AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 13: “Beside the Dying Fire”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Robert Kirkman & Glen Mazzara
* For a review of the previous episode, “Better Angels” – click here
* For a review of the Season 3 premiere, “Seed” – click here
Here is the Season 2 finale. What will the consequences of Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) actions in “Better Angels” bring? How will Carl (Chandler Riggs) move on emotionally from this point? Will Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) find a way to hate Rick for what he’s done, or will she stand true to her belief that Shane (Jon Bernthal) was dangerous? Not a whole lot matters with all those zombies moving towards Rick, Carl, and in turn the camp.
This episode begins with a helicopter flying overhead of Atlanta. Walkers look up and start to move towards the noise. They make their way out of the city, into the fields, the wide open spaces of America’s South. Soon, they come up against a fence. After pushing against it a horde of them manage to break it down. They continue on ahead. Into the woods, through the night. Always walking.
It’s then they hear a shot. The one that killed Shane. And now we’re back watching them move towards the farm, as Rick and Carl head back.
At the house, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) tell the group what they found, in terms of Randall. Daryl tells them about how Shane was walking with him. Lori’s too concerned about Rick, though.
Carl is asking how Shane died, if he was bit. Then Rick is about to tell him, but walkers interrupt their talk. They’re moving in further to the ranch. On the porch, Daryl and Andrea (Laurie Holden) also begin to see them close in. This is the beginning of a wildly chaotic season finale. Hershel (Scott Wilson) starts to get things prepared, as Daryl and the others try to figure out their next move. Meanwhile, Rick and Carl hide in the barn; ironic how now the barn is hiding the living, instead of when it housed the dead. Finally the guns are brought out again, big time. All of them load up.
Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) take a vehicle, as do T-Dog (Irone Singleton) and the others, then circle around the farm shooting any and all zombies they can. It’s a shootout for a while with Daryl, Glenn, even Jimmy (James Allen McCune) firing off round after round after round. When Carl and Rick light the barn on fire to save themselves, it’s clear the farm will never be the same again. Poor Jimmy ends up getting torn apart, eaten alive, as father and son are rescued from the barn. That’s going to hit poor Beth (Emily Kinney) hard; sad after all she’s seen so far.
The ranch is being abandoned, even with Hershel making a last stand firing a shotgun at the walkers bearing down on his house. Patricia (Jane McNeill) is also ripped to pieces by zombies on her way to try and escape. Maggie and Glenn are forced to leave the farm, not knowing for sure what’s happening to the others. Back with Hershel, he finds himself saved by Rick before a walker bites him. Lori is off in one direction. Rick and Hershel and Carl have to go in another, Daryl finds Carol (Melissa McBride) on his bike heading in another direction. Everyone is separated. Almost epic tragedy to watch Hershel see his ranch in the rear window of the truck, speeding away, fire engulfing almost everything now and the living dead stumbling after them. Insane sequence. Craziest yet: Andrea is left behind. Somehow in the shuffle she never made it to a vehicle, and off everyone went leaving her in the dust with all the zombies.
Awhile later, Carl, Rick and Hershel pull up to where they were on the highway at the end of Season 1 and the beginning of this season. Where they waited for Sophia. The plan is to stay together now. Hershel isn’t as optimistic as Rick, though, even he is pretty tense at the moment. Out on the road, T-Dog, Beth and Lori drive in a truck together, but soon they also head back to the highway. So do Daryl and Carol, too. The group is reunited once more, thankfully. All the remaining survivors are able to survive together a little longer. Handshakes, hugs, kisses. It’s a happy, brief reprieve in a cold and lonely world of death. The one sore spot: Andrea is lost, somewhere behind them. Their plan now is to head out east, somewhere. Anywhere else. They can only hope Andrea is either moving on herself, or passed to a better, less painful place; yeah, right.
Rick: “You‘re a man of God. Have some faith.”
Hershel: “I can‘t profess to understand God‘s plan, Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind.”
Andrea’s alive, at least. She sprints through the forest all on her own, guns and ammo in tow. She will definitely become a better shot, a better all around hunter and fighter and survivor. A bit of time alone in the zombie apocalypse certainly can prove to either be death, or an incredibly brutal regime of survival. Here’s to hoping Andrea can use it as the latter and come out on top.
With gas running low Rick and the crew stop on the road a while. Nobody can seem to agree on a perfect plan. Although, Rick tries his best to lead things keep coming up against him. Then he’s forced to tell the group “We‘re all infected“. This is what Dr. Jenner told him at the CDC before they left. He kept it a secret all this time; everyone carries the virus, it comes on after death. A devastating blow to hear at this point, causing everyone to question Rick’s leadership. Also, Rick tells Lori he killed Shane, which rocks her world a little, too.
In the forest, Andrea is saved by a hooded figure wielding a samurai sword and holding two armless-jawless walkers on chain link leashes. Amazing. Another exciting character arrives. We’ll see her more next season, a ton.
Rick: “I am doing something! I‘m keeping this group together. Alive! I‘ve been doing that all along, no matter what; I didn‘t ask for this! I killed my best friend for you people, for Christ sake! You saw what he was like. How he pushed me, how he compromised us, how he threatened us. He staged the whole Randall thing, led me out to put a bullet in my back. He gave me no choice! He was my friend, but he came after me. My hands are clean. Maybe you people are better off without me. Go ahead. I say there‘s a place for us, but maybe– maybe it‘s just another pipe dream. Maybe– maybe I‘m fooling myself again. Why don‘t– why don’t you go out and find yourself. Send me a postcard! Go on, there‘s the door. You can do better. Let‘s see how far you get. No takers? Fine.”
With Rick ready to lead everyone, he states firmly: “This is not a democracy anymore”
The season finishes, as we see a craning shot of a prison not far from where the group stays the night. Surely, they’ll make their way to it next season. Lots of excitement in store!
Stay tuned for a review of the Season 3 premiere, titled “Seed”.