It's time again for the Review Redux. Hopefully, everyone has had time to fire up the DVR and watch Episode 212 Better Angels. You've heard my thoughts on the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. Now it's time for some other members of the NSD family to share their thoughts and analysis on all things Walking Dead.
Our first guest is , Christina Lowery (Yep, she is the older sister to Amanda). She blogs her thoughts over at Feed Your Head. Christina takes Episode 212 and dissects it, touching on specific scenes and characters. She gives a look at Shane vrs. Rick, Carl, Lori's indecisiveness, and the "Showdown Beneath the Moonlight".
On her feelings regarding Season Two thus far, overall:
Walking Dead, season two, the season of indecisiveness comes to an almost conclusion this week as the show starts with something we have been missing from Walking Dead since, well, the whole entire second season; a sense of a group united in one effort, securing the perimeter and protecting the group by taking down Walkers. There are no moralizing debates about the right or wrong of it or an Alpha male standoff, just survival at its basest. It’s been a long time since there was a moment when the group seemed to be on the same page. I realized how much I missed that aspect of the show when I got a little taste of it. Dales funeral was nice, but “We honor Dale by doing it his way?” A little too late and little too corny, but okay, man down,I get it; but be warned writers, you have used your last ‘get out of jail free pass.’Shane v. Rick:
So this week, the story just happens to focus on what has been keeping the group from connecting: Rick vs. Shane. Shane is so off the deep end by this point and just so desperate to be mommy’s favorite, I mean Lori’s favorite, that his point about Dale being dead and how to handle the prisoner as two separate things is ignored. Rick sums it up with the old adage, Shane is his own worst enemy, and yup that says it all.On 'The Showdown Beneath the Moonlight":
We see it, right when Rick sees it, Shane has maneuvered this whole thing to get Rick alone for the purpose of taking him out. “Does this way feel right?” Rick asks Shane, not talking about the direction they are walking. Shane replies, “Right as any.” I suppose at this point in the game, for Shane, this is true. Rick buys the time, and without hesitation, is able to take down his former partner and best friend.
Sometimes I can’t get past Carl’s bad acting to believe in him.His acting is too obvious, someone told him, “look down at the ground, kick around some rocks, pretend to be a kid with a great weight on your shoulders,” and he did just that…just so damn noticeably directed. About half way through his talk with Shane,though, I began to believe him as the scared kid who wants desperately to be a man, but is having to confess to a man he idolizes that he messed up. Shane, the one person Carl could go to and say “Can I tell you something without you telling my parents,” listens to Carl, reassures Carl and doesn’t just brush him or his concerns aside. He is Carl’s confessional, a second father to him.
Rick, not to be out fathered by Shane, postpones his Dead Man Walking Act to spend a moment with Carl. Or rather, to tell him,“Son, I am tired,” take this gun back and protect yourself. Did anyone else hear a little, “I need you to man up?” in that speech?
When Carl had to, he took the shot and he didn't miss. The son shows no signs of his previous reluctance, and he shoots ‘Walker Shane’ who has come up behind his dad, in the head.Shane was wrong; Carl’s not such a weak boy after all.Thoughts on the painful chat between Lori and Shane:
Lori walks to Shane and, what is this, she is not angry with him? I’m sorry, is this the same Lori who has shunned, ignored, shot dirty looks at, and plotted against by whispering very ‘Gertrude’-esque ideas in her husband’s head. Shane doesn’t miss the chance to make sure he points out to Lori that she is choosing the wrong man. Lori points out how once Shane showed up Rick “by fixing their sink”, Shane is quick to assure Lori that with Rick comes the flood, he doesn't even know not to use a rubber washer with a metal pipe. Lori doesn't know whose baby it is and finally admits it! We have known all along and I personally strongly suspect the child is Shane’s. Lori’s reminiscent moment about the night Shane saved her was almost cruel, she sums up their ‘time together’ as when “things got confused between us.” Not what love sick Shane wants to hear their affair described as. So a week after her obvious plotting against this man, she finally owns up to Shane about what a hard place he must be in watching his best friend’s wife, that he is in love with, walk around possibly carrying his baby? Argh! The inconsistencieswith the writing and the behavior of the characters this season are really becoming blatantly well, to quote Lori, confusing.In conclusion and looking towards next weeks finale:
So, Shane goes down and I hope that with along with him goes the soap opera bubble that has surrounded our once fine show as of late. I saw glimmers in this week’s show that reflected what made the first season the masterpiece it was, it is not too late to be redeemed. There is of course the new added twist that those who died without being in contact with a Walker are now becoming Walkers.
A great episode, a redeeming one in fact, for what has been a lackluster season. And in conclusion, I vote Darryl as leader of the pack.
Taking a look at the deaths of Dale and Shane is David Blackstone. David is quite the writer. You can find him EVERYWHERE on the internet. He has three books available (Flash, Flash II, and Flash III) and a great writing blog at agincourtdb.com. Have a read below, take a peek at Dave's analysis,and then go buy one of his books!
It's probably cliché at this point in the game to observe that the Dale vs. Shane dynamic is a metaphor for the battle between morality and cold practicality in Rick's head. They are, respectively, the angel and the devil on Rick's shoulders. This battle has been ongoing since the beginning of the series. Before 'putting down' the bicycle zombie in the first episode, Rick actually apologizes to it, saying, “I'm sorry this happened to you.” He feels empathy for the human being the zombie used to be, an empathy that is a signature of the character at the beginning of his arc.
