Review: The Walking Dead - "Nebraska"

Last night, AMC's The Walking Dead returned after a two-month hiatus. The mid-season finale was a tough act to follow with that gut-punching twist but "Nebraska" satisfied with poignant dialogue and even a little twist or two of its own. Rick continues his ascent into bad-assdom while Shane continues to be a reckless douche bag. The episode was lacking in walkers but if you still think this show is about the zombies, well, you clearly have not been paying attention.

After Shane's actions and subsequent walker massacre in the last episode, the survivors are faced with possible eviction from the farm. While the group cleans up the undead mess, Hershel runs off in despair and Rick must go after him.

**If you have not yet seen the episode, this is where you should stop reading if you want to avoid spoilers**

Rick finds Hershel drowning his sorrow in a local bar in town. The dialogue between Hershel and Rick in the bar is quite good. Scott Wilson is especially fantastic as the tired old man who has lost all hope and turns to the bottle for solace.

Their discussion of the world and hopelessness is soon interrupted by two young men who insist on taking up residence at Hershel's farm. Knowing this cannot happen, Rick is forced to take up arms against them.

Michael Raymond-James portrays Dave, one of the threatening men in the bar. Having starred on both Terriers and True Blood, you the viewer just assumes he is joining the cast, perhaps as a new villain. So it's quite a shock when he takes a bullet to the forehead within minutes. Disappointed as I was to see Michael go, this scene is awesome because it reaffirms yet again what a bad-ass leader Rick is. He knows these men are a threat to his people (especially the women) and does what needs to be done - just like he did with Sophia. 

Between the mid-season finale and "Nebraska", we are really seeing Rick's evolution into a strong leader, as was always intended. Being a big fan of the graphic novels, I've always known what Rick could and should be, and now we are finally seeing that translate on the television show. 

I love that moment in last night's episode where we see him struggling with his decisions (classic Rick) as he says he put everyone in danger "chasing a ghost in the woods." He constantly compares his choices to Shane's but by the last scene we all know who the man is. While Rick is laying out threatening outsiders, Shane is washing Carol's hands and crying about how everyone hates him. GTFO already, Shane! 

Speaking of, any other fans of the novels picking up on the continuing foreshadowing? There is a scene at the beginning of the episode where Carl says he would have shot Sophia too. And right after, Rick gives him back the sheriff's hat. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but more and more I see the show's writers pushing Carl toward the inevitable. And I am giddy with excitement over it!

The other shocking little twist of this episode was Lori flipping her car on the side of a walker-ridden highway. Where did THAT come from? I think it's a little silly that she even went looking for Rick at all, but I'm sure this will lead to some good zombie tension next week.

Next week's episode looks plenty tense, as the two intruders' friends come looking for them, creating a Mexican stand-off in the bar. Meanwhile, Lori (who is visibly alive in the preview) is trapped and surrounded by walkers. Take a look:

So what are your thoughts on last night's episode, "Nebraska"? Do you think Lori and her unborn baby will survive? Did Rick do the right thing in killing those men? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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