RECAP: ‘The Walking Dead’ – S02E12 – “Better Angels”

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!

“Better Angels”


“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.

Roll credits!

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!



  1. the way it was preseted, carl was pointing the gun at rick, not shane… until he shot shane

  2. The herd idea looks like it finally made it’s way from comic to TV screen!! Shane down and Lori to go please? This episode was everything I expected and more, Darryl has easily become my favorite character!!


  3. I liked the episode over all, and did appreciate how Carl was able to finish off zombie shane. Shane’s reflection in the glass a few weeks back was a nice foreshadow after all. I was really surprised that Rick didn’t get shot during the scuffle when the gunshot went off…because thats just what always happens in movies and tv.

    I was actually surprised by the Shane scenario, and i’m glad i was able to stay away from anything spoiler-y so it wasn’t ruined for me. Nice build up and i’m looking forward to the finale.

    One thing i’ve never understood about Zombie logic on the show and comics. If every walker can “triangulate” your location off of one gunshot (which seems impossible for the living let alone the dead), then, why can’t you just herd them to go the wrong direction with another diversionary gunshot?

    • It’s mixing fiction, but the WWZ logic was that it wasn’t just triangulation. One walker hears the sound and goes toward it, moaning, walker two hears the moan, goes toward it moaning, followed by walker three, etc. So while a second shot WOULD get their attention, the zombies are going to go where the most zombies are.

    • yeah i mean i get that, and i know its done for dramatic purposes, but its always interesting how the herd seemingly has GPS and can pinpoint track any sound down from miles away. Thats a marketable skill!

    • Ahhh! Gotcha!

    • Yes that has been done in the comics I believe once to move them in a wrong direction. It looks pretty damn ominus right now and that is what we were all waiting for lets be honest. Action galore and I hope next episode, even though it’s season finally is the premier of Michacoon. Sorry, can’t remember how to spell her name or pronunce it but; I do love her character in the comics and I heard rumors she will be on the TV screen as well.


    • How they pin point it seems kinda of flawed however; think about all off the noise they have been causing since they got onto that farm. All the gun shooting, the loud as hell motorcycle and all of the yelling and screaming. I can see them eventually bringing the walkers closer and closer and then finally bang here they are close enough. Remember Shane saw one wondering a few episodes ago and then showed the group cleaning off a few earlier in this episode. I do agree with how the hell do they pin point where some one is again though; this group has been loud as shit since they arrived.


    • @flash spelled Michonne-pronounced “ME-SHAWN” of my favorite characters in comics.

    • @flash 923 That was a very unfortunate spelling error…
      @wwhite How do you know the proper pronunciation?

    • Fan Mail in the back of the Walking Dead comic…Kirkman explainied how too properly pronounce her name cause fans at conventions kept saying it wrong.

    • Sweet. Thanks

    • I think they demonstrated in both the book and the show that zombies have a good sense of smell, too. That was why Michonne had the two on leashes, and why Rick and Glenn covered themselves in zombies goop to reach the truck in season 1. Maybe that helps them home in, but they’d have to have a REALLY good sense of smell to pick it up that far away. I’m pretty sure the human nose is not sensitive enough, dead or alive, to smell living people that far away.

      I’ve read a lot of zombie fiction, and several books do mention the walker hears a walker hears a walker and you wind up with a huge crowd. And “Day by Day Armageddon” has an idea of the military using noise-making drones to attract huge mobs of zombies to one area then nuking them (with mixed results). I’m surprised there hasn’t been anything similar done in TWD, book or show.

    • @kennyg-thats pretty interesting stuff, and it sounds similar to how you herd animals with noise makers and stuff. The thing that i still find funny, is that zombies can basically do what a fully functioning human being cannot do. Pinpoint the direction of one random gunshot, yards or miles away. Its incredibly difficult to do especially when there is no impact in sight.

      The epic Tour de Force film “Red Dawn” covers this…during the “never shoot twice” scene in the woods. Its also the basic idea behind snipers relocating. Hell, when i walk my dog at night i have problems figuring out where some of the random street noises come from.

      So in summation, zombies have super duper hearing and GPS brain skillz.


  4. Apparently Kirkman and the new show runner wrote next week’s episode, which is somehow the finale already. Where does the post-apocalyptic time go?

  5. 😀 CSI: Zombie Atlanta with Daryl Dixon and sidekick Glenn aka Short Round. 😛

  6. I’m glad they finally explained that if you die no matter what, being bitten by a zombie or not you come back as a zombie.
    The way Shane got killed was a total reversal of what they did in the comic and I kinda wished they would have stayed with the comic book version because it’s more hardcore and really shows the mentality of Carl.

