This episode was absolutely wonderful and totally, one hundred percent locked-in-a-rubber-room-tranquilized-three-times-wearing-two-different-straight-jackets insane. Needless to say, it was a good’un! If you guys thought I fell off my bed before out of shock and awe of this show…that was nothing compared to this episode. Jesus. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Just look at those doe eyes.

It starts out with Rick’s narration of Dale’s eulogy, as the group drives around, hunts and kills a bunch of Walkers very violently and kind of unnecessarily. Like, I get that they were looking for a place to bury Dale, but they really took a lot of extra time to kill the Walkers even after they were already dead. Not walking dead, but dead dead. I don’t know about you , but this doesn’t seem like the most sentimental way to acknowledge someone’s death, but hey, what do I know? They’re standing around Dale’s grave, all the while Rick is listing Dale’s good qualities, which are actually pretty good. Dale just annoyed me a lot, but Rick did point out that Dale in fact could get under your skin, he saw people for what they really were, even if they didn’t want to admit it. This makes a lot more sense according to how Dale felt about Shane later in this episode, much to my horror and devastation. I love the way they foreshadow events in this show.

Rick’s really taken a shine to his new role as Alpha Male is gives everybody orders for moving into the house, lookout, and patrols and all. Shane’s watching Rick give everybody but him explicit orders and does not look too happy about it. Rick’s like, “We’re gonna set Randall free,” and Shane goes, “That’s the right plan, now?” and you can see the anger flare up in Rick’s eyes as he says, “Right plan the first time around. You don’t agree, but this is what’s happening. Swallow it. Move on.” The way Rick keeps forcing the idea that his input is nothing down his throat, you can see Shane having trouble with it. He can’t take feeling out of control, totally powerless. Shane wanted to make sure that Rick knew that Dale’s death and Randall are two separate subjects, as if Rick was only letting him go in honor of Dale’s wishes, and Rick’s like, “Whateva-whateva, I do what I want and you do what I want, too. So.” Then Shane snidely retorts that he doesn’t care if he takes Daryl as his new boy toy and Rick’s just like, “K, thanks,” and Shane’s like, “Your face!”

The tension between them is really coming to a head and is really getting hard for me to watch, as I am a full advocate for bromances and strong friendships that can survive anything, and theirs is clearly dying.

Hershel makes it clear that he’s sick of Shane, but who asked him anyway?

Carl opens up to Shane about how Dale dying is all his fault and the poor kid is really sad about it, he won’t even touch the gun again, but Shane, he’s not very good at comforting him. This scene hurt because Shane wanted to help him so much but he just couldn’t.

Lori sees Shane up on the windmill fixing whatever and goes to apologize to him for being such a sourpuss all this time, and to thank him for all he’s done and the pain is just so visible on his face, he looks like he’s about to cry. He’s like, “You don’t have to thank me…,” and I can feel it, on the edge of his words is an I love you lingering there but Lori left with just that being said.

Shane calmly suggests that Rick should check in, you know, touch base with his own son and all the guilt that’s eating him alive, but Rick’s like, “Randall.” Shane says he should really check with Carl, but Rick ain’t havin’ it. “It’s MY CALL.” He practically spits. Then Shane wants to ride out with Daryl so Rick can just take care of Carl, and Rick’s like “uh he’s mine, just stay here.” Shane hands him the gun Carl stole from Randall and is like, “Freeing that prisoner, more important to you then Carl.” BOOM ROASTED.

Andrea and Glenn had a touching, emotional moment after she couldn’t start up the trailer, even using a little trick that I guess Dale taught them (“tap it three times and give her a twist“)and poor Glenn went to go check it and they ended up talking about Dale and reminiscing about him and it’s just so sad. You’d think that’s all this episode was going to be is sad, but no, it takes a quick turn.

Rick talks to Carl, finally, and basically is just like, “Everyone’s gonna die and you can’t do shit about it, so.” Great pep talk, dad. Real nice.

