Spoiler Alert. Spoiler Alert! #Spoiler Alert – You’ve been warned, spoilers lie ahead, so don’t come crying to me because I don’t want to hear it.
Well reader, it only took me a few weeks longer to finish this than I had originally anticipated. So without further delay, here’s my recap for The Walking Dead: Season Finale – Beside the Dying Fire. Maybe I’ll manage to put these recaps out in a timely manner when Season 3 rolls around. Probably not, but here’s hoping. Before I delve into the season finale, I’ll recap the important events that you may have missed if you’re just joining us. Sophia’s Dead. Dale’s Dead. Shane’s Dead. The good news is, Randal’s dead too. Any questions?
Don’t get too torn up, they’ll be having company soon…
Beside the Dying Fire begins with the walkers in some sort of mass migration. We don’t find out why they’re moving but it was a good enough reason for them to not finish their dinner. And considering that eating is pretty much all walkers do, I’d imagine that whatever is driving them to migrate is pretty damn important. Their migration leads them to the perimeter fence of Hershel’s farm. They clumsily bump into it until it breaks. No, I wasn’t just describing my first sexual experience. Once the fence is breached they stumble forward until they’re drawn to the sound of a gunshot; Carl’s gunshot that killed walker-Shane. And with that, what once was a cozy place to live just became an undead nightmare.
And the outbreak continues…
Everyone is gathered in the living room anxiously awaiting Rick, Shane, Glenn and Daryl’s return. Tensions are high and everyone is more than a little bit nervous. Glenn and Daryl return but there’s no sign of Rick or Shane. Daryl tells the group that Randal is dead and on top of that he turned into a walker, without being bit. And the plot thickens…
Rick and Carl are casually taking a walk after having killed Shane twice. Carl asks Rick how Shane died. Rick hesitates, not ready to tell Carl what happened just yet. Before Rick can feed Carl the ole, “I’ll tell you when you’re older” line, a swarm of walkers interrupt their father-son time and force them to run for their lives. Walkers were never known for their manners.
Come on y’all, let’s not be greedy!
Daryl, Andrea, and Glenn step out on the porch as they prepare to go look for Rick, at Lori’s behest, only to find themselves staring at a horde of walkers. Needless to say, the beer run is called off.
Rick and Carl make a mad dash for the barn and barricade themselves inside. A bunch of hungry, hungry, walkers are right behind them and start going Jehovah’s Witness on the barn doors.
In the barn, Rick and Carl are pouring gasoline all over the floor. Rick gives Carl a quick lesson on how-to-profit from arson insurance. Rick entrusts Carl with his lighter so he can get the walker BBQ going. To lure the walkers into their makeshift BBQ pit, Rick uses himself as bait while Carl gets to high ground. Rick taunts the walkers, telling them to kiss the fattest part of his ass. They rush into the barn, not taking too kindly to his remarks. Once Rick climbs to safety, Carl drops the lighter like a natural pyro and the walkers are involuntarily cremated.
Remember all those fires back home? That was me dad, my bad.
Daryl rides his chopper to the barn, which is now engulfed in flames, and starts popping off shots at the walkers. Head shot. Head shot. Head shot. Maggie, Glenn, T-dog and Andrea cruise around the farm doing drive-by’s. Maggie navigates the sea of walkers while Glenn rides shotgun. Andrea rides shotgun with T-dog as they head-shot walkers like expert marksman. Seriously, no one misses a single shot and every shot lands right between the eyes.
In another life they easily could have been contestants on Top Shot.
Seemingly out of nowhere, there’s some random guy driving an RV around. Who the hell is this guy? Ah, that’s right I remember seeing him very briefly in Judge, Jury, Executioner. Again, who the hell is this guy? He pretty much appeared out of nowhere and by comparison makes T-dog look important. Oh well, it really won’t matter in a little bit anyway.
Daryl explains to Jimmy that it was probably Rick and Shane who started the fire in the barn so he should circle around back and help them out. Jimmy does just that, allowing Rick and Carl to escape; leaping from the second story of the barn to the top of the RV. Rick goes Call of Duty on the walkers surrounding the RV as he and Carl make their escape. Jimmy, on the other hand, is not so lucky. Rick and Carl stop briefly to witness Jimmy’s blood spattering on the RV’s windshield as he’s rewarded for his efforts by being savagely eaten.
