It’s revelation time in Walking Dead land. It was hinted at last week, but I guess we can count this as confirmation. Everyone is infected. If you die in any way, you’re a zombie. We can probably infer, too, that this is what the CDC guy told Rick back in the previous season. We’ll probably have a scene next week where everyone spends ten minutes repeating it in front of a PowerPoint presentation, but for now it was nice to have time to realise it for yourself.
Shane’s been in a downward spiral of late, but he finally went full crazy in this installment. He dragged Randall out to the woods, murdered him, and then ran face-first into a tree, slobbering like Heath Ledger’s Joker the whole time. His cover story, that Randall jumped him, is so full of holes that I can only attribute it to his crazy. I don’t know how he planned to explain the broken neck, unless we’re supposed to understand that he knew Randall would un-dead himself. If that’s the case, they better address how he knew it. And who knows how he thought he’d get away with explaining how Rick died, had he been successful.
The show seemed to have pulled the cheap stunt of having two characters forget all their animosity after a cathartic fight, but the Rick/Shane tensions reached the point of no return with their scene out in the field under the moon. It was essentially a re-hash of their previous argument, except angrier, and Shane got left on the bus this time. If Shane’s main problem was doing what needed to be done, but being a massive ass about it, Rick is growing to do what he has to, but in a more human-appropriate way.
It was a pretty good scene, particularly when it passed the point where you knew there was no turning back for these characters. And then it was followed by an only-on-TV type moment where Carl finds himself in the exact position to redeem himself, show that he’s learned his lesson, and pull off a flawless headshot in the dark from twenty yards instead of saying “Dad, zombie Shane is behind you”.
What did everyone else get up to in the episode? Not much. Daryl continues to be the one with a (delicious) brain, noting that a zombie probably wouldn’t break someone’s neck, and discovering that Randall was never bitten. T-Dog almost had a shade of depth until they actually had him say “Oh hell naw”, like he was in Scary Movie 2 making fun of that stereotype. Glenn was upset that he disagreed with Dale. I won’t complain about this though, focusing the story on a subset of the cast is definitely the way to go, and it’s how the likes of Lost made a main cast of over a dozen into well rounded individuals.
And so what are the implications of everyone being a zombie underneath? It makes you think back on the times people nearly died in the farmhouse, if Carl had died or Beth had gone through with her suicide, they could easily have turned and caused havoc. Tedious Pregnancy Plot has something of a point, because we’ll find out if being a zombie is passed on. There’ll probably be talk of seeking a cure, where previously they had given up on saving anyone.
Carl’s gunshot (and not the gunshot a minute before it for some reason) alerted the dozens of zombies that were apparently nearby to everyone’s presence. They’re massing for next week’s season finale, which will hopefully kick things into gear for season 3.