The Walking Dead: Looking back at Beside the Dying Fire

On March 18, 2012, AMC aired The Walking Dead episode “Beside the Dying Fire.” This was the 13 episode of season 2, the season finale, written by  Robert Kirkman & Glen Mazzara and directed by Ernest Dickerson. It was a brutal episode that saw the end of Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) beloved farm and the heels of Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) death.

This episode gave the fandom the quote from Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) “If you’re staying, this isn’t a democracy anymore,” which spawned the Ricktatorship. This comment was made following the farm’s fall when Rick finally told the group what Dr. Jenner (Noah Emmerich) whispered in his ear during the season 1 finale, “TS-19.” He told them everyone is infected, which was shocking news, and they felt betrayed by Rick for not telling them sooner.

Rick was never sure Jenner’s statement was correct until he watched Shane reanimated without being bit. He may have kept this a secret, but he also may not have believed it was a fact until he witnessed it himself. Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) also saw this with Randall (Michael Zegen).

The Walking Dead season 2

“Beside the Dying Fire” opens with a horde of walkers in downtown Atlanta who hear a helicopter and begin following the noise. As they walk along, they are joined by another group of walkers and continue as the horde grows larger.

Daryl and Glenn return from searching for Randall and tell everyone he had turned but had no bite marks or scratches.

Rick and Carl walk towards the farm after Shane’s death and discuss what happened.  They have no idea a horde is behind them, slowly descending on the farm. When they realize what is happening, it is too late. They take refuge in the barn, where they lure some walkers to set them on fire.

Everyone in the house sees the horde, and the action begins. The group fights for survival as they take to cars and Daryl on his bike, shooting walkers, but there are too many. Hershel refuses to leave his farm and keeps fighting them off. In the end, Jimmy (James Allen McCune) and Patricia (Jane McNeill) are killed by walkers, and Andrea (Laurie Holden) is assumed dead as a walker lands on top of her.

When everyone realizes the farm is lost, they take to vehicles and escape, rendezvousing on the highway where they lost Sophia (Madison Lintz). They travel for a time, and when they stop for the night, Rick tells them what Jenner told him.

The group members start questioning whether they want to remain with the group. Rick tells them that someone else can lead, but there are no takers. He declares that democracy no longer governs the group.

Viewers also learn that Andrea did survive and was alone in the woods. She is tired from fighting off walkers and is almost bitten as a hooded figure kills the walker, saving Andrea. This is the first glimpse of the character Michonne and her pet walkers.

The first glimpse of the West Georgia Correctional Facility is seen in this episode.

Interesting trivia from his episode includes: Danai Gurira, who played Michonne in the series, didn’t portray her in this first glimpse of the character. Josh Mikel, who would go on to play one of the Saviors named Jared, played a walker in this episode. This is the last episode that fans see Dale’s RV.

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