Beware: SPOILERS Abound! (That totally rhymed, but I'm going with it.)
I'm having a lot of problems with the last episode of The Walking Dead, and this time it isn't with the dialogue, which I thought was stellar last night -- but in order to bring up heavy stuff like life vs. death and survival instincts vs. human decency in this post-apocalyptic culture -- these characters are making some really stupid decisions that defy common logic.
Plot Problem One - Randall:
Rick and Hershel saved this guy only to then decide to kill him later, which begs the question, why did they save this guy in the first place? When Rick and Shane tried to drop Randall off somewhere last week so he can be about his merry way, Randall admitted he knows Maggie and Hershel... which means he knows where the farm is.
This is all news to Rick and Shane -- but it makes me wonder this: if Randall went to high school with Maggie -- why didn't Maggie recognize Randall in the first place? When he first arrived at the farm he was blindfolded, and I'm going to guess that behind a blindfold, all farms probably look the same. At some point his blindfold had to have been removed, and Maggie and Hershel came into his line of sight. Hershel I can understand not realizing who this kid was, but this is a small town -- the high school couldn't have been that big -- as soon as Maggie saw Randall (whether it was when he arrived or later), she should've recognized him and told the others that he knows who she is and where she lives. Thereby, Rick and Shane wouldn't ever have been put into danger by trying to drop Randall off -- they would've kept him at the farm and debated there what to do with him.
Plot Problem Two - The Grimes:
When this show first began, one of the major themes was Lori's insistence that Carl keep his innocence. This was somewhat challenged when Rick took Carl out to look for Sophia and Carl was accidentally shot by Otis. This lead our group to Hershel's farm, and it made Lori even more protective of Carl than she was before. So why the hell was no one watching Carl in last night's episode?
Why was he left to wander through the woods alone when after the whole mess with Sophia it should be obvious to all of the adults that the kids can't be left alone or allowed in the woods without supervision -- really, they shouldn't be in the woods period, given that Carl was being supervised by his dad when he was shot. Also, both Lori and Rick were together on the porch discussing Randall's fate and not once did either of them look at each other and wonder why the other wasn't with their son, something I'd expect any parent -- zombie-ridden world or not -- would want to know. "Hey babe, are you standing here hanging out on the porch contemplating life? Well who's watching our kid, then?"
Despite all of this inconsistency -- the dialogue last night was fantastic. These are the kind of conversations that fans have waited for: an examination into what would happen to our sense of morality and justice when everything as we know it is gone. But it was a direct result of the two major inconsistencies I mentioned above that sadly lead to Dale being killed. Rick's stupid decision to save Randall, a complete stranger, and bring him back to the farm -- risking the safety of everyone else -- only to decide to kill him anyway made zero sense. Rick and Lori's failure as watchful parents lead to Carl stupidly goading on a hungry Walker that took off after him. Then in a continuation of stupid decisions, he returned to the farm and neglected to tell anyone that there was a Walker tailing him. When Dale angrily walked away from the group, unable to witness the murder of a possibly innocent man, he walked right into Carl's Walker and was ripped apart.
All of this makes me wonder why this group as a whole, and not just Shane, hasn't taken up and questioned Rick's leading abilities. Being the sheriff doesn't necessarily qualify you to be the de facto leader of a group of survivors. Not only did Rick make a dumb call in bringing Randall to the farm, he was unable to carry out the murder once he'd decided that's what he was going to do. His neglect of his own son directly lead to another member of the group being attacked, and what's more - when it came time to put Dale out of his misery Rick couldn't pull the trigger and Daryl had to do it. Robert Kirkman's comic series may be centered on Rick Grimes, but the writing of the TV series isn't doing Rick's character any favors and frankly I'm getting tired of it -- I may just have to break from the group myself and join Team Shane.