Review: The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 11: “Judge, Jury, Executioner”

Dale is facing his demise

Poor Dale, he was such a humanitarian; a real Mensch and likable character. I think the group really took him for granted and killing off his character was an epic fail on part of the writers as he was not only a likable character but also represented a balancing force in the dynamic of the group. Now they are left with the trigger happy hanging judges that run the group and it’s going to be hard to water down the intensity of their polar opposite points of view. And if rumors of serious cast changes are true, more deaths are to come as we approach the season finale.

I noticed that in this show most of the characters are beginning to behave in a way designed to service a desired plot outcome (like Carl attracting the Walker to get Dale killed) instead of the plot responding to the characters.

Carl playing with fire

For example, Lori and Rick must be just about the dumbest parents ever. Who lets their kid (that was just recently shot), wander around unsupervised in a world run over by the flesh eating undead? Especially after what happened to Sophia. I mean that stupid kid was wandering the woods, climbing into the barn with Randall yelling “I am a man, I can take care of myself”, was almost eaten by a Walker and not once did his dumb parents wonder where he is. That is not very believable and was obviously put in there to service the desired plot outcome.

And then that kid Randall: they all act like there was no alternative to execution, just so the writers can put the characters in a situation where they have to contemplate his execution. But there were several other options besides murdering the kid and the writers didn’t do a good job at showing us that they really exhausted all options and really had to now consider execution. It wasn’t believable and again put in there to service the desired plot outcome.

The logically incoherent rules and reversals of elements according to whether they need them in an episode is also annoying. The Walker that attacks Carl is not strong enough to pull his feet out of the mud and is barely able to wrap its paws around him, but just a few hours later tears a man’s chest cavity open with his bare hands? I didn’t think that was even possible. A wild animal with claws needs to put more work in that but in this case the Walker just went through Dale like a hot knife through butter. And where did that stealth zombie come from anyway? One moment we see Dale walk in an open field with no one is sight for miles, next minute a clumsy Walker is standing behind him.

Hershel goes from “No guns and violence on my farm” to “meh, kill whoever you want, I dont care”. And for Rick, the decisive reason not to cold-bloodedly murder someone is not what Dale said, but that his kid is watching, whom he just five minutes ago asked to never ask any questions or disagree with anyone, no matter what. Are they kidding me?

The dialogue in this show must have been written by juvenile boys. It is completely devoid of any kind of substance, wit and insight. The writers have gone from quoting William Faulkner in season 1 to last week Lori giving Andrea a hard time for not being a good submissive woman who knits and does laundry for the big strong men and Rick telling his kid, whom he never even asked what he actually said to Carol, to just summarily shut up and never ever ask any questions or question anyone. Great values to instill on your kids. This show should seriously be called The Assholes on the Zombie Farm, because that is what most of the characters are.

It is also insulting that T-Dog, who did have somewhat of an interesting role in season 1 (and even beginning season 2) and actually had meaningful conversations with other people, barely ever appears anymore and when he does, he is standing in the corner quietly. I think his “what do we do with the body” single line was the most he has said since episode 3 of this season, which just points to the overall crappy cheapness of this show (dont have to pay actors that dont talk much or are seen, same location…). T-Dog’s role in the show and group has been reduced to that of doing the grunt work. Sure, let the token black guy take orders from king Rick and queen bee Lori. What’s gonna be next? let him be eaten by zombies?

They should bring the focus back on the apocalypse and what caused it and survival and leave the farm and they should use zombies as another character in the show – as Jenner did – instead of as just props that pop up every now and then so that the producers and writers can check it off their list of things to do. Didn’t Rick see a helicopter when he was in Atlanta? Whatever happened ot that? Seriously, it seems like the writers are making this up as they go.

The previews are unfortunately showing that we are going to go back to that Rick/Lori/Shane triangle and I just don’t care about these peoples’ personal issues. No one does. The world has come to end, get over yourselves and your petty affairs you selfish dolts. Why couldn’t they have gotten rid of Lori? Everyone’s problem would be solved if Lori was gone, because let’s face it, as the Alpha, Rick is acting like the judge, jury and executioner to prove to the other Alpha, Shane, that he can take care of the water hole and his mate.

I hear something about the comic’s nemesis The Governor making his way through season 3. So then it will be this group vs. the Governor’s gang. Like  Boyz n the Hood but in a zombie setting. Yawwwn. Been there, done that. Not very original.

Darryl takes over, doing what Rick could not do anymore

And hey, if you run into a group that looks like they wanna hurt you, go somewhere else. No reason to waste 16 episodes on it and artificially build the story around it. It is not like there is only one patch of land left for all of humanity and these people had to fight for it. Again, the writers are artificially extending these peoples’ struggles by creating directions and “issues” that don’t make sense. This isn’t South Central LA. You don’t like, move on.

This group’s murder lust (it was like they were taking all their anger out on this kid) is becoming disturbing and I love it. You lose your principals and humanity, you lose your essence as a decent human  being with a conscience, which is what Dale desperately tried to  explain to the group. In a way, these people are pushing the bounds of their humanity and entering dangerous territory. There is a huge difference between leaving someone on the run to save your skin (as Shane did with Otis) or planning the execution of someone you perceive as dangerous to the group.

So,  maybe it is better Dale died. He wasn’t going to make it in this world. He pretty much lost out on the execution debate as no one had his back and thought he was some naive and delusional old man. And he said that he didn’t want to live in this kind of a world anymore. When he left the group for the last after his failed attempt trying to convince the lynch mob,he knew that things were only going to get worse from now on. His demise, while tragic, was maybe his peace.

However, if they do kill off too many characters, I suspect alienation by fans. People are drawn to not only the story but also to characters and historically, shows that have gotten rid of major characters ended up alienating the fan base, eventually facing cancellation. Dale’s death is demoralizing and it seems like AMC is hard set to kill this show, one character a time.

I conclude this by wishing Jeffrey DeMunn, a warm goodbye. I loved his character.

Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn): Final show

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  1. #1 by voxoffice on March 28, 2012 - 4:10 AM

    Jamie, can you tell me your source of that information? I thought maybe the weather was too harsh for him and that’s why Mr. DeMunn wanted to quit. I’d really like to find an official source of this info. Thanks!

  2. #2 by Jamie on March 12, 2012 - 4:21 AM

    The only reason Dale was killed off was that Jeffrey Demunn wanted to leave because Darabont was not longer involved with the show.

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