The Walking Dead (season 2)
|The Walking Dead (season 2)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Original release||October 16, 2011– March 18, 2012|
|Home media release|
|Region 1||August 28, 2012|
|Region 2||August 27, 2012|
|Region 4||June 20, 2012|
|Blu-ray Disc release|
|Region A||August 28, 2012|
|Region B||August 27, 2012|
The second season of the AMC horror–drama television series The Walking Dead premiered on October 16, 2011, and concluded on March 18, 2012, consisting of 13 episodes. The series is based on the series of comic books of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard; it was developed for television by Frank Darabont, who serves as executive producer for the second season along with Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, David Alpert and Gale Anne Hurd. After Darabont was fired during pre-production, Mazzara served as showrunner for the second season.
This season introduces the notable comic book characters Hershel Greene and Maggie Greene and is mainly set at the Greenes' farm. The season continues the story of Rick Grimes and his group of survivors as they continue to survive in a world filled with zombies. The group then encounters the farm of veterinarian Hershel Greene, where tensions arise among members of the group and the mysterious inhabitants of the farm.
The season finale episode was viewed by 9 million viewers, making it the highest rated episode of the series to that point and the most viewed episode of an original series on AMC in history, up until the premiere of the show's third season, which was watched by 10.9 million viewers.
The second season begins with Rick and his group of survivors leaving Atlanta. They decide Fort Benning will be their next destination. Along the way, they encounter a traffic jam of abandoned vehicles on I-85. The group loots several vehicles and as a large horde of walkers approaches, is forced to hide under the vehicles. Carol's daughter, Sophia, chased away from the highway by two of the remaining walkers, runs off into the woods. Carl is accidentally shot during a search for the missing girl. The remaining group deals with interpersonal relationships while various searches for Sophia are performed. Otis, a hunter who shot Carl, leads Rick and Shane to a large, isolated farm owned by a veterinarian named Hershel Greene. The remainder of Rick's group moves to the farm while Carl recovers. The group tries to co-exist alongside Hershel's family, but dangerous secrets and disagreements over leadership cause tensions to rise. Daryl leads the initiative to search for Sophia and becomes close to Carol as a result. Glenn builds a romantic relationship with Hershel's daughter Maggie and discovers that Hershel's barn is full of walkers, many of whom in life had been Hershel's friends and relatives. When Shane forces the walkers out of the barn, and the group opens fire, Sophia appears as one of the undead, and Rick shoots her.
The bonds of the group are tested in the aftermath of the showdown at the barn. Carol, in her grief, withdraws, as does Daryl, who claims that the group is "broken". Hershel, reacting to what has happened, orders Rick and his group to leave immediately, before disappearing to grieve for his family. Rick and Glenn go searching for Hershel and discover him drinking heavily in a local tavern. After trying to persuade Hershel to return, two other men enter the bar – survivors from another group. They tell Rick that Fort Benning has been overrun, and the two men insist on moving onto Hershel's farm, only to be repeatedly turned down by Rick. The situation rapidly turns violent, and there is a brief, bloody gunfight that leaves the two new arrivals dead. The dead men's former group quickly finds and opens fire on Rick, Hershel, and Glenn. The noise of the firefight attracts a large horde of walkers, and in their desperation to get away, the other group of survivors leaves Randall, one of their members, behind. Rick cannot stand the thought of leaving him to be killed by walkers, so the three blindfold him and take him to the farm.
With the secrecy of the farm possibly compromised, Rick decides to drive Randall into the countryside and abandon him. When a disagreement with Shane botches the plan, Rick decides to bring Randall back for execution instead. Hershel's daughter Beth tries to kill herself in order to escape a seemingly hopeless situation, but later decides that she wants to live. Carol, done with mourning, and with new resolve, does her best to bring Daryl back into the fold. The group deliberates over Randall's fate and despite Dale's protests, decides to execute him. Carl is found watching Rick as he prepares to execute Randall. Dale is fatally wounded by a walker on the farm, indirectly caused by Carl, who had previously seen the walker stuck in the mud in nearby woods and did not kill it because he did not see the walker as any harm to anyone. Daryl euthanizes Dale as an act of mercy. After Dale's funeral, the group decides they need to rediscover their humanity. They conduct a search for Randall, whom Shane had secretly released and killed nearby. Daryl and Glenn, who discover that Randall died of a broken neck and was not bitten or scratched by walkers, come to the realization that the dead can reanimate without having previous exposure to the walkers. Shane uses the search for Randall as a plot to silence Rick, but the plan backfires, and Rick is faced with killing Shane. After Shane dies, he reanimates, and Carl shoots him in the head.
