twd s2 dale 'The Walking Dead': A death in the family + Episode 212 sneak peekIf you haven’t yet watched Sunday’s (March 4) episode of “The Walking Dead” — “Judge, Jury, Executioner” — you probably shouldn’t be reading this because we’re going to talk about the death of a major character. You also missed a 40 minute morality play that, truth be told, might be worth skipping anyway.

Too much and too little happened in this episode. Both are possible because we had some serious developments: The death of Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) growing inhumanity, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) losing his nerve and Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) unspoken decision to put her money on Shane (Jon Bernthal) to keep her alive. Frustratingly, all of the above took up about 6 total minutes of show time. The rest was (and we hate to have to say this about a Greg Nicotero-directed episode) filler.

We didn’t need another entire episode devoted to the craptastic realization these characters have already mostly processed: The world is a horrible, zombie-infested nightmare and sometimes inhumanity is the only way to remain human. 

Dale is the lone dissenter when the group decides to execute Randall (the dude Rick and Hershel saved after the gun battle at the bar). Unbeknownst to him, he changes their minds. For his trouble, he gets attacked by a zombie then (SO IRONICALLY!) shot in the head in a scene that was melodramatic (complete with maudlin music), over-acted and unsatisfying.

With only two episodes left, we hope that the show — which we totally heart and don’t like harshing on — returns to form next week (March 11). Even if AMC spoiled its big finale already (DON’T CLICK HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW), that doesn’t mean the journey there can’t be well-plotted, good TV.

Speaking of which, here’s the on-air trailer for next week’s episode, seen online first here exclusively at Zap2it:

For use on external sites w/exclusive video premieres.

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson