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Season 2, Episode 2
AMC TWD Bloodletting
Air Date October 23, 2011
AMC (United States)
October 28, 2011
Fox (United Kingdom)
Written By Glen Mazzara
Directed By Ernest Dickerson
U.S. Viewers 6.70 million
Episode Guide
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"What Lies Ahead"
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"Save the Last One"
Cast Guide
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale Horvath
Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes**
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
**No Lines
Also Starring
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Pruitt Taylor Vince as Otis
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
Picture Gallery

"Bloodletting" is the second episode of Season 2 of AMC's The Walking Dead. It originally aired on October 23, 2011 at 9/8c on AMC.

Plot Synopsis

In a flashback to the day her husband is shot, Lori Grimes and her friend Paula are having a conversation outside their children's school, about the same fight that Rick and Shane discussed before the shootout in the series premiere episode "Days Gone Bye." She admits she sometimes wonders if she even loves her husband anymore as Shane Walsh pulls up in his cruiser, driving recklessly. Lori frowns and excuses herself from the conversation, as if this is nothing new from her husband's lifelong best friend.

Shane gets out of his cruiser with Lam Kendal and Leon Basset trailing behind him, and the look on his face tells Lori something is seriously wrong. "Is he alive?" she asks.

Shane, who blames himself for what had happened, explains that Rick is in surgery, and promises to help her tell Carl his father's been shot. When the boy emerges from his school with his backpack around his shoulders, Lori kneels down to talk to him. Shane watches, brokenhearted, as she tells him what happened, and Carl bursts into tears, hugging his mother.

Today, Rick is running relentlessly through a field, he and Lori's son unresponsive in his arms. Shane follows behind with an overweight hunter, who's struggling to keep up. The man shot Carl, and Shane is abusing him for it.

"How far?" Rick yells, turning back around for only a second, and the hunter breathlessly sends him ahead. "Ask for Hershel. Tell him Otis sent you."

Rick crosses a tree line and a farmhouse is visible; he quickens his desperate pace. A young woman with a brunette bob sees him running across the field through a pair of binoculars. "DAD!" she shouts from the front porch.

Rick stops when he reaches the front steps of the farmhouse, staring up at an old man surrounded by his family and begging, "Are you Hershel?"

He explains that Hershel's man, Otis, shot his son, and Hershel immediately enlists the help of his daughter, Maggie, and another woman, Patricia, to save Carl's life. Otis and Shane finally arrive, and Otis is beside himself with guilt while Shane rushes to comfort his stunned best friend, soaked in his own son's blood.

Back inside the house, Hershel Greene demands to know what happened. "I was trackin' a buck," Otis sputters, seeking comfort in Patricia. "I didn't see him until he was on the ground."

Hershel asks Carl's blood type and Rick says, "A-positive. Same as mine." But Hershel looks no less relieved when he replies, "That's fortunate. Don't wander far. I'm gonna need you."

Hershel determines that the bullet broke into pieces in his abdomen and he would likely need to operate. The dire reality of the situation causes Rick to come out of his trance and remember his wife, and he sobs into Shane's shoulder because she doesn't even know her son's been shot.

Meanwhile, as they trudge back to the highway, the others have heard the gunshot in the woods, and no one's more concerned than Lori. "Why was it just one gunshot?" she asks, knowing Rick and Shane wouldn't waste a bullet to take down a single walker. Carol Peletier agrees that Rick and Shane should have caught up to the group by now, but Daryl Dixon, brandishing his crossbow, calms them down. Andrea offers support to Carol over her daughter Sophia's disappearance, and Carol admits she just keep thinking she doesn't want her daughter to end up like Amy. "It's the not knowin' that's killin' me," she sobs.

She immediately backpedals, apologizing profusely, but Andrea's already lost, missing her sister all over again. She smiles through it - if she's not strong, she knows she'll never get her gun back, and Daryl steps in. "It's a waste of time, all this hopin' and prayin'. We're gonna find that little girl; she's gonna be just fine."

Back at the traffic snarl on the highway, Dale and T-Dog are trying to salvage what they can to survive when Dale asks T-Dog how he's feeling with the cut on his arm that's been covered with a gauze bandage and some gaffer tape.

T-Dog dodges the question, and Dale presses him. Lifting T-Dog's makeshift bandage, Dale notices that he's developing a blood infection. Lightheaded, T-Dog laughs off the old man. "Wouldn't that be the way. World's gone to hell. Dead people risen up to eat the living, and ol' Theodore Douglas gets done in by a cut on his arm?"

