Back for a second season, The Walking Dead is on Fridays on RTÉ Two. John Byrne reports and we’ve a Q&A with Jon Bernthal, who plays Shane.

Oh, you lucky people. Anyone who watched the first season of The Walking Dead and hasn’t yet seen all of the second will be looking forward eagerly to what's ahead. And you won’t be disappointed. This season is full of game-changing moments and will leave you stunned by the time all 13 episodes have been aired.

We won’t spoil a moment for you, but here’s a reminder of how things stood, and a little flavour of what lies ahead . . .

Dr Jenner had locked everyone in the CDC lab, aiming to kill them in what he considered a humane act. Rick convinces Jenner to release the group, but Jacqui decides to stay and die with Jenner. Andrea made a similar choice but is convinced to leave by Dale. They narrowly escape the building before it explodes, and drive off.

As season two opens, the group is heading to Fort Benning, a US Army base, but get themselves blocked by a traffic pileup on the interstate highway. While there, various members of the group clash – and then a huge mob of walkers turns up and cause chaos.

Q&A with Jon Bernthal (who plays Shane)

A lot of people all have dreams about work. Do you ever have dreams about walkers, or dreams that you're in character?
Yeah, I do. And I hate zombies. Call me a silly method actor but you spend all day hunting them and killing them and running from them and there you go. I love the people that create them and the people that play them, but the zombies themselves I hate. When I go to a publicity event and there's some guy paid to be a zombie for the night and they walk up to me, my first instinct is to take their heads off.

Shane always gets to tote the big guns. Do you enjoy acting with a gun on set? Are you gun person?
You know I do love Shane's shotgun. In real life I kind of have a shotgun similar to it, but I'm not a huge gun guy. Only thing about Shane's gun is it's super loud and attracts other zombies. We shoot blanks on set and there's still a good kickback.

Have you enjoyed playing a character with a dark side?
I think that Shane really has figured out that in this world it's all about making hard decisions. If you have a group of people and you're trying to survive what do you do if one person is holding you back? Do you get rid of that person? Or do you do the "right thing" and keep that person alive? I think Shane has discovered this new world order; he discovered it in Season 1 when he beat Ed up down by the water in Season 1 or when he trained the gun on Rick. Things like guilt and shame -- are those valuable emotions in this world, or do they actually have no place in them? I love those themes of the show.

Shane has a very distinctive walk. He also rubs his head a lot. Are those Shane or Jon gestures?
No man, I hope that what I'm doing is Shane. I've tried to find mannerisms for him, especially this season. He has things he does when he gets nervous or agitated. Shane is constantly boiling and constantly at war with himself, and I think that these gestures and movements come out of what's going on inside of him.

If you had to be stuck with only one of the characters from the show in a zombie apocalypse who would it be and why?
Daryl Dixon. I think Shane kind of figures that out this season as well. I think he's an enormously valuable member of the group. He can do things and he's down to do things that a lot of the other members aren't.

Do you personally feel like you're better prepared for a zombie attack now?
Yeah I do, because I think there's definitely some things I know now that I didn't know then. But I gotta tell you, when you really let your mind go there and you think about the ins and outs of what would go down, I think we'd really all be screwed.