"If we don't leave a note on that car we just scratched, we're no better than the walkers!"
Dale is dead, and that sucks: I love the character. I love his goofy hat, his presence and even the gross implied old man three-way with Andrea and Amy, if only because it confirms everything I've always secretly suspected about people who live in RVs. But that was Comic Dale. TV Dale, I'm sad to say, was just boring. He brought the show grinding to a halt every time he opened his mouth, and even if he made sense at the time, or served some higher moral purpose, the end result was always the same: poorly written lectures about vague morality. TV Dale was the perfect excuse for the writers to tell instead of show. But now he's gone, and hopefully with him went the pro-bandit sermons and voting sessions, making room for more actual fucking zombies in your show about zombies.
And if Shane was Rick's cartoon devil, then Dale was the fisherman's-hat-clad angel on Rick's opposite shoulder. He only ever espoused one-note, oblivious goodness and morality, in diametric opposition to Shane's flat amorality. Dale and Shane were Magic Markers coloring in the blank cardboard cutout that was Rick. With not one, but both of them gone, the entirety of Rick's conscience has to be internalized -- you know, like a normal human being and not a man-shaped glob of Protagonist Brand Mayonnaise. So while I know that it looks like they killed off two of the more interesting characters on the show, take heart in that it was all in the purpose of giving us one really great one later.
Besides, if the show still needs a moral center (it doesn't), Hershel's going to make a way better Dale anyway.
Pictured: The last scion of human morality, about to shoot you in the dang face.
He has that whole sexily-shaken-religious-background thing going for him, he loves bourbon almost as much as he loves quaint farm-folk anecdotes and he even comes prepackaged with an Infinite Shotgun.
Shit, I'd buy that action figure.