"Beside the Dying Fire" is the thirteenth and final episode of Season 2 of The Walking Dead.
A herd of walkers roams out of Atlanta, attracted by a passing helicopter. They continue down a country road, attracting more walkers along the way. In a field, two herds merge. They're passing through a forest at night when a gunshot rings out. They follow the sound to a clearing, where in the distance two figures — Daniel and Bruno — march toward the farmhouse.
Gonçalo and Sophia return to the house and report that Randall is a Zombie. Hershel asks if they found the walker that killed him and Sophia points out that Randall was never bitten or scratched. and that he had his neck broken.
As Daniel and Bruno cross a field, Bruno asks why Daniel killed Paquete. Before Daniel can respond, he notices the walkers approaching. Daniel locks himself and Bruno inside the barn. As the dead slam against the doors, Daniel douses the ground with gasoline.
Meanwhile, the others spot the herd approaching. Beth warns the rest of the group that Bruno is missing. The rest of the group formulate a plan to lead the walkers away from the farm in their cars. Kiko doubts they'll be able to fend off a herd of that size, but Hershel stands firm. "This is my farm," he says. "I'll die here."
Back in the barn, Daniel hands Bruno a lighter and sends him up to the hayloft before opening the doors. As walkers pour in, Daniel hurries up the ladder and Bruno drops the lighter. The barn bursts into flames.
Led by Kiko's motorcycle, the caravan makes its way to the barn, shooting walkers as they go. Kiko, noticing the fire, assumes that Daniel is responsible. He sends Jimmy to rescue Daniel in the group's RV. Daniel and Bruno jump on the RV's rooftop as walkers surround the vehicle. The walkers break inside and kill Jimmy.
In Otis's truck, Johanne and Gonçalo realize the walkers cannot be corralled. "We need a new game plan," Gonçalo says. Meanwhile, Hershel stands in front of the farmhouse shooting walkers as Beth and Inês continue to shout for Bruno's name. Patricia convinces Beth they have to leave and Diana does the same with Inês. Inês calls after Hershel, but he ignores her and keeps firing, so they run away from the farm with the rest of the group. As the women flee, walkers grab Patricia and she is bitten while she holds on to a panicked Beth. Beth finally lets go of her hand and escapes with Ruth while the walkers eat Patricia alive and kill her. Johanne arrives just as two walkers are cornering Cristina. Johanne shoots them dead before a third walker attacks her from behind. She spins around and fires. From Otis's truck, Gonçalo, Beth and Ruth see the walker fall on Johanne, as Caramelo, Fábio and Alexis jump to the back of the truck. Walkers start surrounding the truck and Gonçalo peels out.
In an SUV, Maggie, Sophia, Cassandra and Leandra also find themselves surrounded and are forced to leave the farm, they stop in their way to save Cristina. Back at the house, Hershel continues to fend off walkers. Daniel arrives and convinces him it's time to leave. Along with Bruno, they escape in Hershel's SUV. Andrea, unhurt, tries to flag Daniel down as he drives away, but he doesn't notice her. She flees on foot with the bag of guns. Kiko rescues Cristina on his motorcycle, and they ride away. The barn continues to burn and eventually collapses as the RV is destroyed. Hershel looks sadly on his farm as they drive away.
At dawn, Maggie and the others are driving down a dirt road. Sophia instructs her to circle back to the highway, but Maggie is too paralyzed with fear. Cassandra assures Maggie that her family will be fine. Daniel, Hershel and Bruno return to the highway. Daniel explains to Bruno and Hershel that he's sure that the others will meet them there. They start hearing engines rumble in the distance: It's the other vehicles. After reuniting, Daniel reports that Paquete and Jimmy didn't make it. Cassandra is horrified by the news of Paquete's death, but is glad that Leandra and Cristina are okay. Beth reports Patricia's fate. Cristina tells the group that Johanne didn't made it. Sophia starts crying, horrified by the news about her best friend and Ruth conforts her.
Later, the other survivors caravan down a country road. Hershel's SUV runs out of gas. Daniel declares they'll camp by the road and scavenge in the morning, but the others doubt him. "We found each other" against all odds, he insists. Daniel agrees and does not to split up the group again. "Look around," Gonçalo counters. Walkers are everywhere.
