“The Walking Dead” returned in dramatic fashion for the continuation of season two. During the first half of the season the group was on the search for Carol’s (Melissa Suzanne McBride) daughter Sophia (Madison Lintz). Along the way Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) son Carl (Chandler Riggs) gets shot, which leads them to encounter a new group of characters when they are brought to Hershel Greene’s (Scott Wilson) house. While there, a whole new set of problems arise. Eventually Hershel warms up to the idea of Rick and his group staying at his house until they find Sophia. But the main tension arises when the group finds out Hershel is holding a group of “walkers,” some of which are his family, in his barn.
This creates a massive stir between the group, where Rick does not want to get on Hershel’s bad side so that they can stay on his land, but a group led by Shane (Jon Bernthal) feel the opposite way and end up taking the matter into their own hands. Shane hands everyone that is on his side a gun and opens the barn door letting all of the “walkers” out. Once they start coming out one by one the group opens fire, killing each one in a massive execution, as Rick, Hershel and his family watch in horror. With each one lying dead on the ground there is one more heard coming out of the barn. When it comes through the door, it is Carol’s daughter, now a zombie. Nobody is willing to shoot her as she keeps coming closer, but Rick, who has dealt with the entire burden of not finding her, takes matters into his own hands and shoots her.
This is where the second half of season two opens up, with everyone in shock and disbelief of what just happened, especially with the fact that Sophia was in the barn the whole time, when they risked their lives looking for her. Two other main subplots that are brought into this season is the fact that Rick’s wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), is pregnant and Shane dealing with the fact that he sacrificed Ottis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) in order to escape the “walkers” to get medicine back in time for Hershel to save Carl when he was shot.
Now after basically seeing their family massacred both Hershel and his daughter Beth (Emily Kinney) go into shock with Beth fainting and becoming non-responsive, while Hershel takes up his old habit of drinking by leaving and going to the town bar. With Beth unresponsive, she begins to grow a high fever. Rick takes it upon himself to get Hershel back, not only so that he can save his daughter, but also to convince him to let the group stay for when Lori’s baby comes. He takes Glenn (Steven Yeun) with him and they set off to try and bring Hershel, who has now lost all hope, back.
While back at the farm, some of the group has started to lose hope after seeing Sophia become a zombie, while others believe what had to be done was done. Beth’s health begins to diminish and Rick has been gone for a while. After Daryl (Norman Reedus) refuses to continue looking for people, Lori decides to take it upon herself to find everyone and bring them back. But after leaving the farm she doesn’t see where she is going and hits a “walker” in the street, causing her to lose control of the car and violently flipping.
At the bar, after spending a lot of time trying to convince Hershel there is still hope in the world and things are going to change, Rick finally convinces Hershel to put down the bottle and come home. Although right before they leave two other survivors enter the bar. The five start off having a normal conversation, but tension begins to grow immensely when the two strangers find out the three are living at Hershel’s farm and try to get the three to let them tag along. Due to knowing nothing about the two strangers that appear to be looking for trouble, Rick politely turns them down. No matter how many times Rick tells the men that there is no more room at the farm, they keep at him and one of the strangers takes out his gun, suggesting that things can turn for the worse if they don’t oblige. Knowing that the tension is starting to reach its climax, Rick takes charge and prepares himself for a possible attack. The stranger asks Rick one more time and when he declines reaches for his gun, but Rick gets to his gun first and shoots the man, then turns around and shoots the other stranger before he could reach for his gun as well.
It was about the most tense build-up scene the series has had so far and shows a growth in Rick for this season. Before, he put a lot of pressure on himself and could not handle everyone looking toward him to be their leader. But now he has shown that he is ready to step up to the plate and do what is necessary to keep his people safe, which is just one of the new themes and storylines that will be portrayed throughout this season’s “The Walking Dead,” which has already broken a basic cable record with the first episode of the season by reaching 8.1 million viewers. The next episode of “The Walking Dead” will air Sunday, Feb. 19, at 9 p.m. on AMC.