Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 12: Better Angels

"The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 12: Better Angels" starts with a flash forward of Andrea, Shane, Daryl and T-Dog go out hunting walkers and fixing the fence that is intertwined with Rick giving Dale's eulogy at his funeral. He talks about honoring Dale by doing things his way, so that they don't lose their humanity. He wants to fix the group, and believes that they can makes things right.

 As Rick speaks, Andrea, Shane, Daryl and T-Dog find walkers eating one of the cattle and kill them. It's an interesting juxtaposition between what he is saying and how they are securing their land.

A shovel makes a good weapon against zombies. Remember that...
Rick is discussing moving the group into the farm house with Hershel- who has decided that it would be best if they all moved inside, where it is safer (supposedly) than being in tents. Maggie comments that with all the cattle on the property, it's like they're just ringing the dinner bell for the walkers to come a-running for a free meal. Hershel anticipates that once winter sets in and the swamp freezes over, that walkers will be swarming to the farm in droves. Or herds if you will. But they don't have to wait for winter for that to happen...

Rick has taken charge of the group and begins giving orders as they set up walker watch duty. They are making preparations for holing up for the winter and stocking a few days worth of supplies in the basement, just in case the worst should happen. Rick asks Shane to keep an eye on the farm while he and Daryl go deliver Randall an hour away from the farm and let him go.

Shane  has a serious problem with Rick deciding to let Randall go. (If he had just done that to begin with, instead of doubting his decisions, life would've been easier for the kid. But, noooo.) Rick tells Shane that he is letting the kid go and that he can just deal with it, as that is what they are doing. End of discussion.

Shane tells him that Dale's death and the prisoner are two separate things. And he also has a problem with Rick taking Daryl with him, but he has no say in the matter.

As they walk back to the farm house, Hershel tells Rick that he has no more patience for Shane. Rick says he's turning over a new leaf and then asks Andrea to keep an eye on Shane while he's gone. Hershel has agreed to let them stay there permanently, but he has a problem with Shane being there. Andrea comments that if things always go wrong when Rick leaves, that maybe he should stop leaving. But she does agree to watch Shane anyway. (Honestly, after how she left Beth to kill herself I'm really surprised that anyone would ask her to watch over anything.)

Carl approaches Shane and confesses that he stole Daryl's gun from his motorcycle. He gives it to Shane and says that he doesn't want it anymore. He wants him to give it back to Daryl. Carl tells him that the walker that killed Dale was one that he saw in the swamp and let loose.

Carl blames himself for Dale's death. Shane tries to tell him that it's not his fault and that he should keep a gun on him for his own protection. He says that as long as he's around, nothing will hurt him, but he can't keep an eye on him 24-7 and tries to give the gun back to Carl. Carl doesn't want it. He doesn't want to touch another gun again. Shane insists that he take it but Carl walks away from him and tells him to just give it back to Daryl.

Shane then goes out to the windmill on the farm house and we see Daryl boarding up the shack that poor Randall is being held captive- tied up, blind folded, and gagged.

Maggie tells Glenn to put his things in her room, but he doesn't feel comfortable sleeping with her with his dad in the house.

T-Dog stops Lori from carrying a heavy storage box, and tells him that she, Rick and Carl will take the corner in the living room.  (T-Dog has more than one line is this episode! What a freaking miracle.) They are divvying up the rooms and everyone is claiming their spot. Hershel insists that she and her family take his bed. He doesn't feel right about her sleeping on the hard floor while she's pregnant. She tries to talk him out of it and Hershel tells her that he has no problem sleeping on the couch. When he was a drunk and came home from the bar reeking of bourbon, his wife made him sleep on it. He and that couch have become close friends.

T-Dog tells Lori that if she doesn't want the bed, that he'll take it, and then she then agrees to take Hershel's bedroom. Hershel claims the couch and goes inside with T-Dog. Lori spots Shane on the windmill building a look-out platform and goes out to speak with him.

She asks him why he doesn't wait for someone to help him, and he says that there's point. Help isn't going to come, so he'll just do it himself. They talk about Rick's poor plumbing skills and she asks him to come down. Lori confesses that she thought that they'd heal from Sophia's death, but now that Dale is dead, she realized that death is all around them and it just keeps coming. There's no pretending that it isn't.