The gunshot attracts a large horde of nearby walkers, and Rick and Carl are forced into the barn for safety. They ignite the barn after drawing walkers inside, both to draw attention and to save themselves. In the cumulative battle to save the farm, Jimmy and Patricia are killed, Andrea is left behind, and the RV is lost. Andrea attempts to survive on her own and is later rescued by a mysterious hooded person with a sword, leading chained, armless, walkers.
The remaining survivors – Rick, Lori, Carl, Glenn, Daryl, Carol, T-Dog, Maggie, Beth, and Hershel – regroup on the highway but are forced to make camp due to a shortage of gas. Frustrated, Rick reveals the truth behind Shane's death and what Dr. Jenner whispered to him at the CDC: whatever the plague is, they all carry it and will return as walkers upon death, even if they are not bitten or scratched by a walker. A large prison looms in the distance as the season ends.
The second season features eight actors receiving opening credits billing, all returning from the first season; seven were listed as main cast members in the first season, while Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride are promoted from recurring status. While McBride is credited as "also starring", she is a series regular.
- Andrew Lincoln portrays Rick Grimes, the series' protagonist, a former deputy sheriff from King County, Georgia, and husband of Lori and father of Carl. Rick has taken leadership from Shane after his actions almost killed them in the previous season but finds himself struggling with his own morality as he is forced to become more brutal, especially with Shane disagreeing with many of his decisions. (13 episodes)
- Jon Bernthal portrays Shane Walsh, Rick's close friend, former fellow deputy sheriff who had a love affair with Lori in the previous season believing Rick was dead, which has steamed into jealousy towards Rick. Shane's growing anger only deepens when he sees Rick making decisions he thinks are reckless. (12 episodes)
- Sarah Wayne Callies plays Lori Grimes, Rick's emotionally fragile wife and mother of Carl who had a love affair with Shane in the previous season which has put her and Shane at odds and then Rick when she confesses the affair to him, which causes tensions between the three of them. This only deepens when she learns she is pregnant and doesn't know who the father is. (13 episodes)
- Laurie Holden plays Andrea, a former civil rights attorney who forms a close bond with Dale, and a brief sexual affair with Shane, but deals with suicidal tendencies by trying to contribute more to the group's safety by becoming a sharp shooter. However she has also begun to lose her humanity when Shane tries to get her to listen to him instead of Rick. (13 episodes)
- Jeffrey DeMunn portrays Dale Horvath, an older member of the group who owns an RV with whom the group travels, often the voice of reason, who forms a protectiveness over Andrea and becomes a mentor to the group, especially to Rick and Glenn. He is also a good friend of T-Dog. (10 episodes)
- Steven Yeun portrays Glenn Rhee, a former pizza delivery boy who saved Rick's life in previous season and an integral member of the group who does many supply runs for the group. Glenn forms a steaming crush on Hershel's daughter Maggie who, aware of this, engages in a sexual relationship with him until they realize they have truly fallen in love but Glenn finds himself emotionally challenged by his protectiveness of her. However her influence helps him become tougher while his influence makes her wiser and more resourceful. (12 episodes)
- Chandler Riggs plays Carl Grimes, Rick and Lori's young son whose innocence has slowly declined due to the brutality of the world around him, even wanting to use a gun. (12 episodes)
- Norman Reedus plays Daryl Dixon, an anti-hero and the group's hunter and expert tracker though he is less friendly with the group, maintain a careless facade but is reasonable enough to fight with them when needed. As the season progresses Daryl becomes closer to the group and forms a bond with Carol. (12 episodes)
- Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, a former victim of domestic abuse who has found new strength after the death of her abusive husband Ed who also forms a bond with Daryl, but is also emotionally challenged by the disappearance of her daughter Sophia. (12 episodes)
