Monday, March 5, 2012

The Walking Dead Season Two, Episode 11: Judge, Jury, Executioner

This episodes opens with Darryl beating Randall.  He wants information on how many are in Randall's group.  Darryl uses his knife on his leg and Randall admits that they have weapons.  He says that the people took him in and he thought that he would have a better chance with him.  Randall then goes on to tell him a story about the men in his group coming across a father and his two daughters and raping them - could this have been Tyrese?  At any rate, Randall tries to assure Darryl that he didn't have anything to do with that and that he is not like that. The very fact that Randall told Darryl this story, tells us that Darryl is not the brightest light bulb in any package.

Darryl comes out saying that Randall has a gang, and then tells them that the men will all be dead and that the women will wish they were dead.  Lori asks what they are going to do, and Rick says that they have to eliminate the threat.  Dale follows Rick and he can't just decide for himself to take someone's life.  Dale says that there's got to be a process and that he is just a kid.  Dale asks for more time to talk this out, but Rick says that they need to be safe. In desperation, Dale tells him to think about Carl and the message that he sending him - to shoot first and ask questions later. Invoking Carl was absolutely the smartest move on Dale's part. 

In the camper, Dale asks Andrea to guard Randall and protect him.  He is worried that Shane will find out, and he believes that killing the boy was Shane's idea.  Dale reminds Andrea that she used to be a civil rights lawyer, and that she used to fight with words for what was right.  "The world we know is gone, but keeping our humanity - that's a choice," Dale says. Andrea agrees to watch the Randall but not because she thinks he's right. I am so glad that Dale brought up what Andrea used to do, because it gave a different side to the whiny self important brat that she has become.  I don't remember any mention of what Andrea used to do in the past but I am sure that in the comics it is Michonne who is the former lawyer.  She hasn't even made an appearance and already things are being stripped from her character.

In the barn Randall is asking for water, and when he sees Andrea through the hole, he asks if they are going to kill him.  Looking out he sees Shane and Carl talking.  Shane tells Carl that this is grown up stuff, and he needs to let them handle it.  When Shane who will be dead soon, sees Andrea at the barn, he asks if Dale put her on death watch and if she is going to stop him.  He is upset that Randall is still there and Shane feels that they are going "pussy out." Okay we need pause for a moment, because of the sexist language in that statement.  So far, The Walking Dead has had terrible female characters and some pretty misogynistic scenes, and so while this line is coming from Shane the would be rapist who should be dead, in the larger concept of the show, it stands as just one more example of the devaluing of women, because he clearly means this term pejoratively.  Shane asks Andrea who she  thinks is behind all of the problems that they have had and Andrea answers that some would say him.  Shane of course feels that the problem, "is the guys that make up the rules" and that they need to change the fact that Rick is the leader of the group.  Andrea believes that things would get out of hand with a change of  leadership.  Shane however counters by saying that he wants to know what it would be like to not have to sleep with one eye open.

Carl is up in the rafters looking at Randall.  He tries sweet talking Carl and tells him that he is lucky that he still has his family.  Randall says that Rick was going to let him go, until Shane started fighting with him.  He promises Carl that if he helps, that he will take him back to his camp, and take good care of him.  Shane bursts into the barn and sends Carl out of the barn.  Shane tells Carl not to go near Randall again, and Carl says that he can handle himself.  Shane says that Randall was trying to make him feel sorry for him and that "if you let your guard down around here people die".  Carl's only real concern is that Shane is going to tell his parents. 

Dale goes to talk to Darryl, and he tells him that he is better off fending for himself.  Dale asked him why he doesn't stand with him to defend Randall.  Darryl responds that his opinion means nothing to the group and Shane and Rick run things.  Dale tires again and says that he sees Darryl cares about what happens to the group, and that he is a decent man.  Darryl says Rick didn't figure out what happened to Otis because he didn't want to while it was obvious to him. 

