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Recap / The Walking Dead S 02 E 12 Better Angels

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Season 2, episode 12

Better Angels

As preparations begin for the approaching winter, Shane takes matters into his own hands in a bid to get Lori, Carl, and his leadership back.

The episode begins with the group gathering for Dale's funeral. Rick states that they owe it to Dale's memory to work together, while another scene shows Andrea, T-Dog, Shane and Daryl clearing a group of walkers near the farm's outer perimeter.

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After the funeral, Hershel offers to let everyone - except for Shane - move into the farmhouse. Carl, who is still broken up over Dale's death in the previous episode, goes to Shane and admits that he was the one who stole Daryl's gun and accidentally freed the walker. Later, Lori goes to Shane and apologizes for her actions towards him, prompting Shane to tell her about Carl's confession.

Lori goes to Rick, who is busy preparing for himself and Daryl to drive Randall to a nearby town and leave him there, and tells him about Carl's actions. Rick goes to Carl and tells him to keep the gun, as he may have need of it in the future. Meanwhile, Shane visits the barn and sees Randall trying to escape from his restraints.

As Rick and Daryl get ready to leave, they discover that Randall is gone from the barn. Elsewhere, Shane had taken the captive Randall into the forest, explaining that he is done with Rick's group and wants to join Randall's group. This turns out to be a ruse, as when they get deep enough into the forest, Shane kills Randall by breaking his neck, then smashes his own face against a tree to make it appear that he was attacked by Randall.

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The farm group are gearing up to search for Randall when the bloodied Shane appears, stating that Randall has escaped and is armed. Rick, Shane, Daryl and Glenn all head out into the forest to search for Randall, with the latter two splitting off. Daryl and Glenn discover the site of a struggle, and are then attacked by the undead Randall, who Glenn dispatches with a machete. The duo then discover that Randall's body had no bites or marks, and that his neck was broken.

Meanwhile, Rick and Shane are walking through the forest when the former realizes that Shane was lying about what happened to Randall, and that it was a ruse to draw Rick out into the forest so Shane could kill him. Shane pulls out his gun and aims it at Rick, explaining that his return messed things up and that Lori and Carl will get over his death. Rick begins talking Shane down, explaining that they can come back from this, while pulling out a knife at the same time. As Rick offers his revolver to Shane, he pulls the knife out and stabs the latter, causing a gunshot to ring out. As Shane lies bleeding out on the ground, Rick says that he brought this on himself, and Shane dies soon afterwards.

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As Rick copes with killing his best friend, he sees Carl standing a short distance away, looking on in shock. Carl raises his weapon and aims it at his father. As Rick tries to talk his son down, a now-zombified Shane gets up and begins staggering towards Rick. Carl fires, and kills Shane with a headshot. Meanwhile, a horde of walkers has heard the gunshot and is moving towards Rick and Carl, who are looking on in shock at Shane's body...

Tropes:

  • And Then Shane Was A Zombie: Briefly.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Rick thinks that Carl is going to shoot him, but the latter is actually aiming for Shane.
  • Berserk Button: Shane finds out just how dangerous Rick can be after saying that he would be a better father and husband, and calling Carl weak. Well...
  • Call-Back: Andrea and Glenn are attempting to fix the group's RV, and Andrea offers Glenn a screwdriver. The shot lingers on the tool a second before Glenn accepts it. This references Andrea's encounter with a walker in "What Lies Ahead" where she kills a walker by stabbing it in the eye with a screwdriver, as well as a reference to the time when Dale taught Glenn how to fix the radiator hose, showing that Glen learned a thing or two from Dale.
  • Changing of the Guard: The episode marks Daryl's ascension as The Lancer. Shane's zombified form being killed by Carl using Daryl's gun even hammers the point.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Daryl's gun, which Rick tells Carl to keep. Carl later uses the gun to shoot the zombified Shane.
  • Death by Irony: Shane was killed by the man he repeatedly tried to kill. His zombified form is then killed by the boy he taught to shoot. Further, the gun the boy was using originally belongs to the man who replaced him as the group's Number Two.
  • A Death in the Limelight: For both Shane and Randall, but more so for the former.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Rick after killing Shane, though it overlaps with My God, What Have I Done?. Shane, on the other hand, is gunning for this.
  • Downer Ending: Shane decided to make a full Face–Heel Turn but is ultimately killed by Rick, who in turn was greatly affected by doing the deed.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jon Bernthal indicated (in an interview) that he felt Shane pushing Rick to kill him had shades of this.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Carl manages to hit the undead Shane, who is standing directly behind his father, without changing his aim.
  • Killed Off for Real: Shane is the second major character death in the series.
  • The Lancer: This episode marks the full transition of Daryl to Rick's The Hero. Shane even lampshades it when he sees that Rick is taking Daryl to get rid of Randall instead of him.
  • Manly Tears: Glenn when remembering Dale, Rick after killing Shane.
  • Motive Misidentification: When Carl pulls out a gun, Rick believes that Carl thinks that he is a traitor for killing Shane and that he's going to kill him for it. In reality, he's shooting the zombified Shane.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Shane attempts to kill Rick because he believes he can be a better father to Carl and a better lover for Lori.
  • Must Make Amends: Lori apologizes to Shane for intentionally leading him on and making it seem like they had a future together.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rick's reaction after he stabs Shane.
  • Mythology Gag: In the comic, Carl was the one who killed Shane, then Shane's zombified form was later put out by Rick. Here, it's the other way around.
  • Neck Snap: Randall's death.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shane goes off the deep end when Lori thanks him for saving her and Carl during the initial outbreak and apologizes for leading him on. This results in Shane kidnapping Randall, killing him, using the ensuing confusion to draw Rick into the forest alone and attempting to kill him.
  • Sherlock Scan: Daryl, when he sees the site where a struggle happened and deduces that Shane was lying when he said he was knocked out by Randall. Daryl then quickly deduces that Randall died from a broken neck.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Rick, Glenn, and Hershel's rescue of Randall in "Triggerfinger" is rendered completely pointless once Shane kills him.
  • Underestimating Badassery: While Shane may have in fact been pushing Rick to kill him, he very clearly didn't expect him to go through with it.
  • Wham Line: "So this is where you're planning to do it?"
  • Wham Shot: Randall and Shane reanimating without getting bitten or scratched.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Just when Rick decides to spare Randall, the latter is taken away to woods by Shane and gets his neck snapped.

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