AMC's hit zombie show The Walking Dead, based on a black-and-white comic book series, played things close to its source material in its first few episodes, but one key departure for the show — which aired the second episode of its second season Sunday night — left one surviving character out on a precarious limb.

Shane Walsh, played by Jon Bernthal, was supposed to have already died, but scriptwriters have left him hanging on throughout the accidental shooting of Carl Grimes, Rick and Lori's young son. Seizing a chance to make up for his treacherous behavior (Walsh had an affair with Lori, his best friend's wife, and nearly abandoned the group due to disputes with Rick), Walsh risked his neck to get the supplies necessary to surgically save little Carl's life.

Bernthal said the story line of redemption exemplifies one of the great things about The Walking Dead. "One of the things I love about this show is that the situations and circumstances give these characters an opportunity to redeem themselves," Bernthal told MTV News. "You can be completely on the outs with everyone in the group, but then here's this wonderful opportunity to redeem yourself. Save the kid, the kid you love. Save the woman you love's child. Save your best friend that your relationship is dead and gone. You're doing it not to be the hero but because you love him."

The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.

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