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The Walking Dead: Better Angels (Episode 12)

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At last, the one we’ve all been waiting for. Last week, the ill-fated Dale proclaimed that the group was well and truly split. He was right. This week we see it reform somewhat, but not without one final struggle. All those who doubted the inevitable collision of these farmyard stragglers need look no further than this week’s opening montage. Sombre scenes of Rick leading a traditional funeral service are intercut with the hard-nosed brutality of Shane leading an all out attack on a gaggle of rogue Walkers loose on the farm. Never have the priorities of our two leaders been more black and white, once again proving that they’re two very different sides of the same coin.

Meanwhile, the cause of all this recent turbulence still lingers, as Randall impatiently waits for Rick to decide his fate. As always, Shane feels he knows best and after a couple of touching encounters with the family unit that’ll never be his, he finally loses the ability to hold his tongue as well as his ruthless mentality. He decides it’s time to take matters into his own hands, for better or for worse.

Having fooled Randall into thinking he wants to join his ruthless gang, Shane leads the group’s accidental prisoner into the woods. Armed with a vicious plan, he returns to camp alone and with a self-inflicted broken nose. After falsely claiming that Randall has escaped, he rallies up a search party and locks eyes on his main target – Rick.

During all this chaos, one member of the group quietly takes the reigns and finally inherits the reluctant-hero mantle that he’s been circling since day one. It may have taken eighteen episodes but this week Daryl moves up a few ranks within the group.  With any luck, we’ll see this fan-favourite get a little more hands on in the show’s already confirmed third season.

The revelatory events of this week’s instalment aren’t limited to the exploits of the living. Last week, this blog harked back to the hushed final words of Dr Jenner during the season one’s climax. After a few blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em hints and winks during this season’s arc, we at last get a little closer to the chilling truth. Rick and Shane’s climactic field showdown may be what this week’s show is remembered for but it’s the horrifying Walker discovery that’ll keep you up at night. With just one show left to air, a happy ending is looking increasingly unlikely…

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