The Walking Dead: “Better Angels”

The penultimate episode of Season Two features a couple of key deaths. Neither are entirely unexpected—but they nevertheless generate considerable tension and suspense.

Title: “Better Angels”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Evan T. Reilly and Glen Mazzara

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh
Scott Wilson as Herschel Greene
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Steven Yeun as Glenn
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Melissa Suzanne McBride as Carol Peletier
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
James Allen McCune as Jimmy
Jane McNeill as Patricia
Michael Zegen as Randall

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

The group fortifies the farm, while the debate over Randall leads to a direct confrontation between Rick and Shane.

In the final moments, the largest zombie horde since season one shambles towards the survivors The final episode of this season should prove interesting indeed.

High Point

This episode features some excellent night shots, great acting, and a suspenseful, emotional confrontation worthy of a well-written horror movie.

Low Point

I know this is how Zombie Apocalypse stories work, but the living dead do seem to show up, with very little prompting (it’s not like we haven’t had gunshots in the area before), at the most dramatically convenient times.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6

Effects: 6/6

Story: 4/6 We have a stronger storyline this week that manages to draw considerable suspense from deaths most viewers anticipated.

Shane’s plotting was both inept and dangerous, but I’ll accept that as a manifestation of an increasingly unhinged mind.

Acting: 6/6 Bernthal and Lincoln gave us some of the show’s strongest performances this week.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6. Moments after the dramatic conclusion, a cliffhanger shambles forward.

In total, “Better Angels” receives 36/42

Lingering Questions

Apparently, some dead people spontaneously become zombies (a topic that has been addressed in the graphic novels). How will our group deal with that piece of information?

One reply

  1. rickyjames says:

    Huh, not what I expected at all – but very good. Spoiler alert, quit reading now yadda yadda yadda. I haven’t read the comics but I was aware that in them, Carl shoots a living Shane to protect Rick. I didn’t really believe the TV series would follow that convention because the character of Shane is the number one source of dramatic tension on the show – and why would they want to give that up? So I thought Carl would end up shooting Randall instead, given the twisted timeline in this story. All the impact of kids with guns and you get to keep Shane around, right?

    This was better.

    The scary thing is, Shane was out on the edge precisely because Rick’s mere presence blocks his path in this new world. If Rick was out of the picture, Shane would ultimately have been a truly good dad to Carl and the baby and a truly good man for Lori. As he (and even Lori, in a sympathetic moment!) noted, they were all well down that path before – a regular Leave It To Beav, er, Zombies. So for Shane, insanity drove him to the one action that would have let him become sane once more. That’s beyond Greek tragedy and then some.

    Now Rick gets to (continue his) slide down the path to insanity. Guess that’s an even better source of drama than haymakers on the roadside – whining introspection instead of barechested pecs from the all-triumphant hero we all want around to save our ass at the end of the world. This is rapidly evolving from a drama to a reality series of what the apocolypse would indeed be like – or an unvarnished view of reality. Rick’s talk with Carl about Death was the most chilling moment in the show, as equally applicable to our world as his.

    The death of such key players in back to back episodes shakes things up in ways that are impossible to predict. Glenn, Andrea and Daryl stand to get some much desired and well deserved spotlighting in th future – heck, even T-Dog may get two sentences in a row! So who knows what next season may bring.

    But first, here comes Old School Zombies shambling right into the classic Boarded Up Farmhouse. Maybe if we’re lucky Hershel has a basement and when we open the door of that final stronghold, somebody will be eating somebody’s kidney – what a tribute THAT would be! Perfect finale and I am gonna nuke plenty of popcorn, this is gonna be a fun ride. TWD shambles out of Season Two in fine shape for another 13 eps this fall and I’ll be there.

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