The Walking Dead (season 2)

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This article is about the second season of the television series. For the 2013–14 episodic video game, see The Walking Dead: Season Two.
The Walking Dead (season 2)
Walking Dead S2 Poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13
Original network AMC
Original release October 16, 2011 (2011-10-16) – March 18, 2012 (2012-03-18)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 1
Next →
Season 3
List of The Walking Dead episodes

The second season of The Walking Dead, an American horror–drama television series on AMC, premiered on October 16, 2011, and concluded on March 18, 2012, consisting of 13 episodes.[1][2] Developed for television by Frank Darabont, the series is based on the eponymous series of comic books by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. It was executive produced by Darabont, Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, David Alpert, and Gale Anne Hurd, with Mazzara assuming the role of showrunner.

The season was well-received by critics, and won for Best Television Presentation at the 38th Saturn Awards and Outstanding Prosthetic Make-up for a Series at the 64th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. 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.[3]

This season introduces the notable comic book characters Hershel 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 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, and Rick and the others take him to a large, isolated farm owned by a veterinarian named Hershel Greene and his family, who reluctantly removes the bullet from Carl. 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; Hershel maintains that the infection that plagues the walkers is treatable and refuses to kill them. 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 find Hershel drinking at a local tavern, but in trying to convince him to return, discover that they have been found by members of another group of survivors, intent on locating their camp as Fort Benning is overrun with walkers. They kill two of their members, the rest fleeing and leaving one of their own, Randall, behind. Rick cannot consciously leave Randall to die, so they blindfold him and return with Hershel to the farm. With their location potentially threatened, the group struggles with what to do with Randall, with Shane and Rick having strong differences of opinion. After one botched attempt to abandon Randall, they decide to restrain him in the barn until they come to a decision. Carol overcomes her mourning and rejoins the group with new resolve, coaxing Daryl to come back into the folds. Hershel's daughter Beth attempts to commit suicide over the hopeless situation but regains the will to live.

Rick decides he needs to execute Randall for the protection of the group, unaware Carl is watching. However, at that moment, Dale screams for help as he is attacked by a walker, one that Carl had the opportunity to kill but did not. Daryl euthanizes Dale, and after a funeral, the group realizes they must regain their humanity. Rick goes to deal with Randall and finds him missing, unaware Shane had released him and taken him out into the woods to kill him. They discover Randall's reanimated corpse nearby, neck broken instead of bitten; they discover that the dead can reanimate even if not bitten by walkers. Shane attempts to use the distraction of the search to kill Rick, but Rick kills him first. Carl, watching from a distance, shoots the reanimated corpse of Shane when it tries to attack Rick.

The gunfire attracts a large horde of walkers that begin to swarm the farmstead. Hershel and his family are forced to abandon the farm and join with Rick's group as they scatter and flee; Andrea ends up on her own, separated from the others, until she is rescued by a mysterious hooded person with a sword, leading chained, armless, walkers. The others regroup back on I-85 at the traffic jam. As they camp that night, Rick reveals what Dr. Jenner told him at the CDC: that they all carry the plague that cause them to become reanimated after they die for any reason. A large prison looms in the distance.


Main cast[edit]

The primary characters of the second season include (from left to right): Rick, Sophia, Carol, Lori, Carl, T-Dog, Glenn, Andrea, Dale, Daryl and Shane.

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.[4] While McBride is credited as "also starring", she is a series regular.[5]


  • Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the series' protagonist, a former deputy sheriff from King County, Georgia, he is the husband of Lori and the father of Carl. Rick has taken leadership from Shane after his actions almost killed them in the previous season. (13 episodes)
  • Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, Rick's close friend, and former fellow deputy sheriff. He had a love affair with Lori in the previous season, believing that Rick was dead, which has steamed into jealousy towards Rick. (12 episodes)
  • Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes, Rick's emotionally fragile wife and mother of Carl. She had a love affair with Shane in the previous season, which has put her and Shane at odds. (13 episodes)
  • Laurie Holden as Andrea, a former civil rights attorney who has formed a close bond with Dale. She deals with suicidal tendencies after the loss of her sister by trying to contribute more to the group's safety by becoming a sharp shooter. (13 episodes)
  • Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale Horvath, an older member of the group who owns the RV with which the group travels. He is often the voice of reason; he 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 as Glenn Rhee, a former pizza delivery boy who saved Rick's life in previous season. He is an integral member of the group and does many supply runs for them. He cares very much for the core group of survivors. (12 episodes)
  • Chandler Riggs as 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 as Daryl Dixon, an anti-hero and the group's hunter and expert tracker. He is less friendly with the group and maintains a careless facade, but is reasonable enough to fight with them when needed. (12 episodes)

Also starring[edit]

  • Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, a former victim of domestic abuse who has found new strength after the death of her abusive husband Ed. (12 episodes)

Supporting cast[edit]

