Dealing With Shane: Walking Dead S2 Episode 12 Review
When we last saw our band of… whatever, they were all staring raptly at their last possible glimpse of DaleFace, trying to memorize every last unruly eyebrow hair and getting a good look at the Judgemaster General’s fillings before Daryl made his head explode by firing a high-powered revolver into his skull two feet away. Too bad they faded to black then, because I’d have loved to have seen the reaction of all of those people close enough to get hit by shards of flying bone and brains. “Dude, seriously, what the fuck! I was sitting on the guy! You couldn’t have waited like two seconds. God it got in my mouth!” That would’ve been cool.
This episode begins with Rick eulogizing the dead guy, something he’s starting to get a lot of practice at because he’s been doing a great job of keeping the group safe. Since he took over as Big Bossman, at least 7 members of the group have died (and probably some extras that didn’t get enough airtime to count). That’s close to a 50% loss ratio. He’s, uh, struggling in the role that he claims to have never asked for but sure as hell has gladly taken and run with, telling everyone what to do and making the decisions himself, at least until he changes his mind (Shoot the boy! Help the boy! Abandon the boy! Kill the boy! Keep the boy! Thank god someone else dealt with the boy!)
Anyway, Rick’s telling us what a great guy Dale was and how much he meant to everyone and what he brought to the table, all of which are necessary because at no time have the writers given us any reason to think Dale was worth a shit. He also lays out a plan: they are going to start patrolling the area, set up barricades, move into the house, and basically do every fucking thing that they should have been doing all along. Interspersed with his speech are shots of people doing those things, including Daryl, Andrea, T-Dogg (he earns back the second G because he actually spoke a couple of times this episode. Seriously, he must have pissed off the writing team at some point.), and Shane getting in a pickup to administer an old-fashioned beatdown on a group of zombies. Enough comparisons to that scene have been made to the Office Space printer execution to give me the impression that at least someone in the writing department has a sense of humor. The scene also shows me that someone in the writing team is reading my blog and knows how much I like Shane, because when it comes time to kill some zombies, good ole Shane steps up, hefts a shovel, and makes mayhem. It definitely felt like someone was throwing me a bone, an apology for what comes later. I appreciate it.
Afterwards, Carl goes to the adult he trusts most, the one that he knows will always be there for him and protect him, the one that cares enough about him to act like a parent: Shane. The kid tells him about the zombie he was playing with because no one pays any attention to him or watches him at all, and that he took Daryl’s gun. He asks Shane not to tell anyone. Shane tells the boy the right things, and then goes to Rick, who is in actuality Carl’s father (I keep forgetting this fact). Rick is getting ready to head out with Daryl to deal with Randall, the kid he keeps jerking around. Rick and Daryl discuss the fact that they will be driving an hour away, leave the kid with the aluminum-foil wrapped cookies and Capri Suns the womenfolk have evidently prepared, and drive back. Shane comes up, gives Rick the gun that Rick’s son stole, tells him about what Carl did, and suggests that maybe the father of this obviously distraught boy have a talk with his son.
Rick says… see, Rick replies with… you know, this hard to type out without launching prematurely into obscenities… whew, OK, Rick says to Shane, “I don’t have time for that right now. I need to deal with Randall.”
What. The. Fuck. WHAT THE FUCK. IT’S YOUR FUCKING SON, YOU FUCKING ASSHAT WANNA-BE HERO WHO ALWAYS TRIES TO DO THE RIGHT FUCKING THING BUT CAN’T TAKE 5 FUCKING MINUTES TO TALK TO YOUR FUCKING SON WHO JUST STOLE A FIREARM AND ACCIDENTALLY GOT A MEMBER OF YOUR GROUP KILLED. Seriously, what the fuck. He doesn’t even look like what Shane has to say means a fucking thing to him. He’s just squinting at Shane like he wants to say, “I need to deal with Randall because I can’t trust you to do anything right.” Shane offers to go with Daryl and handle the Randall mess, which means that Shane would be supervised by the most capable member of the group and a guy that would kill Shane in a heartbeat if he had to without even bothering to spit the dip in his mouth beforehand (I like to think Daryl dips. He should.). No go, says Rick. He glares at Shane with this I Should Fucking Kill You Right Now look, shortly after he told Herschel that Shane has turned over a new leaf. Rick is a fucking awful human being.
