Big happenings on AMC’s The Walking Dead this week! Like, big, BIG things. So big in fact, we decided to add something to our usual recap. Read on for what went down (yes, there will be spoilers) and also a few thoughts from someone who’s read Robert Kirkman’s comics and what this all means going forward!
First, our regular recap from Sarah!
Only three episodes to go! At the beginning of the episode there is a brief plug for AMC’s “Story Sync,” which promises a “two-screen interactive experience” during episodes of The Walking Dead. Perhaps that would be exciting for people who are already experts on the show’s universe/inner workings, but I can’t imagine anything more confusing than watching your laptop screen and tv screen at the same time!
At any rate, this week’s dilemma is what to do with Mystery Dude, who was brought back by Shane and Rick after a totally unnecessary journey off the farm to get rid of him. Daryl starts things off with a little light torturing, during which we learn that Mystery Dude is part of a group of 30 surviving humans. This, of course, means that he must be killed. I know, right? It doesn’t make any sense to me either. I’m new to the show, obviously, but I just fail to understand why the default plan seems to be to kill anyone who isn’t a member of the farm tribe. Dale agrees with me, and tries to dissuade Rick from his decision to execute Mystery Dude (whose name, we learn, is Randall). He wants to put it to a vote! He wants a quorum! Rick doesn’t care about all that fancy consensus-building stuff and blows him off. Dale also appeals to Shane and Andrea, since the latter used to be a civil rights lawyer. But now she is an unsympathetic gun-toting survivalist. “I’ll watch your prisoner,” she tells him, “but not because I think you’re right.”
While all of this is going on, Randall is gathering valuable intel on the group dynamic, eavesdropping on Shane whining about Rick and Hershel’s leadership to Andrea, who seems rather intrigued by the idea of a coup. Randall also tries to connect with Carl, who is just wandering all over the farm seeing and hearing things he’s not supposed to this week. Before Carl can be taken in by Randall’s compliments about his sweet cowboy hat, they are interrupted by Shane. Carl heads off to the woods, but not before he tells Carol, who just lost her daughter, that “it’s stupid to believe in heaven.” Oh, Carl, you budding sociopath! Rick tries to talk some sense into him before sending him off to amuse himself. THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER.
Dale is still trying to get support for his “let’s not kill Randall” initiative. Daryl doesn’t seem to care one way or another; Hershel doesn’t want to be involved in the decision. Despite his failure to appeal to each of the Farm Tribe individually, Dale eventually convinces Shane that a group discussion is worth having. While he gathers the troops, Carl deals with his growing pains by stealing a gun and going for a walk in the woods, where there is of course a walker stuck in the mud. Carl sits there throwing rocks at it for a while, until it gets one leg free and startles him into dropping the gun and running away. Oh, Carl. Before the group hearing, Hershel takes Glenn aside and gives him his blessing to date Maggie, in a medium-offensive way (“Immigrants built this country. Never forget that…No man is good enough for your little girl. Until one is. Here, have this watch.”). Will the season end with a wedding in the barn? After they hang Randall in it, or possibly before?
Even when everyone comes together as a group, Dale has no allies and the consensus is to execute Randall. He storms out, saying that the “group is broken.” Rick, Shane and Daryl head to the barn, and Rick aims a gun at Randall’s head for a while while he cries, but he ultimately can’t go through with it (it doesn’t help that Creepy Carl shows up in the doorway to tell him “Do it. Do it, Dad”). If someone more familiar with the show than I could put together a list of times that Rick has aimed a gun at someone with the intent to kill them, before turning away with an anguished moan, I would be forever grateful.
Later that night, Dale is patrolling a field when he comes across a disemboweled cow, which distracts him to the point that he doesn’t see the walker standing behind him. Everyone comes to his aid, but not before the walker rips his stomach open bare-handed (Barf!), guaranteeing that he won’t make it. It’s Daryl who is able to read the writing on the wall, and put Dale out of his misery with a gunshot to the head.
Grossest moment: the disemboweling was pretty awful, but even worse was the walker’s patchy beard in this episode. Yuck!
My anxiety level in this episode: 8. I didn’t even know Dale existed until this episode, but good grief was it sad when he died!
And now some thoughts from Jill! Those who haven’t read Kirkman’s comic may want to stop reading here. And if you haven’t read the comic well, you should, it’s great, and I recommend it even more after what happened this week…
“THOSE SONS OF BITCHES!”
That’s what I tweeted immediately following my viewing of The Walking Dead last night. I was watching, I was seeing what was happening, yet I couldn’t believe my eyes. Dale was being killed and not in a way he could be saved at the last minute.
Fans of Kirkman’s comic finally got a truly surprising moment in the AMC show when they killed off a character who is integral to the comic. I was shocked. And not in a good way. The huge move away from the comic book made me angry. I understand trying to spice things up and make sure fans of the comic aren’t just reliving the experience verbatim but this way overboard to me.
Dale is the moral compass of the group. Sure, Rick has a conscience but he’s easily swayed these days. Who’s going to be the voice of reason now? Not to mention we’re never going to get to experience the delightful romantic relationship between Dale and Andrea. It’s not important as far as plot goes but it was entertaining to see develop. What a loss.
Kirkman spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about the huge change in direction who said it wasn’t decided lightly. “It’s going to be such a monumental death that it’s going to affect things a great deal moving forward,” he told them. “It seemed like the right time and that to me, all the stories that are going to come out of this that people haven’t seen yet, are worth losing the Dale/Andrea relationship.”
We’ll see what happens, lot of plot thoughts are now running through my head. I’m wondering what they are going to cut out or change as they move forward. I’m just disappointed. Much like I was disappointed so many people spoiled the death on Twitter. It wasn’t just in peoples’ individual streams…”RIP Dale” was trending worldwide. Sorry those in different time zones/countries.
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