So long Jimmy, we hardly knew ya…
Glenn and Andrea continue to use walkers as target practice. Not that they need any, since every single shot that’s fired blows a walkers head off. Hershel is mowing down walkers left and right, proclaiming that they shall not pass. Lori is finally convinced that they need to get the hell out of the house and the hell away from there before they’re killed. She screams for Hershel to join them but he doesn’t pay her any mind, he’s having far too much fun exploding his boom stick. Meanwhile, the females make a break for it and Patricia (who?) gets plucked from Beth’s hands and nom’ed on. Beth struggles to pull her away from the walkers but after one of the walkers takes a huge bite out of her neck, she’s done for. The death toll of red shirts has now risen to two. Lori and Beth leave Patricia to her demise and escape to live another day. Carol gets herself backed up into a corner with only a piece of wood to defend herself with. It’s not looking good for her until T-dog and Andrea swoop in to save the day.
I was wondering the same thing
Andrea goes to rescue Carol while Lori and Beth hop in T-dog’s ride. Andrea takes out the two walkers who were surrounding Carol but Andrea doesn’t notice that there’s a walker sneaking up behind her. Carol cries out to warn her. Andrea turns around and the walker is only inches from her face. It tries to give her a smooch, she shoots it in the face and it collapses on top of her. From the relative safety of their vehicle, T-dog, Lori and whoever else is packed into their car at this point, assess whether or not Andrea can be saved. There isn’t much time to debate as walkers surround them and start pounding on the car like a mob of bums wanting to wash their windows. From their vantage point, all they can see is that Andrea went down, so really why bother with her when they have their own asses to save.
For the last time, I don’t want my windshield washed!
Glenn and Maggie run into a dead-end. Get it? Glenn breaks it to Maggie that it’s time to cut and run. She’s worried about the others and doesn’t want to leave them behind. So Glenn is like, “Did I stutter, bitch? We got’s to go!”
Hershel is still piling up walkers on his front lawn, not missing a beat. But a walker is sneaking up on him as he reloads his shotgun. This is starting to look like a reoccurring theme. The walker is nearly close enough to nibble on Hershel’s neck when Rick saves the day and literally sprays the walker’s blood on the back of Hershel’s head. We now have an approximation of what Hershel would look like as a red-head. Not a bad look, I must say. In spite of Hershel’s stubbornness and declaration to die defending his farm, Rick convinces him in about a half second to leave with him. Rick drags him to his truck, they load up and drive off, but not before Hershel bashes one last walker in the face with the butt of his gun. Andrea spots Rick’s car as they’re leaving; she tries to hitch a ride but they don’t see or hear her. Either that or they just don’t like her near enough to waste gas picking her up. She is a bit of a bitch after all. Unable to hail a cab, Andrea snatches Hershel’s bag of guns and makes her escape on foot.
Get off my lawn!
Daryl sits, stoic, on his motorcycle watching the chaos unfold. He hears Carol screaming for help. She’s desperately trying to run away; flailing her arms wildly like she’s covered in spider webs or something. Daryl tells her to hurry the hell up because he doesn’t have all day. Carol hops on his chopper and they make their escape.
Choppers are great when you’re trying not to draw attention to yourself, right?
Once they’re a good distance away, Maggie starts freaking out and asks Glenn if everyone else managed to make it off the farm, as if Glenn is omnipresent and can actually give her an answer. Glenn assures her that in a worst case scenario, they can always repopulate the Earth. Glenn decides to take charge of the situation and tells Maggie to stop the car and get out because he’s going to take the wheel since she’s having a damn panic attack. Glenn finally man’s up and tells Maggie that he loves her and everything is going to be okay. Props to Glenn for finally expressing his feelings for Maggie, but telling her that everything is going to be okay? Come on Glenn, it’s not kosher to start a relationship based on a lie.
Hey Maggie! I finally found my nuts!
Rick, Carl and Hershel pull up to a car with Sophia written across the windshield. So far they’re the only ones who made the rendezvous. Carl starts acting up and yelling for his mama; he wants to go back and find her. Rick tells him to hush because they can’t risk going back for her. Hershel offers to stay and wait for the rest of the group while Rick gets Carl to safety. Where ever that’s supposed to be. Rick considers his plan for about a second then decides that it’s better for everyone to stick together. Plus Rick really isn’t trying to spend an extended period time alone with Carl.
