Sunday night’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ was the show’s “fall finale.” It won’t be back with new episodes until February. In the meantime, this episode leaves us with a lot to think about before the series finishes out its season.
Brief Synopsis: Hershel won’t budge on his insistence that Rick and company leave as soon as possible. Glenn informs the rest of the group that the barn is full of bloodthirsty zombies. Dale continues to think that everything can be solved peacefully. Shane reaches Evil Overload.
Episode Thoughts: This episode starts out slowly, but quickly ramps up to a skull-shattering final scene. I’ve got to say that I’m getting really sick of Dale’s unrealistic view on the world. How he thinks that hiding all the guns is going to make everyone safer is a complete mystery to me. I understand that he’s trying to hold onto a way of life that sustained him all these years, but in this world of flesh-eating Walkers, that outlook just isn’t feasible.
Until now, the show has kind of shied away from the fact that a post-apocalyptic world will, at some point, turn people against each other. It’s time for survival of the fittest to kick in, and I’m with Shane. Singing “Kumbaya” around a campfire just isn’t going to cut it anymore. I’m surprised that Shane has kept his rage in check until now, but this episode is his boiling point for sure.
I’m not sure why Rick never told Hershel that the CDC scientist explained exactly what happens to people that get turned. Wouldn’t that be enough to convince him that there isn’t a cure? The rose-colored glasses that Dale and Hershel have on are going to get people killed. They like to think that they’re doing the right thing, but in the end, they’re dead wrong.
Shane has been vilified during this season, with his shooting of Otis and his angry stomping around camp with an evil grimace, but much of that villainy is unearned. Shane has simply come to his senses that pretending that everything is fine won’t work forever.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect the last scene to be so intense, but I’m glad that it was. It’s finally time for rage and self-preservation to kick in. I have to admit that I got a little giddy when Shane started shooting up the Walker that Hershel had on his rope. That headshot solidifies Shane’s transition. After that, it turns to all out war on the barn Walkers. Shane lets them out, and a shooting gallery commences. All Hershel and Dale can do is sit back and watch.
I didn’t see the ending coming at all – partly because I’d all but forgotten about Sophia in the first place. That storyline had run its course, and it seemed like a sorry excuse for the show-runners to cut costs by keeping the series stuck at the farm. Then Sophia emerged from the barn. This raises quite a few concerns. Chief among them is that Hershel and his people had found Sophia but didn’t bother telling the group or her mother. Low blow, Hershel.
[Ed.: Robert Kirkman explained in the ‘Talking Dead’ interview after the episode that Hershel didn’t know Sophia was in the barn. Otis had been the one rounding up Walkers to put in the barn, and he died without knowing that anyone was looking for a little girl. By killing Otis, Shane prevented the group from finding Sophia. –JZ]
The Sophia ending, which directly mirrors the very first episode of the series where Rick had to shoot a little girl in the head, is a perfect way to end this part of the season. It shows that even though the season has been plodding along, it still has some excitement left. It also raises new plot points, specifically the fact that Shane has gone batshit crazy, and has a bag of guns. I’m just counting down until he ends up killing Hershel and taking his farm by force. Something like that is bound to happen.