...OR "We Only Kill Some Live People, and Sometimes Only When We Vote On It" ...OR "How to Raise a Sociopath in the Zombie Apocalypse." There's many a blog title that comes to mind. I could hardly watch the opening torture scene where Daryl went all Sayid on Randall, and right afterwards I said "That might have been the most difficult scene to watch on this show yet." Foreshadowing! Because now I would argue that the scene with Carl in the woods and Dale getting ripped open like a pinata were equally as difficult. A few months ago I read that the team at TWD said the rest of Season 2 was going to be much darker and more violent. Darn tootin'.
Here's the riveting dialogue between myself and guest blogger KC:
KC: Well, that episode literally ended with a bang... and it took me completely by surprise, so good for you, "The Walking Dead" creators. Poor Dale. I went from liking him in Season 1 to finding him insufferable during the first half of Season 2. But I found his efforts to convince the group that they're giving up on their humanity by killing the kid in cold blood to be pretty compelling. The confrontation scene was fantastic, and I was glad Andrea backed him even though it was to no avail. Talk about survival of the fittest - I should have known that bit was foreshadowing.
I am hearing on the interwebs that a lot of peeps are disappointed with the manner of Dale's exit on the show vs. what happens in the GNs. I would have to say that at this point, the stories are so different it's hard for me to compare. I do think Dale's death will set quite a few things in motion here on the show, not the least of which is how will Carl deal with his complex emotions regarding the fact that he could have offed that walker in the woods. That and his seemingly growing indifference to violence. And at the very least, we won't have to watch Dale and Andrea getting it on in a prison.
What was Dale doing walking away from the farm at night anyway? Was he taking a walk to get away from the killing of Randall? Was he walking the perimeter for security? Was he fixin' to leave this broken group?
KC: Dale and Andrea getting in on in prison? I'm not sorry we missed that. I was never sure if Dale's interest in Andrea was romantic or paternal on the show although it was leaning towards romantic when Dale started to become jealous of Shane. LCT, do you think killing Dale was a long term plan? I'm thinking they came up with this on the fly but it's just a guess.
LCT: First, the story lines are so different from the GNs, so the reason for Dale to be around as a character is different. I'm thinking that through this season it was becoming clear that things were going to come to a head with this whole "how do we function in the apocalypse" thing. My guess is it became evident that Dale would become a broken record if he stuck around... in fact, he was kind of getting that way in the first half of Season 2. So give him his big hurrah speech and make his death meaningful. So, I don't necessarily think it was on the fly, but I do think it came out of how the story developed this season.
Don't get fooled by that cow, Dale!
KC: Carl: Was that Carl's walker that killed Dale? What the fuck is up with that kid? Creepy.
LCT: Oh, you mean the walker that Carl taunted in the woods because where else should a ten year-old be during a zombie apocalypse? Oh yeah it was. I'd recognize those milky cateracts anywhere. I'll tell you what's up with that kid: he's watched many people he cares about munched on by zombies or shot or both, including probably his best friend in this stupid zombie world (Sophia) and he has a stupid mom who doesn't watch him. (More on parental neglect below.) We rarely, if ever, see his parents or anyone trying to talk it out or help him cope. Which is fine. But it's all "go over there" or "don't listen" or "roam freely however you choose because we 'say' stay where we can see you, but we're not really paying attention to you at all." Actions speak louder than words here, my friends. I'm not sure Rick's advice of "don't speak, just think" is helping this kid any either. In short, they are mixing up a recipe for creepy, nasty awfulness in this poor kid. He is the precursor to Randall (who took a little too much enjoyment in stabbing a walker last week): do what you need to do to survive, laws and rules are for suckers and there's a nasty thrill in killing.
KC: Lori MacBeth: she didn't do anything really stupid this week... except that she was NEVER WATCHING HER KID. I guess Rick is at fault too, but he had to, like, play executioner.
LCT: ... and judge and jury, too! Rick has his hands full. But no matter who's actually "responsible" for Carl, I am here to tell you that as a mom, my kids would be full-on tethered to me every flippin' second. Aside: I fully expect this show to incorporate a running line every week à la Perry the Platypus on Phineas and Ferb: "Where's Carl?" Cue laugh track and zoom in on Lori's crazy eyes. Lori is always stupid. She sucks.
KC: T Dog: when he popped up while they were waiting for the execution to happen I thought, "oh, he's still on the show?" I thought maybe he'd wandered off between episodes never to be spoken of again like Mandy on "The West Wing." And Ainsley on "The West Wing." But no, he's still around. Maybe next episode, he'll get to say something.
KC: Andrea: I like that she gave Lori the smack-down last week, and, as I said before, I liked how she backed up Dale. Excellent character rejuvenation. I have a feeling that she'll have some good moments next week when they mourn Dale. Have we always known that she was a human rights lawyer? I don't remember it being mentioned before, but I'm sure I could have missed it.
LCT: Ha! I said the same thing... did we always know she was a civil rights lawyer? If we both thought it, I bet we didn't know. I like that they're building some back story on Andrea so her actions and words have more context. I don't think the rest of the "broken group" will necessarily turn to her for advice on right and wrong, but she is definitely finding her voice, and that will probably continue.
KC: Some fascinating questions raised tonight... really, the most important one the show has ever raised: what does it mean to be human now in the new world order? Do the rules that governed society in the world before the zombie apocalypse still apply? As much as I respect Dale's argument, the others may be right. This IS a new world: the old rules don't apply anymore, and your only choice may be simply that you must do whatever it takes to survive and keep your family safe. Dale was unable (too old?) to adapt and was therefore doomed.
LCT: I'll take this one step further and say, what does it mean to be human in the apocolypse right now? Meaning, at the start of the show these people were all thrown together and had to trust that things would work out. When they got to Herschel's farm, they had to learn to trust each other as strangers. Now all of a sudden this particular stranger is a threat. Dale was articulating this when he said "What makes us so much better?" Also, they save him from town, fix up his leg (miraculously, it seems) and were gonna let him go in the wild and now they are gonna kill him for something that might happen? Actually killing this kid locked and tied up in your barn because you saved him is way different than killing live people when they draw a gun on you. This is the genius of the show, because you feel like there should be another way. But maybe there's not. P.S. Why don't we hear Maggie saying she knows him or not?
KC: I love what you said here... it does feel like there should be another way, but I certainly couldn't think of one. Plus, like Dale also said, will killing Randall keep the other men away? Probably not. But they still can't let Randall go. As for why Maggie didn't say whether or not she knew him - didn't Randall say last week that he knew her, but she wouldn't remember him? He's willing to say anything to survive though, so who knows what's going on?
LCT: Totally agree that Randall will say anything and he did say "she (Maggie) wouldn't know me." But here's the thing: they're in the middle of East Bum and I'm pretty sure everyone knows everyone. My guess is if they asked her, she'd say no way. But what does that get us? So they can drive him out 25 miles and drop him off now? Not sure. All conscience issues aside, you know this kid is bad news. Too bad they can't kill him.