NOTE: Let’s be mindful of all the new viewers participating in this conversation and try not to spoil plot points taking place deep into the run of the comic series. Mild speculation is fine and encouraged, as well as talking about things that have happened in the comic up until the point they are at in the show, but don’t get too explicit with regard to future surprises. They will be deleted. Thanks!
“Ding Dong, The Dick is Dead”
Shane, Carol, Daryl, and T-Dog check the perimeter fences at the farm while Rick eulogies Dale in voiceover. They come across a group of zombies and work out their anger about Dale with various gardening tools. Even Shane seems upset, probably because the zombies ruined his chance to kill Dale himself.
Hershel relents and allows Rick and his gang to move into the house. Rick sets up security teams and then announces that he and Daryl will be driving Randall off-sight to cut him loose. Hershel tells Rick that he still doesn’t trust Shane so Rick orders Andrea to keep her eye on him while he’s off dealing with Randall. Andrea’s not too keen on the idea but Hershel tells her that it’s time that Shane understand who’s really in charge here, and it’s not Shane.
Creepy Carl finds Shane and confesses that he had the chance to kill the zombie that killed Dale, but he blew it. Carl tries to give his gun to Shane but Shane won’t have it because he won’t always be around to protect him. (Foreshadowing alert!) Carl doesn’t want his gun anymore so Shane has no choice but to take it.
While Daryl works on boarding up the barn, Randall struggles to slip free of his handcuffs, with bloody results.
Moving into the house Glenn is pleasantly surprised to find that he will be staying in Maggie’s room. Yes, Glenn. There will be sex.
Hershel offers his master bedroom to Rick and Lori, who reluctantly agrees. Lori then spies Shane working on a radio tower or windmill or something and she goes to talk to him. Dale getting killed has really brought home the fact that this shit is real. This opens the door for Lori to start reminiscing about their time together in the beginning of the zombie apocalypse and she finally thanks him for keeping her and Carl alive and she apologizes for how messed up things got between the two of them.
Oh yeah, Shane is definitely a goner.
And then there’s a totally awesome ad for Mad Men that tries to pretend the show is just like The Walking Dead. It’s fantastic.
Rick and Daryl consult a map to figure out where to drop Randall. An hour drive away from the house should be far enough, they reckon. Rick then kind of thanks Daryl for manning up and shooting Dale in the head, and then they both kind of agree that they are on the same page about what to do with Randall, but nothing is directly said because these are two hard men who don’t need to talk about their feelings with one another. A few grunts will suffice. Shane pulls up and Daryl takes this as his cue to leave. Shane tells Rick about what happened with Carl and he suggests that maybe the budding sociopath needs some daddy time. Rick doesn’t have time to parent because he has to deal with Randall. Shane offers to go with Daryl to deal with Randall but Rick is having none of that. So Shane lays some serious guilt on him about being too busy to deal with his son.
Out in the fields, Andrea is having trouble starting Dale’s RV. Glenn shows up to lend a hand and they both work on the engine while Glenn cries about letting his friend down. Glenn fixes the engine and Andrea gives him the honor of starting the RV, which he does. It’s a nice, mostly unspoken tribute to Dale.
Rick tracks down Carl who is on look out duty in the hay loft of the barn. Rick tells Carl that the world has changed, people are going to die, and it’s time for him to man up and face what’s out there. He gives Carl his gun back, which isn’t even really his gun—Carl stole it from Daryl. But whatever!
Back in his barn prison, Randall is still trying to slip free from his shackles, but he’s mostly just succeeding in s ripping the skin off his wrists. His work is interrupted, however, when Shane comes in and goes through a little internal struggle about whether or not to shoot Randall. This involves some crazy head slapping and putting his gun to the kid’s head. Shane is broken from his psychotic stupor when he sees that Randall has obviously been trying to escape.
Daryl and T-Dogg (who at this point in the episode has had more lines than he has had all season) finish prepping one of the vehicles for prisoner transport, but when T-Dogg goes to collect Randall, he finds the barn empty: No Randall. No Shane.
Deep in the woods, Shane drags Randall to a clearing. Shane tells Randall that he is done with Rick and the gang and that he wants Randall to take him to his friends. Shane lets Randall get an appropriate distance ahead of him, and behind a giant tree out of our view and then Shane runs up and, judging by the gruesome sound effects, snaps Randall’s neck. Shane then staggers back into view and runs head first into that giant tree, thus creating a convincing enough wound he can pass of his coming from Randall. Also, he’s crazy. That part’s pretty much well established now.