She admits that she has made a mess of things, that her actions put him and Rick at odds with each other, and then confesses that she isn't even sure who's baby it is that she is carrying, as she slept with both Shane and Rick within a few weeks of each other. (She really, really shouldn't have said that to him. As it's this confession that drives him over the edge. He is now convinced that it's his child, that Rick cannot protect it and that he must act in order to keep the baby, Lori and Carl safe. No matter the cost.)

Lori apologizes for everything, and thanks him for protecting her and Carl and helping them through all of it. She believes that things got confused between them, but she thanks him anyway for being there for her. He tells her that she doesn't need to thank him for that.

She replies, "Whatever we thought we had, or what happened between us... I'm sorry Shane. I'm so sorry." Then, she walks away.

This is the tipping point for Shane. Her words drive him over the edge. He will do whatever it takes to keep her, his baby and Carl. Anything, to keep them safe (and for himself) and this is what drives him to the extreme lengths that he goes to later on in the episode.

Rick and Daryl discuss where they are going to drop Randall off an hour away from the farm. Rick thanks Daryl for taking care of Dale, and Daryl replies that there's no need for him to do the all the heavy lifting.  Shane pulls up while Rick and Daryl are speaking. Rick asks Daryl if he's OK with dropping Randall off and Daryl replies that he doesn't see him and Rick trading hay-makers on the side of the road (alluding to the fact that he knows that Rick and Shane got into a fist fight when they went to drop of Randall the first time around)  and that he'd probably not win that fight.

Daryl leaves when Shane walks up. Shane tells Rick that Carl told him about the walker in the swamp and that he blames himself for Dale's death. Rick wants Lori to talk to him about it, but Shane insists that Carl wants to speak with his father about it as he blames himself for Dale's death. He offers to go out with Daryl to drop Randall off, and Rick refuses. It's his call, and he's not going to let him leave.

Rick needs to take care of Randall and be done with it. Shane tells him that he needs to wait, that Carl is more important than a stranger that they took in. He then takes out Daryl's gun and places it on the porch and tells him that Carl gave it to him and asks him to give it back to Daryl. Shane tells him that he is shocked that he thinks that it's more important to free a prisoner than to speak with his son (he's purposefully stalling Rick).

Andrea and Glenn fix the RV and get it to start. Glenn tears up when they talk about Dale and it's clear that they both miss him and are sad at his passing. Andrea tells him that Dale was proud of Glenn and thinks that Dale knew how much they cared for him.

Rick goes to speak with Carl, while the others board up the windows on the house. Carl says that he was standing on look-out and that he was tired of helping around the house. Rick tells Carl that what happened to Dale had nothing to do with him. Rick tells him that he isn't going to treat him like a child anymore. After all that has happened, he wants Carl to be prepared, to acknowledge that they now live in a world full of death and that there is no avoiding it. He asks Carl to take the gun back, so that he can protect himself and he does.

Shane goes to the shack and sits down in front of Randall and stares at him. It's clear that he's decided that he is going to kill the kid. He looks at his cuffed wrists and sees that they are bloody from him trying to pull his hands out.

Rick sends T-Dog to go get Randall and bring him to the truck so that they can drop him off. T-Dog finds the shack locked up, but Randall is not inside.

Shane is pushing Randall through the woods, away from the farm. Randall falls and Shane pulls off the blindfold and tells him to keep quiet and that he'll take off the duct tape they gagged his mouth with. Shane asks him about the group he was with and Randall says that they had a camp near the highway, five miles from where they are at. Shane lies to him and tells him that he is done with his people and that he wants to go with him. He tells Randall that he doesn't want to kill him and Randall talks to him about his group as they keep walking through the woods. They pass behind some trees and we hear Randall fall, and there is a snapping sound (Shane snapped Randall's neck). Shane leaves him there and then walks around and slams his face against a tree to bloody it.

Daryl and T-Dog look for Randall and everyone comes running. Shane hides his gun and then walks out of the woods, shouting to Rick that Randall stole his gun, he snuck up on him and punched him in the face.

Rick takes Shane, Daryl and Glenn to look for Randall (he doesn't want him wandering around near the farm with a loaded gun. Not after how they treated him). Carol begs them not to go out there and says that they don't know what might happen, but Rick tells her and the rest of the group to go inside the farm house and lock the doors.