- IronE Singleton as Theodore "T-Dog" Douglas, a member of the group and a man of honor, duty and well-intentions who feels under-appreciated and tries to contribute as much as possible and also has a strong friendship with Dale. (12 episodes)
- Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Hershel's eldest tomboyish daughter who is strong-willed and determined yet slightly stubborn. Maggie has a sexual relationship with Glenn when she learns his crush on her until they realize they have truly fallen in love. Maggie is, like her father, ignorant of what the walkers are but she eventually comes to realize what they really are before her family does. (12 episodes)
- Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene, a veterinarian and farmer who has difficulty letting Rick's group live on his farm due to his own arrogance of accepting the world's new state, believing the walkers are just sick and keeps them locked in his barn, and also disapproves of Maggie's relationship with Glenn. Despite his differences with Rick he admires his dedication as a father and eventually comes to realize his own arrogance and regains his moral integrity and gives Glenn his acceptance of his relationship with Maggie. (11 episodes)
- Emily Kinney as Beth Greene, Hershel's youngest daughter and Maggie's half-sister who is shy, soft-spoken and compassionate but lacks the strong-will of her sister and even considers suicide to avoid being killed by walkers until Andrea talks her out of it. (11 episodes)
- Jane McNeill as Patricia, Otis' quiet wife and Hershel's medical aid. (11 episodes)
- James Allen McCune as Jimmy, Beth's protective and helpful boyfriend. (10 episodes)
- Madison Lintz as Sophia Peletier, Carol's daughter and Carl's best friend who goes missing and Rick organizes a search effort for her which Shane opposes believing Sophia to be dead and a liability even if alive. (4 episodes)
- Michael Zegen as Randall Culver, a teenager whom Rick, Glenn and Hershel encounter as part of another group and fearing he may lead his group back to the farm and his fate becomes a intensely debated matter with most believing he should be killed but others not wanting to. (4 episodes)
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Otis, Hershel's ranch hand who accidentally shoots Carl hunting a deer and works with Shane to find the medical supplies needed seeking to fix his mistake. (3 episodes)
- Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, Daryl's violent and unreasonable older brother who disappeared in the first season; seen in a hallucination. (1 episode)
- Adam Minarovich as Ed Peletier, Carol's deceased abusive husband in a flashback sequence. (1 episode)
- Jim R. Coleman as Lambert Kendal, a police officer who worked with Rick and Shane; appears in a flashback sequence. (1 episode)
- Linds Edwards as Leon Basset, a police officer who worked with Rick and Shane who turned into a walker and put down by Rick last season; appears in a flashback sequence. (1 episode)
- Michael Raymond-James as Dave, a member of Randall's group who runs into Rick, Hershel, and Glenn. (1 episode)
- Aaron Munoz as Tony, a member of Randall's group. (1 episode)
After the first season aired, Deadline.com reported that Frank Darabont had let the entire writing staff go and planned to use only freelance writers for the second season. This turned out to be not entirely accurate, and Robert Kirkman was quoted as saying the changes to the writing staff would not affect the production of the show. In February 2011, it was announced that Glen Mazzara, who had written the first season episode "Wildfire", had been hired again as a writer/executive producer for the second season and will put together a staff of five more writers.
At C2E2 members of the cast confirmed that the second season would begin shooting on June 1, 2011, and that Frank Darabont would write the season premiere episode. At the same event, cast members speculated that acclaimed author and long-time Darabont collaborator Stephen King may write an episode. Kirkman later confirmed that along with himself, Darabont and Mazzara the writing staff will consist of Scott M. Gimple, Evan Reilly, Angela Kang and one freelance writer, David Leslie Johnson. Four actors have joined the cast as new characters for season 2—Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene, Lauren Cohan as his daughter Maggie, Pruitt Taylor Vince as Hershel's ranch hand Otis, and Michael Zegen as a man named Randall.
In July 2011, series developer and showrunner Frank Darabont stepped down from his position as showrunner for the series, amidst rumors that he was unable to adjust to the schedule of running a television series. Executive producer Glen Mazzara will be the series' new showrunner. Darabont's sudden departure further sparked controversy in August when The Hollywood Reporter broke a story revealing that Darabont had in fact been fired due to issues of the show's reduced budget and a strained relationship with AMC executives.
The premiere aired in an extended 90-minute time slot, similar to the pilot episode. After the first seven episodes aired, the series went on a hiatus and returned on February 12, 2012, with the final six episodes of the season airing until its conclusion on March 18, 2012.
Torn Apart, a six-part web series, premiered on October 3, 2011 on AMC's official website. The web series is directed by special effects makeup artist and co-executive producer Greg Nicotero and tells the origin story of Hannah, also known as "Bicycle Girl", the walker whom Rick Grimes mercy-killed in the first episode.
Following the encore presentation of the second season premiere on October 16, 2011, a live after-show titled Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick, premiered. The series airs after encore presentations of The Walking Dead on Sunday nights. It features host Chris Hardwick discussing the latest episode with fans, actors, and producers of the show.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|7||1||"What Lies Ahead"||Ernest Dickerson
|Ardeth Bey and Robert Kirkman||October 16, 2011||7.26|
|The group heads toward Fort Benning but is blocked by a pileup of vehicles on the interstate and further delayed when the RV blows a radiator hose. A depressed Andrea expresses resentment toward Dale for not being allowed to die in a way of her choosing, since he forced her to save him from the CDC explosion; contrarily, he feels he saved her. Shane tells Lori he has decided to leave the group when he has the chance. The group narrowly avoids most of a herd of walkers passing the pileup, but two of them chase Sophia into the woods. Rick distracts and kills her pursuing walkers, but she goes missing in the process. During a search for Sophia, the group stops at a rural church, at which point Andrea privately asks Shane if she can join him when he leaves the group. As the search continues, Rick, Shane, and Carl come upon a buck; as Carl approaches the animal a gunshot passes through the deer into him.|
|8||2||"Bloodletting"||Ernest Dickerson||Glen Mazzara||October 23, 2011||6.70|
|In a flashback to a time before the apocalypse, Shane tells Lori that Rick has been wounded in a highway shootout, and Lori in turn tells Carl. In the present, Carl has been accidentally shot by a hunter named Otis. Otis directs Rick, Shane, and Carl to the home of veterinarian Hershel Greene, who manages to remove one of six bullet fragments. One of Hershel's daughters, Maggie, is sent to Sophia's search party and returns with Lori to the Greene home. Rick gives blood to Carl, while Otis and Shane go to the former Federal Emergency Management Agency aid station at a walker-infested high school to gather urgently needed medical supplies. Dale and T-Dog wait at the RV; Dale fears that T-Dog may have contracted an infection from his injury, and the two search for antibiotics. Shane and Otis find the necessary supplies at the FEMA aid station but are forced to barricade themselves in the school's entrance after walkers surround them.|
|9||3||"Save the Last One"||Phil Abraham||Scott M. Gimple||October 30, 2011||6.10|
|Hershel tells Lori and Rick that he might need to perform Carl's surgery without a respirator if Shane and Otis do not return soon with the necessary medical supplies. Daryl and Andrea return to the forest to search for Sophia, and Daryl shares a childhood memory of being lost in the woods. The two then come upon a zombie hanging from a tree, where he had killed himself before transforming and ended up having his legs eaten; Daryl kills the zombie but only after Andrea agrees to answer his question concerning whether she wants to continue living or kill herself. Glenn and T-Dog arrive at the Greene home, where T-Dog's injury is treated while Glenn and Maggie talk about faith. Lori contemplates letting Carl die to end his suffering from living in the world as it now is, while Rick holds to the belief that Carl may yet live in a better future. Meanwhile, Shane and Otis fight to escape the high school, only to face more walkers at every turn. Just as they are about to run out of ammo, an injured Shane incapacitates Otis, so he can escape the walkers. Shane then takes the supplies from Otis and watches as the horde of walkers rips Otis apart. Shane returns alone to the Greene home with the critical medical supplies, just in time for Carl's surgery. Shane misleads everyone about Otis' death and shaves his head, both as a sign that he has completely changed his way of thinking in this new world and in order to eliminate the one thing (his hair) Otis was able to grasp when the crucial moment came.|
