Better Angels began with an excellent Rick Grimes voiceover as he spoke at Dale’s funeral. He explained that although Dale said that the group was broken, they can still fix it. While we hear this, we’re shown Daryl, T-Dog, Andrea, and Shane in the fields kicking some zombie ass!
Hershel finally invites the gang to move their belongings into the house, and the group blocks off the doors. It is getting cooler out and they need to make sure they survive the winter. They are thinking that the winter might kill the walkers off, leaving them with a peaceful Spring. Rick chose Daryl over Shane to take Randall 5 miles out with some rations and drop him there. Shane however doesn’t let that happen. Before the guys can leave, Shane takes Randall out of the barn, into the woods, and snaps his neck, leaving him to be eaten. Shane then smashes his own face into a tree so that he can walk up to the group with a blood-covered head. This act shows us just how far gone Shane already is. The ‘pep talk’ he received from Lori earlier in the episode probably did more harm than intended, and could be viewed as the catalyst for Shane’s actions here.
He then tells the group that Randall hit him in the face, and is out in the woods somewhere waiting to be found. Daryl and Glenn team up, as do Rick and Shane. The two pairs split off to find the allegedly escaped Randall. When Daryl and Glenn happen upon the escapee though, he is zombified. Glenn makes up for his freezing at the bar here when he stabs Randall in the head. Upon inspection, Glenn and Daryl notice that his neck is broken. They see no bite marks and no scratches on his body anywhere. They conclude that Shane’s story was indeed bullshit.
Rick and Shane make it to the top of a small hill in a large field near the barn. Rick’s suspicions are confirmed at this time as to the true nature of the situation. Shane proceeds to tell Rick how he has a broken woman, a weak boy, and no clue on how to fix it. Rick tells Shane that he will have to kill an unarmed man, and Rick hands his gun to Shane. As Rick hands his gun to the clearly unstable ex-best-friend, he stabs Shane. Shane’s mouth filling with blood, Rick explains to his old partner that it is his own fault… that Shane made him to this.
Of course, sneaky Carl sees the whole thing. Rick turns around only to discover his boy standing there with Daryl’s gun in hand. Carl raises the gun to a Zombified Shane, and despite the fact that he never does anything right and usually just gets in the way, made a clean shot to the head. As Rick and Carl go near Shane’s body, we see a horde of walkers headed straight for them.
MY THOUGHTS: First things first… I have a little something to say about Shane dying. I liked Shane. Yes, he was a douche and somewhat dangerous, but he always protected the people he loved. He was strong and skilled – He was a great asset to the whole group. I think that a couple of things happened within this episode to push Shane over the edge. When Carl confided in Shane that he stole Daryl’s gun, and taunted that walker who killed Dale, and thinks he is the reason that Dale died, Shane saw him as a son. Carl confided in Shane before going to his own father. When Shane told Rick that his son needed him, Rick put a stranger over his own blood. That would have killed me, too. He honestly thinks that he would be a better father for Carl. Thing number two, Lori walked up to Shane unprompted, and again apologized to him for everything that went down at the beginning of season 1. That stirred his shit up. Within that conversation, though, she specifically told him that she was not sure who the father of her child was. (I am going to refrain from making any more Maury jokes.) [EDITORS NOTE – I’m not.]
So he now knows that he would make a better father for Carl, and he might be the paternal father for her unborn baby. And finally, Rick and Shane have always been partners, even before the zombie takeover. Even though they almost killed each other a couple of episodes ago, Shane was trying to turn over a new leaf. When Rick immediately picked Daryl to go with him over Shane, that must have hurt him. I do not think that Shane would have gotten to his breaking point if it weren’t for these very important details.
I am curious about how Dale and Shane’s deaths will affect this group. Dale was the only strong voice of reason left. Everyone in this current group, the child included, have become desensitized to the world around them. No one backed Dale up in the beginning of deciding what to do with Randall. Everyone initially voted to kill a fellow human being. Dale said that without their humanity they are no better than the walkers they are killing. I am very curious to see how they stand to make the right decision without that angel on their shoulder. Conversely, Shane was always the “do whatever is best for the group” guy. Without Shane pushing him, Rick never would have let him open up the barn and start shooting off walkers one by one. Rick is already struggling to keep his emotions together. He is the leader of the group, and yet has trouble making the tough decisions. With one episode left, what happens to the group when the good guy and the bad guy die?
Finally, I want to address how people become infected. A couple of episodes back, when Shane and Rick saw the security guard zombies and upon inspection noticed that there were no bite marks on them whatsoever, they said that it was maybe scratches. What was curious was that they said they didn’t see any. In this episode, we see Randall’s neck was snapped. I am assuming that Shane thought walkers would get to him, leaving him a rotting corpse, or at least with a bite or two. Although he had no bites or scratches, Randall was still a zombie. After Shane was stabbed, he became a zombie and since we witnessed that entire process, we can assume no walkers sneaked behind the cameras to get a nibble on Shane. So how to people become infected?
The Theory: This is what I am going with. It is possible that everyone who has come into contact or within a close enough proximity to breath the same air as the walkers, has already been infected. Since they are alive and all have an immune system, they can fight the illness off. Once they die, the disease releases into their system because obviously their body is no longer fighting anything off, but has become a cesspool for bacteria, and they are zombified. I sure hope nobody has leukemia I have no idea if how they become infected will ever be revealed to us, but if this theory or a similar one is correct, I think that they can find a cure! Next season is already planned out, but we still have on more episode to go! I am both excited and saddened by this season. I have become very attached to two major characters who I have lost within the last two episodes. I hope that the season finale can live up to my grossly high expectations.
I give this episode a very strong 5/5. Although sad, it had everything a great episode needs.