October 16, 2011 7:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Walking Dead' Season 2 Premiere: (Spoiler) Got Shot, What's Next?
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's Season 2 premiere, "What Lies Ahead."]
Say this about AMC's The Walking Dead: The zombie series knows how to stage a season premiere.
After 90 minutes that saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) rescue and then subsequently lose Sophia (Madison Lintz), Shane ponder leaving the group -- possibly with Andrea joining him after a blowout with Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) -- and a handful of some of the most disgusting zombie offings, Rick and Lori's (Sarah Wayne Callies) son, Carl (Chandler Riggs), was shot.
"You expect to have a run-in with a zombie in this new world; you less expect that you're going to be shot by another human," executive producer Gale Anne Hurd tellsThe Hollywood Reporter. "It's clear that rifle was not wielded by a zombie. You can't forget that those threats are still out there."
Hurd notes that there "are no sacred cows" in the Walking Dead and that the writers wanted to explore what the new world is like for children.
"Is there a place for them? Is a child growing up in this changed world different? Can they have that innocence or is all that lost as the world becomes more frightening and more deadly?" she ponders.
With Shane (Jon Bernthal), Andrea (Laurie Holden) and T-Dog (Robert "IronE" Singleton) already questioning Rick's leadership skills, Carl's shooting will only make matters worse for everyone.
"Carl getting shot is definitely going to have everyone second-guessing themselves, trying to figure out what it is that led to that and how it can be avoided in the future," executive producer Robert Kirkman tells THR. "It really is just a horrific thing that they all have to deal with and a lot of things come out of that."
While both Rick and Lori decided it was OK for their son to tag along in the search for his friend, Sophia, the shooting will serve as a source of friction for Carl's parents -- and members of their group.
"Rick is definitely going to have to rethink a lot of his actions and it's going to have Shane possibly thinking that Rick can't protect anybody," the Walking Dead comic book creator teases.
"Rick is going to question his abilities as both a leader and a father," Hurd adds. "Anyone who isn't just power mad, but wants to do right by his family and by the group that he's leading is going to wonder about his place in it."
For Lori, the shooting will find her feeling even more conflicted about her husband in the wake of her pseudo-affair with Shane.
"She's very loyal and she does want to do the right thing for her son and for their relationship, but she also sees the greater context if you fracture something like that and what kind of impact it will have on the group," Hurd notes.
What did you think of The Walking Dead premiere?