Well Carl? Just what do you have to say for yourself young man? Hmmm? Oh, who am I kidding? Run along young man and find something nasty and dead to poke with a stick. It’s what any normal boy would do. Especially one growing up during the zombie apocalypse. There’s plenty of gross stuff to keep a kid busy for weeks!
In the barn Daryl is doing his best to keep his temper in check. And in Randall’s opinion, his best isn’t very good. Randall’s getting the crap beat out of him during his interrogation. Thirty heavily armed men and women and a few children don’t calm Daryl down. And the story about young teenage girls being raped while the dad was forced to watch was really a bad choice of stories. (Maybe Randall is too dumb to live.)
Outside Rick takes Daryl’s advice that the kid is bad news and must be dealt with appropriately…and today. The only dissension from the group is Dale. He can’t believe Rick will go along with the killing of a kid just because he “might” do something bad in the future. (We all might do something bad in the future. And in the mother-fucking zombie apocalypse, I’d say doing something bad is a near certainty.)
Rick will not be swayed. He takes the group’s silence as acquiescence. But silence, Dale knows, does not equal agreement. In the end Dale convinces him to get everyone to talk that evening. Whatever decision is reached will be carried out immediately.
In the RV Dale asks Andrea to guard Randall until his evening meeting with the others where he’ll try to talk some sense into them. She’ll do it, but she thinks it’s a lost cause. Dale gets to her when he agrees with her assessment that they may not be civilized anymore, but that doesn’t mean they have to lose their humanity.
While Andrea guards the thirsty prisoner, Shane stops by to give her crap about helping Dale. He also mentions taking the farm by force from Herschel and Rick. ["Hey, shoot him! Shoot him! Shoot him! Will somebody shoot this prick?" (Lethal Weapon) I can't help it, I hear this in my head EVERY time I see Shane.] “Will somebody shoot this prick?”
Meanwhile, Carl sneaks into the barn and Randall tries to get him to see that he’s really a good guy. Carl looks at him like he’s not a human being anymore. Granted what he says is pretty creepy. Maybe Randall isn’t dumb. Maybe he IS bad news. Yeah. I guess they should probably kill him. “It’s the only way to be sure.” “Fuckin’ A!” (Aliens)
Shane busts in and pulls Carl out of the barn while threatening to kill Randall right then and there. Outside he lectures Carl on what criminals will try to say to gain your trust. Carl is mostly worried that his parents are going to find out. Shane tells him to quit trying to get himself killed.
Dale tries to talk to Daryl, but he’s sticking to his story that the group is broken and that he’s better off on his own—wearing his angel wings. When he says that Rick only listens to Shane, he comments that Shane killed Otis, came back with a story about Otis covering him, saving his ass. But then he showed up with the dead guy’s gun. He knows Rick’s not stupid, he just didn’t want to see it.
Rick is examining the barn. Up above his head is a beam that looks just right for a hangin’. Lori walks in and agrees to whatever Rick has decided. He is the man, of course. She will not, however be sleeping in a barn for the winter. (Yeah, go ahead and kill the kid, but just make sure I have a decent place to sleep. Ah. The power of the P. Do NOT underestimate it.)
Creepy Carl is playing with some spent shell casings on Sophia’s grave, when Carol tries to console him with the idea that they’ll see Sophia in heaven some day and that she’s in a better place. He disagrees and says that heaven is just another lie and that if you believe it, you’re an idiot. Wow, I think maybe Carl has been around too much testosterone and violence. And puberty may be on it’s way, too. Oh, shit! Carol is understandably upset and tells Carl’s parents about his lack of respect. Finally SOME SPINE from Carol! (Maybe she got a little Daryl in her…hopefully a lot. Ahem.) She doesn’t want to be told to calm down. She lost her daughter, not her mind!
Rick catches up with Carl and gives him a lesson on not talking, but THINKING. He tells him it’s a good rule for life. He tells Carl he made a mistake and to FIX IT! Carl wants to know if that’s what he plans to do with the “mistake” in the barn. Then he wants to know the details on how his dad is going to kill Randall. Wow! Seems our little Carl may have gone over to the dark side. Dad tells him to worry about his own mess with Carol.
Dale, still looking for some support on his “no kill-the unkilled” wish, polls Herschel as he’s working out a little problem with the cattle. It seems a large number of them busted out of the fence and have been roaming free.
Walkers loose? Check!
Hole in the fence? Check!
Trouble in Paradise in T-Minus…
Herschel is willing to leave the issue of the kid’s fate up to Rick. He has seen Rick’s decision-making skills used on Dave and Tony and has no problem with Rick’s judgement. Herschel is only interested in keeping his girls safe, stating that he’s already made too many mistakes (like letting this group of misfits stay on his land because dumb, dead, Otis shot Curious Carl). Dale pleads with the old man to at least speak with Randall. Herschel has no intention of doing that.
Curious Carl is checking out Daryl’s campsite, complete with skinned squirrel pelts and other manly stuff. He fantasizes about riding Merle’s Vidor County Choppers-Nazi-Shutzstaffel–themed bike. The kid actually has a tiny instant of pure, childlike fun before discovering a gun in one of the saddle bags. He grabs it and heads on into the woods.
Carl’s walking a little taller with the pistol in his pocket, filling up more and more of his daddy’s hat, all bad ass. Oh Crap, there’s a walker stuck in the mud, ankle deep. Carl poops his pull-ups a bit, but soon realizes that the dead geek can’t pursue him with his feet stuck in the mud. Who could resist pelting the dead fucker with a couple of rocks, knowing this?? Not I, and definitely NOT Curious Carl. He starts stoning the poor undead bastard like an Islamic rape victim.