Dale insists that they need to start looking for antibiotics, stunned they've yet to find any with all the cars they have to look through. Tired, T-Dog grudgingly joins in, finding a pack of cigarettes in the glove compartment of a minivan. His eye catches something in the backseat - a blood-covered, empty baby's car seat. Unnerved and with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, he backs away from the vehicle.

At the farm, Rick blames himself for what happened to his son as Hershel works to save the boy’s life. "I should have sent him with Lori. Little girl goes missing - you look for her," Rick says, clearly understanding that it was the search for Sophia that led to his son being shot. But Shane stands behind him, telling him not to blame himself for everything that happened with Sophia and Carl, telling him, "You'll never get that monkey off your back.". He assures Rick that Carl will survive getting shot, just like he did.

Hershel calls Rick in, and tells him that Carl needs blood. Patricia, who acts as Hershel's nurse, sticks a needle in Rick's arm as Carl screams in agony. "You're killing him!" Rick screams, as Shane holds down Carl and Hershel pulls a bullet fragment from his wound, before Carl passes out from blood loss.

Hershel has removed one of the fragments, but the other five are buried too deep for him to operate without putting Carl under. If Carl moved and screamed like he did the first time when he went deeper, Hershel explains, he'd sever an artery. Rick insists that Lori has to know, and Shane has to keep him from leaving his son's bedside to search for her on his own. Carl need's more of Rick's blood, and Shane tells him to have the strength of his wife, who kept a bedside vigil for Rick after he was shot months earlier. "I'll take care of the rest," Shane promises.

Hershel tells Rick that Carl will need major surgery to remove the last fragments, but that there was internal bleeding, and they were unequipped at the farm for such a process, and that they need a respirator and more equipment from the FEMA command post that had been set up at the local high school five miles from the farm. The place was overrun last time he saw it, says Otis, but he adds hopefully, "Maybe it's better now."

Shane's prepared to go on his own, and Rick is guilt-ridden for it, but Otis volunteers to go along to right his mistake. Patricia, his wife, tries to object, but he won't hear it. Maggie, Hershel's eldest daughter, offers to find Lori and the rest of the survivors to tell them what happened.

Rick gives Otis his colt as a secondary weapon before he leaves with Shane for the high school, thanking the man for risking his life to help save his son. Otis' only other gun is the rifle with which he shot Carl, and he packs it alongside him sheepishly as he and Shane pile into his pick-up truck. "Man, this turned into one strange day," Shane muses.

Back at the RV, T-Dog deliriously tries to convince Dale that the two of them should take the RV and run, believing that the group will be quick to kill them as he sees them as the two weak links. Dale blows him off, but he realizes that T-Dog's infection is getting worse due to an intense fever and continues looking for antibiotics, after making T-Dog take ibuprofen he found to "knock the fever down".

About 100 yards from the highway on their way back from searching for Sophia, Andrea is attacked by a walker. The group rushes back to help her, but the walker has her pinned to the ground. She's terrified, and wondering if this is it. A horse gallops out of the bush and Maggie, brandishing a baseball bat, knocks the walker off Andrea before any damage is done.

Maggie tells Lori that Carl was shot and tells her to get on the horse, giving the rest of the group directions to Greene Farm. Glenn looks on dumbfounded. Daryl tries to object to her leaving with a stranger, but Lori, stunned, isn't taking any chances. She jumps on the back of the horse and heads towards the farmhouse with Maggie, after which the walker sits up and Daryl, before shooting says to it 'shut up'.

Rick admires Hershel's picturesque farm, which Hershel says has been in his family for 160 years. Hershel tries to reassure Rick that the virus is a temporary thing and that a cure will be found, but Rick tries to tell him it's a lot worse than he thinks as Lori arrives to be with her son. She breaks down when she sees him lying passed out in bed with gauze to cover his wound.

After Rick gives his second blood transfusion, Hershel hands him a glass of orange juice, and assures him and Lori that he'll have a far better chance of saving Carl if Shane and Otis get back from the high school with the proper equipment. He tells them he's done the surgery before, but he informs them he's a veterinarian, not a doctor. Lori struggles to accept that this is the best care available for her son.

