Walking Dead Podcast #21: “Better Angels” = a better show

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As with the show’s first season, the next-to-last episode is a doozy. “Better Angels” is easily the most momentous episode of the season so far, and finds the SOS folk in unsually jubilant mode. We say goodbye to another central character, make bold (and probably wrong) predictions for the show’s future, and ponder just how the show might conspire to fix its Carl problem.

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Playlist

Wye Oak – “Two Small Deaths”

6 Comments
  1. Lori C says

    You guys are completely wrong about the end scene where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is expressing his grief. Unless you’ve been forced to kill your best friend ONLY because you just realized they are intending to kill you… (!) No, Lincoln’s response was correct.

    I’ve had similar experiences simply breaking up with ex-boyfriends.

    1. Ricky says

      I can’t speak for others but I think what I Said, if I remember correctly, is that he isn’t a great enough actor to hit that range. The expression is the correct expression, and Lincoln is a good actor, but not a great actor. There was something off about it …

      X-bfs suck

  2. Ricky says

    Hey Ken,

    LOL – Great feedback yet again. Here goes my response …

    1- I never said I blamed the kid. I simply said he couldn’t act which is a fact.

    2- Also it was I who said that Carl drew his gun on Rick. And actually I am right. I watched the scene two more times and discussed it with my nephews. Carl pulls the gun on Rick while Shane is still on the ground… way before he turns into a zombie.

    3- I also have no problem with a herd of walkers showing up. They have been on the farm for months, so it is possible that they eventually made their way in that direction. I don’t need explanations for every zombie appearance. Simon and Kate seem to have a problem with this and I am not really sure why.

    4- Peter Dinklage on this show would be amazing !

    5- Also I don’t think anyone would kill me to save Simon :P … just saying

    Also I think you are confusing Ricky with Simon. Ricky (that is me) is the dude who is usually sick or hung over and Simon is the one who always kicks off the show with the intro, and is usually less talkative.

    Rick

  3. Ken from Chicago says

    Hi, Kate, Ricky & Simon. Another great review of a really great episode. I would like to add my own 2-8 cents to your eloquent analysis:

    First up tho, never blame the kid. I never blame a child actor for bad performances. He’s a kid. Blame the casting director. That’s my feeling for kid playing young Anakin Skywalker and for any other child role in tv or movies. Don’t blame the kid, blame the adults around the kid.

    So the “game changer”, that everyone’s freshly dead bodies without significant head trauma become walkers? It’s just an extra step they have to take when dealing with the dead or sickly people on death’s door (involving a handy dandy head spike). Like Rick told Hershel, everyone is going to die anyway, with or without walkers. It’s just a new … wrinkle … to society in this zomble-riddled PAW.

    Totally agree the shot of Rick stabbing Shane in the open field has a nice horizontal layout akin to a comic book panel.

    I agree with Kate, Bear McCreary always does great work, be it BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, HUMAN TARGET (I still can’t believe TPTB replaced his great soaring instrumental theme with some piece of over-amp electric guitar crap) to THE WALKING DEAD (altho at first I preferred a fan-made theme, Bear’s theme grew on me when they started playing theme over the final seconds of the opening segment and then showing the video of the opening credits, nice).

    I heard about the dvd Shane spoiler, but I thot it would happen in the season finale so I was surprised this ep. I was also caught off guard because Rick lowered his gun from Shane, because tho they had a standoff, we know Rick is lightning fast from shooting Dave and Tony at the bar. I think Rick could have easily shot Shane–but that would draw walkers, unlike a knife. (“We gotta be smarter about killing, use less ammo”–or something like that from “18 Miles Out”.)

    Sorry, Simon, Kate’s right. Carl did not draw his gun on Rick. The camera shifted from Rick holding Shane’s corpse to Carl showing up, and a surprised Rick getting up and going to Carl–and the camera shows Rick approaching Carl, with Shane off-camera. Then Carl pulls his gun. Then Rick tries to get Carl to lower the gun–then we see walker Shane pop up and shuffling toward Rick. TPTB *wanted* you to think Carl was mad at Rick but is was a big fake out (ala people become walkers only if bitten).

    Carl drew his gun before Shane got up, however after Shane started moving. Simon’s right, Kate, Carl drew his gun before walker Shane got up. Rewatch the scene, it shows Shane *popping up* then walking toward Rick. Obviously Carl must have seen walker Shane moving on the ground before getting up. Remember Season 1 when Andrea’s sister first woke as a walker, she moved slowly–at first.

    You’re all forgetting the reasons for the crowd of walkers
    they were drawn by the FIRST gunshot, by Shane when Rick stabbed him, so by Carl’s gunshot, they were able to better pinpoint the source.

    The reason there’s no crowd of walkers after the barn shootout was due to the marsh acting as flypaper to the walkers. However that was, a while ago, before the marsh started drying up. That allowed more walkers to make their way to the Farm (which generated that opening stomp-down ala Office Space printer stomp).

    Hey, don’t laugh, T-Dog had at least THREE lines and was referred to by name at least TWICE. I think T-Dog can be made interesting by giving him an actual history and defining his personality. Daryl was pretty much a jerk the first season but this season he’s become my favorite character.

    In fact, even Carol can be redeemed. It’s been so long, but there was a spark to Carol in Season 1–remember when she had to deal with her zombified abusive husband. She wielded the axe in ways that scared even Season 1 Daryl. If Carol can tap into that anger and drive, she could make a turn-around akin to Andrea or Daryl.

    Altho considering this is a horror genre, they could get rid of the whole cast and focus on another group. Rick isn’t the only person to struggle with morality in a zombie PAW. The show could easily get a new lead and a new group–even without killing off the old group. And if they could get a Peter Dinklage / Tyrion Lannister character, it would make the audience ratings go thru the roof.

