For those of you who missed last night’s episode of THE WALKING DEAD, bookmark this article, send an email reminder to yourself with the link, whatever you have to do, but stop reading here.  There are spoilers and trust me when I say it’s the biggest news of the season… if not the biggest news of the entire series.

This is your last chance to turn back.

For those of us who tuned in, let’s get into the discussion.

Did anyone expect to see Rick kill Shane last night? 

Okay, so it’s not like he killed him in cold blood, and he was protecting himself in the process, but when Rick turned his gun around and started walking towards Shane, offering a peaceful resolution (at least for the evening), I thought he was on the level.

Photo courtesy of AMC

I don’t have any problem with Rick killing Shane. When he stopped in the middle of the field, he knew what Shane’s intentions were. He put all the pieces together as they were walking through the woods. Daryl foreshadowed this a couple episodes ago when talking about Shane killing Otis. He said Rick was smart enough to put the pieces together, but Rick was blinded by the friendship. Having heard Lori’s worries about what she suspected Shane had done, and then the brutal fight with his former friend, the blinders were off of Rick just in time.

Before his death (and then re-death), Shane did help push Rick in the right direction in regards to Carl. Rick hadn’t been doing enough as a parent – and more importantly as a father – to help raise his son. Shane telling Rick as much before releasing the prisoner was a good kick in the right direction. Rick was right in telling Carl that he’s not going to be treated so much as a child anymore, because there’s no time for that. Carl’s growing up in a world where he needs to be an asset to the group. The zombie plague has left him with no peers and no schools. The individuals Carl is going to interact with are adults; the skills he needs to learn are of survival. There’s no way for Carl to have a normal childhood at this point, so there’s no sense in holding him back from being a contributor to their ever-shrinking team.

Given what happened with Carl at the end of last night’s episode, it’s clear he has a lot to learn about life and how to conduct himself.

Make no mistake about it, Carl aimed a gun at his father.

Yes, he ultimately shot a zombie-fied Shane, but when that gun was first raised with intentions of pulling the trigger, Carl was aiming at Rick.  If that’s not what the writers of THE WALKING DEAD intended, then they failed. Shane didn’t re-animate until after Carl picked up the gun.

Sure, he made the right decision by shooting Zombie Shane, but when he saw his father coming towards him after standing over Shane’s fallen body, Carl considered shooting Rick. The only question in my mind is whether, for a moment, Carl thought his father was a zombie. I personally don’t think that’s what Carl was thinking, but we’ll have to wait to find out.

And how awesome was that quick flicker edit used to let us know that Shane was becoming a zombie? Showing his still-laying body with quick glimpses of a savage beast snarling wildly, foreshadowing what was working its way to the surface? It’s not something I’ve seen them do before, and it was used perfectly.

On a lighter note, what’s up with Glenn not wanting to be with Maggie?

I partially understood a couple episodes ago when he turned her down because he was ashamed of himself. There was no reason for him to feel bad about cowering away from gunfire as they left the bar – it was a perfectly acceptable response. By now you’d think he would’ve moved on, and I believe he had. Correct me if I’m wrong, but when Maggie told Glenn he should move into her room, didn’t he say something to the effect of it being disrespectful because it’s her dad’s house and he still lives there?

Were I able to appeal directly to fictional Glenn, I’d say “That watch Hershel gave you? That’s the key to his daughter’s chastity belt. He approves, so don’t let that stop you.”

At this point, Glenn and Daryl are my top two favorite characters, especially with Daryl being highly productive again (seriously, those tracking skills are awesome). If either of those two die in the finale, I’ll be really frustrated with the show.

Looking Forward to the Finale

Disclaimer: Trust me when I say that I don’t have any more information about the finale than you do. I haven’t been given a screener or any other sort of advanced access, and I haven’t read the print version of The Walking Dead. All I saw is the final shot of this episode and the five second preview for next week’s episode.

How great was that final shot of this episode to set things up for an intense finale? All the zombies rising up in the woods and then coming up over the hill as Rick did one last check on Shane? I’m not going to lie, it gave me chills.

That brings up two questions:

1 – Is something in the air? Shane wasn’t bitten before he died, neither was the prisoner, but they both re-animated. It’s never established how the plague started in the first place, so there’s a possibility that there was no “Patient Zero” who spread the plague through an initial bite.

2 – With Dale being buried without having re-animated, could we potentially get the iconic zombie-movie shot of a hand stabbing upwards through the earth as Dale comes back for one final bit of involvement in the show? Personally I’d like to see him tear up through his grave (it’s not like he had a casket), try to wreak havoc, only to meet a fitting end by having someone run over him with the RV.

Bonus Comment:

Before I leave, I have to say it was great to see Lauren Cohan and Zachary Levi on THE TALKING DEAD after-show. Not just because Lauren is attractive and Zach was great on CHUCK, but because they were co-stars for one of the best storyline arcs on CHUCK when Cohan portrayed Vivian Volkoff.  Whether or not anyone else thought it was cool, it was a nice “nerd” moment for me.

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