"Better Angels" is the twelfth episode of the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the eighteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on March 11, 2012. It was written by Evan T. Reilly and Glen Mazzara, and directed by Guy Ferland.
The group holds a funeral for Dale. Afterwards, Rick announces that they are going to prove him wrong by showing the group can still work together. A scene running alongside the funeral shows Shane, Daryl, Andrea and T-Dog eliminating a group of walkers.
Hershel permits all but Shane to move into his house, due to Shane's antagonistic behavior. Rick plans for himself and Daryl to bring Randall out to a nearby town and leave him there. Carl, feeling guilty about Dale's death, goes to Shane and tells him about how he knew of the walker, and that he stole a pistol from Daryl's bike. Lori tries to talk to Shane and apologizes for what she was doing to him, prompting him to tell Rick about Carl's confession. Rick declares his main concern is disposing of Randall, but talks to Carl and encourages him to keep hold of the gun, as they no longer can live without taking action.
Shane goes into the barn and watches Randall, discovering that he was trying to slip out of his restraints. When Rick and Daryl prepare to leave, T-Dog is sent to get Randall. He discovers the barn empty. Shane has brought Randall into the forest, informing him that he is done with Rick's group and wants to join with the others. This is merely a ruse as Shane breaks Randall's neck, killing him, and strikes his own face into a tree to make it seem he was assaulted by Randall.
A thorough search of the farm shows no sign of Randall. Shane buries his gun and shouts to the group that Randall escaped and is armed. Rick assembles Glenn and Daryl to go with him and Shane to track him down. Glenn and Daryl come across where Randall was last seen and the area shows signs of a struggle. A walker appears and they take cover behind some trees. The walker is Randall and tries to attack them, but Glenn impales a machete into his head, killing him. An examination of the body showed no sign of bites or scratches, and that his cause of death was his neck being broken.
Rick picks apart Shane's story and comes to the conclusion this was a ruse to lure him out into the field, where Shane would kill him. Shane tells Rick he is a better father than he is and that him returning only messed things up. Rick makes it seem as though he's handing Shane his weapon, as he refused to raise his gun at him.
Once his gun is in Shane's hand, Rick pulls out his knife and stabs him, saying he brought this on himself as Shane then dies. Realizing what he had done, Rick becomes distraught and sobs. As he tries to cope with what happened, Carl appears, shocked to see Shane dead. He apparently aims his gun at Rick, but is actually aiming at the reanimated Shane behind him.
Carl pulls the trigger, killing Shane. Rick approaches Shane's body, weeping. As they examine Shane's body, they are unaware of the massive horde approaching in the horizon.
- Last appearance of Randall Culver.
- Last appearance of Shane Walsh. (Alive and Zombified)
- This is the first time that two main cast characters have been killed in successive episodes.
- Lori refers to the flashback from "Chupacabra" while talking with Shane.
- The title of the episode, "Better Angels", comes from American President Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address of 1861, "by the better angels of our nature". Writer Evan Reilly came up with the episode's name. It could also be seen as how Dale believed in the "Better Angels" of the group and tried his best to preserve the flicker of humanity that still exists within everyone.
- Though Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale Horvath) is still credited as a starring character in this episode, he does not appear, as he was already written out of the show.
- This episode marks the first time in the TV Series where Carl directly kills a walker.
- Robert Kirkman explained, "There was actually another death in this episode that at the very last minute, after the script was written, we decided not to do. So we were going to have three major deaths in these two episodes but then that was decided it was just too much." It was later explained by Glen Mazzara on The Talking Dead that Hershel was originally written to be killed by Randall as he escaped in this episode. The writers had difficulty completing the scene and instead decided to allow Hershel to live due to the dramatic possibilities that would face the character in the next episode and season.
- Robert Kirkman stated, "It’s important to note that Shane was [Rick's] best friend. So no matter how much [Rick] knew, he didn't want to admit to himself that he knew. It wasn't until that walk out into the woods, when Shane was leading him to his death, that he really kind of accepted the fact that, Wow, this is not the guy I knew any more."
- T-Dog had six separate lines of dialogue in this episode, and Entertainment Weekly joked this was, "a new record."