|10||4||"Cherokee Rose"||Billy Gierhart||Evan Reilly||November 6, 2011||6.29|
|Dale, Daryl, Andrea, and Carol arrive at the Greene home and set up camp as Carl recovers. Since Shane is still injured and Rick is weak from blood loss, Daryl decides to search alone for Sophia. He does not find her but instead finds a Cherokee rose (a Native American symbol for the tears of mothers on the Trail of Tears) and gives it to Carol. Hershel takes Rick on a tour and tells him that he and his group should leave the property after Sophia is found and Carl heals. Rick begs Hershel to reconsider, and Hershel says he will consider letting them stay if they follow his rules. While Dale and T-Dog are retrieving water from a nearby well, they realize there is a walker inside. Since the survivors cannot kill it, as doing so might infect the water, they decide Glenn will act as bait to snare the walker, so that it can be removed from the well. They succeed in roping and raising the walker, but just as it is being pulled out of the well, its legs and internal organs break off and spill back into the well, thoroughly contaminating the water. T-Dog then kills the walker. Maggie and Glenn head to a local pharmacy for supplies, where Maggie offers to have sex with Glenn and he accepts. Glenn retrieves a pregnancy test, requested by Lori, who later uses it and realizes she is pregnant.|
|11||5||"Chupacabra"||Guy Ferland||David Leslie Johnson||November 13, 2011||6.12|
|The survivors continue to search for Sophia, but Hershel is growing increasingly concerned about their presence on his land for unclear reasons. Shane and Rick argue over whether or not to continue the search, with Shane arguing that it's time to cut their losses and leave. Rick is angry with him but later begins to wonder whether Shane is right. While out searching for Sophia, Daryl finds her doll but subsequently falls off a ridge and is badly injured. He has hallucinations of his brother Merle but snaps out of it in time to deal with two attacking walkers. He then finds the strength to climb up the ridge and return to the farm. He eats squirrel, raw, and as he approaches the farm, face bloodied and limping, Andrea mistakes him for a walker and shoots him, grazing his head. Maggie passes a note to Glenn asking to meet for a sexual encounter. Glenn passes it back, saying to meet in the barn's hay loft. A horrified Maggie attempts to stop him, but she is unable to prevent him from discovering the barn is full of captured walkers.|
|12||6||"Secrets"||David Boyd||Angela Kang||November 20, 2011||6.08|
|The group practices their shooting skills and Andrea performs well. Glenn tells Dale about the walkers being kept in the barn. Dale confronts Hershel about the barn and Hershel explains that the walkers in the barn are family members and neighbors and are "still people"; that they are merely sick and are being contained so they can be cured in the future. Lori sends Glenn and Maggie to the pharmacy to get morning-after pills. Maggie gets attacked by a walker, and Glenn kills it. In a fury, Maggie gives Lori the pills and yells at her for almost getting them killed. Glenn gives Lori prenatal vitamins as well. Lori takes the morning-after pills but almost immediately forces herself to vomit them up. Shane and Andrea go looking for Sophia in a nearby town and are surrounded by walkers. Andrea and Shane kill enough of them to flee safely. Andrea, feeling empowered, comes on to Shane on the way back and they engage in sexual relations. When they arrive at camp, Dale recognizes something is going on between them. Out of concern for Andrea, he confronts Shane about what really happened the night Otis died, as Dale seems to have figured out that Shane killed Otis in order to save himself. Shane threatens Dale. Rick finds the empty morning-after pill package and confronts Lori. They debate the ethical decision of bringing the unborn child into a world infested with walkers. Lori confesses to having had a sexual relationship with Shane when she thought Rick was dead.|
|13||7||"Pretty Much Dead Already"||Michelle MacLaren||Scott M. Gimple||November 27, 2011||6.62|
