Because I dumped on the show a few weeks ago, and in honor of the holiday, a thread to make amends by tousling their hair for that nifty curveball they threw us at the end of last night’s episode. This season’s still waaay too talky, and the sudden prospect of a romantic subplot for someone as dull and marginal as Glenn has me shivering with dread, but Shane’s lurch towards Kurtz-dom means we’re now guaranteed at least one interesting character to watch, finally. Strange though it may seem, there aren’t many examples in the zombie canon of people cracking under stress. One would think coping with the global undead cannibal apocalypse would drive a good chunk of the population around the bend fairly quickly, but no: Everyone in the Romero movies is pretty chill and grounded with the notable exception of Barbara going catatonic in “Night of the Living Dead.” Now, at long last, we’ve got another person melting down from the pressure and, unlike Barbara, this guy is capable of anything — murder (he pointed his rifle at Rick last season), rape (he assaulted Rick’s wife at the CDC), you name it. Right now he’s the only thing standing between us and a solid hour of Rick and Lori working through their marriage issues, Andrea and Dale easing into an ersatz father/daughter relationship, and Glenn and the farmgirl picking daisies and philosophizin’ about God. You’re our only hope for entertainment, Shane. At the rate we’re going, if this guy doesn’t go on a series-changing rampage, the writers will figure out a way to make the zombies talk and then they’ll start working out their marriage issues.

Here’s a highlight reel from last night. The curveball with Otis comes at the very end. I figure there are only two paths for Shane now as he turns increasingly ruthless and freaky deaky. One: A la Darth Vader, he’ll redeem himself at the very end by recovering his moral bearings and sacrificing his life so that the group can live. Knowing how these writers love melodrama, there’ll even be a weepy death scene with Rick leaning over him while Shane whispers, “Ah did what ah had ta do.” Two: He goes full-blown nuts and starts killing members of the group, taking hostages, etc, and has to be terminated by the reluctant hero. Shane as Kurtz, Rick as Willard. The horror. The horror. Exit question: Er, why didn’t Shane at least shoot Otis in the head? No need to let the man suffer, jackass.