'The Walking Dead' recap, episode 211: 'Judge, Jury, Executioner'

'Would you like to stand, or kneel?'

  • Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs)
Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) (Gene Page/AMC )
March 04, 2012|By Andrew Conrad, aconrad@tribune.com

Well, they can't all be winners.

Sunday night's episode of "The Walking Dead" on AMC took a step back from last week's installment, when ten zombies were iced and many more had face time.

This week, we spent about 55 minutes (including commercial breaks) hemming, hawing, pleading, pussyfooting, wavering, flip-flopping and beating around the bush.

Basically, Carl turns into Goofus and sasses his elders, taunts the dead, steals firearms and cheers for executioners. Everyone else spends the whole episode trying to figure out how to solve a problem like Randall.

Then in the last five minutes, Dale saw a zombie Brahman bull, got his guts ripped out by a P90X zombie and then took a bullet in the brain from Daryl. (Dale, Daryl, Dale, Daryl, get it? Yeah, me neither.)


Oh, whoops, sorry. You're supposed to put that before the spoiler!

Anyway, that pretty much gets us up to date on the major plot developments of Sunday night's episode. It reminded me of the midseason finale, when nothing happened until Shane busted that whole dang barn door open and it started a zombie mascot parade massacre.

I guess the season is kind of like a fireworks show. They set off like a dozen fireworks at once and it's like pop-pop-pop-poppity-pop! And everyone is like "Let's go!" and then it all slows down to pop ... pop and everyone lays back down on their picnic blanket and sips their glass of wine and is like, "Isn't this nice?"

Except with the Internet and fans of graphic novels, people aren't very patient, so I bet everyone is going to be upset on Twitter and Lycos with the pace of this episode. I'm OK with it, as long as we get a lot more action next week.

Dale Horvath, or Atticus Finch?

The whole episode builds up to this big "Inherit the Wind," "A Few Good Men," courtroom showdown between Dale and Rick. And when the big moment arrives, Dale dominates Rick with his tearful speech! Dale's all gesturing with his hands like a community theatre actor, wringing his Gilligan hat. And the whole time, Rick is just like "Duh, uh, I think we should kill him. I'll protect yewww!"

Here are a few of Dale's knockout punches:

  • "This is a young mans life, and it is worth more than a five minute conversation!"
  • "Is this what it's come to, we kill someone because we can't decide what else to do with him?"
  • "If we do this we're saying there is no hope. Rule of law is dead. There is no civilization."
  • "This new world is ugly, it's harsh, it's survival of the fittest, and that's a world that I don't want to live in. I don't believe that any of you do. I can't. Please, let's just do what's right."
  • "You'll go hide your heads in your tents and try to forget that we're slaughtering a human being."

A fitting farewell

Dale's last action before getting blasted is a heart-rending twitch of his coniferous brows, as if to say "Fare thee well, sweet friends. Please smile when you think about me. My body's gone, that's all."

Deliverance Dale

Remember in "Deliverance" when... — (that introduction almost always ends with "...Ned Beatty was raped by hicks?" but not here!) — ...Drew got all shaken up by the way Burt Reynolds coldly murdered that raper hick and then died shortly after? Dale's death kind of reminded me of that.

Weakest arm

Carl, throwing rocks at that zombie with the size 22 waist. The first time he winds up and releases it looks like he's throwing with Woody Allen's non-dominant arm. Then he tries again and ... *sad slide whistle sound*.

Second place: Daryl. When he's giving Randall all those knuckle sandwiches it looks like he's trying way too hard. He's doing all these little crow hops like Happy Gilmore or something, and it just looks way too unnatural.

Did you notice?

Carl approaching Randall and that zombie all wide-eyed and full of wonderment was eerily similar to Carl approaching that deer in the season two premiere when he got sniped by Otis.


  • Daryl's hog has a Nazi "SS" sticker on the gas tank?
  • Glenn is from Michigan by way of Korea?
  • Shane loads Zelliger high velocity ammo into the trunk of his Hyundai?

Father of the Year contest

Rick vs. Hershel.

Hershel sings the Doodlebug song to Beth, who's learning how to smile again. Rick teaches wild-at-heart Carl a lesson by telling him "Don't talk, think. That's a good rule of thumb for life."

Verdict: Tie.

A thing that I wish had happened

When Hershel produced that watch to give to Glenn, I wish that he had explained how it had been hidden up a pair of poop chutes in a Vietnamese prison camp for seven years so that Glenn could have it.

The big question

Do they bury Dale in his Gilligan bucket hat? If not, who gets it? (Fingers crossed that it's T-Dog!)

In other news

Lots of web sites have been reporting on the accidental release on the AMC web site of the impending death of Shane. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I'm pretty sure that AMC did that on purpose to generate a bunch of hype.

The T-Dog drinking game

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