The Walking Dead S02E13 Review: "Beside the Dying Fire"

What a great finish to a roller coaster ride of a season. We were treated to some hardcore zombie action, we received answers to most of our questions, and we were even given a glimpse of what lies ahead in season three.

The first twenty minutes of the episode were full of action. The horde of walkers made their way onto the farm, which forced the group to split up. Rick and Carl locked themselves in the barn and eventually led a good number of walkers inside, while they climbed to the top. Once the barn was full, Carl dropped a lighter, igniting fuel that Rick had poured on the main level, which set the group of walkers below ablaze. Another awesome part of that opening scene was Hershel firing away at walkers with a rifle (with infinite ammo) until Rick pulled him away and they made their escape. Eventually the entire group -- well almost all of them -- made their way off the farm separately, with Rick, Carl, and Hershel in one truck, T-Dogg, Lori, and Beth in another, Glenn and Maggie in Shane’s SUV, and Daryl and Carol on the motorcycle.

While most of the group had taken off, Andrea was left to fend for herself against the army of walkers. The group also lost two members as Jimmy and Patricia were both attacked by walkers. Jimmy’s death was quite gruesome as he was trapped in the RV with Rick and Carl only able to look on as his blood was splattered on the windshield.

It was the most intense action sequence of the season and it was well worth the wait.

The split up group eventually finds each other on the highway where they were at the beginning of the season. While the group debated what their next move would be, the car that the group left food on with the words “Sophia wait here” written on the windshield was visible in the background and served a reminder to group how they had come full circle. The group ultimately decided to move on without Andrea, and so they did.

As the group makes their way down the road in search for a new home, Rick’s truck runs out of gas, so they all pull over. Rick quickly decides that group will stay where they are for the night and search for fuel in the morning. While some group members argue his decision, Daryl tells Rick that he and Glenn found Randall as a walker, despite the fact that he was never bit. Rick confesses to the group that they are all infected, a piece of information Dr. Jenner told him back at the CDC in season one.

We’ve been speculating on what Dr. Jenner told Rick all season long and now we finally have our answer. Theories have gone from Jenner telling Rick that Lori is pregnant to what was actually revealed. The idea that everyone is infected is something that is true to the comics, but Dr. Jenner was not a character in the comics, so the speculation was equal amongst everyone.

The group, especially Glenn, argues with Rick on how he could keep such a secret from them. Unable to tolerate their bickering, Rick storms off alone, but is soon accompanied by Lori. Rick proceeds to tell Lori how he killed Shane. He tells her that he had no choice, but deep inside he wanted him dead. Lori looks shattered, and then Rick tells her how Carl put down Shane's reanimated corpse, which leaves her devastated. Rick tries to comfort her, but she wants no part of him.

It was pretty evident from this scene that Lori still had feelings for Shane. While it seemed as though her anger was all directed at Rick, I couldn't help but think that she was angry with herself. After all, she was the reason this all happened. Not only did she cause the rift between the two former best friends, but she even paved the way for a confrontation between the two, first telling Rick that he had to do something about Shane, and then warming up to Shane and telling him that the baby might be his.

As this is going on, Andrea is still fighting her way through the horde of walkers back at the farm. She manages to make her way into the forest, but looks as though she will be overtaken by walkers at any moment. As she falls to the ground and a walker climbs over her, it seems as if we've seen the last of Andrea. Just as she is about to be bit, the walker's head is sliced off and as Andrea looks up, she sees a hooded woman holding a chain attached to two walkers with no arms.

While the character is not revealed, the woman's name is Michonne and will likely be a significant character moving forward. I was very impressed with how true to the comics they made her, with the armless walkers and all.

Related: Casting Details for Season 3

Finally, we get a last shot of our group camping with T-Dogg keeping watch. As they hear something in the forest, the group gets uneasy and they begin to question Rick's leadership. Rick puts his foot down and challenges any of the group members to go ahead and leave if they're not happy. No one leaves and then Rick informs them that if they stay, they should know that this will no longer be a democracy. It was a defining moment for Rick's character and should be an important part of next season. From now on, what Rick says, goes.

To top off the great episode, as the camera moves away from the group, we are able to see a prison in the distance, which will likely be the group's next destination.

It was a chilling and spectacular ending. Only about 7 months left to go until season three. Sigh.

Answered Questions

All of our questions from last week were answered, so let's get to them.

What did Dr. Jenner whisper into Rick's ear at the end of the episode "TS-19" in season one? Rick almost reveals this over the radio to Morgan in the first episode of season two, but then chooses not to.
Rick reveals that Dr. Jenner told him that everyone is infected, meaning no matter how someone dies, they will reanimate into a zombie. Rick claims that he didn't tell anyone because Jenner was a little crazy. He admits that once he saw Shane reanimate that he knew for sure.

How did Shane and Randall transform into zombies despite never being bit?
Turns out that this is the same answer as the first question. As Rick told the group, everyone is already infected.

Will the group be forced to leave the farm given the horde of walkers making their way in the final scene of "Better Angels"?
With the farm overrun by walkers and the barn burned down, the group was forced to leave the farm and it looks to be for good.

How will the group react to Rick killing Shane?
The group had mixed feelings. Rick could see that some of them were upset, but then called them out on it, claiming that all of them wanted him gone and all he did was solve the problem.

