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'The Walking Dead' recap: The end of reason, and...

March 5, 2012 |  6:37 am

The Walking Dead

The end of Dale.

In Sunday's episode of "The Walking Dead," titled "Judge, Jury, Executioner," we said goodbye to another of Rick's band of survivors, and Dale will be missed. Especially since he was evidently the only one in this group with enough compassion to speak out against torturing and murdering a guy just because he might  cause some harm.

That guy, of course, is Randall, who at the opening of the episode, is being tortured by Daryl. This brutality is necessary, Shane and some of the others posit, because the young man has information about the band of 30 or so folks in the area with whom he had been travelling who could possibly turn up at the farm looking for a haven. Should that happen, a war could break out over the property, and Rick and the others could very well lose that battle and end up dead or worse.

All of this just further convinces Shane, who's whispering in Rick's ear, that the man is a threat -- he could easily escape and bring his gang to Hershel's since he knows the location of the farm. One might argue that before being tortured, this person would have no real incentive to rat out the group. After being tortured, however...

Rick spends a great deal of time deliberating over the man's fate, asking Lori about whether she'd support him, figuring out the best way to dispatch Randall, even fashioning a noose. Dale, on the other hand, attempts to convince the others that murdering this man would forever alter them, that the civilized world they had known only a short time ago would be forever lost to them. Hershel abstains from the discussion, choosing instead to pass along a family heirloom to Glenn.

Dale manages to win over Andrea, but it turns out that her vote isn't enough to sway Rick. Even Carl is convinced that his dad needs to kill Randall -- it's the only way to ensure their safety.

During all the various discussions about the morality of murdering an innocent man, Carl sets off on his own, wandering off and finding a zombie in the woods. He pelts the walker with rocks and ponders shooting it with a gun he pilfered, that is, until the creature breaks loose of the muddy ground where it was stuck and comes after him. Carl escapes and heads home -- then turns up in the barn just when his father's about to pull the trigger of his gun and shoot Randall in the head. It's only Carl's presence, and the fact that he wanted to watch the shooting, that convinces Rick to stand down and reconsider his decision.

Dale's already set off, though. He's heading away from the farm when he encounters the walker Carl found and is pretty much disemboweled in short order. It's left to Daryl to shoot the man to end his suffering, which is profoundly too bad. Without Dale to raise all those nagging concerns about doing what's right, zombie apocalypse or no zombie apocalypse, I fear for the future of this walker-infested world.

What did you think? Please leave your comments below.

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-- Gina McIntyre

Photo: Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale in "The Walking Dead" Credit: AMC

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