Maybe we should wait for Lori, I’m not trying to watch him all day
Lori tries to tell T-dog to turn around and go to the rendezvous point. T-dog is like, “Look, I understand you want to find your family and all. But let’s be real. I’ve somehow managed to survive on this show, for how long? I’m not about to get myself killed now!” So Lori threatens that if T-dog doesn’t turn around she and Beth will jump out of the car. Beth really gets no say in the matter, I highly doubt she even knew what was going on at that point. Regardless, that’s all the convincing that T-dog needed. He knows damn well that if he splits with Beth and Lori he’s likely to get written out of the show completely.
You made it through two seasons, T-dog. Hold your head up high!
After some time has passed, Rick decides that he’ll go with Hershel’s plan after all. Just as Rick tells Carl that it’s time to go, you hear the roar of Daryl’s bad ass chopper. Right behind them is everyone else who didn’t get made into walker dessert, minus Andrea of course. Impeccable timing. As they do a headcount they realize that they’re a few people short. Lori questions Rick about Shane and Rick shakes his head. Glenn asks about Andrea. Carol mentions that Andrea saved her, then went down and T-dog confirms it. I didn’t bother counting T-dog lines in this episode but it definitely approaches double digits due to his exchange with Lori earlier. Go T-dog, not only did you not get eaten, you were allowed to speak. Someone asks about Patricia and Beth explains that she got gobbled up right before her very eyes. Then Beth asks Rick about Jimmy and Rick is like, “who?” Then he’s like “Oh ya, that guy. He helped save us more important characters and then got eaten or something.” Fair trade if you ask me.
Oh? That’s who those people were. Oh well, no big loss.
Daryl says that he’s going to go back for Andrea since no one actually saw her die. Even though up to this point everyone was acting like she was dead. Rick tells Daryl not to waste his time. Rick explains that he didn’t even turn around to pick her up when she was just a few feet from him, so there’s no reason to go all the way back to look for her. Plus, if she’s even still alive she’s shit out of luck because there’s no way to find her. Daryl doesn’t bother to argue. More than likely he just felt obligated to say something heroic.
Andrea is very much alive and she’s fighting for her life in the woods. I fucking love this scene. For all of Andrea’s bitchiness she’s a damn survivor and I have to give her credit for that. She checks the ammo bag that she swiped from Hershel’s farm and realizes that she’s only a few bullets away from being proper fucked. So she improvises and smashes the first walker that comes her way into a tree and then curb stomps it. She drops three more walkers with her three last bullets, again with perfectly placed head shots.
Hoe check, bitch!
Rick alerts the group that he’s running low on fuel so they better be ready to roast marshmallows because they’ll be camping out for the night. Maggie and Glenn offer to go look for gas right then but Rick argues that they need to wait until morning. Rick reminds everyone that they’re lucky that everyone who survived was able to find one another afterwards, save for Andrea. I’m sure she’s doing fine and dandy on her own anyhow. In light of that, Rick feels that everybody needs to stick together. The survivors more or less scoff at Rick’s pep talk. Hershel acts as Rick’s lone cheerleader while most everyone else second guesses him.
Daryl chimes in to share some info about Randall. Hopefully this will be his last remembrance and he’ll fade into obscurity. Daryl explains that Shane killed Randall, just like he always wanted to, and Randall turned into a walker but without being bitten first. Lori asks if walkers gobbled up Shane afterwards and if that’s why he couldn’t make their camping trip. Rick reluctantly reveals a little secret that he learned from the CDC: everyone is infected. Whether you get bitten or not, when you die you become a walker. Rick’s revelation turns out to be a bit of a buzz kill. Carol, of course, gets all pissy. Daryl asks Rick if he had known the entire time. Rick acknowledges that he had known the whole time but he was waiting for a right time to let everybody know and since everyone’s morale was already through the floor it seemed like a prime opportunity. Rick asks everyone to give him a break; how could he have known for sure given that Jenner from the CDC is batshit crazy. Glenn pipes up like, “Hey man, that’s not your call.” It’s not like Rick’s been their leader the entire time or anything. Rick simply states that he thought it would be better if not everyone knew. Rick walks away, leaving everyone with something pretty hefty to chew on. Just when they thought they’d heard the last of the bad news, here comes Lori…
Lori wraps her arms around Rick and rests her head on his back. It’s just what Rick needs, a little bit of comfort and support from his loving wife. She begins saying that she knows that Rick must have had a reason for what he did. Rick cuts her off and tells her what happened to Shane. The second the words, “I killed Shane” leave Rick’s mouth, Lori let’s go of Rick and backs away. You’d think she would have embraced him closer, maybe even given him a high-five considering he did precisely what she had told him needed to be done. Instead, she does the complete opposite and makes Rick feel like a complete asshole. Rick tells her that after he killed Shane, Shane turned into walker, and Carl was the one that put him down. I can definitely sympathize with her reaction; she jolts forward like she had been punched in the gut. Even for a neglectful parent like herself, I’d imagine it would be devastating for her to hear that her son killed someone who had been a second father to him, even if it was briefly, despite Shane being a walker at that point. Rick goes onto explain that once he saw Shane become a walker, that’s when he knew for sure that Jenner from the CDC was telling the truth. Rick reveals that his motive for killing Shane was not simply because he realized that Shane had lured him out into the woods and was planning to kill him. It was largely because he had enough of Shane acting like he was standing in the way of him being with Lori again and raising Carl. Shane even confessed that was his motive for wanting to kill Rick. Regardless, Lori has no sympathy for Rick and no remorse for being the catalyst for Shane’s death. She instead, callously shoves Rick away when he tries to console her and glares at him, seething with scorn and disgust.
Fuck you Lori!
Meanwhile, Andrea is still running for her life. The entire time I can’t help but think that there’s no way they can put Andrea through all this just for her to die! She keeps fighting on; she pistol whips a walker and finishes it off by bashing its skull in with her gun. Next up. Andrea plunges a knife in a walker’s mouth with such force that she loses her balance and falls over. Another walker climbs on top of her. She attempts to scoot away from it but she does a poor job. It looks as though it’s the end for Andrea when… Holy Shit! A chick wearing a black cloak, wielding a samurai sword, towing two arm-less walkers comes to her rescue! The samurai chick decapitates the walker like it’s just another day at the office. Andrea looks as frightened as she is relieved; she’s in complete awe.
And so am I because that shit was bad ass!
Now everyone’s gathered around the camp fire. Carol gets in Daryl’s ear arguing that they’re not safe with Rick because he kept one little secret from them. Obviously that trumps the countless amount of times Rick’s risked his life to save them. She questions why Daryl even needs him. Daryl shrugs off her worry and says he and Rick are cool. She insults Daryl, calling him a henchman and rightfully refers to herself as a burden. Maggie suggests to Glenn that they should take their chances and Hershel is like,” Are you stupid? You have no food, fuel, or ammo! I know I raised you better than that!”
There’s a sound in the trees and everyone’s on high alert. It could be anything: a raccoon, a possum or even a flesh-eating walker. Oh my! Carol is like, “what are we waiting for guys? Let’s run out blindly into the darkness!” Rick tells everyone to be quiet and everyone is staying put. Maggie suggests that they go check it out and Rick reiterates that everyone needs to stay put. Carol nags Rick, asking him to do something. Rick is like, “what the hell woman?! I am doing something! You know, like keeping everyone together and alive.” At that point Rick’s had more than enough of being second guessed, undermined, and unappreciated so he flips his shit.
Rick reveals to the survivors that he was forced to kill his best friend, he killed Shane, for those ungrateful bastards. Carl looks at Rick like, “Daddy no!” Everyone else is like mind=blown, they can’t believe what they just heard. Rick tries to justify his actions, not just to the group but to himself. Rick explains that he had no choice, Shane staged Randal’s escape so that he could kill him. Carl starts crying. Big surprise there. Rick declares that his hands are clean, he only did what he needed to do. Everyone just stands there, speechless.
Rick loses it completely; he can’t help but be facetious and claims that maybe everyone would better off without him. So for those who wanted to leave, he let’s them know that the door’s right there. They can send him a postcard if they manage to not get themselves killed. Not surprisingly, no one volunteers. Rick finishes his verbal hoe checking of the survivors by letting them know that he’s in charge now. There will be no more back talk or naysayin’. Hershel surprisingly looks somewhat comforted now that the kid gloves are off and Rick has his big boy pants on now.
Beside the Dying Fire ends with a cryptic view of a prison-complex in the distance. I’m sure the thought of being locked away in prison never seemed so appealing.
– The “Satiated” Prometheus
For more delicious Walking Dead goodness, indulge in my previous recaps:
The Walking Dead: Nebraska – Recap
The Walking Dead: Triggerfinger- Recap
The Walking Dead: 18 Miles Out- Recap
The Walking Dead: Judge, Jury, Executioner – Recap
The Walking Dead: Better Angels – Recap