    Still had a great time with it and the season finale should be a total orgy of zombies kills and gore which should be a blast too watch.

    • You’re not alone there. Carl shooting a live Shane (as opposed to zombie Shane) was and is still one of the most iconic scenes in the comic, because it’s then and there that a) Rick and Carl truly solidify their bond as father and son and b) you realize just how dark this new world is, where even a kid like Carl can be forced to do the unthinkable.

      It was just unfathomable to me that they’d even try to alter the outcome of the Shane/Rick showdown for the TV show… and yet they did. Very disappointing.

    • @Skruff yeah it was a big let down for me as well and I agree with your points 100%

  7. So Shane locked the barn on his way out? I can understand forgetting to do something, but intentionally doing something that makes it that obvious… i guess the excuse is that he’s crazy.

    I really enjoyed this episode. It was very entertaining and next week should be just as much fun. I typically watch these with my wife. After episodes I always ask her if she’s ready to read the comics and she says no. After this episode she looked at me and said, “You better give me that first trade.”

    • I thought the barn locking was weird too but I just assumed that he did it to give himself more time to do what he needed to do. Anyone could have seen the door open and the fake escape attempt could have been ruined.

    • I think Shane locked the barn to make it look like Randall slipped his cuffs and escaped by climbing up through the rafters. Then Shane gets blindsided by Randall somewhere in the woods.

    • But we saw the barn being repaired, so no one could escape that way (we might assume Shane didn’t see the repairs getting made).

      I also don’t think he needs to leave the door wide open. He could simply leave the door closed and it is very unlikely to get noticed until T-Dog walks over. It gave him 30 extra seconds, but also made it obvious that he did it.

    • I pretty much bought that as a slip up at the scene of the crime, stupid mistake, but it happens.

  8. The cold open from this episode might be my favorite thing from this whole season. The eulogy was perfect and the directing was spot on.

  9. Sad to say the was the worst episode of the entire series. Poorly written and uninteresting. And with an ending many people predicted weeks ago…Carl shoots a zombie Shane? I thought they were joking, and such a dumb idea was actually carried out!

    • Swanson’d

    • sorry ron i stayed away from the internet until ign reviewed it to me this was good and watched it

    • io9 spoiled Shane’s death in their Morning Spoilers (I know, my fault), so I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know if it’d be this episode or the finale. Well, I DVR’ed it and had to go out of town for the last few days and didn’t get to watch it, only for Bernthal to show up on Letterman and Dave spoiled it for me.

  10. Daryl has taken up the mantle of Locke (from “Lost”) as being Tracker Extraordinaire of Prime Time TV. A world full of zombies I can somehow accept, but Daryl finding the precise pile of leaves to determine there was a fight, and doing in the pitch dark, somehow had me shaking my head in disbelief.

    At least Carl got to shoot Shane, sort of.

  11. If I were to use the iFanboy grading system for Season 2 of the Walking Dead it would go something like this:

    Story: 2
    Art: 4

    Anyone can see that AMC severely cut the budget for this show by getting rid of Frank Darabont, keeping much of the season in one location, yadda, yadda, yadda. I mean, you’ve read how Darabont wanted to start off Season 2 right? The fucking awesome Blackhawk Down scene that would have told the story of the Army guys that flew into Atlanta at the start of the outbreak (and who’s tank Rick held up in for a bit in the first episode of season 1). But yeah, awesome ideas sometimes cost a lot of money.

    But still, even with Darabont gone and the budget cut in half, the show still could have been great, but honestly, up until these last 3 episodes it hasn’t. The show has been poorly written. Written quickly. Written “by the numbers”. That is the major problem with The Walking Dead – the writing.

    The acting is fine. Sure there are issues I have with how some of the characters (cough… Lori….cough) seem to have walked straight off of a Gap commercial as opposed to living in a world overran by zombies, but the acting is pretty solid.

    The special effects are well done and under Greg Nicotero’s watchful eye continue to impress and sicken.

    The Direction sometimes falls back on tired T.V cliches: starting the episode with the ending (ala Breaking Bad), playing some sappy music during an emotional scene to remind us that we are to be emotional during this scene. But ever it does the job of getting us from point A to point B.

    No man, the problem is the writing.

    When I watch The Walking Dead it’s like I am watching a High School Drama Club play. I can never give myself fully over to the story because I can still see the “strings”. I can see the machinery behind the scenes.

    all that said, last nights episode was pretty good. When the action ramps up the show excels and next weeks season finale looks to bring this season home with a bang. I’m glad I stuck around, bad writing and all.

    • The blackhawk scene is stupid in my opinion. With only 12 episodes in a season, you’re going throw one completely away to tell a side-tale that has no relation to the main characters or plot… AND you’re going to to do it as a season opener AND the tale ends at a point PRIOR to the current time? Just dumb.