|When Glenn reveals to the group that walkers are being kept in the barn, Rick discusses the matter with Hershel; Rick also tries to convince him to let the group stay, especially since his wife is pregnant. Rick tells Shane that Lori is pregnant and Shane confronts her, knowing that her child may be his. Dale tries to hide the group's guns in the swamp but fails when Shane catches him. Against Hershel's and Rick's wishes, Shane hands the guns out to members of the group. Hershel tricks Rick into helping him recover some walkers stuck in quicksand, and he tells him his group can stay so long as they do not kill the walkers. As they return, Shane sees the captured walkers and becomes enraged. He repeatedly shoots Hershel's captured walker in the chest, asking why it doesn't die if it is a living, sick person. He then shoots it in the head as Hershel looks on. Shane breaks open the barn door, forcing the group to shoot all of the captured walkers. Thinking all the walkers are dead, the stunned group watches as the missing Sophia comes out of the barn as a walker. Rick remorsefully steps forward and shoots her in the head.|
|14||8||"Nebraska"||Clark Johnson||Evan Reilly||February 12, 2012||8.10|
|After the destruction of his walker-family, Hershel demands that Rick and his group leave immediately. Shane accuses Rick of being just as delusional as Hershel, saying that Hershel knew about Sophia the whole time and hid her from the group. Dale tells Andrea to be careful about her relationship with Shane, since Dale knows what kind of person Shane is and now wants him gone from the group. He also reveals this to Lori, including his assumption about Otis' fate. Hershel goes missing, but Rick and Glenn find him in the town bar, drinking and lamenting the folly of his hope of a cure for his family. After Rick convinces him to return to his family, two men named Dave and Tony enter the bar and request refuge at Hershel's farm. Rick, Glenn, and Hershel learn from the two men that Fort Benning has been overrun. When Rick flatly refuses them safe haven, Dave draws his firearm, but Rick is quicker on the draw and kills him and Tony. Hershel's daughter Beth is rendered unconscious from an unknown ailment, leading Lori to drive into town to retrieve Hershel. Lori hits a walker on the road and flips the car. The episode ends with Lori's fate unknown and Shane and T-Dog setting fire to the dead walkers from the barn.|
|15||9||"Triggerfinger"||Billy Gierhart||David Leslie Johnson||February 19, 2012||6.89|
|After killing their attackers, Rick, Hershel, and Glenn prepare to leave, but three other men, looking for Dave and Tony, enter the town before they can escape. Lori escapes from two walkers and continues down the road on foot to look for her husband. Rick, Hershel, and Glenn inadvertently get into a gunfight with the others. Back at the farm, Carol tries to talk to Daryl and is rebuffed the same way Lori was. When they realize Lori is missing, Shane goes down to help her and convinces her to come back by telling her that Rick and the others are already back. When she finds out he lied, he reveals that she is pregnant. Carl asks to name the baby Sophia if it is a girl. Shane and Lori talk about their past relationship; Shane is convinced it was real. In town, Hershel shoots one attacker, who is then killed by walkers. Another attacker attempts to jump from a building into their truck, but he instead impales his leg on a gate, causing the third man to abandon him. Rick, Hershel, and Glenn quickly debate whether to kill the man or cut off his lower leg to rescue the injured attacker and bring him to the farm, but walkers closing on them forces their hand. Rick plans to send him away once he is healed, but Shane disagrees. Lori tells Rick that Shane is dangerous.|
|16||10||"18 Miles Out"||Ernest Dickerson||Scott M. Gimple & Glen Mazzara||February 26, 2012||7.04|
|Rick and Shane travel to a municipal building in a town and have a frank discussion about Shane's feelings for Lori and about the circumstances surrounding Otis' death, with Shane questioning his friend's ability to make the hard decisions. They've taken the wounded man from the previous episode eighteen miles out from the farm to abandon him. The man begs them to let him stay, inadvertently revealing that he went to school with Maggie and thus knows the location of the farm. Shane wants to kill him, but Rick says he needs to think about it first. Their disagreement leads to a fight, which awakens a group of walkers from inside the building. All three barely make it out alive. Back at the farm, Beth says she's given up on life and is contemplating suicide. Both Lori and Maggie attempt to talk her out of it and want to place her under watch, but Andrea says Beth needs to find her own reasons to keep living. Beth locks herself in the bathroom and uses a piece of broken mirror to slit her wrist, but Lori manages to break open the door before she bleeds out. Maggie and Lori are furious with Andrea for not keeping an eye on Beth; Andrea defends herself by saying Beth no longer wants to commit suicide and Hershel was able to save her. Rick tells Shane that he needs to follow his (Rick's) lead from now on. They then put the injured attacker back in the trunk and drive back to the farm.|
