Blick Tolkien reviews The Walking Dead – Episode 018 – Better Angels

The Walking Dead - Episode 018 - Better Angels 45 min., 2012
Written by Evan Reilly/Glen Mazzara
Directed by Guy Ferland
Language: English
My rating: ★★★★★

Shit just got real.

* * *

Show Premise:

Sheriff Rick Grimes after waking from a coma, finding his family and a small group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie infested world. He leads his family and survivors to Hershel’s farm hoping to reside there for safety after the CDC and its lone scientist are destroyed and Sophia dies.

Warning

The following review is rated SIN (Sincerely Intrigued Negro), it contains several rants that appear at random. The views here do not reflect the thoughts of a completely sane person. They are being presented by a person of African-American descent who has grown up in a rather unseemly portion of town, taken recreational narcotics, and has been molested by a clown. Feel free to skip certain paragraphs, if you simply want a recap and continued review of the episode. Hipster, child, feline and vegan discretion is advised.

Review:

My review’s gonna contain a full episode recap, so spoiler alert bitches!

This episode starts with Dale’s funeral. Rick decides since he represented the humanity, the moral compass if you will that they will get back to basics and treat life like it’s a precious gift. He tells Shane they are gonna let Randall go. He isn’t happy about it but Daryl has become his wing man and Shane is now on the outs. Everyone has a job to do except Shane who is building a watch tower on a windmill platform. Hershel let them all move into the house and so Lori decides to take this chance to talk to Shane and express her gratitude for him saving her life, and her regrets for how badly she screwed things up between him and Rick. Shane looks taken aback by the raw emotion she’s showing and looks genuinely befuddled by the random outburst. At some point Carl confesses to him his role in Dale’s death, turning over the gun, and swearing he’ll never fire one again. Shane tries to tell Rick he needs to talk to him, but in an uncharacteristically macho fashion, Rick shuts him down. So Shane leaves the gun and stalks off pissed. Andrea and Glenn share a tender moment repairing Dale’s RV and what I’m sure is a symbolic passing of the torch showing that he’ll always be with them in spirit.

Rick eventually gets around to having a man to man chat with Carl where he tells him that everyone will eventually die, and that the best they can do is try to stay one step ahead and hands him the gun. Meanwhile Shane goes to visit the prisoner who has almost worked his way free of the handcuffs and has another psychotic episode. Before this can end in Randal’s death, he spies the bloody marks on his wrists where he has been trying to escape his bonds. Seeing this as an opportunity he uncuffs him, takes him out to the woods, kills him, and after running face first into a tree, goes back to the group claiming he was jumped and that Randal escaped. Fearing for everyone’s safety, Rick sends the group back to the house with himself, Daryl, Glenn, and Shane being the only exceptions. They pair off Glenn with Daryl and the previously dynamic duo of Rick and Shane go out for one last round up.

The thing that’s really chapping my ass about this is the lack of communication. It starts with Dale not being told that they weren’t going to kill Randal before he got himself ripped apart. Then we have Carl not telling anyone until after Dale was good and buried that there was a walker on the loose. And finally, this bullshit where they decided that morning to give Randal a full pardon but instead have let him sit cuffed and blindfolded well into the early evening while they go off to play house before T-Dog bothers to tell him he is a free man! I mean, for fuck’s sake, if had someone come to get him several hours earlier he couldn’t have been used as a ploy to lure the menfolk out into the darkness as they split up Scooby-Doo style with what I am sure are sinister motives and dire consequences ahead.

As tenuous as things have been between Rick and Shane, Rick’s upright nature has always seen him believing the best in people and struggling to do the best he can in a bad situation. As he and Shane started their little trek into the woods, it seemed as though he had fallen back into that same old mindset. However, the further out they go, Rick is noticing all the holes in Shane’s story, even though he has already attempted to whack and replace him on 2 other occasions, he continues to follow. In another part of the 100 acre wood, Daryl tracking skills recreate Randal and Shane’s trip including the last place we see Randal alive and scuffle that concluded there. Randal lurches through the woods and attacks Glenn and Daryl as a walker rather than the fugitive they we expecting him to be. Glenn dispatches him and after Daryl examines the body they come to a startling conclusion. It seems Randal died of a broken neck and even though he is a walker now he never got bitten. (Keep this in mind as this will become relevant later.)

