There is a big moment in this episode, which sends one character on a path that has no return. It’s powerful, horrendous and above all, justifiable. Well justifiable for the character in question. However this big revelation will probably dwarf most of the other story progression that was done in this episode when people look back. Which is a shame as there is a lot to like about this latest installment.As poor little Carl still fights for his life, Lori comes to a realisation that is chillingly practical. In a world full of horror, would it be better if Carl just dies. It’s a perfectly sound ethical question as she decides what’s best for her son. Again Sarah Wayne Callies is given some meat to work with here and as her Lori moves away from her ‘everything will be fine, be strong’ attitude from the last episode, it’s hard not to agree with her new point of view. Lori has always been lacking somewhat compared to the other character, but finally this season she is getting a lot of fleshing out.Without a doubt the wonderful Andrew Lincoln enhances Callies’ performance. They seem to be showing a degree of chemistry they never had before. Their scenes are the emotional underpinning of the episode and as the show progresses Callies’ Lori may finally be coming away from the problems that held her down last season. As always in this show Lincoln delivers another fantastic performance as Rick continues to fight for his sons life. However it will be nice to see Rick (and the other characters) enjoy some sort of downtime, if or when Carl recovers.
Norman Reedus and Laurie Holden have a great handful of scenes here. Reedus’ Daryl is moving far away from his original portrayal, which seems to be a common theme this season as we begin to better understand what lies beneath the surface of our survivors. His determination to save little Sophia is commendable, but it’s his on the fly survival counselling which is a true joy to watch. Daryl recounts his past life as he travels in the wood with Holden’s Andrea. In an attempt on his part not only to better understand her, but to also offer her a hand of friendship. They do encounter someone else who had “opted out” and from this Andrea does seem to move herself away from her previous suicidal goals. These two characters work so well together that it’s a joy to watch and hopefully the foundations have been laid out for a very interesting friendship.
Even though this episode has some great moments of character development it does seem that some of the other cast have been moved into the background. Carol has essentially been crying since episode one, understandable since her daughter is missing but it is getting tedious. Dale and Glenn get a few moments to shine but they are criminally underused. As for T-Dog well he has just become dead weight. A stereotype that is in desperate need of some characterisation.
Now we move onto to Shane whose actions essentially steal the show. Jon Berthnal builds on the fantastic work done last issue and delivers another sublime performance. The big revelation in this episode is all about Shane. It has been telegraphed for a while and to be honest isn’t a real surprise for the character. In fact to is so well signposted most viewers will guess the outcome well in advance of the actual event. However it is sold to us in such a way that it is still shocking. But the biggest triumph here is that when all the dust settles and Shane is starring in the mirror, we agree with his actions. It will be interesting to see what happens next indeed.
So, this episode packs a big punch. But it is more than that as we continue to see some great character work being done here. Shane and Lori have both become far more interesting this season and the show is stronger for it. Now that the current crisis seems to be over our characters may have a moment to relax. Which will hopefully allow some of the more underused members of the cast get some screen time.