"Cherokee Rose" is the fourth episode of the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the tenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 6, 2011. It was written by Evan T. Reilly and directed by Billy Gierhart.
Cattle are grazing at the farm, as Daryl, Andrea, Dale, and Carol arrive with the RV and the rest of their belongings while Shane, T-Dog and Glenn help Hershel's family collect rocks for Otis' funeral.
He wakes up briefly, and asks whether Sophia is alright. Not wanting to cause further distress to Carl, Rick tells him that Sophia is fine.
After everyone has settled, Hershel leads a funeral for Otis, piling his grave with the rocks they'd collected earlier, and asks Shane, wearing a pair of Otis' overalls, to offer some form of eulogy since he was the last one to see him alive.
Knowing the truth behind Otis' death, Shane initially tries to avoid having to make such a speech, but Patricia, Otis' wife, begs to know that his death had meaning, pointing out that Shane was the only one who shared Otis' final moments.
Shane starts his eulogy, stating that Otis sacrificed his life to help save Carl. As Shane speaks, flashbacks of Otis's final moments are shown, and it is clear that these final moments are vastly different from what Shane describes to the group.
After the funeral, Hershel's eldest daughter, Maggie, brings a map of the county to assist in coordinating the search for Sophia, but Hershel won't allow Rick and Shane to head off the farm on account of Shane's ankle, and Rick having given three units of blood for Carl the day before.
Daryl decides he'll head out to look for Sophia on his own. Shane suggests finally teaching people how to shoot, though Hershel disapproves of guns being carried around on his property. Rick agrees with Hershel, recognizing that he and the others are guests of Hershel and his family and must respect their rules.
Shane reluctantly hands over his gun, and Andrea begrudgingly follows after him. Nonetheless, Rick is able to negotiate that Dale continues to serve as a lookout, keeping an eye out for nearby walkers.
The group agrees amongst themselves that if they find Sophia and she's been bitten, that they'll "do what needs to be done."
Maggie states that medical supplies are running low, and she volunteers to take a trip to the local pharmacy a mile down the road to gather more. Rick suggests that Glenn accompany her, describing him as the group's 'go-to-town' expert.
Shane finds Lori by the RV and they have a brief and slightly awkward conversation about Carl's health. "Did you mean it? When you said, 'Stay'?" Shane wonders, referring to their moment at Carl's bedside the night before (see "Save the Last One"). "I meant it," Lori says, standing back from him. He settles in to clean guns at a picnic table, and Andrea joins him, eager to learn once and for all.
After Maggie informs Glenn of their upcoming trip to town, Dale asks her about water wells on the farm. Maggie explains that the second well was used for the cattle, but the water is just as pure as the well used for the house. She tells Dale and T-Dog to take what they need. She excuses herself to saddle the horses for the trip into town, much to Glenn's surprise.
Rick tries to tell Daryl he doesn't need to head out on his own, and they can wait until the whole group is ready to go tomorrow. "You don't owe us anything," he tells Daryl, who responds coolly, "My other plans fell through."
As Daryl heads into the woods, Hershel joins Rick outside. When Rick offers to set up his group's campsite by the barn to give the Greene Family more privacy, Hershel says that they're better off closer to the house. He tells Rick that he doesn't want his group to think they're welcome on the farm permanently. "Once you find this girl, and your boy's fit for travel, I expect you'll move on. We need to be clear on that," he tells him.
As Glenn stares at Maggie in control of the two horses as they prepare to head in to town, Lori pulls him aside and gives him a piece of paper with a list of supplies she needs him to get for her. In addition, Lori hands him a second piece of paper and asks him to obtain a special item for her from the 'feminine hygiene' section of the pharmacy. She also asks that Glenn be discreet about acquiring it.
Meanwhile, T-Dog and Dale walk out to one of the wells to get water for the group, and T-Dog asks Dale to forget about what he said on the highway the day before. "I'm not weak, and I'm not a coward. I don't know what that was; where it came from. That wasn't me."
Dale obliges him easily, stating that he couldn't get a word out of him all day, and says he doesn't know what he's talking about. T-Dog smiles, grateful he's alive, as he pumps water from the well.
Dale then notices a hole in the planks covering the nearby well shaft, and he moves closer to investigate. His face falls as the sound of lapping water is mixed in with the familiar growls of a walker. He stares at T-Dog and just as he is about to take a drink of the water from the well, Dale knocks the ladle of water to the ground and warns him not to drink it. T-Dog looks at him confused.
As Glenn, Maggie, Andrea, Lori, and Shane gather around the well, a bloated, wet zombie reaches helplessly for them from the bottom. Andrea jokes about the walker having been in the well "long enough to grow gills" as Dale comments, "Looks like we've got ourselves a swimmer."
Rick and Hershel survey a map over a picturesque lookout on his farm, and take a break from discussing how to search for Sophia. They talk, and it eventually turns to God. Rick admits he's mostly faithless, and Hershel tries to assure him that God had a hand in him waking up from his coma, finding his family in the chaos, and for Carl surviving being shot. "Tells me God's got a strange sense of humor," Rick replies.
The group discusses options to deal with the walker in the well, agreeing that shooting the walker in its place would certainly pollute the drinking water. They all agree that they need to coax the walker out of the well. The group attempts to bait it with canned ham. When it fails, they realize that it will obviously not eat anything that's not fresh. "There's a reason the dead didn't come back and start raiding our cupboards," Lori muses.
Realizing that nothing short of live bait will suffice, they decide to send Glenn down the well. They plan to have him fasten a rope around the walker so that it can be pulled out, alive and without contaminating the water, before they kill it. Maggie hates the idea, but knows it's the only plan they can think of to get the walker out alive and keep the well's water clean.
She stands watch as the group slowly lowers Glenn down the well, using the water pump to provide anchorage for the rope. Glenn almost succeeds in getting the creature harnessed without it noticing him or the ropes, but the water pump breaks under Glenn's weight.
This causes him to fall within reach of the now alert and frantic walker. Glenn screams at the group to pull him out, and they scramble to regain physical advantage of the rope. Eventually, they are able to pull a shaken and horrified Glenn back up. Catching his breath while the group views the attempt as a failure, Glenn smiles, revealing that he was able to secure the rope around the walker amidst the chaos.
Daryl finds an abandoned home in the woods, taking note that a can of sardines had recently been consumed. He also finds a makeshift bed inside a closet, only big enough for someone short, like Sophia. He calls her name as he walks outside, but he stops in front of a pair of white flowers in the grass.
Back at the farm, the group is pulling the walker to the top of the well, but in its water-bloated state, it gets stuck on the sides of the well. As they pull harder, the walker splits in half, with the bottom part of its body (and most of its entrails) falling back in to the well. Clearly disappointed at the wasted effort, T-Dog lets out his frustration, destroying the walker's brain with a pickaxe. "Good thing we didn't do anything stupid, like shoot it," he mumbles, walking off.
The group decides to seal the well.
Shane and Andrea head to the highway to comfort Carol, who has been waiting all day by a painted sign on a car windshield with a collection of food supplies for Sophia. Carol is losing hope that Sophia will be found alive and doesn't want to hear any comforting words.
She tearfully leaves the highway with Andrea and Shane, who are looking at a potential place where they can have target practice. Shane, limping heavily because of his ankle injury, describes to Andrea how you just have to trust your instincts when it comes to protecting your life with a gun (describing without using names how he had to leave Otis to die, for the greater good).
"How do you do that?" Andrea asks, and he tells her, "Turn off a switch. The one that makes you scared. Odds are there's always somebody else counting on you. There's nothin' easy about taking a man's life, but when you get it done, you have to forget it."
Admitting he hasn't quite reached that stage, Andrea says comfortingly, "But you're getting there," though she has no idea he's talking about Otis.
Glenn is trying awkwardly to initiate a conversation with Maggie as they ride on the horses in to town. She's quiet, having never seen a walker killed up close before because she's always been protected at the farm.
After reaching the local pharmacy, Glenn hands her the master list Lori gave him and says he's just going to look around and see what's worth grabbing. As Maggie walks away to search, he pulls Lori's 'special list' from his pocket. Finding the 'feminine hygiene' section, he shuffles through a few random boxes on the floor, finding a True Blue pregnancy test. As he reads the box and realizes why Lori needs it, his face falls.
Maggie finds him, and he quickly stuffs the pregnancy test in his bag before she can see it. Maggie questions why he is in this section of the store and Glenn grabs a random box from the floor to cover his tracks. He's grabbed a box of condoms, and Maggie asks if he's got a girlfriend she doesn't know about, or if he's just a confident guy. He sputters that he's neither, and he doesn't know how to get himself out of this mess.
It's Maggie who gives him an out: "I'll have sex with you," she says to him. "It's not like our options are vast these days." She pulls off her shirt and bra and kisses Glenn, who follows her lead, dumbfounded and shocked. They proceed to have sex.
Rick asks Hershel to reconsider sending the group off his farm once Carl has recovered and Sophia's been found. Hershel is reluctant to let him, but says he'll consider it if his group respects his rules.
Rick tells Hershel that he regrets lying to his son about Sophia that morning when he asked if she was alright, and Hershel tells Rick that he admires his relationship with his son. He says that his own father was a loveless drunk who did not earn his presence at his deathbed, or any love from Hershel throughout his life.
He assures Rick that he believes he is a good father to Carl.
Rick finds Lori in Carl's room, and she tells him that he was awake earlier, and asked for him, before she leaves the room. He looks peacefully upon the son he loves, a sense of calm in him, knowing that he'll be alright.
As they make their way back to the farm, Maggie refers to their "hookup" as a one-time deal, which immediately disappoints Glenn.
When they arrive back at the farm, Hershel right away seems to sense that something went on between them, giving his daughter a quizzical look when she returns and tells him quickly, "Nothing happened."
Lori greets Glenn by the RV, and he hands her the pregnancy test, which she quickly hides in the waistband of her jeans. He wants to say something, but he can't even look her in the eye as he walks away without a word.
Inside the RV, Daryl has returned with no new leads on Sophia, but he does return with a flower like the one he found outside the house inside a beer bottle - the closest thing he could find to a vase. He gives it to Carol, who is busy cleaning out the RV to distract herself, claiming she wants it to look nice when Sophia gets back.
Daryl proceeds to tell her the story of the Cherokee Rose, the flower in his vase, said to bloom as a symbol of hope from the tears of the Cherokee mothers who lost their children to disease and starvation along the Trail of Tears after the white men had drove all the Indians off their lands.
"I'm not fool enough to believe there's any flowers blooming for my brother, but I believe this one bloomed for your little girl."
Rick is still at Carl's bedside when he wakes up that evening. He immediately apologizes for lying to his son about Sophia. He starts to explain why he did it, but Carl forgives him easily and tells him that his mother had already told him the truth. "Do you think we'll find her?" he asks. "I don't know, but I believe it," Rick states. Carl makes light of how both he and his father have both been shot. Rick is amused by this, and he gives his sheriff hat to Carl to symbolize their shared experience. They exchange "I love you's" and Carl soon goes back to sleep.
Having given up his hat, Rick continues to deconstruct from the lawful man of his existence pre-apocalypse, taking off his uniform and putting away his badge in a drawer at Hershel's home. Lori comes in as he is doing so and looks at his gunshot scar. She hugs him supportively, asking him "Are you putting them away?" He responds by shutting the drawer.
She heads out of the house with a knife in hand, walking past the RV unnoticed while Dale, Carol, and Andrea are eating dinner inside.
Finding a secluded place out in the fields on the farm, she pulls the pregnancy test from the back of her jeans. Peeing on the stick and then waiting, she bursts in to devastated tears when she sees the plus sign, now knowing for sure that she is pregnant.
- Jewel Wilson as Josephine Greene (Photograph)
- Blade as Nelly
- Joe Hernandez as Walker
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Otis (Archive Footage)
- Last appearance of Otis. (Archive Footage)
- The title of the episode, "Cherokee Rose", refers to the fact that Daryl found a Cherokee Rose, which he believes is proof that the group will find Sophia.
- The story of the Cherokee mothers' tears that Daryl tells to Carol when he gives her the flower as a gift is symbolic of Carol's despair over the search for Sophia.
- This episode marks the beginning of the longest lasting relationship in the TV Series to date between Glenn and Maggie, running from this episode to "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be".
- The rest of the group arriving at the farm and meeting the Greene family is adapted from Issue 10.
- Glenn and Maggie having sex for the first time is adapted from Issue 10.
- Lori finding out she is pregnant is adapted from Issue 7.
- When the survivors are pulling the walker out of the well, the walker's jeans are not wet or soaked.
- When Glenn is being pulled out of the well, you can see that the walker's head didn't get caught in the rope, even though it appears to have been, later when the walker is pulled out of the well entirely.
- In the scene where Shane is talking to Hershel about having guns on his property, he is talking with his hat off, then in the next shot his hat appears to be on.
- Kevin Fitzpatrick, The Walking Dead 2.04 "Cherokee Rose" Comic-to-TV Comparison, (November, 2011).