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Cherokee Rose

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Cherokee Rose
Season 2, Episode 4
AMC TWD Cherokee Rose
Air Date November 6, 2011
AMC (United States)
November 11, 2011
Fox (United Kingdom)
Written By Evan T. Reilly
Directed By Billy Gierhart
U.S. Viewers 6.29 million
Episode Guide
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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
Also Starring
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Emily Kinney as Beth Greene
Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene
Picture Gallery

"Cherokee Rose" is the fourth episode of Season 2 of AMC's The Walking Dead. It originally aired on November 6, 2011 at 10/9c on AMC.

Plot Synopsis

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.

Rick and Lori sit at their son Carl's bedside while he recovers from surgery to remove bullet fragments from his abdomen. 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. 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. He 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 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. Shane reluctantly hands over his gun, and Andrea begrudgingly follows suit. 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 talk awkwardly 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 was just as pure as the well used for the house, and 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 warns 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, and Rick considers it carefully.

As Glenn stares at Maggie in control of the two horses as he prepares to head into town, Lori pulls him aside and provides him with a list of needed supplies. 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, and 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, and moves closer to investigate. His face falls as the sound of lapping water is interspersed with the familiar growls of the walking dead. Just as T-Dog is about to take a drink of water from the well, Dale knocks the ladle to the ground and warns him not to drink it.

As Glenn, Maggie, Andrea, Lori, and Shane gather around the well, a bloated, wet zombie reaches helplessly for them from the bottom. They note that the walker has grown 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 when talk 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 shoots back.

The group discuss options to deal with the walker in the well, agreeing that shooting the walker in its place would certainly pollute the drinking water. Concluding that they need to coax the walker out of the well, the group attempts to bait it with canned ham, which fails when they realise it will obviously not eat anything remotely 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, with the intent of having him fasten a rope around the walker so that it can be pulled out, alive, 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 clean. 

She stands watch as the group slowly lowers Glenn down the well, using the water pump to provide leverage 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, causing 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, eventually able to pull Glenn, shaken and horrified, from the well. Catching his breath while the group views the attempt as a failure, Glenn smiles, revealing that he was able to secure a 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, big enough only for someone short, like Sophia. He calls her name as he walks outside, and 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 lip. As they pull harder, the walker splits in half, with the bottom part of its body (and most of its innards) falling back into 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 as the group decides to seal off 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 and 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, describes to her 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 conversation with Maggie as they ride into town. She's quiet, having never seen a walker killed up close before, because of how protected she'd been at the farm. After reaching the local pharmacy, Glenn hands her the master list and says he's just going to look around and see what's worth grabbing as 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 on the floor and he stuffs the pregnancy test in his bag before she can see it, grabbing 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; 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 kisses Glenn, who follows suit, dumbfounded, and they 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 consider the prospect, 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, 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 him to be a good father.

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 he'll be alright.

As they make their way back to the farm, Maggie refers to their tryst as one-time deal, which immediately disappoints Glenn. 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, 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 has busied herself with cleaning out the RV, claiming she wants it to look nice when Sophia gets back. Daryl tells 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, when the white man drove 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 says. Carl makes light of how both he and his father have both been shot. Rick is amused by Carl's wry humor, and gives his 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 looks at his gunshot scar and hugs him supportively as he shuts the drawer, before heading out on her own with a knife between her fingers. She walks past the RV unnoticed while Dale, Carol, and Andrea are eating dinner inside.

Finding a secluded place on the farm, she pulls the pregnancy test from the back of her jeans. Peeing on the stick, she bursts into devastated tears when she sees the plus sign. She knows she's pregnant.