Dale finally gets enough balls to talk to Shane who is casually kicking back on the rear bumper of his bad ass “metallic-pea” Hyundai. He wants him to reconsider the kid’s fate. He starts by stating the obvious, that he and Shane will never see eye to eye on much. Shane refers to that as “…the understatement of the year.” He knows nobody can match glares with him while he stands so tall on Prick Mountain. Shane does recognize the set of balls that Dale is currently wearing and rather than argue, slips into his bullshit-voice, saying that he’ll go along with whatever the group decides tonight. Dale looks at him while smelling the bullshit escaping his mouth in silence as Shane warns him that if the group chooses NOT to kill that kid, AND he hurts one of them, the blood will be on Dale’s hands. Shane says he’s wrong about this…. “Dead Wrong!” (Oooooh, good word choice!)
Glen walks into the room as Herschel is playing little childhood games with his suicidal daughter. Glen offers to help if they need anything. Herschel takes this opportunity to not be a total shithead and reach out to him. His first question of “Where’s your family from?” is a little awkward. Glen lets him know it by answering, “Michigan,” then continuing, “before that, Korea.” Herschel reminds him that immigrants built this country and states that he’s of Irish descent. Glen figured as much, with Maggie’s ginger-bush and all.
Herschel gets to the point relating a story about a family heirloom timepiece pocket watch that has been passed down through a few generations of men in his family. He offers the watch to Glen, who accepts it. This is the coolest Herschel has been this whole series. He, like Maggie, has caught the “Glen-sanity.”
Lori joins Rick on the porch. Damn that house could use a good scraping and some new paint, but there’s a prisoner to consider killing. Rick wants her support. He’s got it.
Carl is now mister big shot, getting just out of reach from the lipless, mud-stuck, walker who soooo wants to eat the soft, young, veil-like, boy. Carl is pointing the gun right at the walker’s face when what we worried would happen, fucking happens. The walker yanks his foot out of the mud, like Mike Rowe hunting Geo Ducks and slaps the gun and the kid down. Carl eventually pulls his legs free from the hungry arms of the still-partially stuck, killer-zombie and takes off running. Yuck Mouth is left clawing at the riverbank watching his lunch scamper away, up the bank, back into the woods.
The group all gathers to discuss the kid Randall’s fate. Even T-dog is present. He’s been busy away from camera, lately, I guess. Dale wants to spare the kid in order to hang on to some of the group’s humanity. Glen waffles back to the kill him to be safe side, as Carol attempts to pussy-out by saying that it’s not fair to make her decide. Carol, you are weak. Dale jumps her ass, stating that not speaking up is no better than killing the boy herself. Rick gets a consensus that everyone is cool with the execution, but Dale won’t be party to it, knowing that most of the group are probably going to hide in their tents, pretending they aren’t, as a group, murdering someone. He leaves the group, just after agreeing with Daryl’s earlier statement that the group IS broken.
Rick, Shane, and Daryl march Gitmo-Randall to the barn. It’s time. They blindfold the guy, because that’s what you do, ask of his final words, but offer him no cigarette. Fucking animals… Dale is right, they ARE broken… No last smoke?… Heartless! Just as Rick is about to send Randall to meet his boys, Tony and Dave, Curious Carl shows up, egging his dad on, saying, “Do it, Dad! Shoot him.” (If only he was talking about Shane.) Dad “pussies-out,” just as Shane had fortold, asking that Randall be “taken away.” Randall is happy to live another day. Daryl and Shane are annoyed.
Rick returns Carl to camp telling everyone of the boy’s stay of execution. You can see that they are all somewhat relieved, especially Andrea who wants to find Dale and tell him to wipe his vadge.
Dale is wandering away from the group, disgusted. He strolls past the burned pile of bodies and deep into the meadow. What’s that noise? A cow is down, hurt and moaning. Dale slowly approaches, causing us, as viewers, to wonder for a sec, “Has the virus jumped the species?… Is it airborne and affecting the animals?” Nope, it’s just that muddy, lipless walker from the riverbank, and apparently, a whole fucking cow doesn’t curb a walker’s appetite to kill. He jumps on Dale as the old man struggles to not be bitten. Yuck, drool and nastiness is dripping out of the zombie’s lipless maul, nearly all over Dale’s struggling face. The old man’s belly skin is no match for the walker’s sharp, boney fingers as Dale’s guts are torn from his insides. Daryl is suddenly on the scene, stabbing the murdering walker in the head, quick-smart. He calls for the help of the others who all, in turn, show Dale, with the expressions on their faces, that he is totally F-ed in the goat-A. Rick is trying to rally Herschel to do surgery. (I think the cow will never make it, Rick…OH, You mean on Dale.) Everyone is crying as Dale, who is usually quite talkative, can’t seem to find words. He’s in agony and shock as Andrea pleads for someone to do something. Rick yells into the night as he draws his pistol once again. He wants to help end Dale’s suffering, but can’t quite do it. Carl confirms visually that this walker is indeed the one who he spared earlier. He knows that he is to blame for this awful thing happening to Dale. Daryl, seeing Rick is unable to follow through, takes the gun from him. He crouches down and extends the barrel. He expresses his apology saying, “Sorry, Brother.” Dale stretches his head towards his oncoming fate, welcoming the blast.
Another episode ends with the shot of a gun.
Goodbye Dale. You weren’t meant for this “survival of the fittest,” post-apocalyptic world, good sir.