  • 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. He also has a strong friendship with Dale. (12 episodes)
  • Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Hershel's elder tomboyish daughter, who is strong-willed and determined, yet slightly stubborn. Maggie is, like her father, ignorant of what the walkers are. (12 episodes)
  • Emily Kinney as Beth Greene, Hershel's younger daughter and Maggie's half-sister. She is shy, soft-spoken and compassionate but lacks the strong-will of her sister. (11 episodes)
  • Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene, a veterinarian and farmer who is blinded by his own arrogance of accepting the world's new state, believing that the walkers are just sick. (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. (4 episodes)
  • Michael Zegen as Randall Culver, a teenager whom Rick, Glenn and Hershel encounter as part of another group. (4 episodes)
  • Pruitt Taylor Vince as Otis, Hershel's ranch hand and Patricia's husband. (3 episodes)
  • Adam Minarovich as Ed Peletier, Carol's deceased abusive husband; seen 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)
  • Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, Daryl's violent and unreasonable older brother who disappeared in the first season; seen in a hallucination. (1 episode)


The cast of The Walking Dead at PaleyFest 2011.

After the first season aired, reported that Frank Darabont had let the entire writing staff go and planned to use only freelance writers for the second season.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10][11] 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.[12][13]

A preview of season 2 was shown during the season premiere of Breaking Bad on July 17, 2011[14] and a full length trailer was released to promote season 2 at Comic-Con 2011, on July 22, 2011.[15]

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.[16] Executive producer Glen Mazzara will be the series' new showrunner.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]


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.[20]

Talking Dead[edit]

Main article: Talking Dead

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.[21]


No. in
Title  Directed by  Written by  Original air date  U.S. viewers
7 1 "What Lies Ahead" Ernest Dickerson
Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Ardeth Bey and Robert Kirkman October 16, 2011 (2011-10-16) 7.26[22]
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 (2011-10-23) 6.70[23]
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 (2011-10-30) 6.10[24]
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 (2011-11-06) 6.29[25]
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 (2011-11-13) 6.12[26]
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 that the barn is full of captured walkers.
12 6 "Secrets" David Boyd Angela Kang November 20, 2011 (2011-11-20) 6.08[27]
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 (2011-11-27) 6.62[28]
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 (2012-02-12) 8.10[29]
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 (2012-02-19) 6.89[30]
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 that 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 that 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 (2012-02-26) 7.04[31]
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 18 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 (2012-03-04) 6.77[32]
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 30 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 that 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 that 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 (2012-03-11) 6.89[33]
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 (2012-03-18) 8.99[34]
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, while Andrea is inadvertently left behind. The remaining survivors scatter into the darkness, but 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 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 dead and decide to search for a new shelter, but their cars run out of 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 what Jenner had told him at the CDC: everybody is already infected with the virus (and will turn into walkers when they die). He also admits that he killed Shane. With this knowledge, the group's morale plummets, 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.


Critical response[edit]

Early reactions to the second season of The Walking Dead were "generally favorable" according to Metacritic, where the show scored 80 out of 100 based on 22 reviews.[35] On Rotten Tomatoes, 86% of 22 critics gave it a positive review, with an average score of 8/10. The site's consensus states, "The second season of The Walking Dead fleshes out the characters while maintaining the grueling tension and gore that made the show a hit."[36] Linda Stasi of the New York Post wrote, "You’ll be happy to know that at least as far as the first two episodes go ... the show is better than ever – which would have seemed impossible."[37] Robert Bianco of USA Today also praised the direction in which the second season was heading stating that the show delivers "edge-of-your-chair tension" and noting, "what separates this fine series from similar shows is the honesty of its human interactions".[38]

Some critics were less enthused midway through the second season, including Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly who described the series as "a nighttime soap with occasional appearances by deceased but moving, flesh-rotting, flesh-eating cameo monsters" adding that it "had not been dramatic enough" or had a "tendency ... to botch truly dramatic situations".[39] Nate Rawlings of Time magazine criticized the show's pacing saying, "the first half of this season has been brutally slow".[40] Following the season's finale, Scott Wampler of, described the second half of the season as "far more intense, more interesting, better written" despite "a helluva lot of water-treading" in the first half.[41] Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant further emphasized this point: "It was with the last half of season 2 – arguably the last four episodes – where the writers succeeded in unshackling themselves from the intermittent monotony brought about by the serial nature of the show."[42]


The series received three nominations for the 64th Primetime Creative Arts 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".[43] The series won for Best Television Presentation for the 38th Saturn Awards,[44] while Norman Reedus received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor on Television.[45]


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.[46] 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.[47] 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.[3]

Limited Edition Blu-ray packaging showing a screwdriver in a zombie's eye socket

Home media releases[edit]

The second season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 on August 28, 2012,[48] in region 2 on August 27, 2012,[49] and in region 4 on June 20, 2012.[50] 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.[51]

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.[52]


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External links[edit]