The Walking Dead's second season might have been a little uneven so far, but one of its strongest characters has been Shane Walsh, the morally ambiguous usurper to Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) leadership position. With a history of questionable decisions that he claims have only been for the good of the group, Shane has been the most watchable character of the season thus far. But should we love him or hate him? According to executive producer Robert Kirkman, who also created the comic series the show is based on, the answer is neither.
"A lot of people paint Shane to be this dastardly villain but he's one of the most nuanced characters on the show," Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's really a tragic story for him because he really is trying to do good every single time he does something that seems to be crazy and irrational."
So how does Shane balance out in relation to Rick, who has recently been making harder decisions for the group? "[Shane] is really just a scared individual trying to feel his way through this insane world," Kirkman says. "He's not handling it as well as Rick, who is a lot more centered and seemingly a lot more prepared. The fact that Rick can go from gunning those guys down in the bar at the end of the previous episode to being compassionate about the guy who is impaled on the spike shows that he really is more prepared for this world."
So what is the verdict on this morally conflicted sheriff's deputy-turned-Otis-killer? "I feel like you should be feeling sorry for Shane more than anything," Kirkman says.
So will Rick take pity on Shane after his wife's attempt to persuade him to kill his former best friend? "Knowing what we know about Rick, is Rick's reaction going to be that rash? That's really question in the next episode. Rick is the guy who handles this kind of thing. He's going to take that information and try and figure something out with it," Kirkman hints.
The Walking Dead will air its next episode, "18 Miles Out," on Sunday, February 26 at 9/8c on AMC.