Walking Dead Recap: Better Angels

With only two episodes remaining in the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead, it seems increasingly likely that we'll see some major story movement. With a prisoner in custody and one of their own to bury following the events of last week's episode, the fans and characters alike are eager to get moving--and likely only one of those groups is dreading the months of quiet to come...

As always, remember that these recaps are intended for viewers who have already seen the episode, or for whom spoilers are a non-issue. SPOILERS ON.

As Hershel's truck tears down a dusty road, with Shane behind the wheel accompanied by Andrea, T-Dogg and Daryl, the audio brings us to Dale's funeral. The quartet are checking the fence line, intercut with images of Rick's eulogy for their fallen member (yes, they're in attendance). Rick says that Dale called the group broken, "but that the best way to honor him is to unbreak it." He suggests taking charge of their lives and proving to him that the group can still succeed. As he says this, the four from the truck are seen taking out a group of walkers in swift and brutal fashion.

At the campsite, Hershel has invited the survivors into the house to stay with him. He tells Rick that fourteen people in his large farmhouse will not be a problem, and that it is in fact safer than having them outside, along with fifty head of cattle, attracting the attention of walkers. Rick quickly sets up some basic security measures, telling members of the group to park vehicles at the exits, move their gear inside or stand guard. Hershel tells them that he's going to equip the basement with enough food and water to sustain them for a few days in the event of a siege. Rick puts Shane in charge of setting up guard shifts and decides to take Daryl with him to cut Randall loose away from the farm.

Carl approaches Shane on the edge of the campsite, bringing him Daryl's gun and confessing to him what happened with the walker that killed Dale. Shane tells him that he can't blame himself for what happened to Dale, that he needs to take the gun and keep it to defend himself, but Carl refuses, saying that he's never touching a gun again and instructing Shane to return it to Daryl.Hershel tells Rick that while he understands the decision not to bring Shane along with him, but that his patience with the petulant lawman is at an end. Rick responds by telling Hershel that Shane will be fine, but asking Andrea to help keep things under control while he's gone. Hershel tells Andrea that Shane needs to respect his and Rick's authority if he's going to stay, and Rick tells her that he needs to be assured that Shane won't raise hell every time he (Rick) leaves the farm. In spite of telling Rick that maybe he should just stop leaving in that case, and that she resents being a babysitter, Andrea says she'll help keep things cool.

At the shed where Randall is being kept prisoner, he struggles against his bonds while Daryl works on the outside of the building.

Inside, Maggie invites Glenn to put his stuff in her room, but he refuses. Outside, T-Dogg helps the pregnant Lori in moving her belongings indoors; she tells him to bring it to a corner of the living room that she and Rick have staked out, but Hershel insists that he's taking the couch and the Grimes family will stay in his bedroom.

Not far from the house, Lori sees Shane working on repairing a windmill and approaches him; the pair talk about Rick's inability to repair anything properly in their old life before she coaxes Shane to ground level for a conversation. She tells him that after Sophia's death, she thought the group would be OK but that after Dale she's losing faith in their ability to do so. She blames herself for creating strife in the group by putting Shane and Rick at odds. She tells him that she never properly thanked him for being there for her when the world was falling apart, and apologizes for what happened between them and for putting him through losing her to Rick, and then she leaves crying.

On the porch, Daryl and Rick plan the route to abandon Randall, and Rick thanks Daryl for being the one to take out Dale. Daryl tells him that there's no reason for Rick to do all of the heavy lifting, and he leaves to make way for Shane, who's approaching him.  Shane tells Rick about the walker in the swamp, but not about the gun, telling Rick that Carl needs to talk to his father and offering to ride out with Daryl and Randall, but Rick declines the offer.  His patience at an end, Shane gives Rick the gun and tells him that he got it from Carl and to return it to Daryl, then accuses Rick of caring more about Randall than his own son.

Without Dale, it appears that nobody can get the camper started. As Andrea and Glenn work on getting the Winnebago moving, Glenn uses knowledge passed down to him by Dale to work on the engine and Andrea stands by assisting. Glenn struggles with his disappointing Dale at the vote the night before, while Andrea tried to encourage him by telling him that Dale knew how much they cared for him.  When he circles to the door, she hands the keys off to him and the pair manage to get the camper started.

