal. And then you add all that Lori stuff to it and you wind up with the Shane that we got. His story is a bit tragic. In a way what he wanted was innocent, he wanted a family. And it was denied to him over and over again to the point where it drove him insane.
Best of the Episode
Daryl’s tracking. While Rick and Shane go off to “find Randall”, Daryl actually finds Randall. With Glenn by his side, Daryl tells the tale of Randall’s last moments. He really gets a lot from looking at footprints in the woods. I mean it’s like reading tea leaves and getting it all correct, how does that happen! Daryl is in general not given enough credit for his detective skills. He knew what Shane did to Otis all on his own and again doesn’t believe Shane to his face when he questions how tiny little Randall got the jump on him. He is our true detective.
The stand-off between Rick and Shane. It’s a stripped down moment between two friends. There’s no people, no walkers, no distractions. Just two guys talking in a field. And then Rick sobbing over his friend’s body. He’s got the best cry of any man. I feel it when he lets out that deep passionate crying.