With the convict-redneck missing and the wife-beater redneck eaten by zombies (and brained by his wife to prevent a return), this show needs a real-live villain whose face isn’t peeling off. Oh, thanks, Shane.
Last week, Dale confronted Shane about the kind of man he is. This week, Shane decides to make peace with the kind of man he is. No more looking in the mirror with regret over murdering Otis. He straight-up tells Lori that Rick can’t protect her, that the baby is his and that she should leave him. And then, oh that finale.
Since we first heard his voice over the radio in that tank, Glenn has been charming the Walking Dead audience, and he used some of those charms on Maggie after she cracked an egg over his head for not keeping her secret. For a pizza-delivery guy who likes to play Portal (and hey, who doesn’t?), he’s been the everyman hero of this apocalypse. It’s good to see Walker-bait get the girl.
Hershel has made it clear, though, that the survivors (including “that Asian boy”) need to leave the farm by the end of the week. His concern is for his undead family and neighbors in the barn. But Maggie’s pleading and an expected opportunity convinces him to give Rick a chance—a test, as it were. Rick and the group no longer needs to see the Walkers as people, he says, but if they’re going to stay, they need to treat them as people. So, it’s Steve Irwin time, as they wrangle a couple of zombies from the swamp. Crikey, that’s a big one!
But new Shane doesn’t listen to Rick. No sir. He shouts a lot and unleashes zombies for target practice. One by one, Hershel’s kin file out of the barn, and one by one, the rest of the group start taking aim. If Hershel is devastated that’s nothing compared to Carol, when her missing daughter Sophia ambles out last, blood on her rainbow T-shirt, hunger in her undead eyes.
It’s a hell of a way to leave us until February, when the second season returns, not so much a cliff-hanger as the drop at the end. For all my quibbles about lazy Southern stereotypes or occasional clunky dialogue, the plot arcs have been masterful again this season. That’s a credit both to Robert Kirkman’s source material and Frank Darabont’s adaptation to TV.