I mean, let’s look at the time factor, one consistent thing the writers haven’t been able to come to grips with. Dale dies at night, and not even in the middle of the night. The group buries him in what is I hope the morning. They start to work on shit they’ve ignored for a while. Rick makes plans to dump the kid, a trip that, according to his plan, will take 2 hours and 5 minutes. HE DOESN’T HAVE TIME TO DEAL WITH HIS THIEVING SON WHO IS ACCIDENTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING SOMEONE. He and Lori fucking deserve each other. They are the worst parents of all time. I get fucking annoyed when parents let their kids wander around doing whatever they want in a Wal-Mart or fucking restaurant. This is a fucking apocalypse, and neither one of them could give 2 shits about their son, and they have another kid on the way. Fuck’s sake, man.
Whew, deep breath. OK.
Rick tells Andrea that she needs to keep an eye on Shane because he’s unstable. Finally, Rick delegates something. Of course, the one thing he delegates is fucking impossible for anyone to deal with. He tells Andrea that he doesn’t want the group doing dumb shit every time he leaves. Andrea gives him a look and tells him the truest fucking thing ever: “Maybe you shouldn’t leave all the time, then.” Uh, yeah. Pretty much.
Rick decides to talk with Carl. In a hilarious illustration of their lackadaisical approach to parenting, Rick finds Carl in the loft. “Your mother said you’d be up here.” So, let me get this straight: The time has come to stop fucking around. We are defending this shit and taking it seriously. No more excuses or hemming and hawing, we are on lockdown. “Hey, Mom, I’m going to go outside to the barn and just hang out by myself.” “OK. (pause five minutes) Did someone just say something to me?” Anyway, whatever. Rick and Carl have their 5 minute discussion that Rick was too busy to have and forces Carl to take Daryl’s gun. Uh, OK. Rather than, like, give it back to the actual owner of the gun. This kid just got someone killed, but Rick is damn sure he’s going to make sure the dumbass kid not only faces no consequences, but forces him to keep the stolen merchandise. I’m guessing that he hopes Carl plays with it in the barn and shoots himself or accidentally shoots Lori or something.
Done with that, Rick could now go deal with Randall, but uh, he doesn’t. I don’t know what he does after this. Seriously, I have no idea. Shane, in the meantime, is working by himself on some wind thing that farms always have that do something vital. He’s building a platform underneath it. Is it a watchtower under construction? Who knows. Lori seems him, all buff in the sun, a workin’ man alone, and has to go out there. All by herself, to talk to the dangerous person she wanted her husband to kill 2 episodes ago. She calls him down and proceeds to fuck with Shane’s head so badly that it’s a wonder Shane doesn’t just choke her to death. She talks about the times they had together after Rick was thought dead, how she looked at him and knew that as long as Shane was there she’d be safe. She just throws a casual, “and golly, I don’t even know who my baby’s father is!” She apologizes for never properly thanking Shane for everything he’s done for them, and that after Sophia died she tried to push him away, but now that Dale is gone, she wants everyone back together, nestled close, maybe under a sleeping bag in the back of the Hyundai. I mean, she fucks with this guy’s head so hard it HAS to be on purpose.
So what happens next? Well, gee, Shane decides it’s time to deal with Randall. Why? Maybe because he feels protective of Lori and Carl and recognizes that Rick can’t do anything that needs to be done to keep these fucking people safe. He takes him away, makes him walk into the swamp, gets the kid to talk about the Philly group, which the kid seems to be happy to go back to. I guess I would too, after getting hogtied, thrown in a trunk, set in a zombie-infested area, taken back, gotten a gun put to my head and asked for my last words, then told I was getting dumped again. He probably couldn’t wait to go back to a group of crazy Philly serial rapists. Shane recognizes that kid is going to try to go back to them and kills the kid quickly and painlessly. He then runs face-first into a tree to make it seem like he got jumped.
Meanwhile everybody is running around on the farm because Randall is missing, like he’s going to be thirty feet away from the barn. Anyway, Shane comes up, tells his BS story that Rick obviously doesn’t believe. Rick and Shane team up to look for the kid while Glenn and Daryl go a different way. It apparently takes hours of wandering, despite Daryl’s ability to track like a fucking bloodhound in the dark. They get attacked by a zombie, kill it, and see that it’s Randall. No bite marks, but Daryl can tell his neck is broken. They find the bloody tree. Shane lied!
Meanwhile, Shane leads Rick to the perfect spot to kill Rick: a hill not far from the house – within sight, no less – under a huge bright moon that silhouettes them perfectly. Shane pulls his gun, tells Rick that he sucks, that his wife is “confused” (true) and that his son is “weak” (yeah, OK), and that Shane himself is a better father (yep) and husband (yeah). He still can’t shoot Rick, though. Rick tries talking Shane down, and seems to be doing a good job. He eases his gun out of the holster and holds it out, telling Shane that he’d have to murder an unarmed man. Shane definitely looks like he can’t do it. Rick hands Shane his gun, and then rams a knife into Shane’s chest. As Shane gasps out his last breaths, Rick yells, “You did this! Not me!”
Um, no, Rick. You and Lori did this.
You did this by insisting on going to Atlanta to get a bag of guns, which directly resulted in the deaths of Amy and Ed (no great loss) and some other guy whose name I’ve forgotten. You insisted over Shane’s objection that the group go to the CDC, which killed Jacqui. You insisted on continuing to look for the girl you purposefully left alone in the woods, when Shane reasonably said that after 48 hours, there was little chance that she’d turn up, based on their mutual experience with police work, which led to your son getting shot. Your mishandling of the Randall situation put Herschel’s, Glenn’s, and Shane’s lives at stake before leading to Dale’s death (with a big assist from Carl). Finally, it led to you stabbing your former best friend in the heart, because you have consistently proved that you are no leader and that you cannot protect the group you insist on leading. And Lori – well. She begged Shane to stay with the group. She played him against you constantly, like someone who couldn’t get rid of the fun and danger of a good love triangle with her at the apex. The two of you destroyed the most capable survivor besides Daryl. The two of you are supposed to be the fucking main characters in this show. You two are fucking horrible. I want you both to get your innards torn out and spend your last agonizing minutes on this Earth watching a horde of undead eating them right in front of you.
Whew. OK. I’m better. I’m good. I’m back.
So Rick looks up and sees Carl – because, seriously, why wouldn’t Carl be wandering around alone at night? I’m sure no one pays any attention to anything at all even under Lockdown. Anyway, Carl sees his father sitting on the dead body of the one adult Carl was ever seen as being close to, and he pulls his gun on his dad, which I loved. He didn’t do it because Shane was a zombie – nope, he brings that shit up first, before Shane does stagger up and start lurching towards them. Rick thinks his son is about to shoot him, and BAM the gun goes off. Shane the Zombie dies with a bullet between the eyes, the surest sign that Carl was actually aiming at his father (well, to me anyway). The gunshot alerts a group of zombies just inside the woods on the outskirts of the field, and the final scene shows the wave of undead coming towards slack-jawed Rick looking at the biteless zombie body of his buddy. Where they came from or why they just like hanging out in that patch of woods is best left unexamined.
RIP, Shane, you shaved-headed shovel-swinging madman. They tried to make you seem crazy and unhinged, a loose cannon, a walking source of Danger, but no matter how they tried, the writers couldn’t make you a real bad guy.
Shoulda been you, Rick.