Shane points out where Randall went and tells Daryl that there's no point tracking him to put him off of the trail he and Randall made when they went out into the woods. Daryl doesn't believe that a scrawny kid like Randall could get the jump on Shane. Shane says that Randall slammed a rock into his face. Rick tells Glenn and Daryl to head off in one direction and he and Shane go in another, separating the search party into two groups of two.

"Remember," Rick says. "Randall's not the only threat out there. Keep an out for each other." How ominous...

The windows on the farm house are boarded up. Carl looks out the window with his binoculars searching for his dad and the others. He's watching.

Rick talks to Shane about his broken nose (of which he did to himself). Daryl and Glenn search through the woods, their footsteps painfully loud in the silence. Daryl asks Glenn for a flashlight and starts looking around.

Rick walks with Shane in front of him and is watching him more than his surroundings.

Daryl circles back to where they started and tells Glenn, "If you want to do a thing, you might as well do it right."

Daryl knows that something is up and takes Glenn back to where he first spotted the tracks. He finds that Randall followed Shane for a lot longer than he said and then finds blood on the tree where Shane slammed his face into it.  Daryl points out where Randall fell and Glenn comments that the situation is getting weird.

They find Randall's blindfold on the ground and a twig snaps as something steps on it in the distance. Glenn and Daryl hide behind a tree and spot an undead Randall walking through the woods.

Walker Randall goes to attack Glenn and he and Daryl struggle with it.

Glenn rips walker Randall off of Daryl, tosses it to the ground and slams his machete into its skull, killing it.

Rick senses that something is up and asks Shane if they are going the right way. He asks Shane how Randall stole his gun and Shane says that it was his favorite piece and that when they find him, they should kill his sorry ass. Shane then gets Rick to walk in front of him.

Daryl looks the now dead walker Randall over and discovers that he died because he neck was broken. He's wasn't attacked by a walker. Glenn thinks that he must've been, but Daryl is certain that he died by having his neck snapped. "How is that possible?" Glenn asks and it's clear that they are both quite disturbed by this find.

Randall becoming a walker after he was killed by a living person and not a zombie, means that the two guardsmen that Shane and Rick saw at the municipal building became walkers after dying from natural causes. Rick looked them over, found no bites and came to the conclusion that they must've been scratched by a walker to turn into one, but Shane insists that they weren't. This foreshadowed the huge revelation that Daryl and Glenn discover-- you don't have to be attacked or killed by a walker in order to become infected and turn into one. 

This means that the pathogen, whether it is a virus, bacteria or fungus, that causes the reanimation that Dr. Jenner showed when they were at the CDC is airborne. Everyone is a carrier of the disease. This makes me think that what Dr. Jenner whispered to Rick wasn't "Lori's pregnant" as I had originally surmised but "Everyone is infected." Whatever causes the reanimation-- everybody has it. And there is no cure.

Living people are asymptomatic carriers of the zombie pathogen. The airborne disease spreads from person to person, but the living display no symptoms of having the disease and remain unaffected, even as they transmit the disease to other people.

The reason why living people don't automatically die and turn into walkers is that they become carriers of the disease. Some viruses store themselves in the RNA of a host and go through long latency periods, where they are dormant and the host does not develop or show any symptoms of the disease while passing it on to others at the same time. Other pathogens, such as bacteria, continue to live in the hosts body after they recover from an illness and the carrier then spreads the disease to other people. (Look up Typhoid Mary for more information)

So why do people die from walker bites and scratches? Well, chew on this: 
Human saliva contains 100,000,000 microorganisms per mL and up 190 different species of bacteria and viruses are present in it. According to, human bites have been shown to transmit hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes simplex virus (HSV), syphilis, tuberculosis, actinomycosis and tetanus.

In addition, a human corpse is decomposed by anaerobic bacteria that existed in the digestive tract when it was still alive. If there are over a hundred million bacteria and viruses in a living person's saliva, imagine how many bacteria exist in it after death. If you are bit or even scratched by something that is necrotizing and it breaks the skin, the powerful bacteria that is decomposing the body enters your blood stream and makes quick work of you.

