Jon Bernthal and Laurie Holden Jon Bernthal and Laurie Holden

Andrea has come a long way from the grief-stricken woman who lost her sister in the first season of The Walking Dead. Now the lone survivor of her family, Andrea (Laurie Holden) has used her mourning period to transform into a gun-toting survivor, and also one of the most badass women on Dead — though it came at the price of almost losing Daryl.

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"Andrea was finally given a gun, and was so excited to prove to the group, and to herself, that she's an asset, and she blew it on such a massive level and hates herself for it," Holden says of Andrea mistaking Daryl (Norman Reedus) for a walker and nearly blowing his head off. "You'll see in the next few episodes that she really evolves into more a level-headed person. She really overcomes a lot of her issues of grief and petulant behavior. She emerges much stronger."

Shane (Jon Bernthal) takes up the charge of making Andrea into a soldier, of sorts, though his methods may initially prove detrimental. "Shane and Andrea are in many ways cut from the same cloth. He's an alpha male and she's an alpha female. She admires him greatly. He teaches her everything she knows and in the upcoming episodes, he gives her a lot of tough love, which she doesn't appreciate and it gets a little nasty, but at the end of the day, it's the best thing for her because she emerges stronger because of it."

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Though Shane and Andrea become closer through this training period, she won't be privy to the side of Shane that begins to emerge to other people on the farm. "In the upcoming episodes, he reveals a dark side to different characters, but it's something that he keeps very private and not something that Andrea is ever exposed to. She only sees the strong virile alpha male Shane, she doesn't see the dark side. If she did, she wouldn't buddy-buddy up with him."

Now that Andrea has found a reason to live, she can finally forgive Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), who essentially forced her to leave the CDC before it exploded in the Season 1 finale. "They're on the right track finally," Holden says. "Over time, she's been healing and she sees the beauty and the goodness of this man, and she lets go of those petty judgments. She sees that this man really does love her and made a big sacrifice."

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Though Andrea may have finally found her footing, the group will face the possibility of losing the farm as a stronghold as revelations about the zombie-infested barn are bound to come to light. "It's a moral dilemma," Holden says. "Hershel [Scott Wilson] has allowed them to stay on his property and he does not believe that the walkers are, in fact, dead people. He has a completely different mentality that none of us could relate to at all. It's a real issue. Do they tolerate it and try to work around it so they can keep this as a safe haven? Or do you challenge your host and overtake the farm? You'll see in the next few episodes that things get rather heated over this topic."

With only two episodes left before The Walking Dead goes on hiatus until 2012, the heat will reach a "boiling" point in the midseason finale, Holden says. "It's rather tragic. It's The Walking Dead, it's gotta be tragic!"

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8 on AMC.