Other Cast




  • None



"Cherokee Rose" was originally broadcast on November 6, 2011 in the United States on AMC. Upon airing, the episode garnered 6.29 million viewers and attained a 3.4 rating in the 18–49 demographic, according to Nielsen ratings. It became the highest-rated cable program of the day, obtaining significantly higher ratings than Hell on Wheels on AMC and the Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo. "Cherokee Rose" was the second highest-rated cable program of the week, edging out television movie John Sandford's Certain Prey by a considerable margin, but attained lower ratings than a match between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the 2011 NFL season. The episode's total viewership and ratings moderately increased from the previous episode, "Save the Last One", which was viewed by 6.095 million viewers and achieved a 3.1 rating in the 18–49 demographic.[7] In the United Kingdom, "Cherokee Rose" received 893,000 viewers, subsequently becoming the highest-rated cable program on FX of the week dated November 13.

Critical Response

"Cherokee Rose" attained favorable reviews from television critics. Zach Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+, and felt that it gave an accurate depiction of the characters. He opined: "I had a problem with the show's tendency to wander into cul-de-sacs in the first season, mainly because so much of it felt redundant, the work of writers who had no real idea how to construct narrative television. But this season, I'm starting to think they're getting a handle on things, and "Cherokee Rose" is the sort of episode I'd like to see more off [sic] as The Walking Dead continues." Paste's Josh Jackson asserted that the episode was superior to preceding installments, describing it as "simply a catch of breath." Similarly, Josh Wigler of MTV evaluated that despite less violence than usual, the quality of "Cherokee Rose" improved from the previous episode. HitFix's Alan Sepinwall echoed analogous sentiments, and argued that while the show's character still need more development, the development displayed in the episode was a "definite step in the right direction on that front." Time journalist Nate Rawlings concluded that the episode contained many powerful scenes. Eric Goldman of IGN was critical of the episode, ultimately giving it a seven out of ten rating, signifying a "good" rating. Goldman felt that "Cherokee Rose" was a disappointment, citing that it lack any focus or direction. Henry Hanks, writing for CNN, said that the episode was the weakest of the season.

Critics commended the development of the relationship between Maggie Green and Glenn. Andrew Conrad of The Baltimore Sun stated that the storyline epitomized a "steamy romance", while The Wall Street Journal's Aaron Rutkoff called it "the funniest moment of the series." Goldman opined that their sexual encounter felt genuine; "He's a nice guy, she seems like a cool gal, and it felt genuine when she noted she felt plenty lonely too and ready for some companionship." Nick Venable of Cinema Blend asserted that the interactions between Maggie and Glenn was the highlight of the episode. "I'm glad the writers are introducing this comic book plot point, as this show seriously needs a couple without closets full of skeletons. When Glenn accidentally grabs a box of condoms for Maggie to see, I chuckled heartily. The ensuing conversation also made me smile, which makes me wonder why humor is paid the least amount of attention on the show." Jackson was surprised with the scene, and called it "unexpected". Jen Chenay of The Washington Post compared Glenn to Little Mikey from the Life advertisements, and summated: "He has assumed this role without much choice in the matter, but he has done so with a certain quiet, occasionally petrified, baseball-cap-wearing dignity that makes him admirable."

The water well sequence was critically acclaimed by critics. Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly described the scene as "hilarious", and added, "I loved the horrific pointlessness of that entire plot, and it was yet more proof that makeup designer Greg Nicotero is the real star of [The Walking Dead]. I'm not sure anything else TV can come up with this season will match the image of the bloated half-zombie crawling across the ground with its water-logged intestine hanging out." Jackson, Rawlings, and the Houston Chronicle's Pamela Mitchell felt that the sequence was one of the series' most grotesque moments. Rawlings added: "Honestly, that right there is why many people watch The Walking Dead."[13] Wigler expressed that it was "very well done", and noted that the walker was the "most vile, disgusting zombie that Greg Nicotero has ever created."

The concluding sequence of "Cherokee Rose" was also well received by television critics. Morgan Jeffrey of Digital Spy admired the scene, and described it as "tense". Halden opined that the scene was a reasonably solid storyline, and felt that it was the episode's biggest foreshadowing event.

A.V Club IGN
B+ 7


  • Otis, though dead, appears in a flashback.
  • The name 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.


  • When they were pulling the walker out of the well, the walker's jeans were not wet or soaked, but they should be from being in a well full of water.

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"

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