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The Walking Dead Review: Who Didn't Survive?

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I'm rather surprised at how one-sided the debate about killing or saving Randall turned out to be.

Sure, I understand the potential dangers associated with this particular newcomer and the threat his group of thirty something could end up inflicting on our cast of survivors. The extremely dark and disturbing story of Randall's "friends" raping those girls, making the family watch, and then just leaving them, was enough to make me think about what a world without rules does to someone. How crooked it can turn them.

And in effect, that's really what this episode tried to bring to light and show that even with our select group of characters, they are just as susceptible to those dangers. Trying to maintain that humanity when all feels lost and survival seems to be the focus isn't as easy as a task as one might think. 

Dale Pic

But I still can't believe that only Dale, the resident voice of wisdom and reason, was trying to convince everyone to not execute Randall. It was sad, really, watching Dale desperately try to sound out his argument to ultimately no avail. He spoke a lot of truth about the matter, in that Randall may not be that bad guy that they think he is and simply a person who doesn't deserve to die through a five-minute conversation.

Randall has done a very good job of toeing the line on where his morals stand (I like his addition to the show, whether he's good or bad,) but it's hard to watch anyone blindfolded and have a gun pointed at them when we really haven't seen him do anything bad to other people. I'm even amazed that Rick didn't put himself in Randall's shoes. All of the whimpering, crying, and pleading weren't enough to shake Rick from his mission.

The characters really seem to be taking a darker path and the preparation for execution in the barn really enhanced that. To be honest, the characters almost felt unrecognizable. Really? They were going to kill him in cold blood? They felt more like bad guys then so called heroes.

Carl was finally able to knock some sense into Rick, who has become so blinded by saving everyone and making it all okay, that he completely ignored the repercussions and examples made for his son. I don't think Rick could fathom that his kid not only condoned the death, didn't fear it, but wanted to watch.

It was a good realization for Rick, but I wonder what direction the show would have taken if they did end up killing their prisoner.

Although Rick should truly have understood that he needs to be a better parent to his kid. Lori take note. I mean, no one seemed to notice that he was missing? In a world filled with death around every corner, they just let him traipse around like nothing is wrong? How many times does Carl have to get into trouble before someone starts watching him?

I recognize that he's curious and seeing this new found world from his eyes is wildly different from the likes of any adult. From wanting to get real close to Randall to even stupidly getting within arms length of the trapped zombie, Carl puts himself in danger, but he doesn't see it that way. And while it's hard to refrain from yelling at the TV for a character not to do something idiotic like get yourself caught or killed when it could easily be avoided, I am easier in forgiving Carl because he's a kid. Yes, he should have far better sense, but really, where are his parents?

And in a way, Carl had the most impact for "Judge, Jury, Executioner" by inadvertently saving Randall's life and yes, getting Dale killed.

For many fans of the graphic novel, Dale survives a lot longer than he does on this show and I think it's safe to say that it proves that really any character's number can be up. In a way, I half expected it but kept thinking that at the last minute he would be saved. Nope, he literally had his guts ripped open.

And while I think many people might have a problem with The Walking Dead's departure from its graphic novel counterpart, I don't mind. I see them as two separate entities and instead enjoy when references are made to the material source like bringing in Hershel's farm or establishing the Glenn and Maggie relationship. It keeps things fresh for the show without making a verbatim copy of itself.

Yet - while I was truly shocked that A) this wasn't the season finale and the show killed a character and B) they killed Dale for crying out loud! - I'm more disappointed that we didn't get to experience more from Dale than constantly trying to convince everyone about something. I felt like his time came too soon and while his death has more of an impact than Sophia's (sorry, Sophia), there was so much that we had yet to learn about the man with his silly hat and Hawaiian shirt. In a way, he felt more like an outsider trying to prove his way in to the inner circle, but no one really paid too much attention to him other than the fact that he was the old guy with some smarts.

At least when it came down to it, Dale held true to his convictions. He never swayed, he spoke out even when it wasn't the most popular opinion, and he tried to hold onto that sense of humanity for both himself and everyone. He may have died a gruesome death and I'm glad that Daryl was able to put him out of his misery, but he never lost hope. I just wonder with him gone, how that will change the power balance. And what will that mean for Randall?

