(Warning: spoilers ahead!) Well, here we are at The Walking Dead's mid-season finale, marking the first half of what is to be a 13-episode arc.
Let's recap what's happened to date during season 2: Sophia went missing, Lori's pregnant, Carl was shot but made a full recovery, everyone's been looking for Sophia, Rick's gang is holed up at Hershel's farm, which is oddly zombie-free except for the 40 billion of them secretly stuffed in his barn, people looked in this one place for Sophia but she wasn't there, Glenn got laid, various people said "SOPHIA!" real loud in an effort to locate her, Rick knows that Lori cheated on him with Shane, and the interminable search for Sophia has continued, almost as if leading up to an epic Sophia-related conclusion of some kind. Ahem.
Also, this one time? Daryl totally ate a raw squirrel.
Tonight's episode opens with Glenn awkwardly revealing the barn-zombie situation to the gang. "Um, guys? So ... the barn's full of walkers. THERE I SAID IT. Whew, that's a load off. You know I hate secrets about pregnancy and farm outbuildings full of the undead."
Everyone goes to inspect the barn, which is, indeed, full of zombies. D'oh! They seem to be pushing kind of dramatically on that locked door, too. You'd think a mess of zombies could eventually bust through the wooden walls but then again they can't even catch a non-handicapped chicken. Man up, zombies! You're making the genre look bad!
Carol and Daryl have a moment in the horse stable that starts out kind of tender but ends with Daryl being a total asswipe. Basically their conversation goes like this:
Carol (weepily): "I can't lose you too."
Daryl: "Stupid bitch." (storms off)
WTF, Daryl. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the tent today? Miss your morning squirrel?
Rick busts in on Hershel's civilized old-man lunch of canned peaches and iced tea and begs for his people to be allowed to stay at the farm. Hershel's like, "No." Rick plays his trump card: "But my wife is totally pregnant!"
And Hershel's like, "Should've sheltered your jerky before you nabbed that turkey. PS: No."
Back at the Zombie Barn, Shane puts on his Broody Face and gets into it with Rick, who tells Shane about Lori's pregnancy to try and convince him to deal with the barn in a peaceful non-anti-Hershel way, and Shane's like "Whoah. Uh. Congratulations." (sotto voce: "On letting me impregnate your wife n'all.")
Shane confronts Lori, who basically tells him the baby isn't his and even if it WAS his, it never will BE his, neener neener ain't no custody laws around HERE, and Shane storms off to find Dale, who has slunk off to the woods to hide all the guns because dammit, VIOLENCE IS NOT THE ANSWER YOU GUYS. Let's just talk nice to the flesh-eating zombies, and maybe they'll—yeah, I'm with Shane on this one. GUNS FOR EVERYONE.
Meanwhile, Hershel drags Rick off on a bleeding-heart mission to rescue two zombies from, what is that, a pit of quicksand? Hershel's like, if you want to stay, this is how we treat walkers. By snaring them with these here poles and dragging them unharmed back to the barn. "My farm, my barn, my say," says Hershel, who's a poet and doesn't know it. "RARRRGH," say the surprisingly inept zombies, flailing around on their poles.
Elsewhere, Carol and Daryl make up for their shitty morning while gazing soulfully at a Cherokee rose together. "We'll find her," says Carol, meaning Sophia. Daryl is also convinced. It's like we're all going to see Sophia very, very soon.
Rick and Hershel come dragging their walkers back to the farm at the exact moment Shane goes all commando and hands out the pile of guns to everyone in his group. As everyone approaches the barn, Shane has what you might call a justified freakout, screaming, "Could a living person walk away from this?" while blasting a festive variety of would-be fatal injuries into Hershel's pole-driven walker. “These things ain’t sick! They’re dead! They killed Amy! They killed Otis!" Well, technically you killed Otis, Shane, but I get your meaning.
Finally, Shane shoots it in the brain, blort, and then, holy shit, he breaks open the barn doors. "TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!" he screams, according to my imagination, which has now confused this entire scene with the Motivational Fight Speech from 300.
Out come the walkers—every day I'm shuffling—and while Hershel stares on in stunned disbelief, the group suddenly goes all SEAL Team 6 and systematically takes the zombies down, headshot by headshot, until the barn is empty.
Or ... is it?
Sure enough, there's one more person inside, and she slowly makes her appearance while breathing heavily. It is, of course, the long-lost Sophia. Wow, I can't believe she was able to stay alive for so—oh. Ohhhhh, right.
Sophia the Walker comes out, and as much as I have grown impatient with this never-ending storyline, it's a pretty sad scene. Her mother is in hysterics, restrained by Daryl. Everyone is shocked and horrified and okay, we get it, the walkers are people too, OH GOD THIS LESSON BURRRRNS. Rick finally strides up to the snarling little dead girl and blows a hole through her skull, and that, my friends, is the end of the search for Sophia.
(I'm left wondering if Hershel knew there was a young girl in the barn or not. Would've saved a LOT of searching, is all I'm saying.)
It's also the end of the season for now, because the second half doesn't start up again until February 12. What's to come? Well, I'm guessing things aren't too happy at the farm from here on out, but we'll have to wait and see.
What did you think of tonight's episode? Will you be tuning in when the show comes back on?
Image via AMC