In the zombie-filled, post-apocalyptic world of AMC's The Walking Dead, death lurks around every corner, but fans were shocked Sunday night to see death coming for one of the show's main characters — and not the one they were expecting.

So who did we say goodbye to? Surprisingly not Randall (Michael Zegen) who kicks off the episode being tortured by the vengeful Daryl (Norman Reedus). And not even Shane (Jon Bernthal), who will undoubtedly be facing his own demise sometime before the end of the season, as the Blu-ray release of Season 2 mistakenly revealed last week. Instead, it was Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) who met his gruesome end, after having spent the entire episode as the only voice of compassion regarding Randall.

The installment, entitled "Judge, Jury, Executioner" dealt with the morality (or lack thereof?) of murdering the relatively innocent Randall, who the group of survivors believed to be mixed up in a band of locals waiting to take control of their haven on the farm.

The young Carl (Chandler Riggs) wanders off into the woods, where he encounters a zombie. After pelting it with some rocks, he considers killing it, until it breaks free from the detritus holding it back and charges him. The boy manages to escape back to the farm, where he finds his father Rick (Andrew Lincoln) about to pull the trigger on a gun he has firmly held to Randall's head. His son's presence is enough to keep Rick from going through with the execution.

Dale, however, isn't so lucky. He has set off strolling through the fields when he encounters Carl's zombie friend, who is still desperately unhappy about having rocks hurled at him. The creature attacks poor old Dale, disemboweling him in a graphic scene worthy of Walking Dead fans' bloodlust. Daryl approaches the horrific display and puts his gun to good use, putting Dale out of his misery.

As the moral compass of the show, Dale's departure is symbolic. His death has fans wondering what will become of our group as they push forward in their dark, zombie-infested world. Tune in Sunday, March 11 on AMC to find out.

Watch a clip here:

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