If this title was a spoiler for you, I am sorry, but the death of Dale in “The Walking Dead” is just too important not to talk about. After having the same cast being present for the entire season, it was time for one of the members to be offed. But did it have to be Dale?
Dale was the last connection to the previous world in the group. Even Hershel had let go of the past when Shane slaughtered his entire family, once they were “walkers” of course.
The death of Dale came at the very end of the episode. It was fitting, as the entire episode featured him preaching humanity to the entire group in regards to killing the prisoner Randall. Even Rick, who saved Randall from certain death after he shot at Rick, Hershel, and Glenn, decided that it would be best to kill Randall. This meant that he was siding with Shane, whom Dale despised.
When it was time for Randall to die, it was Dale who wanted to let him live. He knew that once they started killing living people, they would let go of any ties they had to the previous world. Even though it may be best to kill Randall, Dale did have a valid point. He did not want to see the group become murderers, especially on a young man who could help out the group.
Dale’s pleas were ignored, but Randall was ultimately spared, thanks to Carl. Carl, for some reason, snuck into the barn where Rick was about to shoot Randall. Rick just could not go through with it with his son there, so he kept Randall as a prisoner. However, Dale could not thank Carl as it was Carl who got Dale killed.
The “walker” that killed Dale was the one lured into camp by Carl himself. (Does anyone really like Carl as a character? I understand his role in the show, but him and Lori are the two most frustrating characters on the entire show. Maybe off them and give T-dog some more lines).
Once Daryl put the gun to Dale’s head and shot him as the screen went to black, it was evident that things will be different in future episodes. There will be no one to consider what is morally right, now that Rick has started to agree with Shane, and the elder presence is now gone. Herhsel clearly has some issues, evident by his mysterious past of drinking, and is more comfortable staying out of the business of the main group. The wisdom provided by Dale was very important to the functioning of the group.
A different way to look at Dale’s death is to look at it in a positive light. The group can finally start acting like they are living in a zombie-infested world, and not try and pretend that they are not. The scene from last week’s episode where Shane marvels at the “walker” in the field proves that they are beginning to understand the new world they inhabit. Without the constant “old-world” views presented by Dale, things will begin to get much more grim when it comes to decision making.
The other thing that will be missed with Dale’s absence was his face that he always made. The shocked and confused face made by Dale nearly every episode, and usually made to Shane, was classic. Also, who is going to drive the RV, if it is ever driven again?
Dale had a great run, and now that he is gone, the mindset of the group will surely change.