TV REVIEW: The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 11 – Judge, Jury, Executioner

The group debate Randall’s fate. Dale maintains the boy should be spared but Shane and Rick fear for the group’s safety. Carl goes out for a walk and encounters a Walker and Hershal finally gives Glenn his approval.

The group is divided over killing Randall to save themselves. They always maintained that they didn’t kill the living, but there is always an exception to the rule. The difference is that this time Rick and Shane are on the same side. That is, until Rick realises the effect that their lifestyle is having on his son and he backs away from killing a defenceless and mostly innocent young man. Rick has always been the voice of reason within the group so it is a change to see him advocating murder, but just as Randall’s sentence is about to be carried out, he backs out. There are multiple references to the fact that the group is broken and the ending of the episode is not going to help matters.

Carl is the major player in a lot of the episode; the kid wants to see his father kill Randall, and this is what makes Rick realise the impact of his actions. Carl then steals a gun and goes for a walk, where he encounters a Walker. He does not kill it, as he wanted to, but ends up running away, leaving the Walker free to bite another, and bite he does. Dale goes for a walk to clear his head when he believes that Randall is going to be killed and encounters the rogue Walker. The issue of killing is brought screaming to the fore after Dale is badly bitten and in the last moments of the episode, a gun is levelled at the injured man’s head.

The issue of death and killing is not one that the group have had to struggle with so intently before. Walkers need to be killed, as did the two gang members at the bar. This was to ensure the safety of the group and it was done on the spur of the moment. The killing of Randall and, in the end, Dale, is different. These are cold blood killings done after thought and debate, which are bound to change the dynamic of the group.

Hershal’s final acceptance of Glenn comes when he gives the younger man his watch. This symbolises the fact that he has accepted Glenn’s love for Maggie and realises that the group will be sticking around for the time being. Nicely and subtly done.

This episode of The Walking Dead is a slow down compared to last week, but it would be impossible for the show to keep that kind of momentum going. We are back to the long discussions and the human element of the show, but after such an action packed episode, this feels right. It is not entirely clear what happens to Dale, so it will be interesting to see how the next two episodes play out and how the season ends. This was a slightly slow but interesting episode of The Walking Dead, which raised as many questions as it answered and laid the foundations for a fantastic finale.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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