What happened to Merle? We know he escaped the rooftop by cutting off his hand. Was he able to get past the zombies? If so, where will he turn up next? We were teased with his return in season two, episode five, but he turned out to be Daryl's imagination.

SEASON 3 SPOILERS

While this question has not been answered in the show, Robert Kirkman pretty much confirmed on "Talking Dead" that Merle will be returning in season 3.

Questions going into season 3

  1. Who was in the helicopter that led the walkers away from Atlanta? Rick saw the helicopter in the first episode of the series, but it was always assumed that he was hallucinating. Now that the walkers reacted to it, we know it was real.
  2. How will Michonne impact the show? How long until she and Andrea find the rest of the group?
  3. Where will Merle show up next?
  4. What awaits the group at the prison, seen in the background in the season finale of season 2?
  5. Where will we see Randall's group next?
  6. I hope you all enjoyed season two as much as I did.

    Here are some of the shows I'll be watching between now and the premiere of season 3:

    Game of Thrones (season 2)
    Mad Men (season 5)
    Breaking Bad (season 5)
    Homeland (season 2)

    Thanks for reading,

    Patrick Storto
    Follow Me on Twitter!

Comments 5
George Prax's picture

What's really funny is that while I really liked this episode (I would personally give it a 9), the season as a whole is probably a 7.5 for me. There were some pretty big pacing, writing and directing issues, regardless of how enjoyable the show still was. But this episode was pretty much just awesome. It's like Kirkman took what everyone was saying about the lack of zombies to heart and just decided, fuck it, lets give them zombies. Herschel's infinite ammo was hilarious. Really satisfying to see that wretched farm go up in flames. Loved Rick going full badass at the end to, almost as if he was sort of assuming the "Shane role", or at least absorbing parts of it into his.

The major issue I had with the episode out of some logic problems with the ammo were the visuals. Now that the show broke every cable record with the ratings lets hope AMC wakes up and increases the budget because I'm tired of having to guess what I'm looking at during night time scenes.

Otherwise it was great.

As for the questions, I think Randall's group and Merle will be the people at the prison.

Tylerr Rietze's picture

Actually, if you watch the behind the scenes stuff from around the interwebs, they do discuss how many shots till a reload, and he is shown reloading once or twice, I assume that though the actors knew when to reload, the people doing the editing didn't think of that when trying to piece everything together. Plus the fact that it had to be done in one take for the most part (the barn burning part), they didn't have too many options when cutting out things. Plus, if

My biggest issue is understanding how his shoulder could even support getting beat up like that over and over and over. I know adrenaline can make people do crazy things, but still. Also, that gun should be hot as hell by the time he was done with it. Oh well, show about zombies, I don't even care about realism anymore lol

George Prax's picture

Well he still fired like 100 shots, when ammo's supposed to be scarce. I guess I can buy the editing thing about reloading but still. Not to mention the fact that he was hitting headshots left and right and we've only seen Herschel pick up a gun once so far this season.

And I know it's a zombie show, but suspension in disbelief only goes so far. Why not give them flying cars and pet zebras while we're at it? They're supposed to have gun experts and stuff on set, and they end up taking a lot of liberties with that kind of stuff for the sake of simplicity and getting 1000 zombies in a scene and I don't think that's necessary.

Rhymin Greiman's picture

This episode made me wish Lori had gotten killed... in the most horrible fashion imaginable. I'm not sure if it's the writer's fault or they just wanted Lori to be the bitch of the group. It pissed me off to see her reaction to Rick killing Shane after we saw weeks beforehand that Lori was basically hinting that Shane needed to be killed for the group to grow. So she is either a hypocritical bitch, wanted Shane around knowing he was the father, or the writers just forgot she was actually wanting something to happen to Shane. Either way, she was already the most hated character on the show for me... next to Carl.

My friend, who hasn't read the comics, was a bit surprised at my reaction when Michonne took out that zombie to save Andrea. I purposely neglected to mention anything about her since he didn't want to know what happened in the comics but now he's as pumped as I am, so it works out. Seeing the chick they casted for her really made me happy too. I know nothing about her but she certainly looks to fill the part perfectly and it sure didn't take long to find out if the show would have her slicing up walkers. With her officially on the show, now maybe T-Dog will have something else to do with his time and actually get some lines.

I fully expected the prison to be the next setting but I will add to Prax's beef regarding the lighting... my friend had no idea what he was looking at when the camera panned up during the final shot. He figured it was a castle, so I had to laugh and fill him in there. I still predict we'll see the comic residents in the prison but it's hard to say if that's where Randall's group is from because I believe he said they were like 10-20 miles away from the farm (probably wrong but I thought he mentioned the distance). So if his group is there then we have to assume that distance is what was covered throughout the early morning when they escaped the farm.

As for the infinite ammo... I'll just choose to believe that shotgun could hold at least 6-8 shells and every time the camera cut away, Hershel reloaded. But I will say my new favorite quote was uttered just before Hershel went all Rambo.

Hershel - "It's my farm. I'll die here."

Daryl - "I guess tonight is as good a night as any" Then he goes head first into walker mayhem. Loved it. Daryl continues to make me not miss Tyreese.

I'm gonna miss Dale's RV though...

Patrick Storto's picture

My guess is that Randall's group won't be at the prison. They'll probably have a chance to settle down and deal with other things before that group makes its return.