Summary: Hershel, Glenn and Rick find themselves in a tense shootout with Dave and Tony's friends. They try to escape but are almost killed. Walkers arrive and the others leave allowing the three to leave. The other group leaves a man, Randall behind as he impaled his leg on a spike. Rick rips his leg out and saves him, bringing him back with plans to let him go alive in a week. Shane finds Lori and brings her back. When they get back, Lori learns that Shane killed Otis and Shane's disillusioned love for her grows. Rick's group returns and Shane immediately takes issue with Randall. Lori tells Rick that Shane is dangerous.
The Good: The action sequence throughout the first half of this episode was excellent. The scenes were shot very nicely in the quiet darkness, adding to the tense atmosphere and the sense that our three protagonists were truly trapped. The action scenes were very exciting and were certainly better than most storylines in the first half of the season. I also really liked the moment where Rick spoke up and openly begged the guys to just go on their way. His reasoning was clear and Andrew Lincoln's acting was terrific to ensure that the dialogue felt earnest. It shows us that Rick has struck a fine balance between his colder and kinder sides.
The story of Randall is a very good one as well. The actual process of Rick, Hershel and Glenn saving him was super exciting (see: Best Moment) and was a great climactic moment to end the confrontation at the bar. But better yet is the fact that Randall is the next major storyline for the show, and he is much better than Sophia from the first half of the season. The rift in the group about abandoning Sophia wasn't properly explored, but Randall is much more threatening and central to the plot, which makes me hope that we will get more here. What we got in this episode was already really good as Randall's arrival immediately shook the group, especially Shane (unsurprisingly). This also allowed Hershel to get a good moment where he let out his anger towards Shane, telling him to be quiet while also allowing him to stay on the farm.
Shane had a terrific episode. He started by bringing Lori back to the farm by logically telling her that Rick was already back, which was both smart and in-character. But the character of Shane gets better as he has a one on one scene with Lori, showing how disillusioned he is and how much he has changed as a person since the apocalypse happened. The scene was genuinely unsettling and creepy, and also added more stakes to the show as it seems likely that Shane may be heading towards his death in the near future. I also really liked the detail that Lori figured out what Shane did with Otis after he lied to her about Rick. It makes Lori appear to be smarter and also continues to build conflict between her and Shane. The final scene with Rick and Lori was good too as Lori essentially laid down everything that Shane has been doing, almost telling Rick that he has to do something big about him.
I liked Daryl's outburst as well. While I don't exactly care about him and Carol (see: The Bad), the scene was written well and both characters felt real and had clear motives. Daryl needed to let off some steam after he couldn't save Sophia and Carol didn't want to lose the one other person she has a connection with.
The Bad: Lori and the walker early in the episode had no tension. It was obvious that she wouldn't die there so it was hard to be interested. Furthermore, I thought it was stupid that Lori would still keep looking for Rick afterwards. Shane lying to Lori is meant to be another cruel thing he did, but honestly it made so much more sense than everything Lori has done so far. I found myself agreeing with Shane, which I don't think was supposed to happen.
Also why didn't more people go looking for Rick? It was night by the time they went to get Lori. Surely Rick would have been back much earlier, so shouldn't people actually have gone. I'm also tired of people going alone in an apocalyptic world. Nobody would do that ever.
Some of the character moments felt a little flat in this episode. I still don't care about most of these characters and it still hurts the show overall.
The Unknown: Daryl referred to his dad when he ranted to Carol. Is there a bit of history there that we are yet to learn about?
Can Randall be trusted? Will there be consequences for Rick taking him or will he just be abandoned?
Best Moment: After Randall fell and was left behind, Rick, Hershel and Glenn tried to save him in a tense and terrific scene. The tension was made palpable by the sense that there was limited time until the walkers overrun them. But there was also natural conflict as Rick and Hershel wrestled with their values of human life as they debated on killing him or saving him. It was fascinating, and for such a quick scene, it worked really well.
Character of Episode: Shane.
Conclusion: This was flawed like everything else but was really good overall and ended up being one of the better episodes this season.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.