The Walking Dead "Better Angels" TV REVIEW

TV REVIEW Crossing the line

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TV REVIEW Crossing the line

THE ONE WHERE Rick kills Shane.

VERDICT Wow. Didn’t see that coming.

The Walking Dead , we have misjudged you. We thought you’d lost it. We thought that life on the farm had turned you soft. We were wrong. This final run of episodes is such a step up from the opening half of the series.

This writing team has guts. Killing off Dale was bold enough. Killing Shane? That’s offing your best character, the guy you can rely on to shake things up and create conflict; he's practically the fulcrum of the series. Of course, their hand might have been forced: maybe the actors wanted out? Maybe there was bad feeling over the departure of Frank Darabont? We can only speculate. But the effect is the same: this series is now completely unpredictable. It could be Andrea next, or Daryl, or Lori or Carl, maybe even Rick. Nothing can be ruled out anymore.

The confrontation between the two former best buds is a thing of beauty too, appropriately played out in darkness beneath a bad moon. Andrew Lincoln’s howl of anguish sends a shiver down the spine, leaving you wondering how Rick will recover. He crossed a moral line in the comics too, but by shooting a dangerous convict, not stabbing his former friend in the guts. The group may not be broken, but is Rick? Which way will he turn now that he’s strayed from Dale’s moral path?

And finally, for the first time in an absolute age, we have zombies en masse too. Can’t help wondering where the hell they came from, or why the stink of their rotting mass doesn’t reach Rick’s nostrils (hey, maybe he’s not down-wind…), but boy, it's good to see ‘em. We’ve had enough of the farm. Time to trash the joint. Here’s hoping that zombie horde thins out the cast a little in the process. There are two or three characters knocking around whose names we’d struggle to remember even if they had them tattooed on their foreheads…

IN THE COMIC… it’s Carl who shoots Shane dead, so it’s a neat fan-pleasing touch to have the kid gunning down the zombie version.

SPECULATION A few episodes back, our heroes speculated that a scratch was enough to infect someone. Wrong. In this episode, both Randall and Shane “turn” despite not being bitten. Do the survivors carry some kind of virus that activates upon their death? Could that knowledge be what Jenner whispered in Rick’s ear at the end of season one? Could be that why he pumped so many bullets into those guys in the bar? That’s a major game-changer. It means that if someone carks it in their sleep, you’ll end up with a zombie crashing about the house. Best start locking your bedroom doors at night, guys.

IT’S A DOG’S LIFE T-Dog actually gets a few lines, and something to do! Okay, it was only carrying some boxes, but still, we imagine IronE Singleton punched the air, let out a whoop of delight and ran for his highlighter pen when his script arrived.

TITLE TATTLE The title is highly ironic, referring to Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, where he invoked the “better angels of our nature” in a speech about the nation coming together after the conflict of the Civil War.

Ian Berriman

Read all our Walking Dead season two reviews .

The Walking Dead airs in the UK on Friday nights on FX .

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Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.