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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Robert Kirkman Talks Walking Dead season 2.5

THR caught up with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to talk about what we can expect to see during the final six episodes of season 2. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more pressing questions that fans likely have after viewing the midseason finale:

Will The Group Remain on Hershel’s farm? 

Kirkman: That’s going to be a big part of the second half of the season. Shane was very charged up at the end of this episode and Hershel is definitely going to be seen as being kind of in the wrong here. They’re going to have to figure out what he knew about Sophia and exactly how involved in that process he was. These two groups are going to be very much at odds when we move into our second half of the season. Our opening to our second half of the season is going to be pretty explosive.

How Will Rick’s Son Carl React to Sophia’s Death? 

Kirkman: One of the major story lines in the comics is Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) dissention into a darker role; he’s forced into adulthood to make terrible decisions. His character evolving over the course of the comic book series is really going to be accelerated by the absence of Sophia. That will remain largely in tact and be sped up. There’s going to be more darkness creeping in to the series in the second half of the season. Now that the Sophia question has been answered, they’re not going to have that hanging over their heads and that’s not going to be bogging them down making them have to devote time to that.

How Will Rick’s Role as Leader be Affected by Sophia’s Death? 

Kirkman: The entire season arc is, is Rick a good leader? Is this something he wants to do? Is this something he’s qualified to for?This is a role that’s been thrust upon him; he didn’t seek it out. Everybody looks to him for answers and they are very clear examples of him not having the answers and making a mistake. The situation with Sophia and the fact that she did turn up dead, that is going to weigh on him. It’s something he’s willing to feel responsible for.

Now that the Shane/Lori Affair is Out in the Open, How will Rick and Shane Deal with the Question of Whose Baby Lori is Having? 

Kirkman: It is going to eat away at them to a certain extent. This is an example of these people having to learn to let go of society and let go of the things that they were taking for granted before the end of the world. At a certain point you have to throw up your hands and say this is the world that we live in, this is a question that may never be answered. It’ll be a bee in their bonnets for a bit.

And of course, no Walking Dead interview would be complete without a question about when we’ll be seeing some of the fan-favorite characters from the comics:

When WILL  We be Seeing The Governor and/or Michonne? 

Kirkman: I can say only that we will see them eventually. We will see some new characters popping up as early as the [2012] premiere episode.

For more about the relationships between the characters, the fallout of the mid-season finale, and lingering mysteries (like what Jenner told Rick at the CDC), be sure to head over to THR for the full interview with Kirkman.

The Walking Dead will return for the second half of season 2 on Feb 12, 2012 @ 9pm on AMC.

Sources: AMC & THR

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