I don't think that it's the zombie virus that kills you, it's all the microorganisms that are teeming in the virulent walking cess pools that kill you. That is why people get such a high fever when they are bit or scratched, they are infected with bacteria that consumes human flesh. These bacteria are so strong that the body can't fight it off and it kills them. If you are wondering why antibiotics wouldn't work and why people died under the care of the CDC where they have access to the best medicines in the world, even today with modern medicine there are cases of flesh eating bacteria that even the most powerful of antibiotics won't stop. That is why they didn't work on people infected after they were bit or scratched.

Back in the woods, Rick and Shane walk out onto the field of the farm, near a hill that Carl was looking at with his binoculars. There is a full moon in the sky, lighting up the chilly fall night air. The look on Rick's face tells us that he knows that Shane lied.  Rick doesn't believe that Randall hit Shane in the face with a rock. The shed door was locked when T-Dog went to get Randall. Shane says that he saw that too and that he must've slipped up into the rafters and escaped through the roof.

Rick slowly holsters his gun and asks him if this is where he plans to kill him. Rick knows that Shane aims to murder him in cold blood. Shane pulls his gun out from where he hid it under his pants and shirt.

Rick says to him, "You really believe that if you want back onto that farm without me, without Glenn, that they're going to believe any bullshit story that you cook up?" (Andrew Lincoln's performance here is just amazing. He sounds so heartbroken. It's like he knows that Shane is going to force him to kill him. This scene is by far the best scene Lincoln has done in the entire series.)

Shane has it all figured out. He says that he's going to tell them that he'll say that he saw that prisoner (Randall) shoot Rick down and then he ran up to him and snapped his neck.

"It ain't going to be easy. But Lori and Carl, they'll get over you. They've done it before. They're just going to have to."

"You're going to kill me in cold blood? Screw my wife? And have my children, my children, call you daddy? Is that what you want? That life won't be worth a damn. I know you. You won't be able to live with this."

Shane then taunts Rick and puts his gun back into his belt and puts out his arms and tells him to shoot him. Rick refuses.

"You're going to have to kill an unarmed man." Rick says, and puts one arm out while he reaches across with the other to pull out his gun.

He tells Shane to watch his hand and he holds his gun out in front of himself, keeping Shane's eye on it, while with the other hand he reaches back and pulls out his hunting knife. (It's a classic cross-gaze switch. Stage magicians do it to draw you eye away from what they are doing with their other hand while performing a magic trick.) He keeps Shane distracted by holding out the gun and speaks with him, telling him that they can go back from this, that nothing has happened and he'll forgive him for it, all the while pulling his hunting knife out of its sheath where it is on the back of his belt.

Shane steps up to him, takes Rick's gun and as he reaches for it, Rick lunges forward and shoves his knife into his chest. Shane fires his gun and then drops to the ground. It looks like Rick pierced Shane's lung, close to his heart. Shane bleeds out while Rick tells him that it's his fault. That he made him kill him. It wasn't his decision. He didn't want to do it. But his hand was forced and he wasn't going to let Shane take his family away from him. Shane looks at him and the blood on his hands in disbelief while Rick screams at him that it's not his fault that he killed him as he dies.

Rick begins to sob, shocked that he just killed his best friend and screams in wordless rage. (Making way too much noise in the middle of the night. Remember, walkers are most active at night time.)

We then see what Shane sees as he dies- bloody walker faces, chewing on human flesh. Rick is stunned and stares at Shane's still warm dead body while steam rises up from it into the cold night air.

Carl calls out "Dad?"

Rick stands up and staggers towards his son, trying to tell him that its not what it looks like. Carl, in tears, raises his gun and points it at him. Rick stops, shocked that he's aiming a gun at him.

Shane, now a walker, rises up behind Rick and staggers towards him. (And here we have definite proof and see it on screen-- you don't need to be scratched or bit by a walker to become one when you die. EVERYBODY turns into a walker upon death. )

Carl, in tears, shoots and hits Shane right in the forehead. He saved his father's life. He finally shot a walker and became a man.

Rick goes to look over Shane, wanting to see if he is actually dead this time and we see in the distance a huge hoard of undead heading for the farmhouse. Shane and Rick's argument and the gun shots have drawn the walkers to the farm.

The last episode of the season, just like the first, has the group overrun by a herd of walkers. Just who lives and who will die when they swarm the farm house is anyone's guess.

Watch Carl take out Walker Shane!

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