As we get closer to the season 2 finale of The Walking Dead, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to write these reviews without giving anything away. However, you don’t have to worry. While, I’m going to cover the basic themes and story of the episode, I have omitted specific names and plot items to avoid spoilers. As usual, don’t continue reading if you haven’t seen all of season 2 up to this point.
This week’s episode is titled Better Angels and starts with Rick talking to everyone at Dale's grave. The surprise death changed Rick's mind on the situation with Randall, and gave him a renewed interest in fixing the group. The story revolves around a new plan to secure the area and set Randall free miles away from the farm.
The last few episodes have given the viewer hints that Randall isn’t just some innocent kid who got mixed up with the wrong group. Unfortunately, most of the people within the group haven’t been around to see this and it makes coming to a consensus that much more difficult. Rick's may be ready to set him free, but things don't go according to plan. You'll find that there is continued conflict over whether Randall should be executed or set free.
Dale’s death has affected everyone in the group differently. As Robert Kirkman recently mentioned, Daryl’s shooting of Dale was him taking on more of a leadership role and supporting Rick. You’ll see more of that in this episode. The one character most negatively affected by Dale’s death is Carl, who was indirectly responsible. Like last episode, he continues to be a focus of the story this time around. You’ll also notice a number of other characters who are acting differently after Dale’s passing. This episode in particular is interesting to see how brief conversations or small changes can have an effect on the bigger picture.
The Walking Dead TV series has done a great job of keeping it fresh for those who just watch the show, as well as fans of the comic book. Fans of the TV series may not yet realize that The Walking Dead is known for its rotating cast of characters and frequent deaths. A few reviews back, I predicted that we’d see a number of character deaths before the end of the second season and last week’s episode proved that the season is headed in that direction.
**Minor comic book spoiler** For fans of the comic book series, last week’s death, along with the death of Sophia and Otis, were still surprising because they were unexpected at this point in the story. **End spoiler** There are some revelations and story elements in this episode that fans of the comic book series will find particularly interesting.
I have been really impressed with the quality jump in the second half of The Walking Dead Season 2, and it has nothing to do with additional walker scenes. The writing and pacing have been tightened up, and the last 4 episodes really merit multiple viewings and inspire more discussion on the moral and ethical topics they’ve brought up. After the events that take place this week, I am extremely curious to see how they top it for the finale and set up the story for season 3. This is an episode of The Walking Dead that will keep people talking.
Episode Score 4.5/5
*Scoring Note: In terms of scoring, I’m not rating The Walking Dead against other TV shows. The score is based on how I rate this episode against other episodes in this season.
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