I don't proclaim to be the biggest TWD fan. In fact, I didn't watch the entire first season and I haven't read the comics. So keep those things in mind as you read this. (Warning: spoilers ahead.)
Last night's episode, "Judge, Jury, Executioner" deals with the group's dilemma of whether or not to execute their prisoner, Randall. Honestly, they should have left the kid back in town (after "putting him down" humanely after he impaled his leg jumping off of a rooftop) if all they were going to do is just nurse him back to health & then drop him off back in zombieland. I guess then we would have missed some dramatics & a little torture from my favorite redneck, Daryl Dixon. Actually, he's the only redneck that doesn't make me want to denounce living in the South.
Shane & Rick agree that Randall is a threat & want to kill him. Floppy-hat wearing Dale tries to talk the others into saving Randall's life & at the same time saving their own humanity. Daryl, who claims that "the group is broken" doesn't care one way or the other if Randall lives or dies. He insinuates that everyone knew that Shane killed Otis, but no one was willing to do anything about it.
Throughout the episode, Carl is really driving home the perils of an unsupervised child. He sneaks into the barn with Randall only to be scolded by Shane. He cruelly tells Carol that she's stupid if she believes in Heaven after she assures him that they'll see Sophia again in the afterlife. (What a jerk!) Carl even takes a gun from Daryl's motorcycle bag & stumbles upon a walker in the woods. He taunts the zombie, who was trapped in the mud and ends up dropping his weapon after getting too close to the walker. I was so irritated with the child that I was hoping he was done for, but Carl manages to get back to the farm in one piece.
At a group meeting Dale pleads his case. I can see why Dale doesn't want to exist in a "survival of the fittest" world, since he's not the most fit member of the group, but in the end he is only able to convince Andrea to stand up for the prisoner & it seems as though Randall's fate is sealed.
Daryl, Rick, & Shane take Randall into the barn where he is blindfolded in preparation to be shot. Rick's gun is aimed at the prisoner when Carl enters & coldly tells his father to kill him. Rick can't go through with it. Surprise, surprise.
Dale seeks solace in the outdoors but after finding an eviscerated cow is brutally & quickly attacked by a walker. Shane takes care of the zombie as everyone looks at Dale in horror. Rick suggests that Hershel operate on him there in the field, but it's too late to save him. When Carl sees the walker, he realizes that it's the same one he was antagonizing in the woods earlier & seems terrified. (Good. I hope he's scared for life.) Daryl ends up being the one who puts Dale out of his misery after a quiet farewell. Call me crazy, but I don't think Rick is tough enough to be the leader of a group during the zombie apocalypse.
My reaction to Dale's death? Meh. He was annoying, but at least he had *something* to add to the show. There are some characters that I forget are even there at times. (Ahem, T-Dog.)
The episode also contained a somewhat touching scene between Hershel & Glenn where Hershel gives Glenn his approval of the relationship between Glen & his daughter. (Snoozefest.) At least Maggie didn't have many lines this week. Something about her accent/voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.