The Walking Dead may not be your thing–I get that. But unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that one of the burning questions of the series was answered this past Sunday night:
The on again, off again, on again bromance between Rick and Shane has
reached a definitive end (though, in the interests of maintaining journalistic integrity, it was most decidedly on again–for a few moments, anyway).
That’s right, the question of will they, or won’t they, (kill each other) has been answered:
Rick pulled a play from the book of Shane, and played a dirty trick. In pretending to surrender, he gave Shane the shaft. Of his knife. In the chest.
In another life, before the world as they knew ended, they were best friends, serving together in the sheriff’s office. Then Rick was shot, the zombie apocalypse went viral, and Shane left him for dead.
But he wasn’t, and everything in the series–from their reunion in episode two (where we learned that Shane had taken up with Rick’s wife, Lori, in a survivor’s camp)–to the most recent episode, led to that moment, to Rick plunging his knife into Shane’s chest.
They’d had disagreements before, had come to blows–had tried to kill each other–but it seemed that maybe, somehow, a resolution has been reached.
Rick kept hope alive as long as he could, but things dovetailed right back to the same confrontation. Nothing was resolved. Shane forced his hand.
It was kill, or be killed. So he killed, lamenting it all the while. He made every effort to avoid, to forestall, it, but did what had to be done. In the annals of compelling television moments, this one will go down as one the finest confrontations. Shakespearean in its
tragedy–seeing brothers in arms come to this end.
But this being the Walking Dead Shane, of course, wasn’t
quite done. Even death couldn’t keep his covetousness down. He wanted
Rick–wanted to be Rick–and have all that was Rick’s:
His wife, Lori
His son, Carl
And Rick & Lori’s unborn child
Shane’s pride blinded him to the fact that, perhaps, he wasn’t a
better man, a better father, than Rick. His pride, and jealousy, we’re
I said above that this was a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, and
I stand by that. But more than that, there are biblical overtones I
can’t ignore. The obvious parallel to me is Cain and Abel. Only in
this case–wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove–Abel killed Cain.
But, as above, this being the Walking Dead, death was no
impediment to this all-consuming jealous rage. Only a bullet from
Rick’s son, Carl, actually brought Shane to his final end.
Like Star Wars, the son has saved the father, but at what
cost to his soul? Shane was Carl’s buddy, was there for him while his
dad was in a coma, kept him alive when the world fell apart.
Carl will never have any semblance of a childhood–not in a world
where the dead rise, and brothers are forced to kill one another.
Tragedy upon tragedy.
I honestly don’t know how to bring this post to a close, what to offer
as a coda, so instead I’ll ask:
If you were Rick Grimes, what would you have done?