- Randall, who as far as we know has not been bitten by walkers, turns up staggering in the woods as a walker, after Shane has killed him by breaking his neck.
- Shane, who as far as we know has not been bitten by walkers, goes staggering as a walker towards Rick, after Rick has killed Shane (with a knife, as Shane was trying to kill Rick).
Best hypothesis - maybe the only viable hypothesis - is that is all the humans are now carrying around the walker virus, which they picked up without being bitten. Presumably there are no overt symptoms of this virus not introduced by a bite. (Though maybe that's what was afflicting Beth.) Unclear whether the virus introduced in this way can be beaten back by the human immune system, and, if not, how long would it take for a human infected in this way to turn into a walker?
What is clear, if this hypothesis is correct, is that if a human so infected is killed, he or she rises very shortly after as a walker. That would explain what happened tonight to Randall and Shane.
I generally am not thrilled about rabbits pulled out of hats, but this opens up some interesting possibilities, to say the least. Maybe Hirschel is right, after all, that a cure van be found, based on studying the antibodies of humans carrying the walker virus. Maybe that's what the scientist at the CDC told Rick at the end of the last season. More practically, is every human in our group now infected in this unbitten way?
I can't say I'm sorry to see Shane go, and, with what Lori told him about her not really knowing if he or Rick was the father of her baby - an uncertainty we already knew - it's not surprising that he pushed the envelope tonight. It was also good to see Carl save Rick's life by killing walker-Shane.
I have no idea what the sum total of fans are thinking about this year versus last year, but I'm liking this year of The Walking Dead just fine.
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The Plot to Save Socrates
"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News
"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book