Episode Title: Judge, Jury, Executioner
Original Airdate: 3-4-12
It’s annoying old man versus annoying kid this week. The episode starts with Daryl torturing the captive Randall (yep, he’s STILL a thing) for information about his group to determine how much danger everyone at the farm might be in if they set him free. It is decided his release is too much of a threat. No one wants to actually kill the kid (okay, except maybe crazy Shane) but old man Dale is adamant that this action is wrong and spends the day trying to change everyone’s mind, one by one. Yes, it’s as painful and drawn out as it sounds.
Meanwhile, Carl has become a total brat. He disrespects Carol, regarding “seeing” Sophia again someday in Heaven, mouths off to his parents, steals Daryl’s gun, then hides in the woods all day where he finds a Walker stuck in the mud. Instead of killing it, he throws rocks at it for a little while, staying just out of its reach to torment it further, until the Walker manages to pull of his legs free and lunges for the kids. Carl barely escapes with his life, but never took down the Walker.
Back on the farm, the group officially votes to kill Randall, angering Dale, who storms out, saying they’ve all lost their humanity. As Rick is about to pull the trigger, Carl sneaks into the barn and cheers on his dad. Upset about what his son is becoming, Rick changes his mind. Before Dale can be told the good news, he is attacked by the same Walker that Carl met in the woods. Dale is able to stop it from biting him, but the Walker makes amends by ripping Dale’s stomach open and spilling his guts all over the ground. Knowing there is no way to save Dale’s life, and seeing him in excruciating pain, Rick decides to put him out of his misery, but Daryl steps in to deliver the death blow.
In a perfect world, Dale would be 100% right that killing Randall is wrong and in doing so, they’ve lost their humanity and devolved into animals. Unfortunately, it’s no longer a perfect world. There is no law anymore. There is nothing to protect the Group from a larger, more heavily armed group except their guns, and it’s far more logical to use one bullet on a potential threat than all their ammo on a definite one. It doesn’t make their decision right, but there is little to do with right and wrong when civilization falls. That doesn’t mean I could ever do something like that; I might be able to vote, but not pull the trigger myself. And Dale shouldn’t see things so black and white. I could see someone like Hershel having issues with it, since he’s been protected on the farm, but Dale has seen how ugly things have gotten and should know it’s a dog-eat-dog world now. Of course, this all could have been avoided if Rick hadn’t been so determined to save a guy who was trying to kill him in the first place. “Too late to take it back, let’s just shoot him in the barn!” Seems legit.
There isn’t much to say about this episode, because it’s filler, just like last week except for that Rick/Shane fight, and like next week. The writers clearly needed something to drag out for four episodes until the finale, and I’m just glad it was only a thirteen-episode season instead of the now standard sixteen episodes. And with that my feelings on this season have drastically changed. But more on that in a few weeks; we have to handle this Randall issue first.