‘Nebraska’ kicks off the mid-season of series 2 of ‘The Walking Dead’. After the harrowing events of ‘Pretty Much Already Dead’, we find both Rick and Hershel struggling to come to terms with their shaken views of the world.
‘Nebraska’, whether by design or not, aims to correct some of the issues with the first half of the season. Namely, the slow-burn of the action. While the ‘Sophia-is-missing’ arc during the first-run of the episodes dragged on a bit, the payoff was brilliant and astonishing (if heartbreaking) milestone in the series. ‘Nebraska’ course-corrects a bit by providing a balance of action, terror, and tension.
The highlight of the episode is the scene where two men, identifying themselves as Dave and Tony, claim to be survivors on the road same as Rick and attempt to coax the location of Hershel’s farm. The scene is one of the best this season, as the tension goes taut as to what direction things will go. Dave provides a fascinating counterpoint to Rick in a minute amount of time, and Rick’s instincts provide a tension-breaking climax.
The action- in the form of a ‘hey, that zombie really isn’t dead after all!’ moment- is one of my qualms I have with the series. I get it; there needs to be some contrivances for the purpose of providing thrills. But it grinds against the logic of the series. If a zombie (or walker, if you will) takes several bullets to the chest and keeps coming (something Hershel calls out during the episode), how is it at other times bullets will appear to knock them out? How is that even possible? Zombies, by definition, shouldn’t be able to be knocked unconscious, but we’ve seen it during the series and in the webisodes. Do I smell a new trope brewing?
This is Rick and Hershel’s episode, and the others don’t have much to do. There’s the prerequisite digging of graves and burial, a tender scene between Shane and Carol (the former really having a standout season with his complex- and at times unnerving- character arc), and Dale being, well, Dale.
If, however, Lori goes missing for the rest of the season and the group is searching for her, I will scream.
‘Nebraska’ is a great start to the mid-season and continues to show why ‘The Walking Dead’ is the most riveting show on the air right now. Go watch it. Now.