Back at the highway, Andrea won't speak to Dale, who heard her screams in the forest. He's stunned to find out Carl's been shot, but he tells Glenn to take T-Dog to Hershel's farm for medical treatment while the others stay behind to wait for Sophia. They can rig a sign for Sophia in the morning before they all move to the farm, Daryl suggests. Hearing how badly in need of antibiotics he is, he gives T-Dog a selection of antibiotics from his brother Merle's stash of drugs, which he left behind at the campsite after cutting off his own hand in Atlanta. "Why'd you wait 'til now to say anything?" he asks him, tossing him a bottle of doxycycline.

Shane and Otis arrive at the high school at dusk, finding it still overrun by walkers as they formulate a plan to cross the parking lot for the abandoned FEMA trailers. Shane pops the trunk of an abandoned police cruiser and finds a set of flares. He sets them off, distracting the walkers and enabling them to reach the trailer unharmed.

Hershel warns Rick and Lori that Carl's pressure keeps dropping, and soon they'll have to decide whether or not to do the surgery without the anesthetic, which could kill him. But he says he'll die without the surgery. Rick wants to go after Shane and Otis, but Lori commands him to stay for her sake and for Carl.

After successfully collecting the necessary equipment from the trailer, Shane and Otis are quickly overrun. They lock themselves inside the school by placing a cotter pin in a sliding gate, which is being shaken loose when pressed in by an overbearing herd.

Other Cast




  • None


  • First appearance of Hershel Greene.
  • First appearance of Maggie Greene.
  • First appearance of Beth Greene.
  • First appearance of Otis.
  • First appearance of Patricia.
  • First appearance of Jimmy.
  • First appearance of Nelly.
  • First appearance of Josephine Greene. (Photograph)
  • First (and last) appearance of Paula. (Flashback)
  • Last appearance of Lambert Kendal. (Flashback)
  • Last appearance of Leon Basset. (Flashback)
  • Bloodletting (or blood-letting) is the withdrawal of often little quantities of blood from a patient to cure or prevent illness and disease. The episode title is both a physical and metaphorical term for this episode. Carl is losing blood at a rapid rate, and the future of the group will hinge on whether or not he survives.
  • The crystal meth found in Merle's stash of drugs is the same color as the meth produced by Walter White in the AMC TV Series, "Breaking Bad", which has spurred a few fan theories that the Breaking Bad and Walking Dead universe is the same, and that Jesse Pinkman was Merle's dealer. A support to this is that Daryll mentions a "scrawny white guy who says 'i'm gonna kill you b**ch'" giving the Meth to Merle.
  • T-Dog's real name is revealed to be "Theodore Douglas." in this episode.


  • When Glenn, Dale, Andrea, Daryl and Carol are back together discussing the situation, the plot suggests the time of day is nearing dusk, about 7:00 or 7:30 pm, but Daryl's shadow is short, suggesting the sun is still high, enough for the time to be around 3:00 pm.

External Links

Episodes of The Walking Dead
Season 1 "Days Gone Bye" • "Guts" • "Tell It to the Frogs" • "Vatos" • "Wildfire" • "TS-19"
Season 2 "What Lies Ahead" • "Bloodletting" • "Save the Last One" • "Cherokee Rose" • "Chupacabra" • "Secrets" • "Pretty Much Dead Already" • "Nebraska" • "Triggerfinger" • "18 Miles Out" • "Judge, Jury, Executioner" • "Better Angels" • "Beside the Dying Fire"
Season 3 "Seed" • "Sick" • "Walk With Me" • "Killer Within" • "Say the Word" • "Hounded" • "When the Dead Come Knocking" • "Made to Suffer" • "The Suicide King" • "Home" • "I Ain't a Judas" • "Clear" • "Arrow on the Doorpost" • "Prey" • "This Sorrowful Life" • "Welcome to the Tombs"
Season 4 "30 Days Without An Accident" • "Infected" • "Isolation" • "Indifference" • "Internment" • "Live Bait" • "Dead Weight" • "Too Far Gone" • "After" • "Inmates" • "Claimed" • "Still" • "Alone" • "The Grove" • "Us" • "A"
Season 5 "No Sanctuary" • "Strangers" • "Four Walls and a Roof" • "Slabtown" • "Self Help" • "Consumed" • "Crossed" • "Coda" • "What Happened and What's Going On" • "Them" • "The Distance" • "Remember" • "Forget" • "Spend" • "Try" • "Conquer"

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