|Dale fights an uphill battle for humanity's sake...for the last time...|
It's safe to say that Jeffery DeMunn (Dale) OWNED this episode, from start to spectacularly shocking finish, and he actually brought me to tears with the strength of his convictions and words.
He forces us to ask, "what would you do in this situation" and I'm sure some of us came up with not-so-appealing answers. This show has always fought to show the balance between humanity and survival's necessity, but I think this episode really drove the nail home that for this group, there is no clear line. At least, not for everyone.
And as Dale struggles to keep the moral compass of the group pointed right, Daryl steps up and into the limelight again, taking on the mantle of his new role in the group: the one who does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, for the good of others.
"People need to feel safe. I own that." [Rick to Dale]
Again Rick carries the weight of a gone-to-hell world on his shoulders, grappling with the knowledge that killing Randall pretty much seals the deal on his transition from a man of conscience, to a man of survival. Apparently in this world, the question is, can there be a happy medium of the two?
But Dale asking him about the message he's sending to Carl is all but prophetic and it's because of Carl that Rick can't end Randall when he's supposed to. Rick also can't get a straight answer out of Lori about whether she supports him on this, which is a portent of doom in my mind, since the woman is playing puppet master with his and Shane's emotions for the rest of this season, to disastrous ends.
"Don't talk. Think." [Rick to Carl - when the kid needs a bad attitude adjustment]
I both love and hate the transition for Carl. Of course the kid is going to make stupid decisions, and of course he can't stay the sweet, soft-spoken kiddo for the rest of the series. This is the world he knows now and Carl is hardening around it.
But it also makes Carl a bit of a liability too, if he's going to go off and entice walkers out of the muck to come wreak havoc on the farm later. So much for thinking first...
Best part for me was when he mouthed off to Carol and she, in turn, snapped Lori's head off. I was literally cheering Carol on for standing up for herself and her opinions and taking Lori down a notch or two.
Without Ed and without Sophia, Carol is discovering the woman she is becoming in the world as well; one that has to speak her mind if she wants to be heard. I so very much hope this new attitude brings about some much needed talking between her and Daryl.
Yes. I am hopelessly biased to adoring Daryl and Carol's connection and cannot wait to see where it leads them.
|Daryl literally takes his new role in hand...|
Dale and Daryl's conversation was so very important. Daryl's still isolating himself from the group at the old homestead area, but for all that he talks about being better on his own, he still sticks around. He still helps out with things like, well, the torture of Randall.
Despite his words meant to shield himself from those hated *feelings*, Daryl sees this group as his now. That was evident in his interrogation of Randall, all them "my boys" and the look on his face when Randall tells him that the men in his group are rapists. And if it seems a bit vicious, well, look at it this way: the guy has been needing something to hit for about 4 episodes now.
Daryl does what needs to be done; what other people don't want to do.
When Rick fails to kill Randall in the barn, I think Daryl makes the decision there that if Rick can't, he will. But all that changes when Dale is attacked. Rick hesitates and Daryl (not Shane!) carefully slips in and takes the gun.
It was a subtle, "I got this man, you done enough" moment and I love Daryl even more for this. He couldn't end Sophia's suffering, but Daryl can do this... he can be useful and needed for something like this.
Daryl will be *needed* even more in the episodes to come, stepping into the number 2 role beside Rick and I so very much can't wait to see it.
Dale's death was horrific to watch and I dare you to admit that you didn't sniffle a little just before Daryl ended his pain. Again, Jeffery DeMunn acting and Greg Nicotero's direction in this episode was golden.
This episode was a spectacular emotional free-for-all and shows us that no one is safe, even someone as beloved as dear old Dale.
It also gives us a glimpse of the psychological directions people are moving as the season ends.
Rick vacillates back and forth between Dirty Harry and The Good Guy.
Shane continues to descend into mutiny, trying to take as many as he can with him.
Glenn is caught between making a new family with the Greenes and his old family of the group.
Carol is becoming stronger, more self sufficient, (but she still needs Daryl and he needs her).
Lori can't have a combination of the two men she wants so she plays puppet master manipulator between the two.
Carl sees that grown up mistakes have grown up consequences.
Andrea sees Shane's side of things, but now she saw Dale's dying wish as well. Which side will she choose?
And Daryl has the biggest transition of all, becoming a leader in the group and discovering that you can't be a leader and still remain detached.
In this world, which way would you go?
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