(Spoiler alert: If you haven't watched "The Walking Dead" midseason finale and plan to, stop reading.)
Do walkers deserve our empathy?
There was a moment in Sunday night's season two midseason finale of "The Walking Dead" when it looked like Rick and the gang had found the missing Sophia — and that she might somehow have survived hiding in a barn full of walkers.
But upon closer inspection, it turned out Sophia had been found and lost — she emerged zombified from the home she had briefly shared with a dozen zombies.
The moment tested Shane's assertion that the only good walker was a dead walker — or at least, an extra dead, re-killed walker. Before Sophia emerged, he had opened the barn, which housed a dozen former friends and relatives of farm owner Herschel. He had kept them there in hopes that they might someday be cured. Opening the barn left the survivors, egged on by Shane, no choice but to fire away at the walkers.
Killing strangers-turned-zombies was all well and good. But the survivors were less certain what to do when a freshly zombified Sophia, one of their own, walked out as delicately as a newborn colt finding its legs. Rick was the one who eventually put her down.
It was crushing to watch Sophia's mom, Carol, react to the revelation that Sophia was now a walker, as well as the heartbreak of young Carl that he was losing his only friend.
The death added a tragic turn to a line earlier in the episode in which Carl said he believed Sophia would like living on the farm.
The moment marked a new turn in the zombie drama: Is it possible, just possible, that we should feel for zombies as well as the people they're trying to devour?
Check out a trio of AMC video features below, in which the cast members talk about the finale and the impact it will have on their characters when the show resumes on Feb. 12: