If it took me a couple of episodes to really start liking The Walking Dead in the short 6 episode season 1, it took another couple of episodes in season 2 to make me a fanatic. I have zombie fever and it hasn’t died down at all. And if season 1 was a miserly 6 episodes, the sophomore year didn’t really explode with just 13 episodes. Not bad but not good enough. A decent season run is 20-26 episodes, although that is seen less and less in these years. Anyways the group leave Atlanta and decide to try to head to Fort Benning. Along the way, they come across a traffic jam of abandoned vehicles on I-85. Seeing an opportunity they raid the cars for supplies that they can use, including huge bottles of water from a truck. But they are soon forced into hiding in & under the various vehicles as a horde of walker come passing by.
Sophia is chased away from the rest by two walkers who were at the very end, stragglers at the very end of the pack. The young girl runs into the woods to get away from them and Carl runs behind her, leading the walkers away and killing them. But now they have to find Sophia who is missing. In the initial search Carl, who is entranced by a deer he sees, is accidentally shot by a hunter Otis. Shocked by what he has done, Otis leads Rick who carries Carl in his arms, to a farm house owned by a veterinarian Hershel and his family. As the search for Sophia continues, the rest of the group slowly move into the farm. Shane & Otis go to a hospital in town to get supplies for Hershal to treat Carl’s wounds and are attacked by a large group of walkers. Running out of bullets, Rick shoots a tiring Otis in the leg, leaving him to be attacked by the walkers and offering himself a distraction to escape. Rick takes the medical stuff back to the farm and Carl begin the slow road to recovery.
Shane changes post this, becoming more antagonistic and dangerous. The group camps out in tents just outside the farm house, eating meals inside the self-sufficient household with fresh meat & vegetables. Things slow down to an almost idealistic pace, although Hershel wants them to leave. Rick asks him to reconsider letting them stay permanently as the farm is well isolated and there’s plenty of food and enough work for all the group members to pitch in as the search for Sophia proves fruitless, much to Carol’s dismay. Lori discovers that she is pregnant, after asking Glenn to get supplies from town and using a test kit. Glenn builds a romantic relationship with Maggie, one of Hershel’s daughters, and discovers that Hershel’s barn is full of walkers, many of whom in life had been friends and family members of Hershel’s. This causes a huge rift amongst the group, some of who want the walkers to be killed while Rick wants to respect Hershel’s feelings. The old veterinarian is hopeful that a cure can be found for his family members to bring them back to being humans and hence feeds the live poultry in the meantime.
During a moment of heat Rick, with some of the group on his side, forces the walkers out of the barn and the group opens fire killing all the walkers as they stumble out into the open. Rick & Hershel’s family tries to stop it from happening but all the walkers are killed. Finally we hear a less confident snarl as a zombie Sophia come out, staggering towards the group – she was there all along! A scared Sophia while trying to find shelter must have stumbled onto the farm. None of the group is able to do anything as Daryl holds a crying Carol back and Rick is forced to shot & kill Sophia. A grieving Hershel goes away into the deserted town nearby and finds a bar to drink his sorrow away. After Rick and Glenn find him and convince him to return, they trio have a run in with another group of survivors and they end up having to kill two of them and rescue an injured young man, Randall, and bring him back to the farm as a horde of walkers arrive. Shane wants to desert Randall in town as soon as he is healed but a disagreement between him & Rick ends up in a fight and attracting more walkers. Rick decides to bring Randall back for execution instead. Meanwhile Hershel’s younger daughter Beth tries to kill herself in order to escape a seemingly hopeless situation.
The group argues & debates about Randall’s fate and finally agree to execute him despite Dale’s passionate pleas not to do so. As Rick & Shane take a gun to Randall, they are urged on by Carl, who is seemingly experimenting with death and must be finding things strange as the only child in the survivors midst. Rick cannot bring himself to kill Randall with his son watching and halts the execution. In the night Dale is attacked by a walker and dies. Later Shane secretly releases Randall and kills him nearby, while the rest of the group conduct a search for him. Daryl and Glenn come to the realization that the dead can reanimate without previous exposure to walkers, as the find a zombie Randall without bite marks on him. An almost deranged Shane uses the search for Randall to kill Rick but it backfires and Rick is forced to kill Shane. After Shane’s death, he reanimates and Carl shoots him in the head. The gun shot attracts a horde of walkers who had wandered into the woods and they attack the farm. Rick and Carl get into the barn and ignite it to destroy a bunch of walkers.
In the battle, Jimmy & Patricia are killed and the rest make their way away in a couple of vehicles but Andrea gets left behind. She is later rescued by a mysterious hooded woman, leading chained, armless, walkers. The others – consisting of Rick, Lori, Carl, Glenn, Daryl, Carol, T-Dog, Maggie, Beth, and Hershel – regroup on the highway and are forced to make camp due to shortage of gas. This is where Rick reveals the truth behind Shane’s death and about what Dr. Jenner told him – they are all infected carriers of the walker pathogen. Meaning if they die they will immediately reanimate as zombies. This revelation leaves the group feeling uneasy and as the season ends we see a prison looming nearby.