As far as we’re concerned, The Walking Dead brought the first half of its second season to a pretty good close (read our mid-season finale review), but like any good finale, also left many fans chomping at the bit to see what comes next.

Well, today we have a double-shot of Walking Dead goodies to share: a sneak-peek at the next episode of the show, and word from series creator Robert Kirkman about what we can expect to see in the final six episodes of season 2.

WARNING: From this point on we will be discussing SPOILERS from the first half of Walking Dead season 2. If you haven’t watched the show up to the mid-season finale yet, you may not want to read any further.

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The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead found Rick Grimes’ cabal of survivors reach a boiling point within the group, best symbolized by the Rick/Shane juxtaposition, in which Rick is the optimist holding on to hope, Shane is the realist adhering to a strict code of survival in a hellish world, and the rest of the group is on the fence, wondering which side they should fall on. Things came to a divisive head when the group learned that Hershel was storing walkers in his barn, culminating in a Shane-led revolt and swift massacre of the barn zombies… until it was revealed that Sophia, the young girl missing since the season 2 premiere, had in fact met a grisly fate and was one of the walkers trapped in the barn. Despite Shane’s tough guy bravado, it was ultimately Rick who had to take on the tragic burden of putting the young girl down.

This second season of The Walking Dead has caught some flack from certain viewers (who yet and still keep viewing, oddly enough) for being too slow of a burn with little plot-point progression or sufficient zombie mayhem. However, as we’ve stated (ad nauseam) here at Screen Rant: The Walking Dead (comic and show) is a character drama, and this mid-season finale certainly left the door open for some drastic character developments to come – as well as some rapid plot progression.

For a hint of just how impactful the events of the mid-season finale were on the characters of TWD, check out a sneak peek at the next episode of the show (episode 208), which is entitled “Nebraska” and will air in February 2012:

The growing schism between Rick and Shane is definitely some of the juicier drama this season offers, but now that the search for Sophia is done, and Hershel’s compassion for Rick’s group is seemingly shattered, those viewers crying for more plot progression and zombie moments may indeed get their wish, if Rick and Co. are forced back into the harsh existence of life on the road.

To learn more about what the rest of the season entails, continue on to Robert Kirkman talking Walking Dead season 2.5…

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