Summary: Rick and Shane go 18 miles out to dump Randall. Rick talks with Shane about what Lori said to him and they make peace. Randall is left but he reveals he knows who Maggie is. Shane tries to kill him but Rick wants to think about it and they end up fighting. Walkers stumble upon them and Shane is cornered. Rick leaves with Randall but comes back to save Shane. Rick and Shane make peace once more but Shane doesn't agree to anything. Beth is suicidal and tries to kill herself but realizes she doesn't want to die.
The Good: This episode was focused and I really appreciate that. Characters were the focal point here and the show has desperately needed that. The conflict with Rick and Shane was the strongest for sure. I really enjoyed their conversations as Rick did what he could to ensure that Shane is no longer a problem. I thought Rick was a great friend here as he raised logical points to both understand Shane and get him reigned in so he isn't such a threat anymore. I also loved that Rick connected Shane shooting Otis to his murders back in "Nebraska", which is a logical way to show that Rick understands Shane's method of living. Better yet was their conversation later as Rick tells Shane that he needs to believe in him, playing off of their argument earlier. The best part of this however was Shane. Shane never agrees to Rick's claims, insinuating that while he may be quiet, he likely isn't just going to lay down and let Rick lead. This was great storytelling and I thought that the metaphor of the walker and the song which played at the end did a great job of highlighting this conflict.
I also thought Randall was great in this episode as he did whatever he could to try to survive, but ultimately ended up revealing too much which almost cost him his life, forcing him to change up to begging for them to leave him so he wouldn't die. Randall's fear felt real and added to the episode.
The zombie assault was really tense as usual as the show continues to hold its sense that anything can happen. I was excited by the flash-forward early in the episode as it made all of the interactions at the school way tenser because it felt like any little moment could trigger the arrival of the walkers. The fragmented storytelling worked here and it added a different source of tension that we are used to, making this episode stand out even more.
The fight between Rick and Shane beforehand was good overall. I love how Randall served as a catalyst to get them fighting and it added to the drama and tension which was already established. There were a lot of nice details as they came to blows and I thought that it was logical that the both of them would end up trading blows after what was said to each other. Furthermore, I love that their conflict extended into the walker assault as Rick nearly left Shane for dead. This show is unpredictable enough that I bought into the idea of Shane dying here which is really good.
I also liked the small touch of Rick being smart with killing walkers and Shane following up on this by using the trick himself. It was a good piece of storytelling.
The farm story with Beth was fine too. I like the exploration of suicide in this world, as it was better than the brief look with Andrea earlier in the series. I thought the conversations which all of the characters had did well to extend their characterization a little more and making me understand them better, though some of the stuff was flawed (see: The Bad).
The Bad: There were several issues with the walker action scene sadly. For one, it's hard to believe that the walkers were just hanging out in the school and couldn't escape until window was broken. Surely they would hear the gunshots and come out. They have the ability to break glass with enough force, this has been seen before. Furthermore, the actual action was pretty weak. The episode had just re-established that scratches are deadly, and yet there are many times where Rick could potentially have been scratched and none of these moments are played for drama, nor are they addressed. That took me out of the action. The rest are all nitpicks. One walker who went after Randall apparently forgot how to use legs which was stupid and awkward as it crawled after him. Lastly, there was one awful sound effect as Rick punched Shane, making it sound like his head was smashed open which was really bad. One or two of these moments are okay, but when they are repeated, it becomes a problem.
Lori and Andrea's argument was really dumb, even though it gave us a better understanding of their characters. Lori is impossible for me to like or even sympathize with at this point as she has proven to be a selfish, insulting, and petty woman who does a crap job of parenting her own son. I hate her and I know that's not how I'm supposed to feel about her. Here she comes off totally insensitive and stupid as she attacks Andrea, but I feel like the opposite was intended. The show has done a bad job with its female characters, and having them do laundry while the men do the survival stuff doesn't help with anything.
The Unknown: While I thought the opening was effective in this case, I'm not sure that the episode was better with it. While the tension was really good and exciting, I feel that there may have been more tension if we weren't expecting the walker attack. I'm not positive about this though, hence its position in The Unknown.
Where has Hershel gone? I almost put this in The Bad as Hershel seems to have vanished completely for the convenience of the plot, but I'll hold out as maybe there will be an answer in the next episode.
Best Moment: The walker assault was pretty exciting, but I enjoyed Rick and Shane's second conversation after the assault even more.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: This was another good episode which examined the conflict between Rick and Shane which has been this season's strongest element. While this was certainly flawed and didn't live up to its full potential, I still thought it was very good and the second best episode this season.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.