What happened to ‘The Walking Dead’s’ Sophia? (and 6 other burning TV questions) (Commentary)

Part of why it’s been a great TV season is that there are so many compelling questions that keep us watching from week to week. And these aren’t just a matter of “Oh well, I’ve followed it this far so I might as well keep going” like I sometimes felt with “Lost.” A lot of shows this fall actually have mysteries where I want to know the answer. Here are seven of the most burning questions among currently airing shows (No, I haven’t forgotten about “Who killed Rosie Larsen?,” but I’ll save that for when “The Killing” returns). (All times Central.)

1. What happened to Sophia on “The Walking Dead” (8 p.m. Sundays on AMC)?

There are four possibilities: She’s alive, she’s a zombie, she’s dead, or we never find out the answer. It’s a testament to the amazing season that “The Walking Dead” has had that I honestly think any of the four answers is a possibility. My guess, though, is that she’s alive. I think her mom and the whole gang deserves something good to happen, and I think Lori needs to see that children can not only survive in the zombie apocalypse, but also be happy. It will be interesting to see how Sophia is changed by her experience, too, although how much of that we get to see might depend on how good of an actress young Madison Lintz is; so far, Sophia has just been a plot device.

2. What is Taylor’s son’s evil plan on “Terra Nova” (7 p.m. Mondays on Fox)?

We meet Taylor’s son, Lucas, briefly at the end of an episode, and we learn that 1, he dislikes his dad, 2, he scoffs at his dad’s “precious” Terra Nova, and 3, he’s compiling equipment to put together some sort of device — perhaps his own time portal. We also know he left a bunch of sketches on rocks along a riverbank for some reason. “Terra Nova” has kind of bungled the Lucas arc because now that we’ve met him, he feels less like an intriguing mystery and more like an underdeveloped character. The show is in serious need of some flashback episodes to explain the Taylor family feud, and it needs some “flash-forward” episodes showing what’s going on in 2149.

3. Why did Siobhan fake her death on “Ringer” (8 p.m. Tuesdays on The CW)?

We’ve been following Bridget’s deception (pretending to be Siobhan), but the reason she is able to do this in the first place is because of her sister’s deception: Pretending to kill herself. Siobhan is in Europe, shacking up with one of her husband’s employees and making phone calls ordering a henchman to tie up her old friends in basements. It seems like Siobhan did not count on Bridget taking over her life (and her bank account). But, then again, wouldn’t her faked death have been found out if she accessed her money from beyond the grave? We know Siobhan was going through a rough patch with Andrew and probably wanted to start fresh somewhere, but I feel like there’s more to it than that. She certainly left Henry — who was planning a happy future with Siobhan — in the lurch.

4. When will Jack realize that Emily Thorne is Amanda Clarke on “Revenge” (9 p.m. Wednesdays on ABC)?

I gotta give “Revenge” credit for always making me buy into what’s happening — just barely. Emily recognizes Jack (they were best buds when they were kids), but the new name is enough to prevent him from realizing she is Amanda, even though he named his boat after her. Fine, people took different from age 9 to 25, so I’ll buy it — barely. Then the real Emily Thorne (going by the name Amanda Clarke since they traded names) comes to town and hits it off with Jack, conveniently never giving her name. OK, I’ll go with it — again, barely — especially since things appear to get juicy in the next episode when Jack and Amanda hit it off even more. And on the boat, no less.

5. Who is in the black rubber suit on “American Horror Story” (9 p.m. Wednesdays on FX)?

In the early episodes, this question didn’t matter because it was just a horror show about weird stuff happening in the house. Whether Vivien is literally having sex with a man in a black rubber suit or just imagining it is beside the point because “AHS” operates with horror-film logic. But we now understand that dead people function as if they are alive if their death occurred on this property. (Although Tate and the maid pop up much more often than the other dead characters, it’s a fairly long list at this point.) And since Vivien might be pregnant with a devil child, possibly conceived by the dead guy in the suit, the question now becomes valid.

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6. Who is the other witch with dark power on “The Secret Circle” (8 p.m. Thursdays on The CW, returns Jan. 5)?

At the end of the midseason finale, the lead witch hunter mentions that there is another witch in addition to Cassie who is descended from dark magic. Because the episode references an attraction back in the day between Faye’s mom and Cassie’s dad, combined with the fact that Faye makes it rain in the pilot episode and is always poring over Books of Shadows, the obvious answer is Faye. In fact, it might not even be intended to be a mystery at all; the dialogue might have simply been a way of saying “Faye is Cassie’s half-sister.” On the other hand, we know so little about the group’s parents that any of the other four witches is theoretically a candidate (and we can’t even rule out Jake, although that would bring some Luke-and-Leia-style awkwardness to what we’ve seen so far).

7. Is the Orange World the changed version of the Blue World, or does the Blue World that we knew exist separately on “Fringe” (8 p.m. Fridays on Fox)?

Peter is back, but things are slightly off — no one knows him (except as vague visions before his return), the psychologically disabled Walter works crime scenes remotely from the lab, and Lincoln has Peter’s old place on the team and perhaps in Olivia’s heart. But there’s a moment of anti-déjà vu in a recent episode where Olivia can’t remember receiving papers from an assistant. Did she briefly jump into the Blue World (where she knows and loves Peter), which exists side-by-side with the Orange World? I have no theories on this one; “Fringe” is so complicated that I take pride in merely understanding and enjoying what I’ve watched.

What are your favorite questions of the current TV season? Any theories on what the answers will be?