Back at the barn, Rick approaches Carl, who is sitting in a hay loft keeping lookout. Rick hands him the gun back, telling him that he can't blame himself for Dale's death. He tells Carl that he needs him to be a grown-up. He tells him that people are going to die, and you can never be prepared for it, but that all they can do is avoid it as long as they can. He convinces Carl to take the gun and the two share a quiet moment together.

On the other side of the farm, Randall continues to struggle with his handcuffs when Shane enters and circles around to face him. Clearly struggling with something, he sits in silence for a few moments before putting a gun to Randall's head. Thinking better of it, though, he spots the blood on Randall's wrists and seems to have an epiphany.

At the truck, T-Dogg asks Daryl whether he's carrying Dale's gun (Daryl is low on arrows). He answers yes, that he wishes he knew what happened to his. He sends T-Dogg to get Randall and (after a joke that "the governor called--you're off the hook," something fans of the comic will no doubt read into) he opens the barn door to find the prisoner gone.

In the woods, Shane is walking Randall, still blindfolded and bound, apparently to freedom. He convinces Randall to take him to the other camp, telling him that he's done with this group and offering him help to safety in exchange for admission into the other group. Randall tells him that the camp is about five miles away, on the highway, and continues to chatter nonstop until the pair disappear behind a tree and Randall yelps, and is silent. Shane reappears around the tree, smashing his own face into it and making his way back to the camp.

Watching the rest of the group panic in the shed where Randall was being held, Shane takes a moment to hide his gun in a shallow bed of leaves and turns to get their attention. He tells the group that the prisoner snuck up on him, broke his nose and took his gun. Rick takes Shane, Glenn, Daryl and some guns into the woods and instructs the rest of the survivors to get inside and secure the house. After an accusation from Daryl that it seems unlikely Randall could get the jump on Shane, the group splits up; Rick and Shane take one direction down the river while Glenn and Daryl take another.

Inside the house, the group is preparing for their first night living inside together while Carl looks thorugh a set of binoculars at the tree line. In the woods, Rick and Shane move through the darkness together, Rick trying to make small talk and Shane deflecting. Glenn and Daryl move together as well, with Daryl doing his best to track the escapee but declaring the search pointless. While the other sstalk through the woods, Daryl takes Glenn back to the start of the search to begin again and "do it right." He follows the tracks laid down by Shane and Randall, quickly beginning to figure out what happened between the two, but are interrupted by a walker in the distance, which makes its way to the pair and set upon them. After a brief scuffle, Glenn puts a knife into the walker's skull--the first clear shot reveals what had seemed likely from the start: the walker is Randall.

Elsewhere, Rick and Shane walk together, with Rick also subtly questioning Shane's version of events and Shane luring Rick deeper into the woods.

Back at Randall's body, Daryl examines the body, deducing both that his neck had been broken and that he had not been bitten. He tells Glenn that the broken neck was Randall's cause of death, and it takes only a moment for the two of them to realize what actually happened, and to run back into the woods the other way.

On the edge of the tree line, Rick begins to more openly and aggressively question Shane's version of events and the pair stop in a clearing. With Shane behind him, Rick tells him that  no one will believe his version of events if he comes back with a fairy tale about what happened to Rick. Shane tells him that Lori and Carl will get over the loss of Rick, and the pair

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get into a screaming match under the moon. Shane puts his gun away and challenges Rick to  shoot him if he's willing to fight for his family. When Rick refuses to kill him on the spot, he continues baiting him, challenging his skills as a husband, a father and a man. Rick refuses to raise his gun, telling Shane that he'll have to kill an unarmed man and live with that decision. He offers his gun to Shane, telling him that it's not too late to turn back and return to the farm together and put this behind them. When Shane hesitates for a moment, Rick takes his gun, stabs him in the gut and then strangles him to death while telling him that it was his own fault. Having killed his former best friend, he cries alone in the moonlight.

In the woods, a horde of walkers hear the gunshots and begin walking toward the sound. Rick tells Carl to stand back and kneels by Shane's body.After a few quick flashes of zombie teeth and blood, during which Rick sits with the body, Carl approaches. Rick tells him that he should be back at the farm with Lori, and Carl raises the gun. Shane rises, stalking after Rick, who fails to notice because he's trying to calm Carl. As he tells his son that the tableau he walked into is not as it seems, Carl pulls the trigger--and blows the back of Shane's head off. Crying, he runs to his father.