As the series progresses, Rick alternates between an acceptance of a necessity to change his standards of behavior so as to ensure the safety of his family specifically and the group in general, and a desperate attempt to hold on to long-held beliefs — no doubt reinforced by years as a Sheriff's Deputy — in justice and fairness. Dale and Shane precipitate and fuel these swings with their influence and actions.
I find it interesting, however, that their deaths metaphorically reflect the flaws in each of their approaches to their apocalyptic situation. Dale is killed trying to preserve what he can of civilization both figuratively and literally: when he is mauled, he is carelessly alone, investigating the remains of a head of cattle that escaped its pen; the husbanding of animals being one of the earliest — if not the earliest — building blocks of civilization. Shane, on the other hand, is killed for tribal/pack primacy: by murdering Randall and attempting to murder Rick, he chooses a world where the strong take or withhold from the weak regardless of all other concerns, and promptly learns that he was not the strongest. Rick's struggle between conscience and necessity prompts him to rebuke the dying Shane for forcing him into the unwanted action of killing his friend. He can do a terrible thing to protect himself and his family — where, before, with Randall, he could not — but he does it only as a last resort, and without pleasure or comfort.
It's possible that not only the fact of Dale and Shane's deaths but the manners of their deaths, offer an interesting statement on the part of the writers/creators about Rick specifically and about human behavior in survival situations in general: that only by balancing calculated self-interest on the one hand with conscience on the other can survival — not just physical survival of humans but also the survival of philosophical humanity — be sustainable.Returning this week is NSD writer, Amanda Lowery. Here's what she thought about "Better Angels".
I’m just going to say it plain: I really liked last night’s episode of Walking Dead. I thought it was intense. That level of dramatic intensity is what drives this show, and this season we’ve only seen it pop in and out of just a couple of episodes, and those were the best episodes. Walking Dead has the propensity to get my heartbeat going wildly as I silently wait to see what will unfold next. I am relieved that Shane is dead. In Dan’s review he mentions that this season has been a perpetual pissing contest between Shane and Rick and I couldn’t agree more. It’s interesting to also track this dynamic from that initial scene in the cop car. These men were partners, they were deputies, and they were supposed to be equal. But then Rick done got himself shot and the dang zombie apocalypse happened! This changed the whole dynamic of their relationship. Shane admitted to Rick that he never broached the boundaries of a respectable platonic relationship with Lori until after the afore mentioned sequence of events went down and Rick was presumed dead. I believe him. But I think this is where their previous parallel paths diverged.
Shane stepped up. He used his position of authority to help guide a group of survivors, and took himself a woman. Shane and Lori played a little house, which inevitably resulted in the formation of affection between Shane and Carl, and possibly the conception of a love child. He was living the survivor man’s dream. Then Rick showed up and challenged all of this. Not only did he erupt unto the scene like a hero heralding lost hope, he also shot straight to the top of the leadership pyramid. So not only did he completely huff and puff and blow Shane and Lori’s house down, Rick then proceeded to piss on the rubble and assume that Shane would bend a knee to him. Talk about adding insult to injury. It was never going to be the same after that, and every situation that unfolded out of that mess of male dick wagging was a testosterone motivated impulse to claim one’s territory. Shane also lost his shit along the way, and I think we all agree that his crazy ass had to be put down to avoid some really bad things happening. Once somebody is shown slapping themselves cuz dey crazy, you know it is the end for them. I think that last little talk from Lady Lori pushed Shane into a land of dark decisions. He decided he was done trying to prove his way was the better way – he was going to kill Rick once and for all and reclaim all that he’d lost.
Carl. I get it. You loved Shane and you were real confused to see him all laid out like that. But, to raise the gun on your father and keep it there untrustingly was a bit surprising. I have to try to enter the mind of a pre-pubescent boy during a zombie apocalypse through the mind of a writer for a popular tv show based on graphic novels to understand this one, and since I am fresh out of LSD, I am going to chalk this up as a young boy experiencing the loss of a close friend at the hand of his father and being distraught. He clearly didn’t know the circumstances, but thank goodness he learned the art of accurate shooting (Did this happen in the show? Am I just not remembering? Or was it through osmosis?).
Dale’s death followed by Shane’s death leaves me wondering if some kind of balance has been struck in the group. The death of Dale reignited some compassion in the others; Herschel decided to take on new tenants, Lori took the righteous bitch down a couple of notches and sent Shane over the edge with her admission of obvious emotional confusion, Daryl side eyeballed Karen during the funeral speech about caring, Glenn felt ashamed for his previous week’s decision to kill Randall, and Andrea said some nice things about Dale and touched Glenn on his arm. The virus has clearly mutated and all hell is about the break loose…too bad Shane is dead, they could really use someone to go bat shit crazy on some walkers.
I can't express how much I love having these great writers grace our web space. Each bring an interesting and thought provoking insight into the bleak world of The Walking Dead. We are one week away from the Season Two Finale. Look out for a big post-show review and redux.
Again, I encourage you folks to comment below. Leave your thoughts, your opinions, predictions, and analysis on the show. Make the NSD part of your Walking Dead routine!
Until next week, Walking Deadheads!