The Walking Dead: Judge, Jury, Executioner Review (Mania.com)

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Monday, March 05, 2012

 

Mark it. 9:40 PM, T-Dog makes his weekly appearance on The Walking Dead. He almost got out a full line of dialogue, but that was squelched in the commotion of whether to kill or not, but hey, the guy tried to speak. Personally I’m not sure if IroneE Singleton is the luckiest actor in the world or the most disrespected, but if I was collecting a sizable weekly paycheck from a TV show, and didn’t have to bother learning my line (singular) until 5 minutes before the camera rolled, I’d be cool with it. By the way, since I’m already on the subject, “IronE” is probably a lamer name than “T-Dog,” but that’s a debatable subject.
 
   So on with the rest of the episode. Yes, Darryl showed some bad-assery once again. His interrogation skills are formidable - though I suspect he enjoys this part-time job of his a bit much for my comfort. Randall wound up confessing to the heinous crimes members of his former group committed. These admissions may have been uttered to get Daryl to stop with the kicking and the punching, but it did nothing but make Darryl even kickier and punchier.
 
   Carol of course disapproved in her own way. Which means she gave him a look, and walked away. The more I think about Carol, and how she allowed her daughter, Sophia, to be abused by her husband (Sophia’s father) the more I’d like to throw Carol out there for zombie bait – which makes me question how Daryl hasn’t confronted her about her behavior already.
 
   Naturally Carol isn’t the only one in the group who won’t win any parental honors. Lori, who very recently went on a long jag about what everyone’s role is, and who is and isn’t pulling their weight, has once again not pulled her weight. How about keeping an eye on your child. You must have heard, Lori. There are fucking zombies out there.
 
   Meanwhile, Carl is bopping around this place like he has the deed to Hershel’s farm, day and night and Lori apparently is too busy darning the menfolk’s socks to notice if her son has been eaten by walkers or killed by the prisoner. First Carl shows up in the barn, and we’re meant to wonder if he plans on taking matters into his own hands and execute the captive in an effort to show he’s a man. Next he wanders into the woods, and spends an afternoon the way a ten-year-old boy would, given the circumstances – chucking rocks at immobilized, animated, flesh-eating corpses.
 
    By the time Carl pops Rick back into his pre-Walker way of looking at the world, I was looking for Carl in every scene. That scene in the barn with Rick, Shane and Daryl leading Randall to his death should have been much more powerful, but unfortunately I kept waiting for Cowboy Hat Carl to throw a damper on the assassination of a potentially innocent man.
 
   What I didn’t see, was the end of the road for Dale. I’m a reader of the graphic novels, and by now even those of you who don’t read them, know more than you probably want to. It’s no longer a spoiler alert for the show, though it is for the comic – so if you haven’t read, but plan on it, cover your eyes for this next sentence. Dale and Andrea hook up in the book. I know this creative team has taken license reinterpreting the comic book, and I’m not upset with their decisions. In many ways the book is better, but people have been complaining, “the book was better” since Hollywood has been filming already published works. That said, I have no problems with the way this story is unfolding on the small screen.
 
   This entire episode will be likely be remembered as the end of civilization in their world. Dale spent most of his final moments on screen, passionately pleading for someone to stand with him against the mob rule execution of Randall. As much as I sympathized with his stand, and as good an actor as Jeffrey DeMunn is, I am in Shane’s corner on this one. Winter’s coming, supplies are scarce, the guy did take a shot at members of your party, and how does keeping him alive do anything but weaken the group? Sounds callous, but live a few months with that kind of horrific paranoia hanging over you, and you’ll likely see Shane and most of the rest of the group are not wrong to believe it’s best for all to end this man’s life.
 
   The irony of it all is as Dale was doing his best to make people see the danger of abandoning the polite rules of pre-Walker civilization it was Carl, the formerly optimistic and innocent youth who has turned hard and emotionless who ultimately provides the means for Dale’s untimely death. Dale was an optimist, but there is no room for glass half-full types in a world where humans ultimately become monsters whether they are bitten by infected roaming cadavers, or simply have the bad luck to not be. 
 
   The only real tender moment in the entire episode was Hershel, in effect, giving his blessing to the union of Glen and Maggie. If my hunch is correct, and Randall’s ex-buddies get the desire to finally take ol’ Hershel’s place by force (and that’s a definite possibility since Randall has likely told that gang about the farm in as a way to ingratiate himself into their good graces) we probably won’t see too many more “welcome to the family, son” scenes. My hunch is things are gonna get real dark real fast for Rick and the gang. My still living in the non-Walker world self is sad to realize things are only going to get much rougher for the survivors. The detached voyeur in me can’t wait for the horror show.
  
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Mania Grade: B+
TV Series: The Walking Dead
Episode: Judge, Jury, Executioner
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey DeMunn, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden
Written By: Angela Kang
Directed By: Gregory Nicotero
Network: AMC
Series: