The Walking Dead season two is so close we can taste it. Not a great taste, granted, what with the shambling corpses and all, but, in our excitement, we couldn't help rewatching season one. Now that we have, here's everything you need to know before you watch Walking Dead's season-two premiere.
[WARNING: If you haven't yet seen every episode of The Walking Dead's first season, there are major spoilers ahead.]
So who's who, anyway?
A former sheriff's deputy and leader of our group of zombie survivors, Rick is married to Lori and has one son with her, Carl. He awoke after being in a coma for an undisclosed amount of time, only to discover that the world ended when the dead began to walk. He is best friends with his former police partner, Shane Walsh. Rick tends toward taking the moral high ground, which sometimes gets his group into trouble, but he remains the man who everyone follows all the same.
Prior to Rick showing up, Shane was the leader of the survivors. He also began a sexual relationship with Rick's wife, Lori, and played father to Carl at some point while Rick was in a coma. Shane can be soft-spoken, but he's not averse to ruling with an iron fist, which sometimes leads to physical violence. Since Rick's arrival, Shane has taken a back seat in control and is no longer involved with Lori. Rick is unaware of Shane and Lori's relationship. While Shane's motivations are sometimes suspect, it's clear that he is willing to work with Rick to protect the survivors at all costs.
Lori is Rick's wife. She was in a relationship with Shane but, apparently, only because Shane told her that Rick had died in the hospital. Believing that Shane lied to her, she demands he stay away from both her and Carl. She has since been faithful to Rick and has been intensely protective of Carl at every step.
A former pizza delivery boy, Glenn first shows up when he saves Rick from being trapped inside a tank and surrounded by the undead. From there, Glen becomes the go-to for whenever risky things need doing. Going into a dank sewer? He's your guy. Attract zombies so everyone else can escape? That's him. He's often the coolest head in the room, and he usually trusts Rick implicitly.
A hot head and a racist, Merle is the first guy to throw down with anyone who questions him. When a team of survivors gets stuck in a department store, he behaves so rashly that Rick winds up handcuffing him to a pipe. Merle gets left behind, trapped on the roof, but later it is discovered that he cut off his own hand with a saw in order to escape. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
Merle's brother. Like his brother, Daryl is hothead, but he's not completely incapable of being reasoned with, especially when the reasoner is Rick. Daryl's greatest strength is his ability with a bow and arrow, which he uses to quietly take out zombies so as not to attract any more.
T was responsible for Merle being trapped on the roof when he accidentally dropped the key to Merle's handcuffs down a grating. He feels conflicted because, on one hand, Merle was dangerous, but on the other, he didn't deserve to die. T-Dog, like Glenn, tends to be more of a follower.
The oldest of the survivors, Dale owns a trailer. He's a pragmatist and is often the voice of reason when Rick's ideas are too pie-in-the-sky. He's become a surrogate father figure for Andrea and Amy, two sisters who are among the survivors.
Andrea is totally dedicated to her sister, Amy. They work together, cleaning and fishing in order to help provide for the group. Her entire reason for continuing to survive is lost when Amy gets killed by a gang of roaming zombies. She has a death wish but is currently being coaxed into continuing by Dale.
Dr. Edwin Jenner
One of the scientists working on the zombie situation, Jenner was hiding out at a nearby CDC. When Rick and company track him down, Jenner takes them in, offering them food, showers and shelter. Jenner also shows the group what he knows about the zombies so far. When bodies reanimate, only the brain stem works, causing the bodies to act only on instinct and impulse. Ultimately, Jenner commits suicide by remaining in the CDC when it explodes because he believes that all hope for humanity is lost, but not before imparting an as-yet-unknown secret to Rick.
So what happened during that first season, anyway?
In the beginning, before there was no room left in hell and the dead roamed the earth, Rick Grimes was just a humble sheriff's deputy in King County, Ga. He and his partner, Shane Walsh, were just two dudes, doing their job, being friends, helping each other through the day-to-day.
When Rick and Shane are called in on a high-speed pursuit, Rick is shot in the back, causing him to slip into a coma. While Rick sleeps, the world changes, the dead walk, and everything falls apart. When he wakes up, Rick is disoriented, only half-understanding what's happening when hordes of zombies lurch at him within the hospital walls.
Eventually escaping, Rick goes in search of his family. He gets mistaken for a zombie by Duane, a young boy who is barely surviving along with his father, Morgan. Together they visit Rick's police station, and Rick heads toward Atlanta in hopes that the city is not only safe but where Lori and Carl disappeared to. Rick leaves Morgan with a walkie-talkie so that they can keep in communication with each other.
Rick makes his way to Atlanta only to discover the worst—the city has been completely overtaken by zombies. Realizing his mistake, Rick is forced to hide in a nearby tank. Over the radio, we hear the voice of Glenn, a survivor, who leads Rick out of the tank and to safety.
After Rick and Glenn book it up a nearby ladder, Rick gets introduced to a team of survivors, including Jacqui, Andrea, T-Dog and Merle, all of whom come from a nearby survivors' camp. They came for supplies, but, now that Rick and Glenn have attracted the attention of the undead, they're all trapped in a department store.
Back at the survivors' camp, we discover that Rick's wife and child, Lori and Carl, have, in fact, survived. Not only that, but Rick's partner, Shane, has been protecting them. Thinking Rick has died, Lori has developed a romantic relationship with Shane, who has acted as leader of the survivors' camp, keeping everyone safe and in line.
Meanwhile, back in the department store, Rick goes toe to toe with Merle, who is quick to violence and makes no apologies for his racist tangents. Rick winds up handcuffing Merle to a pipe to keep him out of the way while the rest of the team figures out an escape route. Ultimately they go through the sewers to gain access to a truck.
Everyone makes it out, save Merle, who is trapped on the rooftop with zombies on their way.
Finally, the rest of the team makes it back to the camp, where Rick discovers that Lori and Carl have survived. Lori privately cuts her ties with Shane and returns to Rick as though nothing ever happened. We're introduced to the remainder of the survivors, including Dale, who has a trailer and is very close with Andrea and her sister, Amy. We also meet Merle's brother, Daryl, who is violent but skilled with a bow and arrow.
Daryl insists that a team return to Atlanta to find Merle. While there, Rick and company discover that Merle has cut his own hand off with a saw and has escaped without being seen by anyone. Afterward, they go through great effort to gain back a duffel bag full of weapons that Rick left behind.
Upon returning to camp, tragedy strikes when zombies finally invade their safe haven, leading to the death of several survivors, including Andrea's sister, Amy.
No longer feeling safe where they are, Rick argues that the group should go to the nearest CDC clinic, believing that more survivors might be there, along with more information on what exactly is going on and what remains of human society.
At the CDC, the survivors meet Dr. Edwin Jenner, who has been studying the undead alone for some time. His studies show that the, after brain death, the body's brain stem becomes active again, causing the body to act only on base instinct.
Jenner offers the survivors a place to stay, shower and eat. While there, Shane tries to rekindle things with Lori, but she rebuffs him.
The CDC runs out of energy shortly after, causing the entire facility to go into full lockdown, trapping all the survivors with Jenner, where they will be incinerated in a decontamination process. Ultimately, Rick convinces Jenner to let them go, but not before Jenner whispers a secret into Rick's ear.
Jacqui remains with Jenner because she, like him, sees no point in going on, while Dale convinces Andrea to leave with him even though she is still suffering from her sister's death.
Rick and the remainder of the survivors leave once more, with no destination in mind.
What happens next? We'll be finding that out this Sunday at 9 p.m. Excited?