After The Walking Dead Mid-Season Finale, Why Every Decision Shane Makes Is Right

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The Walking Dead season finale ended with everyone coming down on Shane Walsh, the survivalist deputy who thinks the group is headed for trouble if they don’t find a way to adjust to their new post-apocalyptic world. It’s something that’s been building ever since Rick joined the group and took over leadership from Shane back in Season 1. Almost everyone it seems, is on Rick’s side, and odds are they’ll be even more on his side after the events at the end of the mid-season 2 finale. Except, well, they’re wrong. Shane is right. Shane is right about everything. Every single decision Shane has made, pushed for, or even thought about on The Walking Dead has been absolutely right. And since it’s those same decisions that have him on the outs with our group of surviving heroes, I think someone needs to stand up and give him credit. Shane’s right. Shane’s always right.

Here’s a logical explanation of why his most controversial decisions have been the right move, each and every time.

WARNING: Spoilers for The Walking Dead follow. Don’t read if you haven’t already watched the mid-season 2 finale…

Shane Ditched Rick At The Hospital After The Zombie Outbreak
This is one of the earliest decisions Shane took flack for, in season one. His best friend Rick was unconscious in the hospital after the start of the zombie outbreak. Rather than stay with Rick while the world fell apart around them, Shane decided he had no choice but to abandon his ailing friend, choosing instead to try and get Rick’s family to safety. This is such an obviously correct decision it’s hard to imagine why anyone would even question it. The alternative was for Shane to sit there by Rick’s bedside until they were both eaten. Shane had no reason to believe Rick would ever come out of his coma, and even though Rick eventually did, it wasn’t until weeks later. Had Shane waited around, he’d have been dead and odds are, so would have been Rick’s wife and kid.

Shane Slept With Rick’s Wife
It happened while Rick was in the hospital, deep in a coma. Except, well since the whole world had been ripped apart by zombies, Shane assumed that Rick was dead. Actually it was more than assumption, under the circumstances it was a certainty. They had every reason to be absolutely certain that Rick had been eaten by zombies. Weeks passed and things became hopeless. Two people came together and tried to find a way to comfort each other, expecting that they too would be dead at any minute, and never suspecting that Rick was alive or that they were committing infidelity. The fact that Shane and Lori haven’t done anything together since finding out that Rick was alive says all that needs to be said here. They did nothing wrong, and though Lori feels guilty about it, at least Rick was smart enough to recognize their unintentional adultery for what it really is. Shane comforted Lori when she needed it most. Rick should thank him.

Shane Wants Everyone To Stop Running Off On Hopeless Rescue Missions
It started with Rick’s ridiculous decision to go back into walker infested Atlanta after Daryl’s lowlife, murderous, racist, drug-dealer brother (who might have tried to kill them even if they’d found him). That resulted in a zombie attack which got half their group killed, while Rick failed in his rescue. Shane tried to talk him out of it, no one listened. Rick’s obsession with throwing their lives away in hopeless rescue missions continued after the disappearance of the group’s little girl mascot Sofia. Shane was willing to look for Sofia early on, but as the days and weeks wore on he seemed to be the only person in camp willing to face facts: Sofia is dead. Rick continues to push for the search and Shane continues to argue against it. The group thinks Shane’s cruel and unfeeling but the truth is this: Sofia is dead and every second they spend looking for her increases the chances that one of them will end up too. Shane’s proven right when Daryl falls off a cliff and barely makes it back in one piece, yet still most of the group refuses to face reality. Shane’s good at facing reality, and living in the real world is the only way to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Shane Considered Murdering Rick In The Woods
Shane and Rick are best friends, but there was a moment out in the woods when Shane pointed his rifle at Rick’s back and considered shooting him. Dale saw this and now has Shane pigeonholed as some kind of monster, but I’m not sure shooting Rick wasn’t the right move. Shane’s made it clear that he doesn’t think Rick’s soft-hearted moralizing has any place in this eat or be eaten post-apocalyptic world. He believes that Rick’s leadership is going to get them all killed, and has in fact already gotten some of them well and truly dead. He’s right. Rick’s been making bad decisions. Daryl, by far their best hunter and protector, almost ended up dead because of Rick’s insistence on searching for a little girl who was definitely dead. Rick went back for a violent, racist drug addict who tried to kill one of their crew, and in the process endangered is family and got others killed. Rick’s decisions are leading them into trouble. Shooting Rick might have been the right move. Besides, the fact that Shane stayed his hand ought to count for something.

Shane Murdered Otis
While on the run from a horde of zombies Shane and man of size Otis are injured and about to be eaten. Shane decides to shoot Otis and feed him to the walkers as a distraction, buying the time he needs to escape. Is he a murderer? I guess, but I’d say that hard decision also makes him a hero. It’s not as if Shane wanted to kill Otis. In fact before he did so, Shane offered to hang back and try to hold the zombies off himself, while Otis went on. Otis refused, which meant that the only real alternative to Shane’s decision to kill him and use his fatty corpse as a zombie distraction was for both of them to end up dead. Worse, if they both end up dead then so too does Carl, who wouldn’t have survived without the vital equipment Shane brought back to save him. Shane is and always will be willing to give his life to save others, but he wasn’t willing to give his life in an empty gesture, when sacrificing someone else’s life could save not only himself, but his best friend’s son. Killing Otis was the only choice that made any sense.

Shane Wants Those Zombies Out Of The Barn
Throughout season 2 Rick has been obsessed with placating deluded farm owner Herschel. In fact, he’s so intent on kowtowing that he’s willing to let Herschel treat walkers as though they’re still living flesh and blood, he’ll even put up with keeping a collection of them locked up in a barn. Shane sees the danger instantly, and recognizes that coddling Herschel won’t make things any better. As long as those zombies are in the barn none of them is safe and as long as Herschel’s in denial about what’s really happening out there in the world, that seemingly idyllic farm is nothing but a death trap. Dale all but accuses Shane of being a monster and the group insists on supporting Rick, but Shane is once again the only person on The Walking Dead who seems to see the truth. In the end he forces them all to face reality by simply letting the walkers out of the barn, but will his friends finally wake up and see how right he’s been… or will they call him a psychopath and cast him out?

Shane’s the only reason any of these people are still alive. It’s about time someone else on The Walking Dead woke up, looked around, and realized they’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.


  1. Ashley says:

    Oh please.  I don’t blame him for sleeping with Lori–he was pretty sure Rick was dead.  Not certain, but pretty darn sure.  I don’t blame him for leaving Rick, because let’s face it, he did everything he possibly could to save him without getting them BOTH killed.  But I sure as hell can blame him for pointing his gun at his best friend, whose leadership he does NOT have to accept if he’s really so damn sure Rick’s going to get them all killed, and considering killing him so he can take his wife and kid.  That is disgusting, and not enough had gone down to justify it.  As for Rick’s mission getting everyone killed–the group had, as we’ve seen, three guns TOTAL before Rick went back for that bag.  If the zombie attack had happened while Glenn, unarmed, Daryl, with four arrows, T-Dog, also unarmed, and Rick, with four bullets, had been sitting around the campfire with everyone, how was that going to help save the group again?  There were plenty of people in the camp.  What they were lacking was survival training and weapons.  Also, who was in charge of posting a watchman while Rick was away?  Oh yeah.  Shane. Rick saved the group from being wiped out by coming back with those guns, and those guns have saved the group many times since.  People need to stop breaking Rick’s balls.

    • Ashley says:

      As for this business with the barn– That MORON could have taken the walkers out one by one and killed them QUIETLY if he wasn’t such a hothead, but of course, of COURSE, he has to make his point by handing out the guns and forcing everyone to make tons and tons of noise by shooting each and every one of them.  The farm will be crawling in walkers soon, and it will be Shane’s fault.  Well, Shane and Hershel.  Also, how is it a bad thing that Rick wants to keep the group in a relatively walker free place that happens to have one of the last people on earth with medical expertise? 

      Rick told Daryl he didn’t have to go looking for Sophia alone.  Daryl chose to go anyway because he believed it was the right thing to do.  That, and he’s just that freaking epic. 

      I like that Rick tries to balance being a decent human being with doing what is best for the group’s survival–as Rick said, as humans, if a child goes missing, you look for her.  Besides, “survival” also has Darwinian implications, and the survival of a species hinges on valuing offspring.

  2. Serge says:

    ahhh finally! someone who understands the values of an Antihero and Pragmatisim. i support your argument full heartedly. thank you for writing and posting this, it speaks the ultimate truth without any blinders on whatsoever.

    It is glorious, and i wish more people could see it as you and i do.

  3. ExceptOneThing says:

    Think you forgot about the time he TRIED TO RAPE LORI.

  4. ExceptOneThing says:

    I mean, you said Shane was ALWAYS right, so go ahead and add a heading that says “Tried to Rape Lori” and explain for a paragraph how that was the right choice to make.