03/08/2012 05:29 pm ET Updated May 08, 2012

The Walking Dead : Judge, Jury, Executioner

Daryl starts the show with an impressive display of enhanced interrogation. It looks like he's been beating the kid, Randal, for a good few hours. The kid seems impossible to break until Dale whips out the Crocodile Dundee knife and the kid spills his guts before Dale does it for him. He tells them all about the group, the size, their location and the things they've done to people they find on the road.

Dale still seems to have some pent up regrets about Sophia and loses his cool when he hears what the other group has done to a couple of girls. Darrel returns to the group and tells them everything he's learned, and Rick decides the best thing for them to do to survive is to kill the kid. Of course Dale is trying to be the voice of reason and convinces Rick to give him until sunset to talk to the others. Dale asks Rick if he wonders what Carl would think of this decision, and Rick not so calmly tells Dale everything he's doing is for Carl.

Carl, meanwhile, is pretty much begging Shane to be let in on what's going on. Carl is obviously trying to prove that he's old enough to be included in what's going on around the camp.

While Shane and Andrea are outside the barn, watching over Randal and debating whether Rick should lead, or how quickly they should kill the kid, Carl finds a way to sneak into the barn and pretty much stares down Randal. Randal is doing a terrible job of trying to persuade Carl to let him go and help him. This part really makes it seem like the writers just phoned in what could have been a great scene for Carl to step up and show people that he's not just a helpless child.
Dale speaks to Daryl to help him convince the others not to kill Randal, and is obviously playing up Daryl's relationship with Carol and Sophia. Randal isn't buying it. He openly admits that the group is going crazy and he wants no part of what they're up to.

Carl! Oh thank you Carl. This kid has been hands down my favorite part of the show. He's kneeling over Sophia's grave when Carol comes over and says that they'll see her again in heaven. Carl says, "Heaven is just another lie." It's plain to see that he's hurting a lot and is just trying to cope with this any way possible.

It seems like everyone is finally showing signs of fatigue, both emotionally and physically this episode when Hershel tells Dale that he's leaving the fact of the kid up to Rick. It's a huge shift from when the group first arrived at the farm and he was essentially in total control of every decision.

Carl! Again! He walks around the farm and finds Daryl's little corner of the world, notices the food Daryl's caught himself, toys around with his beautiful bike, then riffles through his bags until he finds a gun. Carl holsters the sidearm and confidently strides through the woods until he comes across a walker stuck in the mud up to his ankles. He starts throwing rocks at the walker and seems to be testing his boundaries with just how stuck the walker is.

Hershel and Glenn have an actual heartfelt conversation about what could most possibly be one of the most awkward conversations in the world. Hershel tells Glenn that he thinks he's right for Maggie, and he's nowhere near as racist as I thought when he first debuted. Carl is still playing around with stuck walker by the creek. He walks around to until he's standing behind Stucky with his gun drawn, when the dead man's foot pulls free from the mud. He spins and knocks the gun from Carl's hand and grabs his ankle. Carl manages to fight free and run off. Despite his bouts of disrespect and bad-ass one-liners, he shows he's still just a boy.

Back at the farm (when Carl has shown up clean during the commercial break), the group is talking about killing Randal, Dale had one ally going into the meeting, Glenn, but he switched sides during the debate.

They suggest keeping him prisoner which makes absolutely no sense. But they address exactly what i was thinking before I got the chance to yell at the screen. Rick asks if anyone wants to speak before they make a judgment, and after a few awkward glances around the room, Dale speaks up. He admits that he hates what the world has become, and is desperately fighting to hold on to what they used to be. Andrea sides with him, which seems to take Shane a little by surprise. Sadly, she's the only one that speaks out.
They walk the Kid out to the barn to pass judgment and he starts weeping and begging forgiveness. Rick puts him down on his knees and is about to pull the trigger when Carl (Carl!) walks in and says (I shit you not) 'do it, dad. do it.' Shane losses it and drags Carl out of the barn. Rick is clearly bothered by this and decides they're going to keep Randal prisoner for a while.

Dale wanders off for a stroll and comes across what I at first thought was a zombie cow. He sees the stomach has been ripped open and as he turns to return to the camp, he's face to face with Stuck Zombie! Dale puts up a good fight as the rest of the camp comes running after him. Stuck Zombie reaches down and ribs open Dale's stomach. The rest of the camp arrives just in time to find Dale with his insides draining out of him. While Shane (taking Rick's advice from last week) stabs the walker in the head, the group asks Hershel if there's anything they could do to save Dale. After a quick run-through of how Dale isn't going to make it, Rick grabs his gun and points it at Dales head. Carl then realizes that the walker that took Dale down is the same one he was toying with in at the creek and immediately runs to his mother and starts crying into her arms. Rick can't seem to bring himself to shoot Dale, so Daryl takes the gun, kneels down next to him, whispers, "Sorry brother," and pulls the trigger.

Now all the crap I've spoken about Dale being the voice of reason with those cheesy motivational lines just seems in poor taste. Dale was always the one to go against the harsh judgments because he was probably the only one that wanted to hold on to the life they had before all of the zombies started eating people. More so than Rick did in season one.

I'm a huge fan of the comic (in case you couldn't tell), but I love how different the show is from the material it's based on, and Daryl is quickly stepping up to be the best addition to the show.
Everything I said about the slow pacing is now officially a thing of the past. This episode is one of my all time favorites. (Well at least of the 20 something that have already aired). It was beautiful and filled with character depth as well as action and great stories. Keep this up and I'll never utter another word about the drag race that was season two part one.