And so the dead return.. in quite a smashing 2nd half season 2 opener - Nebraska. Picking up from right where we left in the mid-season finale, the Atlanta Grimes gang just executed the barn full of walkers, including Sophie. They had been looking for her for almost the entire 7 episodes, and that turned out to be futile. Rick comes to terms with the whole “hope” situation, and Shane steps into the dark side even further. And just when you thought that the walkers are the only threat, we are treated to a different level of invasion. It couldn’t have been a better opening for the Walking Dead. And here are a few points I want to discuss about the episode, all bullet pointed after the jump. SPOILER ALERT!
1. Sophie’s choice:
Rick realises of how they put themselves at risk in the hope that a young little girl would be able to survive in a zombie-infested wilderness. But how the hell did she end up in that barn? Well, that secret probably died with Otis, as neither Maggie nor Hershel know about it. I would have liked to see what actually happened to Sophia, in a sort of a recap episode, shot from her point of view – to explain why on earth she did that stupid act of leaving the spot.
2. Dealing with Loss:
And with Sophia shot dead, the Grimes and the Greenes seem to have lost all purpose, and hope. In a very fast turn of events we see how different people deal with loss differently. Everyone is in shock, no doubt. Sophia’s mum goes into the woods, while the girl in the farm has a mysterious shock coma. Rick is feeling out of control, and losing faith in his decision making capabilities, and Hershel has started drinking again.
3. The Western Connection:
Another something I noticed about this episode, was how the camera shots were playing like a typical western, with the long crane shots sweeping the farm lands. Hell they even had a scene at a Western bar with Hershel gulping down a large, and even Rick and Glenn joining in. But the celebrations didn’t stay so long.
4. Why Nebraska?
As Rick and Glenn go to retrieve Hershel from a nearby bar, two new survivors show up. And in true uninviting fashion, one of them seem to turn out just like another Shane (we’ll call him Shane2). Shane2 seems to be as equally ill mannered and pushy as his namesake. And his heavy set sidekick has poor code of hygiene. But they do narrate a nice little story about the possibility of Nebraska being a perfect place for habitation. But little did they know that Rick was a bit too anal about hygiene, and did not liked to be pushed either.
5. 15 minutes of fame
And so, since Shane2 kept on insisting that they see the farm, Rick pulls out his most self-aware state mode. And before we could even realise what the hell was going on, Rick goes dhiskow, once on Shane2, and twice on Shane2’s sidekick. He even comes back to shit him in the head. Dayumm! Hershel and Glenn keep looking in awe, as they witness the rise of the Grimes dynasty in the farm, and Rick as the next emperor. And that was probably, one of the finest 15 minutes of The Walking Dead I have seen. I said one of – definitely Top 10. C’mon, it’d have taken at least an episode for the whole bar situation to roll out if it was Season 2 – Half 1. But here, it is done and dusted within a matter of minutes. Bravo!
6. The rest of the group:
What has everybody else been dealing with? Hmm, Andrea and T-Dog go to burn the non-related walkers, and bury the loved ones. Dale goes all psychic about Shane, and he tells his conclusive results about Shane killing Otis, to Lori. Lori nags Daryl about something (I wasn’t paying attention to her), and Daryl snaps, and almost bitch slaps her by calling her “Olive Oyl”. I think the name is gonna stick now. She then hears about the Shane situation, and goes all mental – picks up a car, and drives somewhere. And boom, she’s all ready to create more trouble to poor Rick. She can’t see a walker who is 500m away, and hence, does a double back flip with the car. Glenn and Maggie are still cute together. And Carl, ermm.. he’s sent indoors.
7. In conclusion:
This was a very strong episode, and there are a few questions left out in the open now. Why did Rick shoot Shane2 and his sidekick in the head? Is it a step to ensure that dead people who are dead because of non-walkers, can become the undead somehow, if they are not shot in the head? Does that also mean, that the walker virus is contagious somehow – through air/water/whatever ? Hershel being witness to the whole bar shootout, makes him realise that Rick is a worthy leader of the group. He does realise the symbiotic relationship now, but how long will this friendship last? And I feel there is something going on about Lori-Shane still. Finally, I need Daryl to be more central in Episode 9. Please!
9E3K Rating: 4 head shots out of 5