Season five is still months away and I’m having a great deal of nostalgia. Let’s go back, way back to season two…Shane, Jon Bernthal had the shock, the dignity, and the absolute pleasure of portraying Shane Walsh one of the most popular characters on The Walking Dead before Hershel, to ever get killed off twice. (In fact, Jon Bernthal “Shane” is probably the only actor in TV land to have that privilege!) In a cast stacked with solid talent, Bernthal’s was a magnificent presentation that merits recognition. Season two was a long emotional arc, Jon portrayal was an out-and-out Bataan Death March of manic deterioration. I enjoyed the flashbacks to the world before walkers revealed Shane to be a responsive, loving, brawny friend to Rick. Sadly, by the end of Shane’s character arc, after destiny had played many cruel jokes upon him, Shane was literally trim down to a frantic man hugging to the last scrap of reality that made sense to him: protecting Lori and Carl and his, alleged unborn child.
In the episode of “The Walking Dead,” titled “Better Angels,” Jon Bernthal’s character (Shane) is disgruntled Sheriff Deputy, that finally met his demise at the hands of old friend-turned-foe Rick Grimes. After luring Rick out into a field in search of missing prisoner Randall whom Shane had already killed, Shane turned his gun on Rick, ready to kill his former best friend/partner and thinks he will inherit his Rick’s “broken wife” and “fragile boy” as his own family, once again. Rick talked Shane down, but what looked to be a peace offering was a deception of its own: Rick plunged a knife through Shane’s heart, killing him. Seconds later, Shane was back on his feet, as a walker no doubt looking to finish the job. Fortunately for Rick, Carl arrived on time; gun in hand, to put a bullet through Shane’s brain. I guess Carl was not so weak after all! Shane’s death was always an inevitable in my mind; I bet yours too; yes? I wondered after watching “Better Angles” was Shane’s death always part of the plot.
With that in mind, there was only one way for the Rick/Shane confrontation to end. Though Shane is killed by young Carl in the comics, it was important, I think to the “The Walking Dead” writers/producers that Rick be the one to bury the knife. Unfortunately, Rick has to be the one to kill Shane. He needs to take back control of the group and oddly killing Shane paved the path in him doing so. Without a doubt Shane was an enormous loss for him and for the others in the group…Shane was fearless and first-class in weaponry training, remember Andrea became a superb shooter due to Shane. Rick went from hesitant /wimpy leader to assertive decision-maker. If you think about it the successful metamorphosis regarding Rick was made feasible by Shane’s demised.
Lastly, Shane Walsh, was magnificent, stubborn, Otis-killing, Lori Grimes-obsessed, pseudo-bald bastard. Shane had to die…. because the “The Walking Dead” producers/writers pledged major developments in this season’s two final episode, and major developments in a show about a horrifying dead people walking usually mean casualties. Shane had to die….. Because Lori made that speech about how much she appreciated what Shane had done for her, which the first red flag was waving in the breeze that Shane Walsh was not going to live through this episode. Still, it’s a little sad. Shane stood out as possibly the most forceful conflicted character in season two. It was never clear what Shane might do next, and on a show where everyone has had the same argument at least five times, a dose of randomness was welcome.
In the end, Shane had to go and get stabbed and then shot by the Grimes boys, but Shane was such a prick he had to die “twice.” Bravo! Jon Bernthal for playing the heck out of Shane that he had to die not once but twice…..
Feedback is always welcome in my neck of the woods