Lori and Rick start talking about the weather getting cold, and Lori asks if the best way to do this is to hang him. Rick says he knows how she feels about the death penalty, but Lori says she supports the decision if he thinks its best. In a matter like this, would it have been that bad to have Lori disagree with Rick.  It would have been the first time that a disagreement between Rick and Lori made sense, since all she seems to do is snipe at him over nonsense. Why is it that now that it is a matter of great import, she is happy to be the little woman who stands behind her man?  This is yet another example of how narrowly The Walking Dead has drawn its female characters.  Instead of offering an opinion, Lori wants to find out if her manipulation of Rick worked and if he dealt with Shane. Rick doesn't give her any details and simply says that Shane won't be a problem for them anymore.

At Sophia's grave, Carol tells Carl that they wil Sophia again someday.  Carl is angry and responds that  heaven is just another lie, and that if she believes in it, that he is an idiot before he runs off.  Carrol is incensed and storms up to Lori and Rick and tells them they need to get control of Carl.  She says that everyone thinks she lost her mind, but that she lost her daughter. It was nice to see Carol show some real emotion because she has always been meek but I don't know that this was the time to show it.  How is it she can speak up when it comes to Carl - a person who is not threat to her, but stand silent as Darryl waves his finger in her face, and tries to physically intimidate her (episode nine)?

Rick approaches Carl and tells him not to talk, but to think. Rick says that Carl owes Carol an apology and that when he does something wrong that he has to fix it. Carl asks if that is why he is going to kill Randall because he made a mistake bringing him back to the farm. Carl even wants to know how they are going to kill Randall, but Rick tells him to just think about how he is going to make it right with Carol.

Dale approaches Hershel about Randall and  Hershel says he doesn't want to know, and that he is leaving it up to Rick. Hershel simply wants Randall away from his daughters. Dale appeals to Herhsels strong sense of morality however, Hershel says he was a man with convictions, but that he has made too many mistakes.  When Dale asks him to at least talk to Randall, Hershel refuses and says that he will leave it Rick.

Carl is messing around with Darryl's motorcycle, when he finds a gun in the saddle bag.  He walks into the woods and sees a walker.  The walker is stuck in the mud and cannot move, even as it desperately tries to reach for Carl. 

Dale finally approaches Shane, and says that he wants him to change his mind, even though he knows that they will never see eye to eye.  Dale points out that killing him does not reduce the danger that they are in, but that it changes them.  Shane says that if he convinces them to keep Randall alive, that he won't say anything about it, but when Randall kills somebody, that the blood will be on him.

Okay at this point, Dale has asked Andrea because he needed someone to guard Randall, but he didn't approach any of the other women on the farm.  Apparently, only the feelings of the male survivors count.  Actually, scratch that, because I should have said only White men, because he did not approach Glenn and he most certainly did no approach T Dog.  I guess the writers didn't want to break their streak of giving T Dog one or two lines an episode at a time. 

She who hs taken to her bed (read: Beth) is still in bed. Hershel is singing a child's song to her.  Dear writers, we get it, the woman is fragile, but must you infantalize her?  Glenn comes in and asks how Beth is doing and Hershel tells him that she is in good spirits today.  Umm would it have been too much from him to ask she who has taken to her bed directly, or does lying in bed mean that one cannot answer basic questions?  When they leave the room,  Hershel asks where Glenn's family is from, and tells him that immigrants built this country and that he should never forget it. I really hate that they Glenn gave an origin beyond the U.S.  There are Asian families that have been in the U.S. for generations but are still thought of as perpetual foreigners whereas people with Eurocentric backgrounds never have to give an original point of origin.  This was yet another "othering" of Glenn.   Hershel tells him about a watch that he has pawned for a night of drinking, that was a family heirloom,  and that it was returned by his wife Josephine.  He tells him that no man is good enough for your little girl, until one is and then he hands him the watch.  Glenn takes it and says thanks.  I wonder if this means that Hershel is finally going to get around to referring to Glenn by name, instead of calling him the Asian kid.

On the porch, Lori approaches Rick and tells him that it is almost time, and that she knows that it isn't easy for him.  He says that it has to be him who does it, because he has to keep the people safe.  Rick says, "you said you support me but you didn't say that you think that I'm making the right call".  Rick assures Lori that this is the right call and she simply nods her head. Right there, the writers could have had Lori say something - anything would have been better than having her nod her head. 

