Thanks for joining us to continue this journey through the Walking Dead Season Two. I hope you have been enjoying these full episode reviews of each episode from the first two seasons. I am winding down to the end of Season Two here with Episode 11. What is going to happen to Randall?
We saw last episode that Rick and Shane tried to take Randall, the sniper for this mysterious other group that fell of a building and got his leg impaled on a fence post, to a safe place to let him go. In a way, he sort of sealed his own fate by saying that he went to school with Maggie. That immediately let them know that he knows where the farm is and could lead this other group, a group of lower men, to the farm and put the rest of Rick’s team of survivors in danger. Let’s see how things go.
Season Two: Episode Eleven – Judge, Jury, and Executioner
The world that was is definitely slipping away. This is more like a war than just a game of survival. As Daryl beats and questions Randall, the captive from the shootout in town the other night, it becomes clear that the walkers are not the only enemies of humanity. Randall tells about how there are about 30 people in their group, men, women, and kids. They move around, camping, just like Rick’s team has been doing.
Daryl gets more aggressive, placing his hunting knife against Randall’s wounds. Randall is really afraid and tells Daryl that the group has lots of weapons. Also, he tells about how the men go out scavenging and that one night, they came up on a camp site, a man and his two teenage daughters. The gang of men raped the daughters while the father was forced to watch.
As the opening credits role, this image of emptiness and vacancy is more of a statement that the one thing that made us human, order and life, is gone. These men, and others like them, have held these feelings in check in the past, for fear of retribution. Now, the animal within is free to rage and destroy.
At the campsite, everyone would really like to know what is going on. What is Rick going to decide in regards to Randall? As Daryl returns and give them the news, Rick tells the group that this boy is a threat and they have to “eliminate the threat.”
As Rick walks away from camp, Dale follows closely after telling him that he can’t do this. “There has to be a process.” Rick just wants everyone to be safe, but Dale asks him to think about the message that this is sending to Carl. Dale asks for one day to talk to everyone, but Rick grants him until sunset. I understand dale’s reticence to kill Randall without more information, but you have to wonder if some of these ideas have become antiquated as they group goes from survival mode to preparing for war.
Dale goes to talk to Andrea first, maybe because she is closest to Shane. He asks her if she would guard Randall, just in case. He mentions that Andrea was a civil rights lawyer and that she used to stand up for things, fight for ideas. “Maybe we aren’t civilized anymore.” Dale says that he understands that the structure of the world is gone now, “but keeping our humanity? That’s a choice.”
A lot of this episode is shown from Randall’s perspective, trying to see what is going on outside, catching snippets of conversations, perhaps showing how he reacts to those things he hears, or perhaps to solidify the idea that he is really a spy and hopes that they will let him go and he should get as much intel as possible. As Shane broaches the subject of a rebellion against Rick and Hershel to Andrea, Carl has snuck into the shed where they are holding Randall.
Randall tries to sway Carl’s opinion of him by telling him how he lost his family. Then he mentions how they have a lot of supplies back at camp and if Carl helps him, Randall will take Rick, Lori, and Carl back to his camp. Finally, getting desperate, Randall lunges against the chains towards Carl, Shane opens the shed door, and jumps between them, weapon drawn, yelling at Randall. Andrea is able to diffuse the situation, but we can see that Shane was very worried about Carl.
Dale walks out to talk with Daryl. He makes an interesting statement. He says to Daryl, “You act like you don’t care.” I think that from what we have seen, a lot of that is an act. Sure, he has some disdain for Rick and Shane because they were cops, but I believe that he really does have a want to keep the group safe and together. Perhaps the family that he never really had? But, “the groups broken.”
Rick and Lori talk about whether this is right as they survey the barn and Rick looks for a good place to hang someone. Carol approaches Carl as he sits by Sophia’s grave. She tries to tell Carl that Sophia is in heaven and they will see her again someday. Carl’s response is very sad, “Heaven’s just another lie and if you believe it, you’re an idiot!”
Dale continues his attempt to save Randall by pleading with Hershel to step in. Hershel basically says that whatever Rick decides is good, as long as it protects Hershel’s home.
