The Walking Dead: Better Angels Review -

TV Review

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  • 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
  • Network: AMC
  • Series: Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Better Angels Review

The aftermath of Dale’s Death

By Tim Janson     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!


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violator14 3/11/2012 10:43:44 PM

 Ok seriously?? Wtf just happened. I know shane dies in the comics and I know the shows been going different than the comics but come on!! U don't kill off one of, if not THE Best characters on the show before someone like T dog!!! Dammmm Wth!! I'm pretty upset. And I guess the virus has gone airborne and they all have it pretty much? So if u die without getting ur brains bashed in, ur a zombie I take it. Man, still can't believe he's dead. To be honest I might have even preferred Rick to die over Shane.   What a sad day for the show.....

lracors 3/11/2012 10:58:42 PM

I could feel the end of Shane coming and in this TV version it had much more impact than the comics.  Rick was heartsick, torn and broken over what he had done.  I loved this episode solid B .  I was only really upset with Lori's inability to shut up.  She pushed Shane over the edge and got him thinking, "she still cares about me."   I cannot wait for next week to see the herd swarm the farm.  This has been building up all season long, the food's gone in the city where else are the dead to get their fix of vittles.  Also, finally a talk between Carl and Rick that was heartfelt and honest.  I hope to see more of that.  If a new viewer were to watch this show season 1 and 2 back to back having never watched it before, i'm sure that the story would have a huge impact on them vs. most of us who have read the comics and have a baseline for where they will probably take the story.  The slow-down at the beginning of season 2 added IMO to the horrors the group are facing now having become too complacient in the hope that the farm would be their new starting point.

Kudos to a great show.  Cannot wait till next week and beyond.

whiteandnerdy75 3/11/2012 11:21:07 PM

This is the second episode since it's return that has had me on the edge of my seat, third if you count Sofia before the hiatus.  I teared up when Dale died and I balled when Sofia came out of the barn.

This I knew was going to happen because of the comics.  It's in those that Carl follows Rick and Shane into the woods, and, realizing Shane is insane and going to shoot his dad he shoots him first.  The slight difference in the show is that Rick does the initial killing here.  The pain of him having to do so fits the series.  But Shane's rising is what tips the group off about the virus, here and the comics, just slightly different.  If I remember correctly, in the comics they bury Shane, then dig him up later to confirm their suspicions and he's a zombie trying to dig himself out of his grave.

I used to read my buddies 'Walking Dead' comics and when I moved, I didn't followup on the series.  So, everything is new for me now.  I will say that changing some things for TV is good because I can go back and read the graphic novels and get a different story.  I tried buying the 'Watchmen' graphic novel after I saw the movie (Yes, I didn't read it first.  I starting collecting in the early 90s so I missed out on some great stuff and am scrambling to catchup) and it was like you could follow along with it while you watched the flick.  Besides the squid, of course.

All in all, Season 2 is slower and more character driven but I love it.  I am absolutely hooked on this series.  Probably not since 'The X-Files' has something come along that I've really fallen in love with the characters.


scytheofluna 3/11/2012 11:35:41 PM

 Jesus Christ? Are you guys serious?  This show is a pathetic joke.  Shane should have been dead over a year ago.  Shane being one of the "best" characters on the show is a result of the producers being complete f*cktards.  They've undermined & pissed on the source material at every turn.  I hope this crap gets canceled & rebooted at HBO soon so that people will quit swooning over what is easily the biggest disappointment of a comic book adaptation in recent memory.  Being different from the comics is NOT a good thing.  Why am I the only one who cared enough about the comics to see that?

scytheofluna 3/11/2012 11:39:17 PM

 If they made a Batman movie that played this loose with the source material people would be crying for blood, yet somehow this is acceptable?  Way to have standards.

SarcasticCaveman 3/12/2012 1:01:16 AM

 I understand frustration over it not following the comics, but I was given to understand that the creators of the comics were the main writers on the show...THEY'RE doing this.  They said they didn't want to regurgitate the same exact story to a different medium.  And be fair - you really can't say it's a bad show because it doesn't follow the source material to the tee...It's very well produced, well acted (not even the kid actors get on my nerves), great make up...sorry, but it IS a great show...and now we just have to wait until April 1st to see if I have to eat these words with the return of "Game of Thrones"...LOL...I'll probably be pretty put out if they don't follow the 2nd book as closely as the first.

SarcasticCaveman 3/12/2012 1:02:34 AM

 I guess my main point is "I feel your pain, but bitching about it won't make the show suck...unless it's Game of Thrones."

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 3/12/2012 1:17:54 AM

Did Shane say he got hit by Randall in the barn? I assumed he was talking about getting jacked up in the woods. 


Anyway - here's my theory on the "virus" or whatever. I think that everybody has it. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll come into effect if they die. And when they do die the time it takes to bring them back is different. I might be wrong but the time lapse might have been explained in the first season by Jenner. Anyway back to my original point. If you look at other diseases and stuff - like herpes for instance - this stuff can lay dormant in you and you might never show any symptoms. Some diseases might affect a lot of people while some people don't get them. Diseases like cholera, swine/bird flu, tyrphoid, etc. I think that's what might be going on with this virus.

I also don't think that Jenner told Rick that the virus is in everybody or that Lori was pregnant. He was both rather surprised at Lori's announcement and that Shane was walking up behind him. Plus - he sat there by Shane not even really paying attention to him.

Another thing that I see people complaining about when it comes to Shane and Randall comng back. They say it came out of nowhere but I say "Nay". First of all it was sort of in the comics but besides that if you remember back to the first season when the guy - forgot his name - was digging the graves and later got bit he was having flashes as he was dying which most people were probalby assuming were fever dreams. But those flashes were the same thing that they showed us tonight after Shane died as he was coming back. I had a lot more to add but I forgot. I'll wait to see what everybody else puts to see if it comes back to me.

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 3/12/2012 1:22:11 AM


Rick already knew for a fact that they came back after dying after those two kids tried to do what they did. He went back to put Shane down so his friend didn't walk around as a zombie. To lay him to rest so to speak. That's what I got from it at least.

fatpantz 3/12/2012 2:45:38 AM

An intersting twist to the Carl/Shane scenario from the comics, but it still works. 

Seriously scythe, just stop watching the show and stop posting in here about what a bunch of idiots we all are and how we are not true fans.  We get it, you dont like it and we are all are beneath you and your views.  I respect your passion for the books, but the negativity really grinds on my head each week.  I would have loved to see the show stay more true to the source too, but this is what they are making and I will try to enjoy it for what it is.  And remember, only a couple weeks til Game of Thrones :P

As for the episode, a slow start (as per usual) and a tense finish.  It is interesting that they are having the group figure out the turning after death bit this early in the show...curious as to where they go from here.  I am also curious as to whether or not a certain mentally unstable chick might show up next week to help kick some zombie ass during the finale, or will this be the push that moves our group from the farm to the prison to meet her there?

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