The Walking Dead: 208 “Nebraska” Review
“Nebraska” (Season 2 | Episode 8)
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
The Walking Dead finally returned to our screens after a three month break, the last time we saw Rick and the gang they were knee deep in dead walkers following the barn massacre at Hershel’s farm. “Nebraska” detailed the aftermath from this event, predominantly how the survivors coped with the knowledge that Sofia was not only dead – she had been in the barn the whole time. After Shane busted open the door and let the zombies stagger out to their death, it was a huge shock to see Sofia walk out and straight into a reluctant bullet from Rick. The big questions that have been on our minds since last time were – did Hershel know about Sofia? Will the group split? How will they all react to Sofia’s death? Most of these questions were answered in a very solemn episode that had some great individual moments.
Firstly, it was good to see Hershel’s wife be identified in the pile of bodies, it felt like a bit of a missed opportunity when the walkers were herding out of the barn at the end of the mid-season finale and there was no reference to Hershel’s departed spouse. What a shock it was to see her still grasping for flesh after the Shane-led turkey shoot. Thankfully, Andrea was on hand to quickly put a pickaxe through her skull in a gore-some moment that restarted the death count for the latter half of the season. The group immediately pounced on Hershel saying that he knew about Sofia, he was quick to deny it and push the blame onto Otis, this is a little hard to believe given the timeline of events between Sofia’s disappearance and Karl’s shooting. Shane isn’t convinced and neither am I.
The Shane V Rick dynamic is really starting to manifest itself but I was surprised to see that the monumental amount of carnage that Shane caused didn’t result in an immediate split in camp. The show left off moments from where it ended back in December but things seemed a lot less intense than they did before. Shane’s actions in “Pretty Much Dead Already” were so forceful and extreme that it could have ended in him and Rick coming to blows. Instead, the aftermath of the barn massacre hasn’t caused the split in camp that I expected. It looks like we’re not going to be moving from the farm for the moment, in which case it’ll probably be season 3 before the group search for greener pastures. Where they will go next is hard to tell given the information they received in the bar.
That final scene was brilliant, it was awesome to see Michael Raymond James (True Blood) make a cameo, and from start to finish this was a great scene drifting from relief to unease to conflict. Rick really stepped up here and showed that he’s prepared to kill anyone, living or dead that threatens the group. What was interesting about this, prior to the western style standoff, was what Dave and Tony said about the rest of the US. Fort Benning is gone, Washington D.C and New York are in chaos and all other major cities are impossible to get into. Where will this leave the group heading? Will this add to split if the group decided to stay or go?
Carol’s reaction to Sofia’s death was heartbreaking to watch, loosing a child must be hell but to see her come back as a walker is beyond misery. What I thought slightly strange though was the scene where she is in a field ripping up flowers. Ripping up flowers is something most people would do when they’re annoyed about a fly disturbing their picnic, not when they’re completely mortified over their zombified daughter. This would’ve been a great chance to really hit home the horror of this situation and a scene where Carol was screaming and cursing uncontrollably would’ve been truly shattering to watching. Nonetheless, Mellissa Suzanne McBride has had a tough job all season playing Carol and she’s done well with an unstable character.
Most of the survivors swapped horseback for horsepower this week and it made things move a lot faster. Too fast for some that is, as Lori totalled the car heading to town. What was odd about this situation is why she felt compelled to go get Rick, who surely must have known that time was pressing when he went to find Hershel. Also, why did she speed up after hitting the walker? At the speed she was going it would’ve hard for her to tell if it was a walker or a human crossing the street so her instant reaction would’ve been to hit the break and not the accelerator. It was a bit excessive and cost her dearly, the big question now is – has she lost the baby? As for Daryl, it was understandable that he was reluctant to help after what happened with Sofia, what next for him? Team Shane or go it alone perhaps? Either way he’s quickly distancing himself from the group.
Overall, this was a solid return for the show and has dealt with the aftermath of a terrible situation well. Things were a little calmer and slower than expected, the rivalry between Shane and Rick continues to heat up but when it will boil and spill over is still hard to predict. Sofia’s death should have been the trigger for this but it seems everyone is staying put at the farm for now.
Scene of the Episode – The Bar – a fantastic scene with an unexpected climax, Rick turns to the dark side and shows no remorse after taking down a couple of hicks.
Nebraska airs in the UK this Friday 17th February at 10pm on FX.
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.