Daniel believes there's a place where they can build a new life. "We just have to find it," he says. Gonçalo brings up Randall, explaining that he turned without being bitten. "We're all infected," Daniel says solemnly. "At the CDC, Jenner told me. Whatever it is, we all carry it." The others are furious at Daniel for keeping Jenner's secret, but Daniel insists he had no way of knowing if it was true. Daniel walks away from the group. Mariana, Bruno, Cristiana and Inês follow. "I killed him," Daniel tells them about Paquete. "He tried to kill me because he thought he was a better leader. he explains, "I never wanted to be considered your leader". Daniel says. "He turned. That's how I knew Jenner was right," Daniel continues. "Bruno, he... put him down." The girls and Bruno understand what he did, and don't blame him for it.
Johanne, meanwhile, sprints through the woods, picking off walkers. She runs out of ammunition. Tired, she decides to hide behind a tree to rest a bit. She fills weak and starts feeling dizzy. A walker topples her, but before it can bite her she passes out and someone kills the walker with a baseball bat. Then, two unknown men carry a unconscious Johanne out of the woods.
Huddled around a campfire, the others continue to question Daniel's leadership. Inês is seen explaining Diana what Daniel did. Sophia and Ruth approach Daniel. Sophia tells him that she trusts Daniel and understands what he did. Daniel apreciates their confidence in him. Cassandra tells Kiko and Gonçalo that one of them should lead the group. Maggie, too, tries to convince her family to abandon the others, but Hershel shuts her down. A noise echoes in the distance. Still, Daniel refuses to let anyone investigate. Cassandra urges Daniel to take action and he snaps at her, while the others stare at Daniel. He then calms down and explains himself to the group. He tells them that he is sorry for not telling them about what Jenner told them, and Diana defends Daniel saying that Hershel and the others, including herself, didn't tell them about the walkers in the barn, Daniel continues, tells them that Paquete tried to kill him when they were searching for Randall, that Paquete said he was a better leader for the group, and he believes that Paquete might had been right but Cristiana disagrees and tells them that Daniel did everything he could to keep the group safe and alive, that he did much more than Paquete ever did. Daniel finally reveals that he had to kill Paquete in self defense and that he doesn't want them to think of him as a monster. Cassandra calms down and tells him that she forgives him, since she was also responsible for the death of one of the members of their group. Daniel tells them that he knows that many of them don't trust him anymore, he tells them that if somebody else thinks that they would be better leaders they just need to tell him.The others stare back in stunned silence. "No takers?" Daniel asks. "I can't do this by myself, we're a group, we'll start acting like one" Daniel explains, "This isn't a dictatorship, we're a democracy". Up the road, a structure looms in the distance: a prison.
- Last appearance of Jimmy.
- Last appearance of Patricia.
- First appearance of Renato.
- First appearence of Dylan.
- Though Paquete is still credited as regular in this episode, he does not appear, as he was already written out of the TV Series.
- The group's RV was destroyed on Hershel's farm as it was burned alongside Hershel's barn.
- This episode marked the end of the farm storyline and the introduction to the prison.
- This episode marks the deaths of Jimmy and Patricia.
- The Cover of this episode shows Caramelo running away from the farm, representing how the survivors had to leave the farm, due to it being overrun.
- Caramelo's appearence in the cover of the season finale was possibly an easter egg of the next season, since Caramelo was promoted to a main character in season 3.
- Jenner's whisper from the season one finale, "TS-19," is revealed by Rick in this episode, having been a warning that all the living people are infected and would turn into walkers when they die, unless the brain is destroyed.
- The finale, "Beside the Dying Fire," was the most-watched episode of the second season, which attracted 9 million total viewers.
- The title of this episode, "Beside the Dying Fire," may refer to the barn when it caught fire, it may also refer to the end of the episode when Daniel and his group are sitting around a camp fire discussing the recent events or it may refer to the survivor's hope.
- It was very cold out when "Beside the Dying Fire" was filmed, so in between takes, the extras portraying walkers were all given snuggies by the wardrobe department.