We last left our intrepid band of survivors facing an important decision regarding the life of a person that attacked them, but then they saved, and were going to release, but then found out that he knew where the farm is. There are some major spoilers ahead, so you’ve been warned.
This entire episode dealt deciding whether or not to kill Randall. Well, that’s not entirely true. Everyone except Dale was pretty set that they needed to kill Randall. Dale went around to everyone looking for someone to back him up that just arbitrarily killing was the wrong thing to do. His argument was essentially that sure, the world has gone to hell, but that doesn’t mean that they should choose to abandon any resemblance of a civilized society. In the end, after a tear-filled plea to the group, Andrea does agree with him. But she’s the only one. That night, Rick goes to shoot Randall, but is unable to because Carl walked in and wanted him to do it. They tell the rest of the group, and Andrea goes to tell Dale the good news. However, Dale was walking around the edge of the farm when he spotted one of the escaped cows lying down. He investigates, but is ambushed by a walker. This same walker was one that Carl was toying with, and unable to kill earlier in the episode. The walker is killed by Daryl before it bites Dale, but not before it used its hands to tear open Dale’s abdomen. Unable to save him, Rick tries to put him out of his misery, but can’t. Daryl has to do it.
I thought this episode was going along really well, up until the end. I’ll just flat out say it, I don’t like it that they killed Dale. Especially like this. It seemed like they killed him for shock value, and because they hadn’t killed anyone on the farm in a while. Yes, I know the tagline for the comics is “No one is safe,” but why Dale and why now? If you wanted to kill someone to remind everyone that people can die, kill T-Dogg. He’s never really done anything important on the show. Hell, he has “cannon-fodder” written all over him. And not killing him just because he seems like a logical choice to kill off isn’t a valid excuse. It just frustrates me because the rest of the show was very well written. The moral dilemma facing the group made everyone analyze who they were, and what they wanted to be. It is when things are at their worst that you discover what type of person you are, and Rick didn’t like what he was seeing. But, it was seeing this in his son, and not Dale’s words that made him realize it.
I would like to think that I’m not being irrational, but maybe I am. I never seem to get really upset when a character gets killed in the comic (haven’t read past volume 14). And really, I should treat the TV show as an alternate version of the comic, rather than a straight adaptation. But there was still potential with Dale. He was someone to stand behind Rick, should there ever come a time when Rick and Shane have their falling out. He was the opposing voice to counteract Shane. Dale was the best way to make Andrea a likable character again. But that can’t be done now. And for what? So Carl feels guilty about toying around with a zombie? What does that accomplish? Did they want to show that Carl was becoming desensitized to the world around him? That could have been done just by being scared when the zombie nearly kills him after he was throwing rocks at it. Or at the end, when they easily showed that he wanted Randall to be shot. So, they didn’t need to kill Dale to try to make Carl grow up.
But also, when did the walkers become so strong? Able to rip open someone’s stomach with their bare hands? I don’t buy it. Nothing we have seen in the show prior to this episode gave any indication that they were this strong. If they hands and arms were always that strong, then I don’t think anyone should have been able to get away on their own after being grabbed by a zombie.
This is all just my initial reaction. There are 2 episodes left in this season, and it may turn out that Dale’s death had greater meaning than what is now apparent. We shall see. Overall, really good episode dealing with the emotions of what makes a society civilized. The episode breakdown is after the break.
Daryl is beating up Randall, trying to get information out of him about his group. Randall tells him that he doesn’t know where they are, but they are heavily armed. Randall says that a group like their took them in, but one night, the men went out to scavenge and came across a campsite with two teenage girls and their mother. He says he had to watch while the men raped them. Daryl continues beating him.
Daryl tells the group what info he got. Rick says they need to kill him. Dale tries to talk him out of it. Rick gives Dale until sunset to try to talk the group out of wanting to kill Randall.
Dale asks Andrea to guard Randall while he talks to the group. Dale tells Andrea that it’s their choice whether or not they want to remain a civilized society. She promises to watch Randall.
Carl tries to talk to Shane about what is going on, but Shane tells him it’s grown up stuff.
Shane talks to Andrea about how they probably won’t go through with it, and the problems always come from the people making the rules. Andrea asks him if he wants to take away their guns, and he doesn’t deny it. Says that he won’t let it get out of hand.
Carl sneaks into the barn, and Randal tries convince Carl to let him go. Shane and Andrea come in and break it up. Shane explains to Carl that Randal was just trying to get Carl to lower his guard so he could hurt him.
Dale talks to Daryl about Randal, but Daryl doesn’t really want to be part of the group. Says Rick didn’t figure out Shane killed Otis because he didn’t want to.
Lori supports whatever Rick decides to. He also tells her that Shane shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
Carl tells Carol that Sophia is not in Heaven, and Heaven is a lie only idiots believe in.
Rick tells Carl to apologize to Carol, and fix his mistake. Carl asks if that is what Rick is doing by killing Randal, fixing his mistake.
Dale tries to talk to Hershel about Randal, but Hershel doesn’t care what happens. He just wants him away from his girls.
Carl comes across a motorcycle, and takes a gun that was in one of the side bags. He ventures out into the woods and finds a walker by the creek. The walker is stuck in mud, so Carl throws rocks at it.
Dale tries to talk Shane out of wanting to kill Randal. Shane tells him that he’ll let him speak with the group, and will go with whatever they decide. Shane tells Dale he’s wrong, and when Randal kills someone that blood will be on Dale’s hands.
Hershel and Glenn have a conversation about life, and Hershel gives him his old family pocket-watch, approving of him being with Maggie.
Rick says he’s got to be the one to do it, because he’s the one that brought Randal back to the farm.
Carl continues toying with the stuck walker. Carl’s aiming at the walker when it breaks free and falls into him. He’s able to escape and run away.
The group gathers together to discuss Randal’s fate. Dale is desperately trying to find someone to agree with him that not killing Randal is the right thing to do. Eventually, Andrea agrees with him, but no one else will. Dale tells Daryl as he leaves that the group is broken.
Rick, Shane, and Daryl take Randal to the barn. Carl walks in while Rick is holding the gun to Randal’s head, and tells him to do it. Rick tells Daryl to take Randal away. Rick tells the group that they’re keeping Randal in custody. Andrea goes to tell Dale. Rick tells Lori that Carl wanted to watch, and he couldn’t do it.
Dale is walking towards the woods when he comes across one of the missing steers. He turns around and is attacked by the walker that Carl was toying around with. The walker tore open Dale’s abdommen, before Daryl kills him. They try to get Hershel to save him, but Hershel tells him he’s past hope. Carl recognizes that the walker is the one he found. Andrea tells them to do something to stop the suffering. Rick is unable to pull the trigger, so Daryl does.