|17||11||"Judge, Jury, Executioner"||Greg Nicotero||Angela Kang||March 4, 2012||6.77|
|The group has Randall in custody, and Daryl tortures the prisoner for information. Randall reveals that his old survivor group is heavily armed and contains thirty male members; some of those members once raped a pair of teenage female survivors and forced their father to watch. This convinces the group that letting Randall live is a huge risk. Dale, horrified that the group is actually considering executing Randall, tries to convince everybody they must not sacrifice their humanity. Meanwhile, Carl wanders into the forest and finds a walker trapped in mud. Carl tries and fails to kill it and flees when it starts breaking free from the mud. Back at the farm, Dale fails to convince the group to stop the execution. Rick, Shane, and Daryl take Randall to the barn to execute him, but Rick hesitates when he sees that Carl is watching. He then decides to delay the execution. Meanwhile, Dale encounters a gutted cow dying in the field. When he turns around, he is attacked by a walker and has his stomach ripped open. Daryl kills the walker, and Carl is shocked to see it was the same one he had failed to kill in the forest. Daryl then mercifully kills Dale in order to end his suffering, as well as the eventuality that Dale would become a walker himself.|
|18||12||"Better Angels"||Guy Ferland||Evan Reilly & Glen Mazzara||March 11, 2012||6.89|
|The group holds a brief funeral for Dale. Rick asks the group to stay united, despite Dale's warning that the group is "broken". They work together to prepare for the coming winter, by stockpiling supplies and clearing walkers from the surrounding area. However, there is still the issue of what to do with Randall. Rick ultimately decides to honor Dale's memory by sparing Randall's life and plans to drop him off somewhere far away from the farm. However, Shane frees Randall from the barn and leads him into the forest, where he breaks Randall's neck. Shane then returns to the farm and tells the rest of the group that Randall escaped. Rick, Shane, Glenn, and Daryl go into the forest to track him down. Glenn and Daryl split off from Rick and Shane and encounter Randall, who has somehow turned into a walker despite the lack of evidence of his having been bitten or scratched. Glenn then kills Randall again, by impaling him through the head with a machete. Meanwhile, Rick tells Shane to admit he plans to murder him. Shane holds Rick at gunpoint and they argue about who would be a better father to Carl and husband to Lori. Rick talks Shane into putting his gun down. Knowing he has to kill Shane, he stabs him in the heart. Carl arrives and appears to have pulled his gun on Rick, but then aims behind his father and puts a bullet into the head of a reanimated Shane (who, like Randall, also had no evidence of being bitten, and who – after Rick stabbed him – seemed to experience intense and disturbing zombie-like thoughts). Meanwhile, a massive number of walkers, drawn by the gunshots, are shown heading toward them.|
|19||13||"Beside the Dying Fire"||Ernest Dickerson||Robert Kirkman & Glen Mazzara||March 18, 2012||8.99|
|Shortly after Shane's death, a massive horde of walkers attacks the farm. The survivors attempt to fight off the horde but are quickly overwhelmed. Jimmy and Patricia are killed, and Andrea is inadvertently left behind. The remaining survivors are forced to scatter in the darkness, but they eventually reunite on the highway where they left supplies for Sophia. Meanwhile, Andrea is still alive and fleeing from the walkers on foot. She is about to be caught by the walkers when she is rescued by a hooded figure wielding a katana and flanked by two leashed, jawless, armless walkers. The other survivors believe Andrea is a lost cause and decide to search for a new shelter. But their cars begin to run low on gas, and they are forced to stop for the night. Confronted with the knowledge that Randall turned into a walker without being bitten, Rick finally reveals to the group what Jenner had told him at the CDC: that everybody already is infected with the virus (and eventually will turn into walkers when they die). He also admits he killed Shane. With this knowledge, the group's morale begins to plummet, but Rick announces that from now on he's in charge, the group will no longer be run as a democracy, and they will find a haven from the walkers. As the camera pulls back, a prison complex is visible nearby.|