Carl has wandered off, even though Rick told him to go apologize to Carol. He makes his way to Daryl’s campsite and goes through his saddlebags on the motorcycle, finding a gun. He takes it and continues deeper into the woods. Nearing the river he hears a walker growling and finds one stuck in the mud of the river, unable to chase him. Carl starts to run but then turns around to get a better look when he realizes it is stuck in place.
Carl squats down by a broken tree and begins to throw rocks at the walker. The look on his face as he hits the walker is one of curiosity, fascination even, but not fear at all.
Dale and Shane meet and talk about things. Shane says that if Dale can convince the group to not kill Randall, then Shane will not get involved. If, however, Randall kills someone, then that blood will be on Dale’s hands.
Back at the house, Beth is doing better. Glenn comes in to check on her and, on the way out, Hershel stops him and they talk about family. Hershel talks about his watch and how it was handed down to him, how he pawned it for “a night of drinking I no longer remember”, and how his wife had bought it back for him. Hershel says, “No man is good enough for your little girl… until one is.” Then he hands his watch to Glenn. “Go ahead, take it, before I change my mind about you.”
Sunset is coming. Randall’s time is short. Rick and Lori have one more discussion about things before we cut back to Carl. Whether he has a death wish or what, or maybe he is just trying to prove that he can take care of himself, he gets very close to the mud-mired walker. He draws the gun, and unsteadily points it at the walker, moving towards it then away, trying to bring himself to shoot the thing that was once a human being.
Suddenly, the walker frees one foot, pivots, and lunges towards Carl. He screams and falls backward, losing the gun in the process. The walker has his legs and is growling and gnashing its teeth as it tries to eat Carl. He fights his way free and turns and runs back to the farmhouse.
It’s sundown and everyone is gathered in the living room of the old farmhouse on the Green Farm. The discussion begins. Dale, of course, advocates for some alternative to killing Randall. Shane and Daryl seem pretty set that killing him is the only option. Maggie asks if they could keep him prisoner, but Daryl and Hershel agree that this would be an unnecessary waste of their limited food supply. Everyone has their own questions. Can they take him further away? Can he be trusted to just join the group? If they kill him, how will it be done? Dale’s argument is a valid one. “If we do this, the world that we knew is dead.”
Andrea agrees with Dale. Rick takes a last glance around the room, asking for any other arguments. Everyone is silent. Dale, finally giving up, walks over to Daryl and says, “this group is broken,” before leaving the house.
As night falls, Rick, Shane, and Daryl escort Randall to the barn. Randall seems unsure of what is going to happen, after thinking that Rick was the one person who was petitioning for his life. Shane pulls out a blindfold and says, “It’s all gonna be over soon.” “What’s gonna be over soon?”
As Rick holds the long metal barrel of his pistol aimed at the head of this condemned man, the agony of this choice is clear on his face. Rick knows that he is sacrificing his humanity, everything that he stands for is at stake. In the background, Carl enters the barn and says, “Do it, Dad.” Rick can’t go through with this, not when he thinks about this world has already changed Carl. He needs to leave the boy some hope that there is still goodness in the world.
Later, Dale is doing a walk around the fences and notices a strange sound from one of the cows. He finds it on the ground and ripped open like something has been eating it. Suddenly scared, Dale turns around to head back to the camp, but is tackled by a walker. The very same walker that Carl had been playing with by the river. Rick hears Dale’s screams and calls to T-Dog. Everyone runs to the pasture, following the course of Dale’s screams as he continues to struggle with the walker.
Just as Daryl passes through the gate and sprints the last 100 yards, the walker tears open Dale’s abdomen. Daryl knocks the walker off of him and stabs it in the head, but he is too late to save Dale. Everyone else arrives and they yell for Hershel. He tells the group that Dale will not make the trip to the house and makes it clear to Rick with a look that Dale cannot be saved.
Carl gets there and looks over to see the walker. The realization on his face is a clear sign that his actions led to Dale’s death. Rick pulls out his gun to put Dale out of his misery, each painful blood choked breath shallower than the last, but he cannot bring himself to shoot Dale. Daryl takes the gun, kneels by Dale, Says “Sorry, brother,” and pulls the trigger.
Wow… this is a painful loss for any fan, and no matter h0w many times I have seen this episode, it still hits me hard. The loss of Dale is the loss of the conscience and the wisdom of the group. We shall see how this impacts the survivors as we move towards the Season Two finale.