The Walking Dead: Better Angels Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, March 11, 2012
As the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Season Two opens, the group has buried Dale and said their final goodbyes. Rick is determined to prove Dale’s proclamation that the group is broken incorrect and indeed, his death galvanizes the group. Herschel allows all of the survivors to come in and stay inside the house for safety rather than continue to camp outside. They plan to keep the vehicles near the house, pointed toward the house in case a quick getaway is needed as well as posting regular watches of the property. Not only that but we see other characters attempt to mend fences. Lori seeks out Shane and attempts to offer an apology for the anguish that Shane has been put through. Shane listens to Lori but keeps his thoughts to himself. But it soon becomes clear that he is taking Lori’s apology as something much more than she intended.
Carl is upset, blaming himself for Dale’s death leading first to another confrontation between Rick and Shane over parenting skills. Shane not so subtlety suggests that he accompany Daryl to release Randall (which becomes the plan again after Dale’s death) and Rick stay behind to deal with Carl. While not letting on that he’s aware of Shane’s true motivations, Rick tells him that he needs him at the house. Clearly any resolution the two old friends came to in episode ten was merely empty wishes as both men seek to maneuver around the other. As Rick readies to drive Randall out of the area and release him, T-Dog comes running back with the news that Randall has escaped, despite the fact that the barn was still locked. Shane stumbles out of the woods bloodied claiming Daryl cold-cocked him, took his gun and ran off. Daryl and Glenn pair off as to Shane and Rick to try and track Randall down, leading to a fateful confrontation between Rick and Shane.
Now I want to say that Shane’s “story” about what happened to Randall was the result of man whose mind has been stressed to overload and has lost all semblance of common sense and reason. But I’m leaning more towards that its simply lazy and sloppy scripting on the part of the writers. Knowing all along how Shane has felt about Randall, who among the group outside of perhaps Maggie, would even remotely buy Shane’s story? Furthermore who would buy the story in light of the barn being still locked? So we are to assume that Shane went into the barn, got black-jacked by Randall who took his gun and locked Shane into the barn? If that’s the case how did Shane get out? But later Shane tells Rick that Randall must have slipped out through the rafters, but if that’s the case, how was the door locked from the outside with Shane on the inside? Ok, Ok…I’ll buy Rick knew it was BS the whole time but went along as he knew the Shane situation had to be settles once and for all. That doesn’t explain the rest of the group being completely clueless though.
For the many Carl haters out there you’re not going to like this episode a hole helluva lot either…First, He and Rick finally have that heart-felt, coming of age moment where Rick says, “No more kid stuff” and hands Carl a gun telling him to “Please take it.” And thus we had our hokey moment of the night. There’s nothing like a little father-son bonding with firearms. And then of course there is the end…oh that ending with Carl!
Despite some of these flaws, “Better Angels” does accomplish three goals: it finally brings together the survivors and Herschel’s family as one consolidated unit. Herschel even offers his bed to the pregnant Lori; it finally resolves the Rick/Shane situation; and it sets the table for what the final moments promise to be a thoroughly blood-drenched season finale next week. And on a side note, T-dog got about as much screen time and as many lines of dialog in this episode as he has had in all the previous episodes combined. And no matter what happens, as least we can finally kiss the farm goodbye!
Mania Grade: B-
TV Series: The Walking Dead
Episode: Better Angels
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Norman Reedus, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Chandler Riggs, Steven Yeun,Lauren Cohan, IronE Singleton, Scott Wilson, Melissa McBride
Written By: Evan T. Reilly, Glen Mazzara
Directed By: Guy Ferland
Series: Walking Dead