Monday, March 5, 2012

Goodbye Dale

So if it wasn't obvious from my Friday Five posts (that reminds me, I need to do more of those) about the undead, I'm a fan of zombies.  As such, I'm a fan of The Walking Dead.  Both the comic and the AMC series.

From this point on there will be spoilers, you have been warned.

In yesterday's episode the group was discussing what to do with someone they had captured a few episodes ago.  They had saved him from zombies, fixed up his injuries, and then decided to kill him because of the potential threat he might at some point represent.

I was not happy with seeing characters I liked choosing to kill someone who was otherwise harmless, I'd like to think people are better than that.  But what I do like about the show is how the characters are being portrayed in their decisions.  I don't like the decision, but it's clear that the characters aren't happy about it either.

Most vocal about this was Dale.  Rick was upset about it but willing to kill a living, human, captive.  Rick was unhappy, but Dale was outspoken.  I've always liked Dale.  From the first episode he appeared in I liked how he was not just the moral center of the group but also a connection to the world they had lost.

A large part of this was his age.  Dale was, aside from Hershel, the oldest character on the cast.  So it was understandable that he would cling the strongest to the 'civilized way' of doing things.  Again, I think this helped him also be the moral compass.  One of my favorites moments of his was in the first season when he argued to allow a dying man the choice of how to die.  Not to kill him, but to give him the choice.

Even when the show first began airing, AMC put up a character test on their website.  And lo and behold, turns out the character I'm most like is Dale.  Like I said, I always liked Dale.

And now he's dead.

Rewinding my rambling a moment, in this past episode Dale spent the entire time arguing for the life of their prisoner.  First individually with other members of the group, even moving forward Shane's character development away from a complete psychopath.  Then later with every member of the cast.

What really caught my attention was that during the group conversation Dale was the only one standing in the light.  Rick was caught between the light and the shadows and everyone else was standing in shadows.  At first I thought it was a bit of a blatant use of lighting and staging to show Dale's standpoint compared to everyone else, but it worked for the scene and kept the attention where it needed to be.

Then Dale died and I started thinking.  Earlier in the episode there was also a brief conversation regarding Heaven and belief.  I'd like to think that Dale's death could actually be interpreted not only as a moment of redemption for the group (as the next episode promo seems to imply) but also as a way for him to get to where he deserves to be.

I'm not saying I personally believe in Heaven.  But I feel that Dale stepped into the light.

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