Once Rick and Shane reach the clearing, Rick puts away his gun and asks Shane if this is far enough out for him to just go ahead and kill him now. Shane, realizing the jig is up, says this is just a good a place as any. Rick never raises his voice and never pleads or whimpers. He does however, try to talk Shane down. Shane, who has been holding a pistol on him the entire time, starts lowering his weapon as Rick surrenders his gun. Once Shane’s stance relaxes, and he has a grip on Rick’s revolver, Rick seizes the opportunity and buries knife in Shane’s heart.

This is one of those cinematic moments that only the phrase “WTF?!?!” can truly sum up. There are other moments like this in film, like when you find out the calls are coming from inside the house, or Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time. Hell, even when Vader tells Luke that he is his father! I couldn’t have seen this coming if there were neon signs 50 miles before we got there. Don’t get me wrong I always knew that it would boil down to a “ him or me” type situation. But since Shane had survived this long I honestly didn’t think Rick would go all “ Call of Duty” on him and covertly shank his ass. Fans of the comic already know that he should have taken a bullet to the chest from Carl some time ago. However, this is far more epic and sort of changes the dynamic of how Rick should try to keep the group safe if he was willing to go toe to toe with his bestie like that. Rick literally cries and curses Shane for driving him to do this and I mean, can you blame him? The man has openly tried to kill him 3 separate times including this, banged his wife, stage a full scale mutiny, and was single handedly responsible on more than one occasion for almost getting them kicked off this little house on the prairie. He has defied him at every turn, challenged his capability, as a father, as a leader, and husband not to mention openly challenged him in front of the group. Nigga had’z 2 go!

You would think this is where it ends but as usual that white person parenting kicks in again and Carl has defied his parents traipsing off through the woods ending up in the clearing where Shane and his father are right in the nick of time to see Shane’s grand resurrection. The fans finally get to see Carl blow Shane away with a marksman style headshot. Him and his father start making their way back to the farm as Carl starts asking when a walker killed Shane? The walkers out in the woods hear the gunshots and start converging on Rick’s location. Honestly I couldn’t have asked for more his episode exceeded my expectations, 4 stars all across the board. I am both saddened and excited to bring you my next review which is the final episode of season 2 Episode 13: Beside the Dying Fire. Until then, may all your films bring fright.

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About Blick Tolkien

About Blick Tolkien: The bastard half brother of Zeb Carter, he grew up in Chicago's urban jungle, forced to be the victim of racial injustice and daily bullying until the day he saw Night of the Living Dead. the immersion into violence on film gave him the tools to externalize his hate and make the world a horror show for all his enemies. A card carrying member of the Black Panther party, he hates whitey and all forms of coonery including any and all Tyler Perry films. You have been warned. About Zeb Carter: The younger brother of Blick Tolkien, he used horror films as a way to open him self up to the social and story telling aspects of cinematic fear as well as his love of the silver screen. After seeing Gremlins at the drive in he was hooked. He also writes short fiction, has 2 daughters and a pack of animals that he is currently serves as the alpha male over. You can read his fiction at forums.drabblecast.org.
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2 Responses to Blick Tolkien reviews The Walking Dead – Episode 018 – Better Angels

  1. John Bruni says:

    Sadly, AMC spoiled Shane’s death in an online advertisement for season 2. They called it Shane’s last season before this episode aired. Whoops!

    Anyway, during that scene where Rick curses Shane’s dead body, apparently Andrew Lincoln really went to town on Jon Bernthal. They cut out a lot of it, but he was really kicking Bernthal hard, and Bernthal had to do his absolute best to continue playing dead. Lincoln’s a maniac, man. I imagine working with him is like working with Walton Goggins.

  2. zeb says:

    can you say deleted scenes?

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