RECAP: ‘The Walking Dead’ – S02E04 – “Cherokee Rose”

NOTE: Let’s be mindful of all the new viewers participating in this conversation and try not to spoil plot points taking place deep into the run of the comic series. Mild speculation is fine and encouraged, but don’t get too explicit with regard to future surprises. They will be deleted. Thanks!

“Cherokee Rose”


“Never Drink Well Water in Zombie County”

Rick and the gang are reunited! The caravan from the highway shows up at Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man’s house and it leads us to wonder why they let Daryl ride that noisy chopper when zombies are attracted by sound. It’s probably because if it was suggested that Daryl trade it in for, say, a whisper quiet Prius, they’d get a crossbow bolt in the ass.

Carl wakes up and asks his Rick and Lori about Sophia. Is she okay? They tell him she’s fine, but what they don’t say is that she has linked up with the missing Russian from The Sopranos and they are going to make a life as King and Princess of the Wood People.

An awkward funeral is held for Otis. They build him a giant rock coffin even though the bits that were left over from the zombie feast could probably fit in a small plastic grocery bag. Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man has some nice things to say about Otis, the sweet man who gave his life to save a child. Shane has a hard time appreciating the words, what with his being plagued by flashbacks from when he shot Otis in the leg and left him to get eaten alive by zombies. Funerals can illicit a complicated series of emotions. It gets worse when Otis’ mom forces Shane to speak and he tells a harrowing and hopeful fiction about OTIS, HERO OF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE which he punctuates by placing a rock atop Otis’ symbolic coffin. A rock of lies.

Roll credits!

Sophia has been lost for three days so it’s time to start taking this thing seriously. Time to organize a grid search of the area using Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man’s maps. One problem: Rick is down a few pints of blood. Another problem: Shane’s got a busted leg. So it’s up to Daryl! Also, Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man would like them to stop carrying guns on his property. Curious. Well, considering the fact that he still has a considerable number of un-zombie-eaten livestock on his property maybe Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man has a giant force field protecting his property that he hasn’t told Rick and the gang about yet. Anyway, Rick wants to respect the new rule but Shane isn’t too happy about it. You never know when you might need to shoot someone in the leg to save your own ass, you know? Shane brings up the uncomfortable possibility of finding a zombie-bit Sophia. Rick says that if that happens, they’ll just put her down. Maggie asks what they will do about Sophia’s mother and when Andrea says they’ll tell her the truth, and Maggie and Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man exchange mysterious looks. Before they head out, Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man agrees to let Dale act as an armed lookout.

Maggie invites Glenn to accompany her on the supply run to town. Her (possibly unintentional) sexual innuendo throws Glenn for a loop.

Andrea isn’t too happy about having to give up her gun but what can you do, Shane says. Meanwhile, he’s going to teach her how to clean her gun. Meanwhile, I don’t like where this is going between these two.

Daryl heads out on his own to find Sophia which seems kind of foolhardy. Rick tells him so, but not directly because they are tough men who do not share their feelings. Daryl heads out just in time for Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man to tell Rick that there are no extended stays available at his house and that as soon as Sophia is found they’ve got to hit the road.

It would appear that Glenn and Maggie are taking horses into town which is a-okay with Glenn because Maggie’s got a whole hot farmer’s daughter thing going on. Lori gives Glenn a shopping list which includes a personal item that she would like to remain private. Pregnancy test? Tampons? Twinkies?

Dale and his new best friend T-Dog collect water from a well and T-Dog would like Dale to forget about the whole “we should abandon the group” thing from last week. Dale agrees and then spies a giant hole in the ground a few feet from the well. Just as T-Dog is about to take a sip from a ladle full of cool, refreshing water, Dale slaps it away from his mouth. Rick and the gang (and Maggie) are summoned to the hole which has a zombie in it!

After a few deliberations it is decided that they shouldn’t shoot the zombie because that would definitely contaminate the water with zombie guts. They’re gonna have to pull it out… and then shoot it.

Rick and Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man pause from looking at a map of the area to consider the beauty of the nature that surrounds them. Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man tries to engage Rick in a talk about the wonder and majesty of God but oh, did Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man pick the wrong man to have this conversation with.

Back at the hole, Dale, Shane, T-Dog, Lori, Andrea, Glenn and Maggie lower a canned ham down to the water-logged zombie but the fish ‘ain’t biting. Since the zombie isn’t going for the ham on a string, they’re going to have to lower someone down into the hole to grab him. They all look to Glenn because it’s well known that when it comes to lowering someone into a hole to grab a zombie you always go Asian. Also, this is one of the worst plans that this group has come up with and that’s saying something.

Maggie informs the group that they are crazy and they lower Glenn down into the hole. He’s got a noose in his hand ready to drop over the zombie and it’s all going swimmingly until the pump that they have attached the rope to gives way and Glenn goes plunging all the way down. T-Dog grabs the runaway pump just as Glenn’s feet reach the outstretched hands of the zombie. After lots of kicking and screaming and shouting, the group manages to pull Glenn back up to safety. Dale thinks they need a new plan but no! Glenn managed to rope that zombie while he was shrieking in the hole and he hands the rope to Dale and saunters off because Glenn is awesome.

Out in the woods, Daryl comes across an old abandoned farmhouse. He searches the house, which creaks and moans and generally creates a very tense atmosphere. He finds recently eaten food and a little makeshift bed in a closet. Could it be… Sophia?

Back at the hole, the group is pulling out the bloated and growling zombie. It’s drooling and oozing and you’ve got to think that the water is contaminated pretty well and good already. They pull the zombie to the top of the hole but it gets stuck on the edge. With one mighty heave, they yank the rope and the zombie rips in half! His upper half remain on the ground, growling and grasping as his lower half falls back into the hole and the water therein. Yeah, that water is officially contaminated. I wouldn’t drink it even after it was boiled to the point where it all evaporates into the atmosphere, it comes back down as precipitation, and then it was collected and boiled again. Still not drinking it.

Back on the highway, Carol, Andrea, and Shane make their daily trip back to where they left food and a sign for Sophia telling her to stay put. There’s no Sophia, though, so they head off to begin some gun training. Andrea complains to Shane that they still won’t let her pack heat. This leads Shane to a long soliloquy that starts off about gun safety and ends with Shane talking about the effects of taking a man’s life. I really don’t like where these Shane and Andrea scenes seem to be going.

Glenn and Maggie head into town on horseback. Glenn tries to evoke a mysterious loner cowboy vibe to Maggie but she’s distracted by the memories of the zombie they pulled out of the hole and then accidentally pulled apart and then had its head bashed in by T-Dog. She’s not used to seeing zombie killing up close and personal. They find a drugstore that implores visitors to take what they need and they have because the place has been picked pretty clean. While Glenn looks for the mysterious item that Lori asked him to pick up, he comes across a pregnancy test. Maggie catches Glenn with the pregnancy test and then springs a verbal trap on him. Is that for his girlfriend? No? Then he must be pretty confident about his chances with her. No, he’s not aiming to have sex with her? Why? Is there something wrong with her? Anyway, before Glenn’s brains can seep out of his ears, Maggie says she’ll have sex with him. And not just in the abstract, but right then and there in the abandoned drug store. Chicks, man.

Back at the house, Rick tries to make Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man reconsider the whole thing about kicking his group out of the house after they find Sophia. They talk about fathers and sons and Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man says he will consider letting them stay if they respect his rules. He also hints at some “aspects to this… things I can’t and won’t discuss” which seems like a giant red flag that Rick is just too exhausted and lacking blood to pick up on.

Glenn and Maggie ride back to the house and Glenn’s got the kind of big dumb grin on his face often found on those who have been unexpectedly laid on the floor of an abandoned drug store by a hot farmer’s daughter. Maggie notices and tells him not to ruin it and besides, it was just a one time thing. Sad Glenn. Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man asks how things went in town and she tells him it was uneventful in the most unconvincing way possible. Meanwhile, Lori asks Glenn if he found her item and he hands her a small bag that she immediately hides her jeans. Maybe her mysterious item was meth.

Daryl returns sans Sophia. He brings Carol a Cherokee Rose flower and tells her the story of the flower and how it represents strength and hope for mothers who had lost their children. He punctuates the heartfelt moment by telling Carol that Sophia will really like living in the RV, which Carol has been decorating just for her.

Back in the house Rick admits to Carl that he was lying about Sophia being okay. He believes they will find her but he doesn’t know if they will. Carl understands and also thinks that it’s cool that both he and his dad have been shot. Rick gives Carl his awesome deputy’s hat as a reward for taking a bullet like a man.

Rick undresses very deliberately. He strips off his badge and the uniform shirt in such a way that implies that he’s done being the resident cop of the group.

Lori heads out of the house and into the darkness on her own. She goes out into the field and pulls out the mysterious package… a pregnancy test! She pees on the stick and gets the result: she’s pregnant!


Another strong episode that got me thinking a lot about Sophia. It is becoming clear that the loss of Sophia is going to plague the group for some time possibly the whole season. This is good. It adds a layer of pathos to the group that while they are fighting for their lives they also have to carry the guilt of losing a child from their group. The more I think about it, the more I hope that Sophia never gets found and I hope that the specter of Sophia haunts the group for some time.

Also, for those who are curious, the footage that Robert Kirkman showed us at NYCC during out interview was the shot of the well water zombie being pulled apart. It was awesomely gross then and it is awesomely gross now.


  1. I think they’ll find Sophia eventually…with Merle Dixon.

  2. The well zombie was so nasty gross. Man i had to turn away a couple of times. I liked the episode overall. Interesting that when he checked the farm house he never went upstairs.

    A question for those with a bit more rural experience. Wouldn’t the zombie who contaminated that well water contaminate everything? Its a shared water source right?

    During the “scene for next week” did they show a certain character from the 1st season? If so that totally sucks as they ruined the reveal!

    • Yeah, that scene actually sent my wife into dry heaves. And that sneak peek does suck. Everyone knew that character will eventually come back…but to show the actual character in the scenes from an upcoming episode…what does that accomplish?

    • @wayne2001bc: It gets people excited for next week. It keeps people around who were looking forward to seeing that character who might otherwise not watch.

    • i hate that we live in a world where everything is spoiled for marketing. Surprises can be fun. I don’t think that character is a make or break character for a lot of people.

    • @conor – I see the point of getting people excited for next week. It just kind of detracts from the show for me personally. I try to avoid them as much as I can and go in blind. But I caught a glimpse of that character while watching another movie on AMC.

    • @wayne2001bc: I agree with you that it detracts from the viewing experience, but it’s the reality of media these days. You probably would have been spoiled when his named appeared in the opening credits anyway.

    • I just want to concede that the show has improved with every episode..

  3. How long has Lori been preggers? I can’t remember whodunit/when it happened…

    • 😉 That’s part of the mystery/tension!

    • I think part of it is that, just as in the comic, it is hard to figure just how long the characters have been together and since the plague began. In the comic, I think you can only judge from the beginning of a second winter, so it has been less then two years. I’m guessing it has been only a few months (probably around six-eight, which would make the pregnancy storyline about right) in the television show. I think Kirkman, in both cases, is being less than specific about the timelines.

  4. I really like the way the actor playing Shane is handling this, with the constantly searching expression, like he’s always trying to figure out a way to explain to himself what he did. He’s really rocking it in this season

    • @Roi -agreed Shane is my favorite character-He was never this likeable to me in the comic.

    • in those overalls in the beginning with that stupid slack mouth, blinking, stutter and stagger, Shane looks like a mental defecient.

    • Yeah, Jon Bernthal is doing great as Shane. I don’t find Shane likable at ALL though.

    • I think the actors playing Shane and Daryl are moving to the forefront in this series. While the story does revolve around Rick, it is these two ‘secondary’ characters who I believe are far more interesting to fans of the show. The thing to keep in mind is that, as in the comic, nobody is truly safe if Kirkman feels their death will better serve the story.

  5. This show keeps on engaging me. It’s very hard waiting week to week to find out what the hell is gonna happen next. I mean, last week with the whole Otis thing and this week with the pregnancy! Damn!!

    • And oh yea, are we gonna need Maury to find out who the Baby Daddy is?!?!

    • The pregnacy and the search for the poor lil girl makes too much drama for me, still love the show but enough with the soap oprea story line. I like the killing and the search for a safe place to rest, every other ep is a chck flick,

  6. Please keep in mind that I have not seen the preview for next week’s episode, so if there was a spoiler in it, I’m not aware.

    But Hershel believes in a cure for zombies and… well, comic readers know his story.

    So… any bets that they modified the show and it could be Hershel has Sophia this entire time? Think about it… she got a head start, lost for about a day before they rest of the gang got to the farmhouse. They talk about Sophia might be0 bit and Maggie and her dad exchange deliberate mysterious looks?


    Also, I hope they are not taking some aspects of the Governor and re-writing it, modifying it to fit various characters. You take Hershel, add a zombie Sophia, and you might have a ‘Governor-like’ situation. Comic fans should know what I mean.

  7. Another great episode. Glenn and Maggie hooked up, Carl gets the hat, Lory finds out she prego and I love the camera close-up they showed of the barn. This is following the comic alot more closely that I thought they would-thumbs up

    • When they showed a quick shot of the barn, I thought to myself that this is one of those moments that I wish I didn’t read the comic.

    • Yeah, they keep showing the barn looking in the background. And the whole exchange about moving the tents near it was cool too. Can’t wait for that reveal!

      And hey, Glenn is no dummy!

    • When Rick gave Carl the hat I almost bolted out of my chair. Also, I liked that Maggie’s statement to Glenn was almost the same thing she says in the comic. Kirkman & Co. are bringing the series back around it seems from the distraction of the CDC episodes. IMHO.

    • Glenn AND Maggie was cool! man what yall sayen got me excited, I did not read the comic.

  8. The well scene encapsulates the “the characters act like morons” issue I mentioned last week. I enjoy every episode and generally like the show, but scenes like that make me want to change the channel.

    • See, I look at them like real people. Real people who lack proper training tend to make dumb plans and make dumb decisions. Especially in a crisis, and especially in the beginning of working together.

    • No sentient person would conceive that was that solution to that problem.

    • @PraxJarvin: There aren’t many ways to drag a zombie out of a hole.

    • Agree… I think people would have sat there for hours upon hours dropping the rope in hoping to ‘snare’ the zombie… missing… then trying again… and again…. and again…. then someone else says, “Let me try!” and on and on… that’s more human nature than ‘Hey, let’s lower someone in there for dramatic effect”

    • @conor The problem is that the situation doesn’t make logical sense. Dale tells T-Dawg to not drink the water, which presumes it’s already contaminated. As such… what at all is the point of taking out the Zombie? Other than adding shock value to the episode, in that “whoops we tore someone in half.”

      It’s stupid. They’re acting like morons because the writers are filling spaces in the scripts that nees to be filled, and there’s clearly a “One Zombie per Episode quota.” Tension would be better built by having the zombies disappear for a few episodes. This just felt like it was handled terribly.

    • @Conor – I WANT to be able to attribute that to a realistic response to extreme circumstances, but this one is a little extreme. I can’t imagine lowering someone into that well is something that a group of people would agree on (especially that quickly). It’s just a tad too much. To be honest, the most idiotic thing about the scenario is that they felt it was worthwhile to remove the corpse. That water is already tainted (who would drink from that well?), so why not shoot it or just leave it there?

    • The well scene for me encapsualted the “the writers have no idea what to do and are filling their episodes with fluff.” I don’t see how this scene added anything to the episode, and the only reason i can think it was added was because something that’s going to happen with a secret someone has. and the only reason i know that is because i’ve read the books. And if this scene happens to relate to that secret and the exposure of that secret, I think it was done poorly.

    • @StoreGuy: It makes logical sense if they’re trying to get it out of the hole, which they were. Yes, Daryl said to not drink the water, so what? Daryl’s not the king of the group.

      I agree that overall it was a stupid idea but that works for the show because right now these people are making stupid decisions. And it’s going to cost them until they smarten up. I think that’s kind of the point.

    • If their behavior has serious repercussions, then I can probably tolerate the stupidity. It will still bother me, but I’ll still enjoy the show.

    • I don’t care if the plan HAD worked. I would NOT drink water from that well, EVER.

      Didn’t Maggie say they used it for the cattle? Are we gonna have zomibe cows now? Will they only eat other cows, or attack humans as well?

    • Yes, it can be rationalized for the sake of enjoying the show. But there is no way in a hundred hell’s I will buy for one second that ANYONE would ever think that was a viable solution to the problem. Everything about it was dumb starting with the ham. No one, NO ONE would ever say “Sure, lower me on down there! What could possibly go wrong? I’ll just dangle over a CERTAIN DEATH with only a single rope preventing me from DYING!”

    • Put me in the camp that the well scene didn’t make any sense. I know that Glenn has always been the go-to for putting himself in danger and getting out unscathed, but that was just ridiculous.

      This was the first episode in the series that I didn’t enjoy

    • OMG this is like starwars fans complaining about the science of a ceartiam aspect of the movie but are fine with chewbacca! If some thing seems unrealistic itz ok yall itz only tv! lol come on enjoy whats on or change the channel, and if that dont work turn it off.

  9. Every week is getting better. This pleases me. Also, they’re totally setting up Shane’s fate to be that of issue 6 by the end of this season, I’m assuming anyways.

  10. The Darryl Scene was pitch perfect. However, I’m being increasingly insulted by the dialogue. The hamfistedness of the Lori-Glenn scene was at first endearing and then it go into “Let’s spell it out for the audience that it’s lady products. Okay, now let’s REALLY spell it out.” The incredibly dumb scene between Maggie and Glenn that reduces Maggie to a sexbot. The really odd scene where Shane gets to tell the audience thru WORDS that he is CONFLICTED instead, of you know, allowing his acting to tell us that. (Regardless of the fact that I can’t take Shane seriously in his Lenny from “Of Mice and Men” kit.) I realize that broader appeal and keeping the ratings high requires dumbing down the dialogue to nigh-Primetime levels, but I, for one, am feeling babied by some of the writing.

    That and the stupid well scene which just felt like needless action and an excuse to put a zombie in the episode lest people complain.

    When they let Shane act this episode, it was great. When Darryl did his thing, it was great. When Herschel did his thing, it was great. But the rest of just a series of misfires that are annoying the piss out of me. It’s not even the “It doesn’t follow the GN” thing. It’s the utter lack of subtly that has creeped into the show with Darabont’s departure.

  11. After being there 2-3 days, I’m surprised no one in the group has brought up the fact that they have electricity on the farm. I’m assuming they have a generator, but if that’s the case, they would have to have a huge supply of gas. Plus, generators are pretty loud, potentially loud enough to attract walkers.

    I guess it’s one of those nitpicky things that will probably never be addressed.

    • It’s not nitpicky to point out the many and varied logical problems of the show. Things work when they need to and don’t when they don’t. People are defending the “realism” of the well scene and then telling people they’re being too nitpicky over the fact that Herschel can apparently see through Carl’s body (Pasty as the kid is.)

    • @StoreGuy: Herchel didn’t see through Carl’s body. He examined him and found six holes.

    • Maybe there is a hidden warehouse on the farm with a bunch of zombies strapped to hamster wheels, generating electricity for the farm.

  12. “She goes out into the field and pulls out the mysterious package… a pregnancy test!”

    Confused by this. The way it’s written, it seems like Connor didn’t realize it was a pregnancy test until the very end. There was an insanely long shot of Glenn looking at a pregnancy test in the drugstore, in fact, it’s the reason why he was caught by Maggie, and ended up getting some.

  13. fun times at the pharmacy

  14. I kept telling friends about how Kirkman showed you guys something on his phone at NYCC. when they showed that Geek in the well, i had the feeling this was it, and it was going to be something involving him “popping” or something. I do have to say i was hoping it involved a certain major Herschel character development point, but it looks like they are going there anyway.

  15. Also could it be possible that instead of Tyreese, we get Daryl? Think about it, he is also a alpha male, leader type who could definitely butt heads with Rick down the road, but at the same time be one of his closest allies.

  16. Does anyone think that Merle may just be a hallucination Daryl has? He was bleeding out lying in the river…

    • Definately could be. I know I’ve seen that tactic before but can’t place it, showing a long gone character in a preview for it to only be a dream sequence or something of the sort

  17. I’m more and more fascinated by some of the posts here. People pick apart each episode, talk about it being insulting to their intelligence, second guessing the writers and creative staff and then say how much they love the show. There have been plenty of shows that I initially enjoyed (X-Files, for example) that eventually lost my interest or I felt they no longer were the show I initially enjoyed. I just stopped watching. Of course, if you read the letters in the WD book you’ll see a similar type of reader. We should all be happy that Kirkman ignores us all and just keeps doing what he’s doing.

  18. Chicks, man.

  19. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The Cherokee Rose part was especially good.

    • Yeah, Daryl is a much deeper and sympathic character than he at first appears. It will be interesting to see what happens when his brother does eventually reappear. On whose side will Daryl make a stand.