"Pretty Much Dead Already" is the seventh episode and mid-season finale of the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the thirteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 27, 2011. It was written by Scott Gimple and directed by Michelle MacLaren.
Everyone sits at the camp eating breakfast. Glenn looks over at the house, where Maggie stands shaking her head, then looking at Dale who nods. Glenn reveals to the survivors that Hershel's barn is full of walkers.
The group immediately goes to investigate with Shane taking the lead. They discuss the situation and Shane insists that they leave for Fort Benning. Carol says her daughter is still out there, and Shane tells her they need to consider the possibility that Sophia is dead. Daryl insists he's close to finding her but this doesn't appease Shane. Rick says he's going to talk to Hershel about the barn and staying when Dale reveals that Hershel sees the walkers as sick people, and with good reason. This only makes Shane mad at Dale for not telling them sooner, but Dale thought they would be fine. The walkers in the barn start rocking the barn doors. The survivors know they will have to deal with this issue soon.
Shane stands guard at the barn, testing the locks. Glenn goes to speak with Maggie, but she rebuffs him by smashing an egg in his hat. Carl and Lori discuss Sophia. Carl says that he doesn't want to leave the farm until they find Sophia and even after that. Carol pursues Daryl into the stables and tells him not to go after Sophia because of his wounds and because she wouldn't be able to stand losing him too. Daryl, angered by this, storms out of the stable.
At the RV, Dale loans Glenn his hat. Inside Andrea is arming herself to go search for Sophia with Rick. Dale tries to warn Andrea about Shane but she doesn't agree with him. After Andrea leaves, Dale asks Glenn to get some water. Dale gathers up all of the guns.
As Hershel reads the Bible over lunch, Rick goes to him to discuss remaining at the farm again and to tell him that they know about the walkers in the barn. Rick just wants to talk, but Hershel demands that they leave before the end of the week and Rick confronts him about the reality that they'll face. He tells Hershel – who only saw the apocalypse via the news – about Hannah and asks Hershel to let them stay because his farm is their only safe haven. In a final attempt he tells Hershel that the farm is special and that he needs to stay there because his wife is pregnant. As Rick leaves, Maggie and Hershel stare at one another in silence. Rick joins Shane at the barn and tells him that Lori is pregnant.
Later, Hershel tries to justify sending the group away, stating that Carl doesn't need his help anymore. Maggie reminds Hershel of John 13:34, a verse he often quoted to her when Hershel decided to marry her mother about loving one another. Hershel asks if her feelings for Glenn are an issue, leading her to bring up the encounter with the walker in the pharmacy and Glenn saved her from people her father was trying to rescue. She asks him again to reconsider saying that it is only about him and who he's going to be. Jimmy interrupts them to tell him that they've found two trapped walkers. Hershel decides to ask Rick, who is planning the search grid for Sophia, to come with him.
Shane confronts Lori about her pregnancy and tells her that he's sure the baby is his. He admits that when he saw Rick was alive, he wished that he wasn't because he doesn't believe Rick can survive in this world. Lori tells him that the baby will never be his and belongs to her and Rick. As Lori watches, Shane walks away and is stopped by Carl. Carl tells him that they have to find Sophia and that they have to stay at the farm. Lori calls to Carl to get him away from Shane. Immediately, Shane goes to the RV to gather their guns only to find them all missing. He asks Glenn where Dale has gone, but Glenn doesn't know. Shane goes after Dale, tracking him away from the camp.
Deep in the swamps Hershel, Jimmy, and Rick are walking through the forest with Hershel telling Rick about his neighbors. He tells him about a women he knew who owned a nearby farm and an unknown person who Hershel met where he worked. As they free the trapped walkers, Hershel mentions Otis was the one that always corralled the walkers and put them in the barn. Hershel asks Rick if they'd be able to stop killing walkers and Hershel explains his philosophy regarding the walkers. He tells him flat out that if they want to stay they will have to give up killing walkers and leave the barn alone.
Meanwhile, elsewhere near the camp, Daryl and Carol are walking along a stream and Daryl points out a Cherokee Rose among the creek bank. Daryl insists that Sophia is still out there and that he'll find her; additionally, he tells her about how he feels ignored at the camp. Carol reassures him that they'll find her. Deeper in the swamps, the group tries to extricate the walkers that are stuck. Hershel explains that the walkers will follow them; they just have to keep hold of them. While on watch, Glenn spots Maggie walking alone and joins her. She ignores him, but he emphatically states that he had to tell the group. For a while he forgot the walkers are dangerous, and secrets have a way of getting people killed. Glenn would rather Maggie be angry with him if it meant she was still alive. Maggie relents and they reconcile with a kiss.
Elsewhere in the swamps, Dale is tracked down by Shane. Dale is in the process of hiding the guns from Shane when he is spotted. Shane confronts Dale and Dale asks if he'll kill him like he did Otis. Shane says he wouldn't waste his time as he's already dead. Demanding the guns again, Shane tells Dale the only way he'll stop him from taking the guns is if Dale shoots him with his rifle. Dale trains the gun on him, but can't pull the trigger. In the end he returns the guns, but says the world they're currently in is where Shane belongs. "At least I can say when the world went to shit, I didn't let it take me down with it," Dale says.
As Maggie offers to clean Glenn's hat, Shane returns to the farm and starts handing out guns to the group. Maggie, Carl, and Lori try to talk him out of what he's planning to do. In the distance, T-Dog spots the group returning with the two captured walkers. Catching up with them, Shane argues with Hershel about his view regarding the walkers. Shane draws his gun and shoots the walker that was once Louise, saying that if it was a living human, it wouldn't be able to survive multiple shots to the chest and keep charging. Hershel, in shock, watches as Shane puts the walker down with a bullet to the head. Seconds later, Shane begins a tirade about how the group needs to start fighting to survive and that they need to stop wasting time on pointless endeavors like rescuing Sophia and the keeping the walkers in the barn. Shane lets the walkers free from the barn and they begin to file out one at a time. Shane, Andrea, T-Dog, and Daryl kill them as the Greene family watches in horror. Glenn only joins in with Maggie's consent. Rick doesn't try to stop them.
Just as Dale arrives, a final walker's timid frame steps out of the barn and into the sunlight. The group realizes with horror that it is Sophia, still wearing her shoes and blue rainbow t-shirt, but her skin pale and her face in the snarl of a reanimated corpse. Carol runs forward in anguish, desperately screaming out her daughter's name, and is held back by Daryl. None of them can bring themselves to raise their weapon. Even Shane, who moments ago was in a furious rage over the group's inaction, is now taken aback in a stunned silence. It is Rick who ultimately steps forward. Drawing his gun, he shoots her once in the head, having had the resolve to do what had to be done.
- Louise Bush (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- Mr. Fischer (Zombified)
- Mrs. Fischer (Zombified)
- Lacey (Zombified)
- Duncan (Zombified)
- Doug (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- Shawn Greene (Zombified)
- Arnold Greene (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- Sophia Peletier (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- Several unnamed Greene barn inhabitants (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Louise Bush. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Doug. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Mr. Fischer. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Mrs. Fischer. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Lacey. (Zombified)
- First (and last) appearance of Duncan. (Zombified)
- Last appearance of Nelly. (Unknown)
- Last appearance of Sophia Peletier. (Zombified)
- Last appearance of Arnold Greene. (Zombified)
- Last appearance of Shawn Greene. (Zombified)
- The title of the episode, "Pretty Much Dead Already", refers to the fact that Shane told Dale that he was, "pretty much dead already".
- Madison Lintz (Sophia Peletier) appears in this episode after being absent since "Bloodletting" (besides a flashback in "Chupacabra").
- According to Greg Nicotero on AMC's Talking Dead, two endings were filmed for the episode, one in which Sophia is decaying (the scene used) and another where she appears normal, representing what the characters want to see.
- Glen Mazzara stated that the barn massacre is referred to as, "Barn-ageddon".
- In "Bloodletting", Carol told Andrea that she only hoped Sophia would not end up like Amy (bitten and reanimated). Ironically, this is what happened, fulfilling her mother's fear.
- Interestingly, Sophia was also bitten on the neck, similarly to Amy.
- Glenn makes a reference to the video game Portal, when comparing it to him being put in the well with the walker.
- In the TV show Supernatural, Sheriff Jody Mills makes a reference to this episode when she states that her deputy still has nightmares about "the barn episode of The Walking Dead".
- This episode starts the tradition of killing off a female character in the mid-season finale with the death of Sophia Peletier.
- Penny Blake and Donna were killed in "Made to Suffer".
- Meghan Chambler, Lilly Chambler, and Alisha were killed in "Too Far Gone".
- Beth Greene and Dawn Lerner were killed in "Coda".
- Deanna Monroe was killed in "Start to Finish".
- Olivia and Isabelle were killed in "Hearts Still Beating".
- Natania was killed in "How It's Gotta Be".
- Rick begging Hershel to let his group stay on the farm is adapted from Issue 12.
- Hershel luring a walker into the barn is adapted from Issue 11.
- Shane arguing with Hershel that walkers are not people while Rick tries to calm him down is adapted from a similar scene in Issue 11, where Rick argues with Hershel before Tyreese calms him instead.
- The walkers coming out of the barn and being executed by the group is adapted from Issue 11.
- When Dale and Shane are in the woods, you can see on Shane's T-shirt a couple prints of the gun barrel even before Dale pressed rifle on his chest.
- During the confrontation between Maggie and Glenn, Maggie's blouse alternates between being on and off her right shoulder.
- Just before Rick, Hershel, and Jimmy arrive with the walkers they caught, T-Dog's hand is on his head, and his lips don't move, even though in the next shot he says "Oh shit!", and his hand is not in his head.
- When Shane finds Dale in the swamp trying to hide the guns, when he first sees Dale, Dale is holding a large spike to drive into the tree. In the next second, they show Dale standing next to the tree with the spike already in it.
- Natalie Abram, The Walking Dead Boss: Lori Has Become Lady Macbeth, TV Guide, (February 19, 2012)