Episode Title: Better Angels
Original Airdate: 3-11-2012
The day after Dale’s death, the Farm goes on lockdown. Hershel allows the Group to move into the house, as everyone secures the windows and doors, while stockpiling food for potential emergencies. Unfortunately there is still the issue of Randall. Rick is determined to take him over an hour away, with Daryl’s help, to dump him. Shane, having had enough, unties Randall and leads him into the woods, snapping his neck. Shane then rams his own face into a tree and hides his gun. He runs back to the Farm as everyone discovers their prisoner is missing, telling tall tales of Randall sneaking up on him, knocking him out and stealing his gun.
Shane then leads Rick, Daryl and Glenn into the woods to “find” Randall, with everyone splitting into two groups. Daryl is confused by the contradictory tracks he finds that don’t corroborate Shane’s story, as a turned Randall attacks, with Glenn quickly killing him. Daryl is baffled by the fact that Randall clearly died of a broken neck, with zero bites or scratches. Meanwhile, Shane is leading Rick further and further away, with a plan to kill his once best friend. Rick, not being an idiot, figures this out, and after a lot of talking, he pretends to surrender his gun to Shane, but stabs him in the heart. Carl comes upon the scene after the fact and points his gun at his father, but Shane then reanimates, and Carl takes him out with one shot to the head. It is then revealed that a horde of Walkers has been lingering in the nearby woods and the gunfire has drawn their attention toward the direction of the Farm.
Though we still had to deal with Randall, who at this point was a mere prop instead of a character, this was a pretty great episode. I remember when the season first aired, people grew very tired of Shane. Most of these people were fans of the comic and Shane died before the Group even reached the Farm. Having read those particular issues of the comic, I disagree. I think if Shane had been killed off at the end of Season 1, it would have been too soon. I think this season, though dragged out at times, was a nice slow burn into the downward spiral of the character, and killing him off in the penultimate episode was a great choice, because it set the tone for the non-stop finale nicely. There are many threats in this post-apocalyptic world, from Walkers to lack of resources to dangerous people everywhere else. But a dangerous psychopath you used to call your best friend inside your own group? Is there anything scarier? Though most don’t want to admit it, Shane served an excellent purpose during his controversial run and though Season 2 could have benefited from several changes, his presence was not one of its problems.
I really enjoyed the talk Lori and Shane have, with her finally being decent toward him for saving her and Carl when the world ended. I always hated the way she treated him when Rick returned (except for that attempted rape Shane tried at the CDC, of course). I fully concede the man was crazy, but she turned on him so quickly when Rick showed up at the camp in the first season, I simply could not believe her attitude. So her apology here was nice, though that little chat is what finally sent Shane over the edge, because he assumed he would eventually get her back with Rick out of the way. At least there was a nice moment in there…somewhere.
Stay tuned for the Season 2 finale. It has been one of my favorite episodes of the entire series so far, probably only second to the Season 4 mid-season finale. I haven’t watched it in nearly three years, but I can’t wait to see if it still holds up.