- Glen Mazzara responded about Shane becoming a zombie in, "Better Angels", much faster than Amy, and not getting bit: "We worked hard to make sure that revelation landed. We knew what we were doing there. We knew it would land a punch. We've never had a main character become a zombie to this extent. Those [rapid flashes of zombie mayhem] represent the storm in Shane’s brain to some extent … Amy was a weaker character. Shane is in a murderous rage … he’s going to reanimate quicker. There’s just more life in that zombie, believe it or not. We do have internal rules for that."
- Rick said that he wanted to leave Randall at Senoia, the same town which was used to make Woodbury.
- When T-Dog is getting Randall for Daryl and Rick, you can see the combination for the lock to the shed door is seen (upside down) as "3006" (like the popular 30.06 rifle).
- Shane's death was accidentally leaked by the AMC TV store on March 1, 2012 in promotional materials for the Season 2 Blu-Ray set. Photos of Shane as a zombie were similarly leaked and posted on many websites, including The Walking Dead Wiki.
- Glen Mazarra revealed that there were some talks about keeping Shane alive to Season 3, “At one point, we considered not killing Shane,” Mazzara told MTV News. “But what’s important about this season is, Rick has to step forward. He has to assume leadership of the group and he has to confront Shane.”
- Also, during his comicbook.com Q&A, Mazarra revealed that he, and the writers did talk about killing Rick by letting Shane kill him, but scrapped it out because "...this is Rick's story, not Shane's".
- Glenn and Daryl finding out Randall reanimated withouth being bitten is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 15, where Rick and Tyreese discover that Julie reanimated withouth being bitten instead.
- Shane confronting Rick in the woods and being killed by him is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 6, where Carl kills him instead.
- Carl putting down a zombified Shane is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 16, where Rick puts him down instead.
- When talking with Carl, Shane says that its not Carl's fault that Dale got bit by a walker. However, Dale did not got bit but instead got his stomach ripped open.
- When Glenn helps Daryl by getting the walker Randall off him. Glenn ends up rolling over while Randall is facing upwards. As a result from rolling over the walker Randall should have been facing down, but Glenn kills him and he is still face up.
- When, Rick and Shane are in the middle of the field and Shane yells at Rick saying "Right here, right now you ain't gonna fight for em?" talking about Lori, Carl and the baby, you can see Emergency units flashing their red, white and blue lights behind Rick's left shoulder.
- Glenn is shown fixing the points on the Winnebago from the front of the RV. The points are only accessible from the inside of the RV, as the points are located in the distributor on the back of the engine. NOTE: This is not a goof. The year and model Winnebago shown on the TV series, a 1973 D-27C Winnebago Chieftain, would have had the 275hp Dodge 413 cubic inch engine package. This engine has the distributor (and therefore the ignition points) located on the front of the engine so in reality, access would be as shown by Glenn's character in this episode.
- ↑ AMC Synopsis
- ↑ GlennMazzara, Twitter (March 22, 2012). "“@missjerseycow: @allisonbrookeC the title was based on Lincoln's inaugural address of 1861, 'by the better angels of our nature'” Yes."
- ↑ GlennMazzara, Twitter (March 22, 2012)."“@allisonbrookeC: How did 'Better Angels' get its episode name? :)” Writer Evan Reilly just came up w it. I liked it, so it stayed."
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Clark Collis, 'Walking Dead' exec producer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight's episode and THAT (SPOILER!): 'I am a madman!', Entertainment Weekly, (March 11, 2012).
- ↑ Talking Dead March 18, 2012
- ↑ Darren Franich, 'The Walking Dead' recap: Come Back, Shane! Come Back! Rick and Shane face off in the season's penultimate episode, and Carl learns a valuable lesson about gun control, Entertainment Weekly, (March 12, 2012).
- ↑ James Hibberd, 'Walking Dead' showrunner talks finale, controversies: 'There's more bloodshed coming', Entertainment Weekly, (March 15, 2012).
- ↑ Huge Walking Dead Spoiler Alert! AMC Accidentally Leaks Major Character's Death on DVD Ad, eonline.
- Erin Biglow, The Walking Dead Review: Walk Of Shane, Poptimal, (March 13, 2012).
- Darren Franich, 'The Walking Dead' recap: Come Back, Shane! Come Back! Rick and Shane face off in the season's penultimate episode, and Carl learns a valuable lesson about gun control, Entertainment Weekly, (March 12, 2012).
- Kevin Fitzpatrick, The Walking Dead 2.12 "Better Angels" Comic-to-TV-Comparison, (March 12, 2012).