    Kate, Rick had a close bond with Shane. He was grief-stricken. There were police partners. That’s a partnership that can be stronger than marriage (if I’m to believe Law & Order, NYPD Blue, Adam-12, The Rookies, Lethal Weapon, Dead Heat, Red Heat, K-9 and pert near every cop procedural tv show and movie). If you had to kill Ricky to save Simon and the rest of the Sound on Sight crew, I’m sure you’d be bawling your eyes out too, Kate. Right?

    Simon, no, Rick is consistent, he’s trying to balance the needs of the Many vs the needs of the Few–or the One–while maintaining his moral compass. As cop he had the power of life and death but was trained to follow a strong moral code to do so. Where there were limitations, he could turn it over tho the justice system to deal with. A bully beating up a kid could be directly dealt with. A battered wife who refuses to testify against her abusive husband, well, there was a *system* (social workers, abused spouse centers, emergency call center, lawyers, etc.) that could try to help her where he as a cop was lacking. And even then, he’d prolly try help, gather other witness testimony, gather physical evidence, etc. to do his best before turning it over to others. That’s who Rick is trying to help others.

    Rick’s willing to risk his own and other’s lives to save one life, be it Sophia, or Carl, or Merle, or Shane. Rick was trying to save Randall when Randall wasn’t a direct threat to himself, his family or the group at the Farm. Once Randall revealed he already knew where the Farm was that changed things so Randall was a threat, but an indirect one. This had to be considered whether to kill Randall or not–and if Randall had to die, Rick didn’t want it to be an easy quick choice with little or any thought. Before there would prosecutors and judges and juries and executioners dedicated to handling this–on behalf of society as a whole. Now there aint. Those tough moral decisions have to be weighed by groups on their own, directly. And as you all pointed out, many of the folks in the group didn’t even want to choose, leaving it on Rick, Shane, and Dale.

    Meanwhile Rick was willing to kill Dave and Tony in the bar because they were a clear threat to the group and they wouldn’t back off prodding about the Farm and they kept playing with guns.

    The zombie rule is everyone who dies without head trauma turns into a walker. When zombies bite people, the zombies are NOT infecting them with a zombie disease, they creating major bleeding wounds, causing major blood loss AND infecting them with whatever noxious diseases that can survive in a decaying corpse.

    Season 1 was a big fake out that the living were being infected with the zombie-transformation disease with a bite. Instead people are basically having liquid raw sewage poured into the open wounds whenever the zombie bite. Then when they die, THEN they change into zombies.

    Simon, don’t forget, Lori actually wanted Carl to die rather than grow up in a PAW infested with zombies. Maybe her parental neglect is an unconscious way of letting Carl die. (Okay, that doesn’t explain Rick’s, after all, “The deer!”.)

    Actually, there’s nothing wrong with Carl, it just how the writers use him and write the adults around him. Having a kid perspective is cool, but the adults could make a better effort to keep track of him. Just minimize his role on the show or adjust how you use him.

    The flashbacks could be good at revealing a character’s personal history to compare or contrast with how they react in present day. Altho, as with all things, it depends on good execution.

    So, Ricky (no, I hadn’t forgotten you), how does it feel knowing your optimism for the show’s potential in the withering critical heat of a couple of naysayers, who shall remain nameless, has finally been borne out by several good to great episodes in row and more good than bad second half of the season?

    — Ken from Chicago

    P.S. By Simon, I’m referring to the louder of the two guys on the podcast as opposed to Ricky, the deeper (in voice, as in baritone) of the two guys on the podcast.

    P.P.S. PAW = Post Apocalyptic World.

  4. Staindslaved says

    hope4carl:

    In the comics a large pack of roaming zombies is called a “herd”. What happens is one zombie will chase something (Like a car or a gunshot) and will never stop moving in that direction until something else catches its attention. One zombie will notice the other zombie walking and will follow it, as they go along they pick up other zombies until pretty soon there are 100’s of them all mindlessly walking in one direction after a long gone sound or object. The herd at the end of the episode likely just happened to be walking by but the gunshot re-directed them to the farm.

    As far as the dead people in the car I assumed they crashed and died from brain trauma or some other kind of head injury which prevented them from coming back.

  5. hope4carl says

    Enjoy your podcast – it’s critical but not overtly whiney or negative, which is much appreciated. I liked this episode – nice way to kill off Shane. Awesome cinemetography, music, acting, etc. I think you guys are a bit hard on the child actor that plays Carl – I think he’s doing OK. I just think it’s sad he doesn’t have sophia anymore – she would help him be less creepy I think. I know Sophia’s death made sense and was a great shock ending, but I think she could’ve been really good for Carl. They can always make them grow up faster…oh well.

    The Rick/Shane standoff was awesome – love that Rick stabbed him – stabbing is always a more personal killing than just shooting someone, and that was definitely a personal matter. It’s sad b/c Shane & him were friends long before the apocalypse, and now we won’t have anymore flashbacks or even scenes remembering how it used to be.

    Also, I miss Dale. He was getting annoying, but he was still a moral compass, and the actor was amazing.

    Some questions-I still don’t get how all those walkers just converged on the farm. I agree that the gunshots from the midseason finale should’ve brought a hoard of zombies to the farm – not sure why 1 gunshot did it this time. Also, if everyone turns into a walker when they die (which I’m guessing is what was said at the CDC), what was up w/all the dead people in the car during the Season 2 premier? (You know, the highway scene when the hoard came.)

    I really like the show, but still have some questions.

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