Walking Dead continues to slowly burn towards its final episode this season with a couple of surprises and twists for fans of the show and of the source material. I will tell you that yes I liked this episode but there were a lot of things that disappointed me as well. I’ll get into the details of the review below after the picture jump. However you’ve been warned. After this picture spoilers aplenty…..SPOILERS ..0k
This episode starts off moving in the right direction. Rick speaking on Dales behalf at his funeral is inter-cut with scenes of Shane leading Darrel, Andrea, and T Dog around the Farm to clear walkers and let off some aggression. The scene works out well establishing that yes indeed Shane is still his aggressive self while Rick thinks otherwise. This issue focuses largely on Shane, which I enjoyed. However the writer’s choice to try to have the viewer sympathize with Shane would have been the right decision if they hadn’t completely pulled a 180 and had Shane ultimately flip his shit the next thirty minutes of the episode. I enjoyed the conversation between Shane and Carl, but felt that Lori’s conversation with Shane was a bit unrealistic. Thanking Shane now for saving her life months ago, and apologizing to him for putting him in this situation in the first place was completely off base given the fact Shane had tried to rape her last season, and continued to be a threat throughout this season. Ultimately I get that it was supposed to “push Shane over the edge ” but it caused the development of Shane and Lori to take a step back. The women on the show still continue to be written half as good as the male characters. Though they did throw a bone to T Dog and allow him to say a few lines this episode. Too bad “aww Hell NO!” was one of them..but I digress.
So Rick has decided to Let their hostage Randall go, but Shane disappointed with the decision uses his conversation with Carl to tell Rick to follow-up with his son. As Rick talks with Carl he gives him back the gun he gave to Shane and tells him that he’s tired and that the reality is he must protect himself going forward. While Rick is with Carl, Shane ends up freeing Randall and leading him into the woods. The scenes between Randall and Shane work very well. Your not sure what Shane’s angle is until he finally snaps his neck off camera and tries to create a scenario in his head to tell the rest of his group on the farm. Shane heads back to tell the group that Randall got away and is out in the woods somewhere. Rick tells Darrel and Glenn to split up and take Shane with him to search for Randall. Anyone who has read the comic books could start to play in their head what was coming next.
The show decides to handle the Rick and Shane’s confrontation differently. While Glenn and Darrel search and eventually find a zombified Randall, Shane continues to take Rick further away from the group in what he hopes is their final confrontation. Glenn and Darrel quickly take care of Walker Randall and are startled when they realize that Randall died because of a snapped neck and not a zombie bite. Confused about what that may mean, they head back to the Farm to tell the others. At this point the end of the episode starts building tension as Rick starts to figure out that Shane is leading him to an open field to murder him. The dialogue between Rick and Shane is great and shows that there continues to be a lot of animosity between these two people who were once best friends. It’s a bittersweet reality, and was acted out amazingly by both actors. Now this is where I have a bit of a problem with the episode. I understand that they want to throw things into the story to keep it “fresh” the people who have already the comics but having Rick be the one who ends Shane’s life seemed a bit out of place. I feel the decision was more due to the fact that they can’t actually show a child kill another person on AMC and so they had to rewrite a scene that would have had much more dramatic weight to it by letting Carl end Shane’s life to protect his father. Instead Carl walks up on his father as he is kneeling over Shane’s body scared and confused.
One of the most compelling aspects about the book and the show should be Rick’s relationship with his son. This season has done more to hurt that relationship then make it believable and so we are left with a bit of a cop-out at the end of the episode as Carl saves Rick from Shane who has risen from the Dead quickly and is coming towards Rick. Yes I get you still had him shoot Shane in the head but it falls flat. I do like that they are finally showing you that it doesn’t take a bite to turn you into a Zombie now. The rules have changed and it creates some good story opportunities for Season 3. Finally speaking of Story opportunities, will we ever find out what the man at The Disease Control Center whispered into Ricks ear? I mean it’s not that Lori was pregnant and it wasn’t that the dead could still be turned without getting bit …so what could it be. I hope that the final episode of this season has some answers and finds a way to not only get the characters that do survive off the farm, but also strikes a good balance with continuity of season 1 and the comic. AMC please don’t be afraid to veer back towards the story Robert Kirkman originally wrote, there’s a reason people love these characters so much.
Score : 7.5/10
Reviewed by Mike DeVivo
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