The second half of season two has done a far better job at moving the show forward and providing an interesting pacing that brings back the tension. This episode was certainly on the right path in continuing to snowball all of the most recent events towards something bigger. I don't think there is going to be a lot of time to mourn Dale's death because I fear for the group that the worst will be yet to come.

Are you surprised that Dale was killed? Should they have killed Randall? Are you enjoying the second half of the season? What's next for Rick and company? Sound off with your thoughts, questions, and comments below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
  • 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (138 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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My husband and I love this show and never miss it. We were completely shocked at Dale's untimely death and I did not feel that Randall should be killed right off the bat. Anxious to see if Daryl's brother is in the other group and what happens next. We look forward to Sunday night!

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I don't understand the whole Randall thing...Dale being killed sort of lost me. If given a choice between Dale and the kid - no contest. The little kid looks like he's turning into a demon, and the wonderful back and forth conversations/arguments betweenDale and Shane are over...and, for me? The show is too, kinda losing my enthusiasm lately and Dale leaving, not going to make it a point to watch anymore.

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Did anyone suffer through comic men to see the exclusive preview? Randall goes missing! It's just as they feared.

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I was really suprised when dale was killed. i thought maybe carl was scratched or something and would turn ( he deserved it by being such an ass-hat). and hello the world is full of zombies and apparently crazy raping people why the hell is it that carls parent just let the idiot run amuck in the woods playing with guns (daryl shoud kick his butr for taking the gun). i love this show i was on the edge of my seat when the zombie grabbed carl. but why the hell not say, hey i saw zombie or something so they could go chase it down since was on the property. the kid needs a bell on his neck or something. and yes i would have killed randall but would have been the first night while on the fence. they only needed one bullet to take him out instead of the dozen or so they wasted while trying to save the idiot. love the show but some of the characters are idiots that need to be taken out.

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I'd like an episode to start completely with the other group talking about what they are going to do about the evil people who killed four of their men. I'd like a fresh perspective on how they could seem like the good guys while Rick's team seems like the villains in all of this. Rick used to have a racist and a wife-beater on his team. Just because the other group has two asshole rapists doesn't mean they're completely evil.

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It sucks how Dale is dead. I am not a reader of the comics so I do not really know the suspected plot for the series. But seriously? I liked Dale very much. I wish Carl gets to his senses soon his 12 but still he needs to use his head more often. Still hate Shane though. Curious as to what will happen to Randall now that Dale's dead. Will the group change their minds about his fate?

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Im guessing we know now who the actor was that wanted out of the show due to Darabonts departure. Dale was a surprise for sure, and Carl is obviously turning into something not quite like a normal kid. He is becoming a hardened, jaded person long before his years should allow. The people so quick to kill off Randall I think would not be so quick to carelessly throw away a life given the situation was real. I still think Randall is not as he appears, his talking to Carl, revealed a bit of a manipulative, creepy side. Im betting his friends will be showing up before season's end.

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The world is crawling with walking dead people move on. And YES that son of Rick’s needs his butt smack….what was he thinking playing with that walker like that. I was so mad….and poor Dale had to play the price. Well all in all Rick needs to grow some and start acting like a leader because the way he has been acting I wouldn’t follow him either…but I wouldn’t follow the alternative either..Shane. He is so stuck on Rick’s wife that he is going to get all of them killed. So far this season I like the bow shooting guy and Glenn the rest not so much.

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I feel the way Randall's group is acting is the way most people will be in a time like that. Safety should be the first priority above all else and Rick should have just left Randall stuck to the fence or shot him there. I don't like Shane but some of what he says is true. I don't like Rick's wife I think she is an instigator....and try to play this innocent girl when she is a slut who slept with her not so dead husband’s best-friend!!! She pits Shane and Rick against each other. The blonde chick is jealous of Rick’s wife because she likes Shane…I mean really!

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yipee another loser dead, zombie 1 losers 0. keep going zombies so u can get this dumb show off the air!