So Shane’s dead. Yeah, yeah, spoilers, blah blah blah. The penultimate episode of Season 2 of The Walking Dead was surprisingly good, due mostly to the ending. The tension between Rick and Shane came to an abrupt climax when Shane saw the opportunity to solve the (prisoner) Randall problem and his Rick problem in one fell swoop.
I liked that over the past few episodes the writers built a false sense of security in the Shane/Rick relationship: after the fistfight in Episode 10, “Eighteen Miles Out,” we thought there might be a possibility of reconciliation. Even when Shane started agitating for a harder line about security, we thought that at most there might be a leadership struggle, maybe an outright mutiny. But Shane’s decision to arrange the cold-blooded murder of his best friend was a surprise, despite the fact that in hindsight it makes sense. I figured Shane would get killed off at some point, since in the comics he dies relatively early on. It’s sad to see a favorite character go, but this also means that the themes and plot devices of this season have been fully played out, and the story will have to evolve and continue in a different way now. New conflict will need to be established. And with the tide of walkers approaching the farm (rather arbitrarily, don’t you think?), we’ll see whether they group ends up staying or going.