The Top 10 Moments from Season 2 of The Walking Dead

1. Rick shoots Sophia – This is the defining moment of the series for me, let alone the season. Up until this point it seemed like Rick was entrenched in an old school style of leadership where his belief in faith and the “good” nature of the world would win out in the end. His search for Sophia was his search for faith and hope, tearing at his internal psyche the entire time he was out there looking for her. He questioned himself, questioned his leadership role within the group and questioned if he was the right man for the job. The look of dread on his face when Sophia stumbled out of the barn made us realize that Rick knew, deep down, all along, that all hope was lost. Rick putting a bullet in Sophia’s brain was Rick putting a bullet in his old mentality of survival… one of my favorite moments of storytelling in recent memory.

Rick steps up for the group

2. 18 Miles Out ending – That final image of this episode was Shane watching a walker stumble aimlessly through a field as he slipped slowly into darkness. Shane was hands down one of my favorite characters on the show for his survival mentality and his instigation of problems within the group. His character brought so much to the show and it was interesting to see his fall into evil as he slowly lost sight of himself. His slow and arduous journey into the depths of darkness was frightening to watch. We saw the humanity slip from his eyes as he transformed from a leader of the group to an antagonistic individual that undermined Rick at every turn, slowly turning to “the dark side”. That final scene of him staring at the zombie walking without direction or purpose in life was mirroring everything that Shane was feeling and becoming at the time.

Shane's decent into darkness was a focal point of season 2

3. The Evolution of Daryl – He’s one of everyone’s favorite characters on the show and for good reason: He’s the rogue with the heart of gold, the Han Solo of the show who reluctantly joins a group that isn’t catered to him but evolves into their protective hero. We all love a brilliant character transformation and Daryl’s was no different. Gone are the days of his venomous insults and thoughts of getting back to his brother and in their place are hilarious one liners and a caring personality for his new friends, especially Carol. Their growing relationship throughout the entire Sophia ordeal really hammered home the direction of Daryl’s transition as well as revealing that deep down he really is a good person.

4. Michonne and the prison – I think that a lot of us fans of the show and fans of the comic AND the show were ready for this group to leave the farm and take the next step. I haven’t read the comics but I heard rumblings of the prison and its significance in the development of our characters. We were wondering if we would get a tease at season 3 during the finale and boy did they deliver. Not only did we get that epic closing shot of the prison basking in the moonlight but we got the introduction of Michonne, a fan favorite from the comics and a character I’ve only heard great things about. Her survival instincts and adaptability to this new world is something that our group hasn’t really seen yet, which should lead to some fantastic character interactions.

The introduction of a fan favorite from the comics

5. Jenner’s reveal – That whisper. It never left our memories and it was speculated time and time again from thousands upon thousands of fans. We were all curious and were dying to find out what was so important in Jenner’s whisper to Rick that he had to tell him before he died. The reveal of an “airborn” sort of virus that has infected every surviving human on the planet was a dark reveal that helped push the zombie science forward. If you die without blatant head trauma you will reanimate as a walker. This is an interesting theory that was tacked onto the finale that made for a great reveal and even more theorizing from fans.

6. The Farm is Overrun – Every finale needs its signature action sequence and this one delivered on all cylinders for me. Not only did we get two gruesome deaths (of minor characters that we didn’t need to cry over) but we also got a zombie killing spree that would rival any video game design. Glenn hanging out of a car window popping walkers with a shotgun, Daryl on a motorcycle with a magnum, T-Dogg and Andrea running over walkers with the hoods of their trucks, and Herschel and his never-ending shotgun clip- It all came together to form one of the more bad-ass and memorable sequences in the show’s history.

a fantastic walker shoot out that ended the season with a bang

7. Nebraska Ending – Ah yes, the moment that Rick took survival into his own hands and put a bullet through the heads of two scavengers that were threatening his life and the life of his family. It was the moment we were all waiting for and it was another huge step for our leader’s mentality. That entire sequence was so full of painfully slow tension that it felt like it was tearing down my insides as I nervously waited for all hell to break loose.

8. The Death of Dale – Dale was the man living in humanity’s past that had to get his say on everything that happened with the group, from abortions to escape plans. His character mentality was one that was needed but he bordered on pesky or annoying at times. His ideas of survival and humanity above all transformed from welcomed to constant nagging and worrying as the season went on. He was always a voice of reason, though his stubborn inability to adapt to a new world seemed to be his downfall in the show. Now, Dale in the comics was apparently a better character (according to Jim Law and Johnny Moreno on last week’s podcast), where he was less of a “worrywart” and more of an inspirational fountain of knowledge… one that helped a lot of our characters grow and evolve through the course of the comics. He unfortunately didn’t get as big of a chance to do that on the show but his presence was welcomed and he left his mark on the group. His horrific death and bullet to the head to put him out of misery was a dark irony from his latest discussion.

We'll miss ya buddy

9. Shane leaves Otis to die – This is where Shane started to turn from a sort of antihero to the beginning of a villain. There are a ton of scenarios for this situation that could have been done differently but the outcome would’ve stayed the same. The walkers were descending quickly and Shane had to do what he needed to do to survive. This sparked an epic debate through a “what would you do” scenario that had the internet burning up for weeks. It seems harsh that Shane would put a bullet in his knee instead of his head which might’ve been another nail in the coffin of Shane’s conscience. His thought process slipped to survival at all costs and it never turned back from there.

10. Glenn meets Maggie – If Daryl is the lovable rogue of the show than Glenn is the lovable geek that everyone can relate to. His prescience is a refreshing change of pace from the dark and serious tone of the groups’ discussions. We’ve all grown to love the hell out of this guy and his transformation into a lady’s man was equally heartwarming. Shy, hesitant and overwhelmingly nervous, Glenn and Maggie fell in love in a hopeless place (had to get that in there) while creating some thick skin for the upcoming trek into the prison. We saw Glenn inherit confidence by the boatloads and we loved every minute of it.

Honorable Mention(s): Zombie Shane, Hiding from the walkers on the freeway, Daryl goes on a spiritual journey, Lori tells Rick about Shane and the baby