The Walking Dead: Nebraska Review

So THE WALKING DEAD is back to finish up season 2 with new show runner Glenn Mazzara in full control of the goings on of our favorite group of zombie apocalypse survivors. The first half of Season 2 ended with the revelation that poor, little lost Sophia was one of the undead Herschel had living in his barn which led to Rick putting a bullet right in her dead little noggin. “Nebraska” opens immediately after that shooting and the characters are all in shock and dismay with Herschel and Carol (Sophia’s mom) being neck and neck in the running for most crushed survivor on the farm. Herschel eventually runs off to the local juke joint to wet his whistle but not before telling Rick to take his band of merry men and “git off his propertah!!!!”; Carol deals with her grief by wandering through the woods…even her reaction to a major tragedy is reliably dull.

The rest of the episode is spent with Shane stomping around telling people off (undermining Rick’s leadership skills and threatening Dale for the umpteenth time) but stopping his cock of the walk routine long enough to have a tender moment with the dazed and confused Carol. How long before Shane bangs her too? Glenn better keep an eye on Maggie because Shane is a poon hound.
Then one of the nameless, faceless cyphers who lives on Herschel’s farm and that stands around in the background washing dishes and looking sad collapses into a catatonic state. This causes Rick and Glen too have to go to town and retrieve Herschel from the bar stool he has taken residence upon. Lori is of course a total killjoy nag to Rick about rescuing people and Maggie acts pretty much the same way with Glenn despite the mission being centered around bringing her father back to help a supposed friend of hers.
While Rick’s gone there looks to be a division forming in the group with some of them believing that Shane’s methods are the right way to go about things (most notably T-Dog and Andrea). And Lori, in a bid to win the most annoying character on TV award, takes a car to go find Rick and bring him back from town. Being a total black cloud of a human being, Lori cannot even drive a car sans any other traffic on the road without disaster striking. She hits a zombie, loses control of the car and crashes. I know it is too much to hope that she instantly died upon impact.

In town, Rick and Glenn find a completely soused Herschel who refuses to come back to the farm until Rick gives him a stern talking to. And just as they are about to head home two strangers enter the bar. One of the strangers is played by the guy who killed Gran on TRUE BLOOD so of course he is nothing but trouble. There is a tense back and forth between Rick and the two men who want to take refuge at the farm but are giving off a decidedly dangerous and creepy vibe. Rick (his cop instincts obviously kicking into overdrive) refuses them, harsh words are exchanged, one of the men makes a move for his gun, and then Rick shoots both men dead. But those guys were not alone…

The Walking Dead - Nebraska

The Characters
The Rick who handled the situation int he bar is the Rick I want to see more of. Somewhere along the way this show seemed to have moved focus from Rick as the driving force of this show and it is time to put the spotlight back on him especially as he becomes a darker character.

Lori is just terrible.

Nice peak into what may be in the cards for the development of the Carl character by having him admit to Lori that he would have put Zombie Sophia down himself if he had to. I look forward to more of Carl’s coldness in the future.

Drunk Herschel isn’t really all that different from sober Herschel aside form the whole doom and gloom vibe he gives off. I am curious to see how he handles the situation he, Rick and Glenn find themselves in. If he is forced to fight and possibly kill to protect himself or his group will he be able to do it?

Shane is still just as horrible a character as ever and it is made doubly worse by the obvious fact that someone on THE WALKING DEAD creative team has developed a hard-on for him in this second season and has made him their Mary Sue.
All of Shane’s scenes in this past episode were crafted to bolster the character (The confrontation scenes with him and Dale especially are always crafted to make Shane seem awesome and Dale seem feeble and ridiculous)…he mouthed off to everyone with no rebuttals at all…talked shit about Rick’s leadership and then was given this hackneyed tender moment with Carol to try and make him seem like less of a douche and more of a well-rounded character.
It’s like they want people to forget that he tried to rape Lori and contemplated killing Rick while at the same time making it seem like his killing Otis was a noble and heroic act.
I am still of the opinion that the character has been a detriment to the growth of other characters (particularly Rick and Darryl) on the show.
Rick should be well on his way to being a conflicted leader who is torn between his loyalty to the group and his loyalty to his family as well as struggling to maintain some semblance of humanity as the world around him continues to fall apart. While Darryl should be more than just the surly “redneck with a heart of gold” who lives on the fringes of the group.

Speaking of Darryl; he had the best line of the night when he called Lori “Olive Oyl”. No truer statement has ever been spoken. I’m not too keen of the instant regression that his character h\showed. I understand his being crushed that Sophia was already dead when he was tirelessly looking for her but I was liking the changes in the character and don’t want to see him isolated from the rest of the group. Here’s hoping Merle’s imminent return gives him back some of his spark.

Dale really didn’t do much except make those bug-eyed faces that only he can do so well. His one stand out moment was telling Lori that he thinks Shane is dangerous and that he likely killed Otis. I am curious why he didn’t also tell her about Shane pointing his gun at Rick.

Andrea also didn’t have much screen time and I am not bothered by that one little bit. This character needs to be rehabbed desperately because she is way too unlikeable and she really doesn’t need to be.

Maggie and Glenn are working for me as a couple and I liked Glenn’s little heart to heart with Rick about his doubts regarding his relationship with Maggie.

T-Dog needs to die as soon as possible, I have not seen a more superfluous character since the youngest daughter on Family Matters. He is just useless.

Carol is not far behind him on the useless scale and now that Sophia is dead I think it’s time her mommy joined her in the afterlife.

My current THE WALKING DEAD Please Die Wish List (in order of who I want killed first): 1. T-Dog 2. Lori 3. Carol 4. Andrea 5. Those nobodies living on Herschel’s farm whose names I don’t remember.

Final Verdict:
This past episode was the same as almost all of the first half of the second season; 50 or so minutes of navel gazing, hand wringing and introspection with an exciting 10 minutes tacked on to keep the audience from falling asleep. To be fair the scenes in the bar between Rick and the strangers was great but the same problem I have been having with this show for a while now holds true: I get that the show is about the people and not the zombies but as long as the majority of the people are such unlikable bores, focusing on them makes the show difficult to watch. I am seriously hoping that things pick up and the level of tension rises. The folks running this show have to realize that internal drama with the members of the group is not enough to sustain this show so they should really begging focusing more on external threats. The end of this episode seems to show that things will be moving in that direction and the preview for next week does look like the action level is getting elevated. The idea of another group that may not be as “civilized” as Rick’s crew is a welcome plot development. I’m just really hoping that the dude in charge of this new group is Merle. Having Merle on as a regular would pick things up considerably. So I am willing to give them the time to fix things and am optimistic that change is a coming. C+

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