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!


Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (138 Votes)

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


I thought it was fitting they finally played the judge, jury and executioner card, as there is rarely an Armageddon written or played without that particular repercussion. You really do need to think about what is best for the personal tribe and sometimes that means killing the greatest and most immediate danger. Randall made bad choices, ran with bad people and since he would be the one who could lead a lot more bad back to the tribe, he would have to pay for those choices with his life. He may still. As horrifying as it is to kill under those circumstances, we did it all the time until a century or so ago. Kinda freaky to think about how often an "outlaw" was shot on the spot. I like the dark way it's turning. It feels far more real to me now. Finally they are getting that this isn't a game. The entire world has fallen and they need to do something to keep themselves alive, but still hold onto some humanity in the process. THAT makes for an interesting show.


I was as surprised as everyone who knew that Dale survives way into the series, and Shane was killed off by Carl very early in the comics. All bets are off, as producers are making thier own storyline loosly based on the original. Dale was a voice of reason. Considering Randall's friends left him to die, they could assume he died at the hands of zombies. Rick's gang could have befriended him. Of course this will all lead on. SPoiler alert! Winter slows zombies.. AMC slipped this week with the early release to pre-order DVD's, and advertise information about Shane on the box. Lori will be happy.


Since I've just started watching this show, I can't say a whole lot. I'm still learning the characters. I can say I do not like Shane or Lori. I'm trying to find previous episodes to catch up. Just who in the hell is supposed to be watching this kid? It's this kid, being a brat I might add, that lead the zombie to the farm(can more be that far behind?) and to Dale's death. I wonder if that will even be addressed. I can see both sides of the coin regarding Randall. But it might be better for the group if they off him..........


Now that I have had time to think about it, I think Randall needed to be executed based on the fact he comes from a party of 30--plus because of what was said by him trying to get to Carl. Party of 30 means our happy little band of survivors is severely outnumbered and outgunned, when they come looking for Randall. The group rape story should have been reported by Carl to Mom and Dad. Rick, hearing that--and then remembering the fat guy peeing in the corner of the bar and his sick commentary (before Rick capped him)--Rick could have put it all together. Randall wasn't just an onlooker to what his group did--why would he be? That group is bad news. Put Randall down. It's hard, but it had to be done. As for Dale dying--well here comes the group devolving down into utter chaos into the last two eps of the season. Now they will have to reap the whirlwind.


Randall showed his true colors to Carl and said his people would take good care of him. As a child he didn't understand what Randall meant and did not warn his mother or father. If Carl had spoken up this would have saved Dale's life by ending the discussion about what RANDALL WAS REALLY ABOUT!


May not watch again. Thought Dale gave that great element to the show keeping the peace while living in such a violent world.Bad decision, seriously, I watched every week and now may not. Just not enough for me to have violence, and oh yeah....the kid becoming a brat.


Just when this show was beginning to win me back, it goes into lazy writing territory where characters being unreasonably stupid creates the danger and the threat suddenly increases beyond levels previously stated. One of the things I love about the comic is that the characters make mistakes but the mistakes make sense/are believable/the people have clearly been broken by the world they're living in. Not "Hey, I'm going to go wander off and play by the swamp where the zombies always pop up because my parents and the group in general does a terrible job keeping tabs on me." followed up with "Oh man...what tore that cow apart? It looks like its still alive, let me get closer and drop my guard just for a second." I'm glad they killed him for the story value, but feel like they executed it poorly. Randall seems more plot device than character to me. I hope they let him live and he is responsible for the introduction of the Governor.


The mistake was rescuing Randall in the first place. The last thing the group needed was another drain on their limited medical resources, especially one who had been shooting at them moments earlier. Fine. They rescued him. At that point, if they were going to waste the resources fixing his leg, they should have tried to recruit him outright. His other group left him behind, these people saved him. At this point, even if he was "bad," he'd probably still be open to joining. But no, they had to jerk him around, torture him, threaten to kill him. At this point, they simply can't =afford= the risk of letting him go. So of course they will anyway....


Lol the idiot who wrote this would probably have died in the first week of a zombie outbreak cause he obviously lacks survival instinct. I'd of shot Randal in the head in a heartbeat. It's a simple choice; kill some idiot who tried to kill members of my group or let him go so he could bring back his barbaric group to rape and torture my women and overrun my camp. Bang bang.


I too blame Carl for Dale's death. Yeah, he's a kid. But in a world like that, he should know better. What? He got bored, so he tormented a zombie? He almost got bitten himself and then it came back, killed a cow (which is their butter and milk) AND now Dale. Sure, the cow isn't as important, but Dale is dead and I blame that child. Honestly, I thought his parents raise him well. Then again, Lori is his mother and Shane was basically a father figure for months.

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