      And yes, lets pull in Stephen King whose history of TV writing (I mean King actually scripting, not works ‘based’ on his writings) is absolutely horrendous and consistently low-rated and lowly criticized?

      Good riddance to Frank Darabont. I appreciate the head start he gave WD… but if the above 2 ideas were any indication of where he was taking this, then I’m glad he’s gone. The Walking Dead is THE WALKING DEAD… not ‘Frank Darabont’s Walking Dead’!

  12. i wont do any spoilers on here, ill say wow finally finally, conor sumed it up ding dong the dick is dead, plus little by little everyone is noticing hey anyone can be a zombie, now anyone can say hey it was close how shane could have died, there will be more characters showing up to the series some new some old from the source well never know until we see the episodes, finale will be epic

  13. How was the undead Randall walking around? Does the zombie virus cure the destroyed spinal column from a broken neck?

    • I’m not reading the issues/trades, but my guess is that it’s something inherent in our bodies (maybe from the enviornment?) that “kicks in” when we die. Kinda of like when we sneeze to ward off germs or a cold, their bodies (cells, immune system ? CNS?) go into another state(zombie state) after dying.

    • You can break your neck without severing your spinal column.

    • Yeah but will a broken neck that doesn’t sever your spinal column kill you? I thought that was what got you in the end. Reading too much into this I guess.

    • Ya damaged artery will kill you .. i get what your saying though..

    • zombie movies have a long history of zombies with f-ed up necks walking around. for example: every zombie movie

  14. I’m ahuge fan of the book. I have been for a long time. This show is going to be different from the book. They have said that all along. So why not just enjoy it for what it is instead of always comparing the two. Everyone will be much happier in the end.

  15. My main two thoughts, a pro and a con.

    1. I liked that Rick killed Shane, then Carl killed him again. It was a nice reversal from the books, and so kept me guessing. I don’t mind small chances that keep readers on their toes.

    2. There has been a lot of dead extras on this show, none of whom turned into a zombie so fast. The pair from the bar spring to mind, then all the bodies on the freeway. Bit annoying.

    • @Zeppo: Kirkman talked about the bodies on the freeway in an interview:

      “I think if you go back and watch that [sequence you’ll see] we were very careful to have them be in cars that were in accidents, so the brain would’ve had trauma. Or they had some kind of wounds somewhere on their heads to show that their brains had been killed, like somebody came across and killed them. We knew that we were building to this throughout the entire season.”

    • @ Conor – wow thanks.

      I figured it was just a tv mix-up. That the level of foresight is the sort of thing I like to hear from TV producers.

      I’ll have to get the blu-rays of season 1&2 and keep an eye out for that.

      It brings the timeline of that man they found hanging in the woods into question, as well.

      In this case I’ll revise my two comments, drop a con for a pro. Andrew Lincoln’s preformance in the last scene was great.

    • The best part of the link though, Community’s back March 15th!!! POP POP

    • I agree about the timing. I was surprised Shane reanimated so quickly. It took Andrea’s sister Amy overnight to turn, and she was directly bitten. Shane just died of a stab wound. Maybe there’s some other factor about the timing, but who can say.

    • @kennyg:

      I think of a bite as dying from sepsis – an infection that takes longer to kill you , then you turn. Shane and Randall seem to die nearly instantaneously, hence quicker turn times. Just my theory…

    • For part 2 of your query, Rick shot Dave (he’ll always be René to me though) in the head. Boom! Headshot! No reanimating from that. Also, I’m going to assume that, though that much was offscreen, Rick probably shot Fat Pisser in the head as a precaution after he killed him.

  16. Was it ever established in the comics that zombification happens after death, not after bite? It’s been so long that I’ve read a lot of the issues, that I forget.

    • @ j206 Yes sir it was…There is a great scene from the comic when Rick goes back to where he buried Shane after Carl killed him cause he knows he’s a zombie now, He digs him up and takes him out of his misery.

  17. i don’t know about you guys, but i’m going to play the crap out of that branded facebook zombie game. Its like a zynga zombie-ville. haha

  18. Having Carl shoot a zombie Shane and not human Shane like he did in the book takes a lot from that character. In the book we are seeing s how that shooting is slowly affecting him as he took a human life, where in the series he essentially just dropped another zombie and the fallout from that can’t be the same as it would be for killing a human.

  19. Is there aboslutely NO ONE supervising Carl? I mean they let him wander out to the river and play with zombies, then, with a potential crazy gang member wandering around the woods, he somehow excapes and find shane and rick. You think his parents would’ve learned a lesson the first time he wandered off on his own!.. sheesh.. this show is too much sometimes..