Summary: Rick decides to cut Randall loose. He and Daryl are supposed to go out but Rick chooses to stay when Shane tells him that Carl needs somebody to talk to. Shane takes this opportunity to smuggle Randall into the woods and kill him. When the group discovers Randall is gone, Shane claims that Randall got his gun and escaped. The group go hunting for Randall. Rick pairs up with Shane. Shane plans to kill Rick but struggles to go through with it. Rick waits for an opening and then kills Shane. Carl sees this. Shane comes back as a walker so Carl shoots and kills him. A nearby herd hears the gunshot and head towards the farm.
The Good: I liked a lot of the set-up scenes. I particularly liked the group planning scenes as everyone came together to discuss the future of the group living on the farm and addressing the difficulties that winter will create. While I'm not sure that the budget will allow the show to do so, I would love to see a zombie apocalypse story in the winter as a fresh change-up. There were some nice character moments too. Glenn and Andrea reminiscing about Dale was solid, if a bit cheesy, and I really liked Hershel kindly giving Lori his bed. His character has went through a very good transformation.
Shane's plan to take out Rick was tense and dramatic and it gave the episode some good momentum. I really liked his scene in the barn with Randall as he got to show the extent of his unhinged nature, debating what to do with Randall before coming up with the idea to kill Rick as well. I liked the way he planned to trick Randall into telling him the location of the camp before killing him, but the scene wasn't executed very well (see: The Bad). I also loved that Daryl immediately seemed to figure out that Shane's plan made very little sense, which is consistent since Daryl also figured out that Shane killed Otis.
The ending of the episode was pretty good. I thought Rick and Shane's confrontation delivered a strong climax for not only the episode, but also for their entire storyline. Shane committing to killing Rick with his plan was a huge development and I could believe that he's so far gone that he would do this. But better yet was his inability to pull the trigger on the hill, being unable to put away his best friend for good. That made Rick's decision to kill Shane all the more significant and powerful, as he did something that even Shane couldn't do to keep the group safe. Andrew Lincoln's acting was tremendous in this scene and I thought his performance certainly sent it over the edge into greatness for me.
The final cliff-hanger was excellent. After spending a whole season on the farm, it looks like there will finally be some hell coming in the season finale. I look forward to seeing what will likely be a huge fight to save the farm.
The Bad: This episode had a crazy amount of inconsistencies and weak moments though and that really damages it.
First of all, Shane's plan to kill Rick is pretty bad in all honesty and isn't executed well. He decides to trick Randall into believing that he's joining him before killing him. I presumed that he faked this to get Randall to tell him his camp's real location. But this failed because Randall said the camp's location before Shane even expressed a desire to join him! So if he can spill the beans so easily, why didn't he say anything when he was being beaten bloody by Daryl? It's a huge oversight which annoyed me. Furthermore, if it wasn't Shane's intention to get information out of Randall (it's possible), then he should have just killed him in the woods.
Additionally, there are so many inconsistencies with the search for Randall. For one, Rick needed to go with Shane alone for Shane's plan to work which is already taking a big gamble. Furthermore, Shane needed to hope that nobody discovered Randall's body, and he clearly didn't bother to hide the body. Hell, he didn't even hide the ties which were binding Randall! Shane does a really poor job of sticking to his plan.
One really bad scene was when Lori came to Shane to apologize to him. First of all, why on Earth did she feel the need to do this? It made no sense that she would wait this long to say something to him. Furthermore, a few episodes ago she thought Shane was dangerous. So why would she think it's a good idea to send mixed signals to a dangerous man who tried to kill her husband? It's a shockingly dumb decision for her to talk to him and I can't find any reason for her to do it. It was just a poor scene.
There were a lot of weakly executed moments too. Carl killing Rick felt like a comic book moment put to the screen. Carl hasn't shot a bullet before, yet he can shoot Shane perfectly in the head? Plus, Carl just had to make it look like he was going to kill Rick because there needs to be more drama. And apparently Carl can just sneak out whenever he wants even after Dale's death. Is Lori just the worst mom ever? It's a massive plot device. Additionally, how did Carl catch up with Rick and Shane after they left. They left in the evening and it was night by the time Carl found them. And we know that Shane was walking Rick in a random direction, so they weren't really combing the land to find Randall. Furthermore, why wouldn't Shane just take Rick to where he killed Randall and kill him there? Then it would be easy for him to come up with the story that Randall killed Rick before Shane killed him. There are more inconsistencies too, but I can't be bothered to list all of them out. A few inconsistencies can be overlooked, but when they stack up like this it becomes a real problem.
T-Dog hardly has any lines this season, yet the writers still couldn't resist the fact to give their token black character an "oh hell no". Seriously?
The Unknown: How did Shane and Randall come back as walkers without getting bitten? Were they infected somehow?
Best Moment: Rick killing Shane was the stand-out moment here and was pretty powerful.
Character of the Episode: Shane.
Conclusion: This episode was a powerful and exciting climax, but it was executed extremely poorly. A lot of the hard work was undone by bad writing and inconsistent storytelling. While the story has picked up nicely for the season finale, I can't help but feel that this episode was a disappointment.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.