What a great way to start the second half of Season 2! A pick axe to a zombie head that looks like it was made for 3-D.
"Nebraska" was a tense goodbye to the possibility of hope for the characters on the show. While the obvious metaphor for the pursuit of hope was the search for Sophia, there was a lot of deeper soul searching in this episode: Dale and Shane continued their moral standoff, Shane showed some guilt (or at least some compassion) to Carol and Rick begins to realize the person he must become in order to protect his family.
Speaking of the Grimes family, they've emerged as the First Family of the apocalypse. Which is amusingly accurate at times: Rick the President, trying to keep peace when war is on their porch; Lori the First Lady, doing everything she can to heal people after "Barnegeddon" and their son Carl, who has one of the most interesting developments in the show so far.
Carl has been through a lot. He accepted his father's death. He attached to Shane, who is slowly turning into the Mad Max of murder. Carl's father then miraculously reappeared. Then Carl was shot while enjoying a deer encounter. Then he had to see his father shoot his girlfriend (or friend that is a girl). Sounds like a pretty nasty coming-of-age, no?
But in this episode, it's more about the repercussions of taking actions to survive. Whether it's moral or not, everyone would have to side with Shane in his death romp, shooting a barn full of undead former family members. But it then becomes Rick's duty to clean up his mess, leading to the most intense Mexican standoff in TV history: The Rick/Hershel/Mystery Guest showdown.
It starts off as two fathers deciding which is more important: a harsh, desolate reality? Or suffering for their family? They overall consensus of the moment seems to be that they need to take charge to salvage what they can from two emotionally wrecked families.
But it's not "Walking Dead" without a heavy dose of "Oh S#*%!" and "Oh no!"
Before the group can get back to their farmhouse, two unfamiliar faces stumble into the bar. In the zombie apocalypse, this can only mean bad things. After a simple talk and a quick urination on the floor (Philly people! geez...), it becomes apparent things have gone from bad to worse when the new faces want in on the farmhouse. So Rick makes the decision that needs to be made: a headshot on the leader and a few well placed shots on the urinator.
This move was interesting simply because it takes away Shane's main bargaining piece. Since day one, Shane has been "The Man of Action," the one who will make hard decisions. But now Rick has put down a young girl who has turned and now he has killed two men who tried to push in on his land. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what happens when Shane is no longer the only badass.
Now for comic book fans, we know what this could mean...
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!
So this is eerily similar to the beginning of the Governor storyline. Which, if true, means there is some HEINOUS material on the way. So much so that all of us who read ahead into the darker parts of the story have to wonder: How the hell will they pull this off? 80% of the series coming up will be unairable! Will they stay remotely true and be the first show to have straight up torture on television? Will they ease the brakes on it and give us a watered down version? Or will they skip the storyline altogether?
Give me your thoughts below!!!
PS: Dave Navarro was on TheTalking Dead. Note to prospective stars: If you're into a show and get a chance to discuss it on TV with a producer from the show, try not to complain like a jerk the whole time.