Back at the farm, Shane watches from the trees as the group scrambles to figure out what happened to Randall. Shane hides his gun and runs out from the tree line shouting about how Randall jumped him and smashed him in the face and stole his gun. Red alert! Now everyone thinks there’s an armed and dangerous Randall on the loose (instead of an armed and dangerous Shane). Rick, Daryl, and Glenn join Shane to go look for Randall as the rest of the group retreats to the house. Daryl can’t find any tracks from Randall and he’s not totally convinced that Shane’s story holds water. But whatever! There’s no time to examine Shane’s story! They’ve got a fugitive on the loose so Rick and Shane and Daryl and Glenn pair off and it’s time to go hunting.
Night has fallen and as T-Dogg and Carl keep an eye on the woods from the house, Rick, Shane, Daryl, and Glenn are still hunting for Randall. Rick shows concern for Shane’s nose, but he gets the brush off. Meanwhile, Daryl grumbles that the search is pointless in the dark, so he takes Glenn back to the beginning and they start to track Randall from the square one. He immediately realizes that the tracks don’t jive with Shane’s story. They find the blood on the tree and then they find… Randall, who has come back as a zombie. There’s a scuffle and Glenn wins Daryl’s respect by embedding a machete in Zombie Randall’s skull.
Rick and Shane continue to amble aimlessly through the woods. Rick starts asking Shane some questions about what happened with Randall, but Shane isn’t in the mood for talking.
Daryl examines Zombie Randall and finds that a) He had his neck broken, and b) He hasn’t been bitten. He and Glenn both realize simultaneously that Shane must have killed him.
Rick and Shane reach a clearing and Rick has pretty much figured out by now that Shane’s story is bullshit. They stand alone in a field under a giant moon. Rick holsters his revolver and gets Shane to admit that this was all a set-up for Shane to murder Rick. There’s a lot of tough talk on both sides. Rick thinks Shane is an idiot for thinking he can get away with this and then slide into his role as husband and father for Lori and Carl. Shane thinks that Rick is a terrible father and leader and that everything has gone to shit since he came back. Shane desperately wants Rick to make an aggressive move so that he can pull the trigger but Rick won’t go for his gun in an aggressive way. Instead he pulls out his gun in a defensive posture and offers to give it up to Shane so that if Shane kills him it will have to be straight-up cold-blooded murder of his old best friend. He staggers forward and hands the gun to Shane and says that they can still go back to the farm together. Shane takes the gun and Rick stabs him in the heart. They both fall to the ground with Rick crying and yelling at Shane that this was his fault.
Rick sits by Shane’s side while some bizarre and disturbing zombie imagery flashes on-screen. Carl shows up and sees his dad and sees a dead Shane and he starts freaking out and pulls his gun on his father. Rick walks towards him slowly and tries to settle Carl down. But then, unbeknownst to Rick, Zombie Shane stands up and starts coming towards him. Carl fires a round and Rick is surprised to find that it wasn’t meant for him, rather it catches Zombie Shane right in the head.
Nearby in the woods, a whole mess of zombies hear the gunshot and come a running. Rick and Carl stand over Zombie Shane’s body and as the camera pulls back, way back, we see a whole army of zombies heading towards them in the dark.
Well, the worst kept secret in TV finally happened: Shane is dead and Jon Bernthal is the second major cast member off the show. Just like with Jeffrey DeMunn who played Dale, Bernthal was considered a “Darabont Guy” so it was only a matter of time before he was gone. Plus, there was the fact that it’s been known for a while that Bernthal took a lead role in Darabont’s new show, LA Noir. So it was no surprise that Shane was killed.
The only real surprise was how they decided to kill Shane. I’m sure it will be a bone of contention with many fans of the comic book that Carl did not do the primary deed. But this is the show and not the book and with Shane lasting as long as he did, with the tension between him and Rick rising to the level that it did, there was no other option. Rick had to kill Shane. Anything else would have been unsatisfying. But I did think it was a really nice touch to have Carl kill Zombie Shane. That was a nice nod to the books.
This season has been fantastic so far. There’s a lot to look forward to in next week’s season finale!