Synopsis: “When Rick and Shane agree on a pivotal decision, Dale begins to suspect a lack of humanity fostering among the group. Meanwhile, Carl’s actions have an unexpected impact.”
If you have not seen this episode yet and do not wish to be spoiled, do not continue reading!
This episode started off with Daryl brutally interrogating Randall, the outsiders’ sniper that the group nursed to health a couple of weeks ago. He was trying to convince Daryl that he was only with those people because he had nowhere else to go. He also mentioned how awful the men in Randall’s group were to women, which did not sit well with Daryl at all leading to some more punishment at Dixon’s hands.
“Judge, Jury, Executioner” was all about whether or not Randall should be killed. Early on Rick decided he had to kill him for the group’s sake. Dale pleaded with Rick that he be allowed time to discuss the matter with everyone in the group. Rick “reluctantly” granted Dale his request, so Dale got to work, hoping that humanity would win out over cold-blooded murder.
He went to Andrea, Daryl, Hershel and even Shane. None of them seemed to be on his side. Rick did not really think that Dale had a shot at convincing the others either. I like how even though Rick’s mind appeared set, the viewer could tell that he was unsure of his decision. It was reassuring to see him ask Lori on multiple occasions whether she agreed with him or not. If Rick just blindly decided to take Randall’s life, I would worry about the group.
When the time came for Randall’s final fate to be decided, the group seriously considered it. Well, Dale did anyway. Dale was right in every way. His humanity, along with Rick’s under most circumstances, had been the heart and soul of the group. This scene was heartbreaking to watch because Dale was finally broken down. Out of everybody in on the decision, Andrea was the only one to agree with Dale in the end. It seemed like others wanted to agree but were too afraid to speak up. I was anxiously waiting for Rick to take Dale’s side, but he never did.
Carl was a large focus this week, and he certainly made one stupid decision after another. I know that most children are supposed to make dumb decisions as a part of childhood, but there isn’t much room for said mistakes in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. Within the first thirty minutes alone he managed to sneak into the barn and get too close to Randall, insult Carol’s beliefs regarding Sophia and stumble upon a “trapped” zombie in the woods. With the latter he chose to throw rocks at and taunt him instead of running away. Kids…
Of course, Carl continued to fool around with the zombie. He pulled out a gun that he stole from Daryl and pointed it at the seemingly immobile dead man. Unsurprisingly, the zombie got loose, leaping toward Carl. He managed to get away and run back to the farm. This had a bad vibe all over it…
Rick, Shane and Daryl escorted Randall toward his execution. Hearing Randall horrifically beg for his life was awful. The only thing more frightening at that point during this season was Sophia walking out of that barn during the midseason finale. Just when Rick was going to pull the trigger, Carl showed up in the barn encouraging his dad to murder Randall. It was gut-wrenching to hear how easily Carl cheered on his dad to murder a man. This was what stopped Rick from making a decision not meant to be his own.
Rick showed up with Carl to the group’s campsite to alert the group that he did not go through with it. Andrea left to find and tell Dale when we saw Dale get attacked by the zombie Carl was taunting earlier, making him responsible for the most costly and disappointing loss of the series. The group caught up to him in time to kill the zombie before biting Dale, but the zombie had mortally wounded him. The episode ended with Daryl holding the gun to Dale’s head and saying goodbye before the shot sent us to black.
I was and am so upset that Dale had to die. I loved his character and the actor that portrayed him. Though he seemed to nag a decent bit, he was the essence of what the group needed to believe in. The writers killed him at the perfect moment in order to save the group from heading down the dark path they had been staring at. I understand the meaning behind his death, but it’s distaste will stick with me for awhile.
I cannot wait to see how the group will react to this. They will strive to be more human in heart undoubtedly. I am actually really in need of Carl coming forward to confess his mistake. I am selfishly desiring some serious punishment for the boy outside of his own guilt. With next week being the penultimate episode of the season, look for it to continue the fast pace we have been watching.
R.I.P., Dale. You will be missed.