Any thoughts that this season of "The Walking Dead" (Sun., 9 p.m. EST on AMC) might end quietly were thrown out the window with this week's installment. Dale's death last week proved to be just the catalyst for the end of life as the survivors have come to know it.
While Rick was hoping the group could honor Dale's death by hanging onto their humanity and living their lives in the way Dale kept hoping they would, Shane still saw things his way. Dale's death had nothing to do with the prisoner, and so when Rick again put forth the plan to lead him away from the farm and let him go, Shane took matters into his own hands.
He hauled the kid into the woods and broke his neck, injuring himself against a tree to corroborate his lie, only the lie fell apart on two fronts: Glenn and Daryl found the kid -- now a zombie -- and quickly realized how he'd died and they also found the blood on the trees. But they were alone with this information, and that's where they were at the end of the episode when all hell broke loose on Rick and Carl.
Rick and Shane had also gone off to look for the prisoner, but Rick started putting things together on his own. Finally, Shane once again decided to simply kill Rick and take Lori and Carl as his own. And Rick saw that this was never going to change. And so, he sweet-talked Shane close, and stabbed him in the gut.
Only a few moments later, Carl came upon the scene. When Rick tried to explain it to him, Carl raised his gun. Ultimately, he shot the zombie that Shane had suddenly become, shambling toward them, but that gun was raised long before Shane reanimated.
After that shocking moment, the camera panned back to show a herd of the walking dead making their way across the field toward Rick and Carl. Beyond them lies the farm. Everything is about to change.
Next Sunday, it's "The Walking Dead" season finale at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.
BEFORE YOU GO
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misidentified Glenn as T-Dog. We apologize for any confusion.