It's (spoiler-laden) Walking Dead recap time! Last week was all about conflict: Rick and Shane, Lori and Andrea, Maggie and Andrea. Will the gang pull it together for tonight's episode? Does Randall have a shot at being warmly welcomed into the survivors' group? Will Lori ever cut that hot mess of hair she has, thus giving herself a far more apocalypse-friendly 'do? The Walking Dead Magic 8 Ball says: OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD.
Here's what went down in Deadville tonight:
We start things off with Daryl beating the ever-loving crap out of Randall in order to get information about his buddies. Well! So much for the Kumabaya option. Randall bleeds and moans and eventually spills the dirt on his group: there's about 30 of them, and they're a bunch of sadistic teenager-molesting assholes.
Daryl reports back to Rick that Randall's buddies are climbin’ in your windows, snatchin’ your supplies up, tryin’ to rape 'em. Rick decides that gosh darn it, Shane was right after all: Randall's going to have to die. Dale begs him to reconsider, then begs Andrea to go keep watch over Randall to make sure he doesn't get executed before Dale has a chance to change everyone's mind. Andrea and Shane have a little spat outside of Randall's Prisoner Barn and suddenly Carl is in the barn giving Randall a sociopathic stare while Randall pleads for help. Nice try, Randall, but Carl's got his Thomas-from-Downton-Abbey face on!
Shane boots Carl out of the barn and Carl sulks off to go kick some bullet shells around Sophia's grave. Hey remember when we were BFFs but then you turned into the living dead and my dad had to shoot you in the brain? Carol appears and gently tells Carl that Sophia's in a better place now, and Carl's like, "NO SHE'S NOT AND YOU'RE A STUPID IDIOT FOR EVEN BELIEVING IN HEAVEN" before he storms off.
For anyone that's keeping score, I think it's: CRAPPY HURTFUL THINGS HAPPENING TO CAROL: 4950, CAROL: 0.
Dale continues his unsuccessful quest to try and convince people not to kill Randall, while Carl goes snooping around Daryl's solo camp (what's with the pelts? Who keeps that many varmint pelts?) and eventually decides to root through Daryl's motorcycle saddlebags before running off with the big-ass gun he finds in there. This is some whiplash character development, Carl!
Next up, Carl finds a walker out in the woods. Oh shit, run! Oh wait, it's stuck in quicksand! Whew. Carl wisely decides to hang around torturing it with rocks. Boy, nothing can go wrong here.
Back at the farm, Hershel and Glenn have a little heart-to-heart, which involves Hershel gifting him with an heirloom watch, because sure, why not. Nothing says "I approve of you banging my daughter" like a nice timepiece.
And back to Carl: the zombie suddenly lunges partially free and nearly gets a hold of him before Carl makes his terrified escape—but not before dropping Daryl's gun. Say, I wonder if there will be any negative repercussions related to Carl keeping it a secret that there's a walker loose in the woods near the farm?
It's the end of the day and everyone gathers in the farm to talk about Randall. Dale's pretty much the only one who doesn't want him to die, and he makes an impassioned speech about how if they execute Randall, their humanity is gone—and who wants to live in an ugly world like that? Not Dale, that's for sure.
Only Andrea eventually agrees with him, and the decision is made. Dale weeps and declares the group broken. Everyone looks shamefaced but also incapable of coming up with an alternate option, like oh, I don't know, driving Randall away from the farm but THIS TIME not getting out to have a cage fight outside of a creepy walker-infested building? I'M JUST SAYING.
Rick, Daryl, and Shane drag Randall into the barn. It's curtains for you, Randall! Lacy, gently wafting curtains. Rick blindfolds him, asks if he has any final words, and raises the gun. Agonizing moments tick by, and wow, this is an insanely cruel way to kill someone, Rick. Luckily for Randall, Carl appears in the doorway and murderously intones, "Do it!" Ew, Carl. Rick is like OH SHIT TEACHABLE MOMENT and he tells Daryl to take Randall away.
They return to camp and Rick confesses that he's letting Randall live for now. Andrea wants to tell Dale the good news, but Dale's angrily stomping through the field outside the farm, on his way to ... where, exactly? Who knows, because the next thing that happens is he stumbles onto a horribly gutted cow, and the next thing that happens after that is Carl's walker comes staggering up and rips Dale's entire stomach open.
People come running, and Daryl neatly dispatches the walker with a knife (THROUGH THE SKULL) (this will never stop being improbable to me). Rick screams for Hershel to do something. Hershel's like, um, what exactly? Perform a torso transplant? COME ON RICK. Dale is in agony and this is just really awful. Andrea cries for someone to help him, and Rick slowly raises his gun and just kind of hovers there while Dale chokes on his blood and looks panicked. Jesus christ, it's Randall's torturous almost-death all over again! Finally, Daryl takes the gun and BLAM. Goodbye, Dale.
And ... end credits.
Well, I thought it was a great episode. In particular, I liked how the real horror—before the final scene, anyway—was rooted in what's happening with the survivors. How this nightmarish world is affecting each of them, and how they're changing as a result. That, at least, is pretty true to the comics, even if the storyline has veered from the original.
As for Dale's death, well, it was brutal and unexpected and brilliantly done. It was a particularly tragic way for him to die, without knowing that Randall had been spared, and I kind of love that the show went there. I'm super sorry to see him go, though, since he's always been one of my favorite characters.
Knowing what you know about Randall, would you have voted to kill him? Or would you have sided with Dale?
Image via AMC