Back to the barn, we see the door open and a pair of boots walk in and you know it’s Shane. I admit that I screamed, “What are you doing?! You’re not supposed to see him!” And there’s this scene, this brilliantly executed scene where the camera is just watching Shane’s face while he stands there next to Randall, all blinded and tied up. You can see it, Shane’s inner battle, and you can see him lose. It’s all written on his face. He lost his grip.

Daryl and Rick are finally ready to let Randall go, then T-Dawg goes to unlock the barn, opens the door, and upon seeing the empty space where Randall sat, lets out a stereotypical “AW HEELLLL NO!”

Shane and Randall are stumbling through the woods and Randall’s like, “Why’d you let me go?” and Shane’s like, “I wanna be in your group, mine blows.” and he’s like, “Cool, that’s not suspicious at all!” Shane leads him far out into the woods, under that same ridiculous premise then Randall goes behind a tree, out of the camera’s view and Shane’s looking the definition of shady right now as he’s looking around and his eyes are all shifty. Then he goes behind the tree and, if you’ve ever watched The Vampire Diaries, you’d recognize the sound of a neck snapping. Then he slams his face into a tree! A tree! So there’s blood trickling all down his face, no big deal. And he buries his gun under a pile of leaves.

Back at the farm, everyone’s all gathered around, I guess talking about Randall being gone, and Shane’s lurking in the woods, total nut job status here, licking his lips and eyes darting back and forth. Finding the perfect moment, Shane jumps out of the woods and runs to Rick, all “He’s gone! He took my gun, clocked me in the face and took off!” Rick buys it instantly, but Daryl, he’s smarter than everyone, so he goes, “The kid weighs a buck twenty-five soaking wet, you trying to tell us he got the jump on you?” God I love Daryl. 

Rick and Shane split into a group and Glenn and Daryl do, too, to “find” Randall. They take forever to look for him, until nightfall. Rick’s growing more and more suspicious but not exactly catching on, while Daryl is right on the money. “Two sets of footprints. There’s dust here…there’s blood on this tree…,” ticking off all the things that aren’t right with the situation. He’s just so damn smart.

Far enough along, Rick starts to figure it all out. Asks if this is where he’s really going to do it, and Shane’s not at all ashamed or sad or guilty about his plan. He’s fine with it. This is what I meant by my horror and devastation. Shane’s lost all sense of right and wrong, good and bad and now only cares about removing Rick from power so he can take his place. It’s honestly the most heart-breaking scene. Or second most.

They lay it all out on the table, what they’ve been saying this whole time and everything they’ve kept under their tongues. The words get so ugly.

They have a standoff on the hill. Shane’s ready to shoot, but Rick isn’t. “You’re gonna have to shoot an unarmed man,” he says as he slowly takes his gun out to hand it to Shane. He doesn’t hesitate to take it, but Rick, using his quick-draw skills, pulls a knife out of his pocket and stabs Shane, all the while screaming, “You did this, not me! You did this to us!” I cried buckets. After everything, that’s what it came down to.

Meanwhile, Glenn and Daryl ran into a Walker Randall, and, after killing him, realized he had no bite marks and the only cause of his death was his neck being snapped. Interesting…

Rick’s blood-stained, kind of crying, breathing heavily and stands up and turns around to see Carl, who should really be in bed by now, shouldn’t he? Carl’s just looking at Rick and he starts to explain to his son what just happened, all the while behind him something exploded in Shane’s head that transformed him into a Walker.

Seeing him, dead eyes, staggering, drooling, unhuman, it was mortifying to me. I was cringing the entire scene. 

Carl lifts up a gun, and unsuspecting Rick’s like, “whoa there buddy,” as if his son is really going to shoot his own father for no good reason. Carl saves Rick’s life by firing off a few shots to Shane, who topples to the ground, dead for good now.

This was an incredible episode and I’m sure I did not do it justice in this article, nowhere near justice, but I could watch it a hundred times and never get tired of it. Surprising, exhilarating and completely crazy. Just excellent. I don’t know how they plan to top this one with the finale, but I am certainly excited to find out!