'Walking Dead' Star Jon Bernthal Explains Shane's 'Trek'

'You're not doing it to be the hero but because you love him,' actor tells MTV News of his character's dangerous choices.

"Walking Dead" character Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) cannot catch a break. Once the alpha dog in this ragtag group of survivors, Shane is now at the bottom of the totem pole with everything stripped away from him: Former lover Lori has returned to his best friend Rick's open arms, everyone's following Rick's lead, and Shane wants nothing more than to get the heck out of Dodge and kiss a bad situation goodbye.

But all that changed the moment that Carl Grimes, Rick and Lori's young son, took a bullet to the gut.

In an instant, Shane changed his tune and set out to help his best friend get through a desperate situation by risking life and limb to secure medical supplies for Carl's surgery. But as is so often the case on "The Walking Dead," things did not go as planned, and Shane now finds himself cornered by a pack of flesh-hungry walkers with no apparent way out. It's an especially scary situation considering that the smash-hit AMC series — now two episodes into its second season — has already passed the point in which Shane died in the "Walking Dead" comic books, leaving one to wonder whether or not this is the final hoorah for Rick's best pal.

You might think that Shane, who was a split second from leaving this group just one episode ago, is currently regretting his decision to go out and help Carl. But actor Jon Bernthal has a different explanation for his character's choice.

"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 about Shane's current mind-set. "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."

Doing great, brave things in the name of love is a noble idea, but it's a dangerous one as well, Bernthal warned.

"With Shane, I think he really figures out, he adopts this new world order in this new world they're living in. Things like guilt, shame and trying to do things that are morally right are far less important and really have no place in this new world compared to surviving and doing what you have to do to stay alive and protect the people you love," he said.

"If you take that a step further, it gets very dangerous very fast: If you're with a group of people and you're trying to survive and one person is holding you back or slowing you down, in this world, the right thing to do is to help that person and bring them along," he continued. "In [the world of 'The Walking Dead'], the right thing to do is to kill that person and send them away. I think Shane, that whole kind of mission you're referring to, I think it starts Shane off on a trek that will change him forever."

Either Shane's "trek" is going to be a short one, or he'll find some way to survive his current situation. Regardless of what happens next, Bernthal teased that Shane's episode three future is all about "going on that mission, man. Going on that mission and making hard choices."

What did you think of this week's "Walking Dead"? Tell us in the comments.