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'The Walking Dead' recap, episode 212: 'Better Angels'

Ghouls and Zombies (supernatural entities)Executive BranchThe Walking Dead (tv program)

Wow!

If you haven't watched this week's episode of 'The Walking Dead' on AMC yet, don't read anymore (but please come back later), because something major happened.

Now that we've got that warning out of the way, can you believe Rick killed Shane?!

That was so awesome. The tension between them leading up to the argument was so nerve-racking. I didn't even see the knife coming. Although I must say, I did think that Rick was going to kill Shane. After everything Shane had said to him, like about how he was a better father than Rick, and a better man, there was no way that they were going to just walk back to the farm together like old pals. At that point Rick had to kill him. The funny thing is that I think Shane actually was going to put his gun down. Rick had effectively disarmed him with his words.

While Shane might not have killed Rick right then and there, it was clear after what went down between them that any hope for reconciliation was squashed.

And by killing Shane, Rick proved that he has adapted to this kill-or-be-killed world. He also proved that he is a better man than Shane, because he possesses skills that Shane lacked: charisma, persuasion, leadership.

Shane only knew force, and in this world, one must be a multi-talented Renaissance man to survive. Not only is Shane kind of ham-handed, but he's a really, really bad liar. His whole running face first into a tree and saying he got punched out by Randall fooled absolutely no one. Meanwhile, Rick showed how shrewd he can be with the way that he talked Shane out of shooting him.

Still, Rick does not like what he's had to become. That is why he was shouting "This was you not me!" after killing Shane.

I thought the whole scene was also beautifully staged with all of the unusual perspective shots and the full moon looming behind them. It was like a twist on the old western theme of a showdown at high noon.

There were lots of rumors of Shane's demise leading up to this week, but I think it still caught many people by surprise, because they expected the producers to save such a landmark event for next week's season finale.

Instead, the previews for next week's episode are hinting that the survivors are going to get run off of the farm by that huge herd of zombies that's coming, and we're going to get a new location in season three.

Oh, and in other news, Shane killed Randall, Carl shot zombie Shane, and the survivors killed a bunch of other zombies to get revenge for Dale's death last week.

We also now have an answer to the question that has been brought up several times during the last few episodes: You don't have to be bitten by a zombie to turn into a zombie. Just expiring due to a broken neck or massive stab wound to the gut, for example, is enough to get you turned into a geek.

That means that the zombie population is going to start growing exponentially.

Can we talk about Carl for a second?
That kid is weird. First of all, what was up with that shirt he was wearing? It had a bear clawprint surrounded by those rings that are in drawings of atoms. What team was that shirt for, the Atomic Bears? Second, what was up with him pointing that gun at his dad after Rick killed Shane? He ultimately shot zombie Shane in the forehead, but at first he was definitely aiming at Rick. Did part of him want Shane to be his dad or something?

WTF!?...
Was up with all those images that were flashing on the screen when Shane was turning into a zombie? It reminded me of "The Exorcist" when that weird subliminal demon face flashes on the screen. It looked like some zombies having a feeding frenzy or something, but they didn't really look like zombies, they seemed to have pointy faces, like they were some kind of supernatural creatures or something.

Have you read the books?
A couple of interesting connections to "The Walking Dead" graphic novels came up in this episode. First, did you notice when T-Dog went to collect Randall from his holding cell, he said "The Governor called, you're off the hook."? Well I don't think that was just a coincidental turn of phrase, since The Governor has already been announced as a character in season three. Second, it was a nice twist from the books how Carl shot Shane (that happened really early on in the source story), but it was the zombie Shane!

Did you notice?
That the combination to the padlock on Randall's shed was 9003? Could that be a clue?.

What everyone is up to
Rick: Getting kind of pushy, but manning up and killing Shane.
Lori: Confusing the hell out of Shane and breaking his mind.
Carl: Getting traumatized and pointing guns at people.
Shane: Wasting gas (luckily that Hyundai is so fuel efficient!), going really crazy, killing prisoners, and then getting killed twice in a row.
Andrea: Cross checking zombies in the face with a pitchfork.
Glenn: Mourning the loss of Dale. Avoiding Maggie for some reason. Fixing Dale's RV.
Daryl: Acting all badass and getting sent on all of the important missions.
Carol: Not a whole heck of a lot. Presumably still descending slowly into madness.
T-Dog: Helping people move stuff, getting a little more involved lately.
Hershel: Making a face turn by letting everyone move into the house and offering to crash on the couch.
Maggie: Being inexplicably rebuked by Glenn.
Randall: Hurting his wrists really bad and then getting his neck hurt really bad. Poor Randall.

Quote board
Carl, re: the zombie that killed Dale: "It was stuck in the mud. I was throwing rocks at it and stuff."

Hershel: "On nights when I came home reeking of bourbon, my wife locked the bedroom door. I'm sad to say that couch and I became old friends."

Shane, to Rick: "Lori and Carl, they'll get over you. They've done it before, they're just gonna have to ... I'm a better father than you, Rick, I'm better for Lori than you, man. Because I'm a better man than you Rick..."

Rick, to Shane: "Damn you for making me do this, Shane. This was you, not me! You did this to us!"

Winner: Carl

Creepiest zombie
That one at the end with the big herd. It was some lady or really skinny old dude with wispy hair and a really gaunt face. The skin was all sliding off of the back of its head! I think it was a puppet like in "Labyrinth", but it was still really chilling.

Best zombie kill
I liked when Shane bashed open that one zombie's rotten old skull with a shovel. Plus it's nice to give Shane a little love since he won't be around anymore.

Death count
Zombies: I counted nine (seven in that first slaughter and then Shane and Randall zombies) for 87 on the season. Humans: Randall and Shane, for eight on the season.

Lingering questions
Are those other survivors mounting an attack on the farm? What did Jenner whisper to Rick? What has become of Merle Dixon and the father-son team of Morgan and Duane Jones?

A look ahead to the next episode, "Beside the Dying Fire"
A huge crowd of zombies is coming to the farm, and I don't think they're coming to pick their own apples! Hershel is like "This is my farm, I'll die here!" and he shoots some zombies with his sick farmer's hunting rifle. Rick answers questions about Shane's death.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Ghouls and Zombies (supernatural entities)Executive BranchThe Walking Dead (tv program)
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