TV REVIEW: The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 12 – Better Angels

In the wake of another death, the group come to terms with the impact this will have on them. As they eulogise their dead friend, Carl confesses his guilt to Shane, who then tells Rick to try and get him to talk to his son. Lori apologises to Shane and thanks him for being there for her, and Randall goes missing from the barn.

After the slow start to the season, The Walking Dead is thundering to a close. This episode manages to balance the human drama we have become used to this season with the action and adventure we hope for from the show.

The good news is, that since the death of one of their number, the group have become more united and decide to move into the house for safety. Once again, Carl is one of the great motivators of the episode; he confesses his guilt to Shane who then goes to Rick. Rick has already told Andrea that he doesn’t trust Shane, and when he refuses to let him go out on their mission to release Randall, Shane’s suspicions that all is not well in their friendship – despite the talks they have had – are confirmed. This, combined with Lori’s apology leads to the big showdown of the episode.

We have seen Shane change dramatically through this season of The Walking Dead and it is easy to see that the man is walking a psychiatric tightrope. It is clear that Shane is losing his grip when he goes into the barn where Randall is being held; he has close to a mental collapse as he weighs his options and decides what to do. Shane pulls Randall into the woods and tells him he wants to join the other group. As Randall leads the way, Shane ambushes him then injures himself, before running back to the farm for ‘help’. Glenn and Daryl head one way on their search for the ‘armed and dangerous’ Randall, and Rick and Shane stick together. It is not long before Rick realises that something is wrong and confronts his best friend.

Rick has been wrestling with the idea of murder through the last few episodes of The Walking Dead. He had no problem protecting his family in the heat of the moment, but cold-blooded murder is something that he has struggled with. When Shane threatens Rick, Rick murders his former best friend to protect his family. Lori’s apology shook something loose in Shane and he believed that he was the best thing for the family that he and Rick have been squabbling over. Rick also believed that he was the best thing for this family unit and murdered Shane for their sake. It is heartbreaking to see two friends turn on one another over such complicated issues, but Shane has been a threat to this group for a long time. The scene is dealt with brilliantly – up to and including the aftermath – and we have a great tableau of the two men facing one another down on a moonlit, misty hill. Rick’s actions are quickly vindicated when Carl sends Shane to his final end. It is clear who the family unit prefers and this justifies Rick’s actions.

It is a shame to see Shane go from the series as a whole, but he was too much of a threat to stay around. The face off between him and Rick was coming for a long time, and it was great to see that it was dealt with properly and given enough time to develop on screen.

We have one episode left in this season of The Walking Dead, and the final scenes of this episode give us a taster of what is to come; a gunshot draws the attention of the hoards of Walkers in the woods and they turn in the direction of the farm. The final episode is bound to be a fire fight of epic proportions. We have already seen three of the group die this season, and there are sure to be more casualties in the finale.

The pace has been picked up, the stakes raised and The Walking Dead is heading towards a fantastic finale. Will this be enough to make up for the slow start to the season? Time will tell.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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