Carl is still in the woods looking at the walker. He gets close and then pulls away. At this point I could not help thinking, boy has no one ever told you about teasing an animal.  Finally, he pulls out the gun, but the walker gets loose, and pulls Carl by the legs as he drops the gun in the muck. Carl just manages to just get away. When Carl comes back to the farm, the meeting is about to start, and they send him to stay with Jimmy though he says he wants to listen.

Dale asks why they should even bother to take a vote, because he can see which way the wind is blowing. He feels that he and Glenn are the only two who feel that killing Randall is wrong, but Glenn says that he isn't one of them, and that they've lost too many people already. I guess that means that it might have been smart to actually speak to Glenn before declaring his position. Maggie asks if they could keep him as a prisoner, and Hershel says that it could be a lean winter.  Lori says that she wouldn't feel safe unless he was tied up.  Shane asks what happens if they let their guard down and he runs out. Dale says that if they do this, that they are saying that the rule of law is dead, and that they are saying that this is no civilization. 

Not listening to a word Dale says, Shane says we could hang him and snap his neck, and Rick says that shooting would be more humane. T-Dog asks what they are going to do about the body.  For the record this is the only line that T-Dog has for then entire episode. Dale reminds them that this is a mans life, and asks if this is what its come to, "we kill someone because we can't decide to do with him". He asks, "how are we any better than these people we are so afraid of'?  Carol says that she wants to be left out of this, and that she didn't ask for any of this, but Dale tells her that not speaking out is killing him herself.  Where did the strong Carol who was mad at Carl go? 

Dale turn to Rick and says, "you said we we don't kill the living. Please let's just do what's right. Is there anybody else who's gonna stand with him?"  Andrea answers, "he's right, we should try to find another way".  Shane barely shifts his eyes towards her, but his body language suggests that he is not impressed. I was relieved to see a woman actually have a strong opinion on this issue and further pleased that it was Andrea. It's time she get from under Shane's influence and start thinking for herself. No one else responds and in frustration Dale says, "are you all going to watch too? No, you' ll go hide your heads in your tent, and try to forget that we are slaughtering human beings".  Beore he leaves Dale says to Darryl, this group is broken.

They blindfold Randall and take him out to the barn.  Rick asks him if he would like to stand or kneel and he begs him not to. Rick asks if he has any final words and all he says is please don't. Rick lifts the gun and puts it to his head, as Carl enters the barn and says, "do it dad, do it."  Shane grabs him by the arm and drags Carl out of the barn. Rick tells Shane to take Randall away and Shane storms off in a huff as Darryl grabs him and escorts him out. When they return to the campsite, Rick announces that they are keeping Randall in custody for now.  Andrea says that she is off to find Dale. Rick tells Lori that Carl followed them and that he wanted to watch, and that he couldn't. Lori tells him that it's okay and she hugs him. 

Dale is walking the perimeter of the property when he hears a cow in pain.  When he finds the cow, the innards have been ripped out.  A walker sneaks up behind Dale and attacks him.  Rick hears the screaming and tells T Dog to get a rifle and Lori to get Carl. At the farm Maggie and Glenn hear the screams and she sends him to see what is going on. The walker can't get to Dale to bite him, so he rips open his stomach.  Darryl shows up tackles the walker and puts a knife through its head. Andrea gets on her knees, and tells Dale to hang on while Rick yells for Hershel.  They ask if they can move him, and Hershel says that he won't make it and so Rick suggests doing the surgery right there but Hershel shakes his head again. 

The walker that attacked Glenn, is the same one that Carl was taunting earlier in the day, and when he realizes this, he runs to Lori crying. Andrea says that Dale is suffering, and she begs for someone to do something.  Rick holds his gun to Dale's head, but cannot pull the trigger. Darryl takes the gun from Rick, and Dale lifts his head closer to the muzzle. Darryl simply says goodbye brother, and pulls the trigger as the others look on.

With this act, clearly Darryl is going to move up in the hierarchy because he did something that Rick was unable to do.  I think that this was set up to specifically move Darryl to the number two slot after Shane who will soon be dead meets his end.

I was not expecting Dale to die and I am so sad because though he had his moments, he was absolutely one of my favourite characters.  Despite the fact that Rick and Shane are battling over who should lead the group, Dale was the moral compass and without him, things just might escalate further out of control.

Dead Walker Count this episode: 1