“The Walking Dead” is taking a little holiday break, and it aired an eventful mid-season finale last night. Well, it was eventful if you didn’t completely see the ending coming a mile away.
The first half of season two ended with a gunshot, with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) putting a zombified Sophia (Madison Lintz) down, with Carol (Melissa McBride) looking on helplessly. This was after Shane (Jon Bernthal) took charge of the tenuous situation at the Greene farm, opening the walker-filled barn and leading a destructive volley of bullets, where most of the group picked off the zombies like they were in some twisted shooting gallery.
To say it was shocking might be a bit of an overstatement, but it did set up a lot of questions that will need to be answered in the second half of the season when it comes back in February:
What did the Greenes know? Hershel (Scott Wilson) kept warning Rick that the group’s time on the farm was temporary. And it seemed that even after Glenn (Steven Yeun) told the group about the barn, Hershel was only concerned with having the group disappear. Was it because he knew that Sophia was in there? If so, how could he let the group risk their necks searching for her for days on end? Did Maggie (Lauren Cohan) know that Sophia was in there? Or is there another secret we don’t know about?
Who is Shane going to kill in a survivalist rage? We all know that Shane’s in-it-for-himself mode is at once insane and completely rational, given the circumstances. But at a certain point, his recklessness is going to result in a non-walker-related fatality. He’s already confronted Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), who thinks Shane is a danger to the group. When Shane uttered the title of this episode, “You’re pretty much dead already,” he had a point: it’s only a matter of time before the walkers get everyone. It’s the ones in it for themselves that will live the longest. The next time he’s faced with life or death, he may aim higher than someone’s knees in order to escape.
What’s to come of Maggie and “The Asian boy”? That would be Glenn, of course; we’re using the not-so-flattering term that Hershel used for him. It seems like they’re the Sam and Diane of this story, alternately fighting and kissing. And while light moments like Maggie smashing an egg on Glenn’s head might feel misplaced, they are refreshing when the show drags along. But if Maggie knew about Sophia and whatever other secrets her father had, how will Glenn be able to stay with her?
Will the group stay on the farm? It does feel like a safe haven, but now that they know Dr. Greene’s secret, the not-so-kindly veterinarian probably will throw them out at some point. We need to see the gang being chased again, anyway, so this might be a good thing. However, we can also see the farm being a base of operations for most of the second half of the season. But unless it gets overrun by walkers, it feels like that would be the boring way to go.
Who’s the father of Lori’s baby? Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) insists that it’s Rick, whether it’s in reality or just symbolically. But she doesn’t realize that Rick knows about her and Shane’s we-thought-you-were-dead affair, and may not want to be a dad to a kid fathered by his loco former friend.
Will the pregnancy slow the group down? Lori’s in pretty good shape, but Rick and Shane aren’t going to want her traipsing around Georgia running from walkers when there’s a bun in the oven. If anything keeps them on the farm, it’ll be the embryo.
Will Carol hook up with Daryl? We already know that Carol likes the strong, racist, domineering types. And she’s really appreciative of Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) efforts to try to find Sophia. After she mourns the loss of her daughter, we can see the two of them getting together… if Carol doesn’t get eaten first.
Is Andrea OK? Andrea (Laurie Holden) has gone from a suicidal mourning sister to a gun-toting bad-ass with shaky aim. She could go the way of Shane — heck, she may pop Dale before Shane gets a chance to — or she could become the leader of the group. She’s been such a shapeless character that she could go either way.
When is T-Dog going to die? Poor IronE Singleton. The man has had about ten lines of dialogue over the last four episodes, and it feels like T-Dog going to be zombie chow at any moment. Why don’t they put the dude out of his misery already?