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Last week ended with the tragic death of Dale at the hands of a zombie. Now, the group puts everything on hold so they can bury Dale and pay their last respects. Rick gives a eulogy that is FULL of subtext: To honor Dale the group show live by Dale’s example, meaning, they should still live morally even though the world is falling apart. We’ve just had a season’s worth of conflict between Rick and Shane on this very subject, so now it looks like their differences are irreconcilable.
And we don’t have to wait very long for this to play out, because the group still has to take care of the Randall situation. Last week Rick was prepared to give up on his high-mindedness and execute Randall, not let him go. Now he’s reversed course. They are going with their ORIGINAL plan, which is to cut Randall loose far away from the farm. And to show just how serious he is, Rick is going to take Daryl with him to do the job and leave Shane back at the farm. Snub.
Rick and Daryl are going to leave with Randall TODAY, so Shane is out of time. He manages to delay Rick for a few moments so he can come up with a hasty plan to deal with Randall his own way. He’s totally gonna kill the poor bastard, but he knows he can’t just shoot him right there in the shed because that would probably poison Lori and Carl against him forever. Instead he has to make it look like he had cause to kill Randall. He decides to go with the ol’ “The prisoner escaped so I had to kill him” routine.
Warning: this next part may not make much sense, but remember, I’m describing the plans of a desperate man with no time. It doesn’t really make sense no matter what. So here goes. First, Shane takes Randall out of the shed and leaves the handcuffs so it looks like Randall slipped out of them. Then he takes Randall into the woods and breaks the guy’s neck. (You’re right, that’s really stupid…if you can break a fleeing prisoner’s neck, why not just tackle the prisoner and take him back to jail instead?). Then Shane breaks his own nose on a tree trunk and ditches his gun in the woods to gin up the “Randall overpowered me and took my gun” story and returns to the farm just as Rick and the gang are realizing Randall is missing.
At first Rick and the gang believe Shane’s ridiculous story, so Rick and Shane take Glen and Daryl into the woods with the intention of tracking Randall down. Eventually they split up into pairs, Glen and Daryl going one way and Rick and Shane another. We follow Glen and Daryl first, and eventually they realize Shane is full of shit when they come upon a zombiefied version of Randall and kill it. Sure, a fleeing Randall might have run into a zombie and become zombiefied on his own, but that doesn’t explain why Zombie Randall’s neck is broken. The jig is up.
(Wait, Randall is a ZOMBIE?! What the fuck?! You’re right, it’s crazy. Daryl confirms that Randall was never bitten, so how in the hell did he become a zombie? We don’t know, but most likely it’s because the Wildfire disease that causes zombiehood has changed somehow. More on this in the full recap).
Meanwhile, while Rick and Shane conduct their own search, Rick obviously knows Shane murdered Randall, so he starts pointing out all the hugely obvious holes in Shane’s story: how could Randall, who weighs maybe 125 lbs and is starving, exhausted, and recovering from a horrible leg wound, overpower Shane, a cop and large man? Another hole: if Randall escaped from the shed, why was the shed door still locked? Also Shane has wanted to kill Randall all along and it’s way too convenient that he’s the last person to have seen Randall alive.
But Shane never really intended for the group to believe his story. He just needed a way to lure Rick away from the group, and he’s done just that. Rick and Shane’s manhunt finds them alone in a field. It’s time for the final showdown.
Shane raises his gun. Rick refuses to draw his revolver. He is forcing Shane to gun him down in cold blood. To Shane, this is just more proof that Rick is weak-willed and unwilling to do what it takes to protect his family. And maybe we’re thinking that too…until Rick whips out a knife and stabs Shane in the heart. What a fucked up thing to do, killing your best friend. Rick is clearly distraught, but it did have to be done, and Rick did it. Goodbye Shane.
So that’s over with. Carl somehow finds his way to this field just as Rick pulls the knife out of Shane’s chest, and he thinks his Dad murdered Shane. He takes out his own gun and aims it at his father while Rick pleads with him to understand why he did it…but behind Rick, Shane gets back up. He’s a zombie, too! Carl shoots Zombie Shane down. (WTF AGAIN! Again, more on this in the full recap)
Oh, and the gunshot has attracted a full-blown zombie horde which is headed straight for the farmhouse. I guess we know what next week’s episode is gonna be about.
Full recap Tuesday!