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18 October, 2012

REVIEW: The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 8 "Nebraska"

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

Season 1:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6

Season 2:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7 

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.


Episode 8 picks up right where episode 7 left-off with Rick having just put Sophia down.  You have to admit, not many television shows would take their only two child characters, shoot one in the chest and have the other killed to come back as a zombie and be killed again for good later.  That kind of grittiness is what makes it such a success.  Shane confronts Hershel, believing that he knew Sophia was there in the barn all along, which results in an altercation that ends with a directive for Shane to get off his land.  Also, we get yet another argument between Rick and Shane.  He tells Rick that he's just as delusional as Hershel.  What's worse, Rick begins to doubt himself, saying people count on him and yet he had them chasing a ghost in the forest all this time.


Glenn and Maggie talk about where things go from here, and Glenn confesses his worry that they might not be able to move on the way they have when they lost others, because everyone wanted to find her so badly.  He doesn't know what happens next.

Burials and a service for Sophia and Hershel's family members are conducted.  Carol (Sophia's mother) refuses to attend.  She says that her daughter died in the forest somewhere without having to suffer through being alone and afraid or crying herself to sleep in the cold.  The body out there is not her daughter, she says, then goes off by herself to say goodbye in her own way.

Next comes another brief confrontation between Shane and Dale with Shane saying that he's the one that has kept them safe, while Dale is just a glorified mechanic.  He pretty much is sick of Dale's moral condescension.

Hershel's youngest daughter Beth collapses, apparently in shock, but Hershel is nowhere to be found.  Some clues lead them to believe that he is most likely at the bar in town, having apparently gone back to drinking after more than 20 years of sobriety in the wake of the day's traumatic events.  Rick and Glenn bond on the run into town to retrieve him, including some advice from Rick about the burgeoning relationship between Glenn and Maggie.

At the bar, Hershel realizes he has been a fool and that his daughters deserve better.  He is also partially angry with Rick and his people for bursting his bubble and showing him that there is no hope after all.  He challenges Rick to defy that he is correct, and Rick basically tells him that, as leaders, they have to project the possibility of hope to their people, regardless of whether they believe it in their hearts or not.

For my part, I find that to be sound advice.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, will hamper any effort quicker than demoralization.  This is especially true in situations where the stakes are high and you are dealing with a group made up of such vastly different personalities.

As they are talking to Hershel, trying to convince him to go back with them, two unknown -- and armed -- survivors walk in.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the group is divided over whether or not Shane did the right thing by forcing the confrontation at the barn.  Dale tells Lori what he believes about Shane killing Otis and that he's dangerous.  Sooner or later, he says, he will kill somebody else.  Lori wants Daryl to go fetch Rick back, but he refuses.  Daryl has been hit hard by Sophia's death, because he put in more effort than anyone else and was even injured trying to find her, and it turned out to be all for nothing.  He is bitter and makes it clear he isn't an errand boy.  Rebuffed, Lori ends up impulsively going herself, and is in an accident where she takes her eyes off the road to look at a map, hits a Walker, and flips the car.

Back at the bar in town, the two newcomers are from up North around Philadelphia.  They trade rumors, including one about survivors being taken by train to the Midwest, possibly Kansas or Nebraska (ostensibly, because of the low population density meaning fewer Walkers and because there are lots of people with guns there).  They also share the news that Fort Benning (where the group has indirectly been meaning to go for quite a while) has been overrun, so plans are going to have to be amended yet again.

These two guys start fishing for information, trying to find where Rick's group is setup.  Rick smells a rat (good for him!), and he refuses to allow them on the farm or even tell them where it is (good for him again!).  Things get ugly and one of the newcomers draws on Rick, forcing him to kill them both.

Rick seems to definitely be coming into his own as a leader.  He is putting on a brave face for his people and rightly trusting his instincts about outsiders who are clearly up to no good.  He even demonstrates proper OPSEC!  Take notes, folks.  Take notes.

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