The second season received mixed to positive reviews. The season has a score of 80 out of 100 based on 22 reviews on Metacritic. Some critics have been less than enthused with the second season, such as Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, who now describes the series as "a nighttime soap with occasional appearances by deceased but moving, flesh-rotting, flesh-eating cameo monsters. […] Every week, it seemed, a passel of folks went out and rooted around for awhile [sic], came back to camp, and everyone lives off the fat of Hershel's land until it was time to go out and search for Sophia again. Occasionally someone reminded Rick they're supposed to be headed for Fort Benning and he gets all huffy about not leaving any child behind. It became a parody of a Samuel Beckett play." Nate Rawlings of TIME 's online entertainment section noted that "the pace during the first half of this season has been brutally slow. Changes in pace would be fine if the writers had used that time well, which they have not. They've tried to develop individual characters, but each subplot meant to add a layer to a character has been quickly resolved." Other critics, such as Scott Wampler of Collider.com, recognized the mediocre first half of the season, claiming that "there seemed to be a helluva lot of water-treading." However, Wampler also distinguished the increased quality of the second half saying, "The second-half of the season, on the other hand, seemed far more intense, more interesting, better written."
Awards and nominations
The series received three nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special for the episode "What Lies Ahead", and received nominations for Outstanding Special Visual Effects and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series, both for "Beside the Dying Fire". The series won for Best Television Presentation for the 38th Saturn Awards, while Norman Reedus received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor on Television.
On October 16, 2011, the season two premiere set a new record of 7.3 million viewers. The episode also set new records for the most viewers in the 18–49 and 25–54 demographics, with 4.8 million and 4.2 million viewers respectively, making it the most watched episode of a drama in the history of basic cable television in these measures. The original broadcast and the two subsequent encore presentations of the episode drew a collective total of 11 million viewers. On February 12, 2012, the show's mid season premiere beat its previous record by attaining 8.1 million viewers, 5.4 million in the 18–49 key demographic, despite airing at the same time as the second most watched Grammy Awards in history. The series once again beat its own record with the airing of the season two finale on March 18, 2012, which received 9 million viewers.
Home media releases
The second season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 on August 28, 2012, in region 2 on August 27, 2012, and in region 4 on June 20, 2012. Special features include eleven featurettes—"All the Guts Inside", "Live or Let Die", "The Meat of the Music", "Fire on Set", "The Ink is Alive", "The Sound of the Effects", "In the Dead Water", "You Could Make a Killing", "She Will Fight", "The Cast on Season 2", and "Extras Wardrobe". Six audio commentaries, for episodes "What Lies Ahead", "Pretty Much Dead Already", "Nebraska", "Judge, Jury, Executioner", and "Beside the Dying Fire". Also included is the six-part webisode series The Walking Dead: Torn Apart, with optional commentary by Greg Nicotero, and 30 minutes of deleted scenes across eight episodes, with optional commentary by Glen Mazzara.
The second season was also released in limited edition Blu-ray packaging, featuring a zombie head with a screwdriver in the zombie's eye socket, a recreation of a scene from the second season premiere. The limited edition packaging was designed by Greg Nicotero and sculpted by McFarlane Toys.
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- Official website
- List of The Walking Dead episodes at the Internet Movie Database
- List of The Walking Dead season 2 episodes at TV.com