The Walking Dead “Judge, Jury, Executioner” Review

“Shoot ‘im, dad! Do it!”

At that point I knew that poor blindfolded Randall would live.

“Shoot ‘im, dad! Do it!”

Those words, spoken by Carl (Chandler Riggs), drove a hot spike into the cooled heart of Rick (Andrew Lincoln), just when he was about the yank that trigger—just when he’d finally worked himself into doing what was (by most forms of logic) the “right” thing.

The irony being, of course, that the logical and “right” thing was the morally “wrong” thing. And who had put it better than Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn)? The execution of Randall (Michael Zegen, coming across as a sort of younger Michael Imperioli) was going to cost the group its soul, the way he saw it.

And he could have been right. Ironic he was the one to lose his life.

Readers of The Walking Dead comic book are probably a little shocked right about now. Dale certainly wasn’t supposed to die this early. Granted, certain facts concerning this character have differed from the comic book; he did not, for one, end up sleeping with “two young hotties.” (Or even Andrea.)

But we couldn’t have known it would end like this: guts ripped out by the zombie Carl failed to kill and removed from his misery by a gun wielded by a character—Daryl (Norman Reedus)—that doesn’t even exist in the comic book.

The book fans might be going bonkers about now. But really? AMC made Dale a little more realistic.

The episode title “Judge, Jury, Executioner” was all about Rick and the burden he was placing on his own shoulders. But this episode was really more about the supporting characters; Dale and his one-man crusade; Andrea (Laurie Holden) coming to the realization that she and Shane (Jon Bernthal) aren’t always on the same page; Glenn (Steven Yeun) coming to grips with his relationship with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) eve as Herschel (Scott Wilson) grants him a show of acceptance…

But the star of this one was Carl, who went through his own personal journey of self-discovery. Probably the best scene in “Judge, Jury, Executioner” was him watching that zombie; the various stages of recognition, and the incremental steps he took while straddling the line between fear and fascination.

(A completely separate argument can now arise regarding Carl’s absolutely idiotic decision to get anywhere within lunging distance of that zombie. It’s sometimes as though The Walking Dead cheerfully invites us into “Stupid People Doing Stupid Things” land. Captain No-Prize says: Carl is clearly his mother’s son.)

And he certainly learned the consequences of inaction. Or at least the consequences of panic. Riggs played that well, there, at the end. Self-loathing isn’t something they teach the kids to play in the Disney machine.

And Carl showed Rick, just as he was about to pull that trigger, a very less-than human-looking mirror staring back at him. The look on Rick’s face was near-devestation.

Just two more episodes left this season! I suspect Randall will not have a kind fate, the way things are going, but much like all the other character on the show—I kind of don’t care.

Dale’s death has me back on pins and needles. Anyone can die, pretty much. Can’t wait to see who lives to see season 3.

If you want to avoid certain death at the hands of the Disney machine, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker!