'The Walking Dead' Spoilers: What to Expect in Sunday's Season 2.5 Premiere
'The Walking Dead' Spoilers: What to Expect in Sunday's Season 2.5 Premiere
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The Walking Dead comes back to life on AMC this Sunday, and it'll do so with a bang (how else?), picking up where November's mid-season finale left off: The zombie barn massacre that left little undead Sophia decidedly dead-dead.

Sunday's mid-season premiere episode is called "Nebraska," and the AMC description tells us this much: "Rick and the others try to restore order in the aftermath of a terrible discovery. Hershel takes up an old habit and disappears, Rick and Glenn must follow him into town."

Well, that's not very vivid. Luckily, the web is abuzz with spoilers and hints about the episode, as well as the rest of The Walking Dead season 2. Here's the rest of the scoop before Sunday:

Major Barn Scene Aftermath
In an interview with Collider, Norman Reedus says, "When we come back, we pick up where that left off. It sucked to lose Madison [Lintz]. We really liked her. She was part of our family. We also go in different directions, after that. It's so devastating. Shane (Jon Bernthal) built that up to a huge point that he tried to make, and it just went horribly wrong. Hershel (Scott Wilson) saw his whole family, who he thought was sick and that he could resurrect, so to speak, massacred in front of his face. Carol (McBride) saw her daughter as a zombie. A lot went down, in so many different directions. It just exploded us off, in all different ways. [...] There's a lot to talk about."

A Car Crash, Dale the Detective, A New Character
Ausiello shared his scoop on Sunday's episode: "all of Rick's group -- save for one person -- gets the bum's rush from Hershel; Dale shares with someone his theory that Shane sacrificed Otis; there's a rather ridiculous major car crash, considering how deserted the roads are; and Michael Raymond James (Terriers) shows up as a shifty survivor from Philly who introduces us to a new nickname for the walkers."

Rick's Leadership Restored
When a despairing cast member comes to Rick complaining "about the futility of carving out a life in the post-zombie apocalypse," says the Huffington Post's Maureen Ryan, we won't hear a familiar, corny speech from the group's leader. Instead, "his response made quite a bit of sense and it was delivered with a welcome mixture of anger and finality. That bracing speech, as well as more of Rick's actions in Sunday's episode, began the process of restoring the legitimacy of his leadership. That effort has a ways to go, considering how conciliatory Rick can be as a leader; but at least he ends the episode with his spine somewhat restored."

Not Much Daryl -- But You Might Not Miss Him
E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos watched the episode, and says that "aside from a brief exchange with Sophia's grieving mom Carol," we'll barely see Daryl Dixon in Sunday's new episode. But she also hints that the hour is "a slow burner with such a huge payoff that you might forget all about Daryl." Not likely -- but that's a good endorsement!

Not Many Zombies, Either -- But They're Coming!
In an extended, enlightening interview with New York Magazine, showrunner Glen Mazzara promises that the zombies are coming -- but only when they fit naturally with the story: "If we do a zombie attack in a particular episode, some people criticize us: "Well, it's the zombie of the week." If we don't do a zombie of the week, people say, "There's no zombies, it's a bullshit show." So, in the midseason premiere, there's only two sort of throwaway zombies. The next few episodes are very zombie-heavy. Because that's what fits with the story. It didn't feel plausible, in that first episode after the zombie massacre inside the barn, that there would be a massacre an hour later."

Mysterious Strangers with Mysterious Motives
HuffPo's Ryan also mentioned the two mysterious strangers (are they Dave and Tony?) whom we saw recently in a clip with Rick and Hershel. And it sounds like they'll stay mysterious for a while -- or at least through Sunday's episode: "The other terrific scene in Sunday's episode features two new characters with a mysterious agenda. It worked really well in part thanks to a great performance from guest star Michael Raymond James, but it was also pleasing thanks to the tantalizing mysteries that were embedded in the scene. Who were the strangers? What did they want? What were there intentions? What were they lying about, if anything?"

Carol in Crisis
"The fact that Carol's quest failed, and Sophia wasn't saved, really affects her relationship with the others and forces Carol to stand on her own. One of the traps with that character would be to make her the grieving mom, and just hit that one note," Mazzara said of Melissa McBride's character, who -- when we left her --  had just discovered her daughter was a zombie and watched Rick shoot her in the head, all within seconds.

And Later This Season:

  • Glen Mazzara tells NYMag that Lori is going to make a controversial choice: "In the second episode, you'll see Lori [the lead character's pregnant wife] make a choice which is very, very different for her and very unique, and I bet you people will have strong reactions on the Internet: Would she do this, wouldn't she do this? I hate her! or I can't believe what she's doing! And I'm just trying to explore new characters."

  • Mazzara also says the show will widen in scope, and in the threats to the survivors: "I feel that the show has been a little insular, a little incestuous, that it's been a very small cast of characters on just a farm that appears to be very safe. I want to widen it. All of a sudden the outside world starts encroaching on our farm. And now there's the suspense of, who's out there? Are they coming? And all the interpersonal dynamics of the group are at loggerheads over this new threat."

  • Melissa McBride tells Zap2It that "some people are gonna die" later this season, and that "You may see Carol pick up a weapon in the second half of season 2." And Carol won't be the only one emotionally affected by Sophia's death: "A lot of it is going to continue to develop with Daryl and how he deals with the loss of Sophia and what it's meant to him. He's going to detach a little bit and she's going to want to bring him back in to the fold of the group."

And Finally, If You Want Graphic, Completely Unsubstantiated and HUGE Spoilers:

A person claiming to be a member of the Walking Dead production team has come forward with some major and insane spoilers, including a description of the mid-season premiere plotline, plus shocking details about a major character's fate toward the end of the season. They're very interesting, but just rumors for now -- so read at your own risk!

"Nebraska" airs Sunday, February 12 at 9pm on AMC.

(Image courtesy of AMC)