Well here we are – the penultimate episode of season two of The Walking Dead. After the surprise and early exit of Dale I nervously anticipated an angst ridden episode which would in all likelihood precede an action packed finale.
PLOT: Better Angels open with Dale’s (Jeffrey de Munn) funeral being overlapped with Shane (Jon Bernthal), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Andrea (Laurie Holden) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) quadruple teaming a couple of Walkers. Never one to miss the opportunity to give a dramatic speech Rick (Andrew Lincoln) tells the mourners all about “that look Dale used to give us”. I shed a tear that the startled eyebrows shall never again be startled.
Hershel (Scott Wilson) does a complete 180degree turnaround from his original attitude and invites everyone into the house. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) uses her pregnancy to get out of heavy lifting and to wangle herself a bed.
The RV dies in sympathy with Dale and Glenn (Steven Yeun) actually does something useful and fixes it.
Carl (Chandler Riggs), Shane and Rick all offer each other Daryl’s gun who is seemingly unaware that it has been taken from his bike.
Lori apologises to Shane but unfortunately this pushes Shane over the edge and he finally transforms into the bulging eyed crazy person we have been waiting for.
Shane takes Randall out into the Woods, breaks his neck then runs head first into a tree as folk tend to do when they are crazy.
Shane announces to the group that Randall gave him the slip and sets off with Rick, Glenn and Daryl to find him. Daryl and Glenn find Walker Randall and Daryl discovers that he was not bitten.
Shane and Rick have one final dick measuring contest. Carl is out walking alone in the woods at night, as children tend to do in the zombie apocalypse, and stumbles upon Rick and the quick reanimating Walker Shane. Carl makes snipers with years of training look amateurish. END PLOT
After weeks of Walker-less-ness the safety of the farm is no more. There are a couple of Walker interactions but as per usual the main danger in The Walking Dead is from people. The sense of urgency and all the scenes of the group packing up the camp filled the episode nicely but, as is the norm with The Walking Dead, it is all just preamble for the last section of the show.
Lori and her unnecessary shit stirring pushed Shane over the edge and Jon Bernthal didn’t hold back in putting forward the crazy. I would have preferred an understated crazy to the head slapping kind but Bernthal certainly gave it his all. Walker Shane was foreshadowed in Triggerfinger and comic readers already knew it was only a matter of time before it happened. It is interesting that this was dealt with before the finale, which from the preview, looks as though it is going to be very action packed.
It was nice that Carl got to shoot Shane and although it didn’t play out exactly as it did in the comics I think it was a close as it could have been. With the Walkers already closing in on Rick and Carl it is unlikely that they will have time to deal with the repercussions of this until season three.
The Walking Dead had a few nice musical moments this week such as Dale’s funeral and Andrea and Glenn at the RV. The best was saved for the end of the episode with the opening theme being accompanied by a frantic drum beat. Bear McCreary's score hasn’t been particularly memorable but in Better Angels it was very strong.
Better Angels is a strange episode as the scenes with Rick and Shane were worth the wait and the general fuck-up-ery with Randall was finally brought to a close after four weeks of faffing around but aside from this nothing else happened. The fact that T-Dog got some lines and several walking about shots proves this. The episode gets a 7/10 - the fact that Shane died before the final episode means that it is wide open for surprises.
The final episode has already aired in America and I haven’t seen it. This is killing me.