The Walking Dead – “Nebraska,” Aired 2/12/2012
Immediately after “Nebraska” aired, I received a text message from a friend of mine: “For being The Walking Dead, not many dead walked in this episode.”
“You can say that again,” I texted back.
TWD’s first season was excellent: the perfect blend of human drama and action. The second season started out well, then fell into a repetitive, lifeless (pardon the pun) cycle of human silliness. Back in November, the mid-season finale ended with a bang (literally), finally putting an end to eight excruciating episodes of character development and little else. Yes, it’s important to get to know the people we’re spending an hour with every week, but we already did get to know them—in the first season, which, by the way, was far superior to the present one. It’s the Walking Dead, for heaven’s sake. Give us some zombies!
In “Nebraska,” I feel like the show is starting to lose the ground it regained. A few things that made me facepalm:
Hershel renounced his zombie hoarding ways.
Whenever you see a barn in a zombie movie, there’s a good bet that there’s some zombies in it. In Hershel’s case, he felt all the, erm, rot and flesh-eating ways would eventually be cured, and ended up keeping all his undead family members in there. Surprise! Once he realized it wasn’t really reversible, he ditched his farm (and a sick relative) and went into town to go drinking. (I admit I can’t blame him.)
Group drama escalated.
Shane has the right instincts, but seems to be in the middle of a mental meltdown; Rick is questioning everything; Dale hates Shane, partially because Shane is, well, a jerk, but partially because he hooked up with Andrea; Daryl called Lori “Olive Oyl” and stomped off in a huff; Carol went out and killed a bunch of flowers; T-Dog is…actually, where did T-Dog go? He’s one of the more sensible members of the group. Can we see more of him?
The women got dumber.
In case you couldn’t tell, I have a serious bone to pick with the writers over how they handle the women. I realize that not everyone is going to be a born zombie hunter (or even a born survivor), but can we get at least one brain cell between the bunch of them? Andrea is the closest we have to mentally capable, but she swings back and forth so wildly that Glenn sort-of blamed it on PMS last season. Then there was Maggie—who started out so promisingly!—flinging herself onto Glenn and telling him she loved him (after what, three days? Come on, guys). And then there’s Lori.
Lori, who had the nerve to confront Daryl “The Man” Dixon and tell him he was being selfish for not going into town after he nearly got killed (multiple times!) searching for poor Sophia;
Lori, who looked all horrified when her son told her how he would handle the undead (correctly);
Lori, who finally decided to take matters into her own hands, climbed into a car to go into town (to bring back Rick, who had gone into town to find Hershel and bring him back, so really, her going out there was superfluous anyway)…and promptly hit a zombie and somehow flipped her car.
While Lori was busy wrecking her sedan, Rick, Hershel, and Glenn were in town boozing it up. Well…Hershel was boozing it up. Rick and Glenn sat there and tried to deliver inspiring speeches, Hershel renounced his zombie-hoarding ways, and then two interesting new characters showed up. “Awesome!” I thought. “Some creepers to spice up the cast! This will be great!”
Then Rick shot them both. Ix-nay on the new characters-ay.
I assume he capped them to prove he was developing a rougher edge, doing “what needed to be done” to ensure the survival of his family and crew. If you look around the web, though, all you see are a bunch of disgruntled viewers complaining about it.
In short, “Nebraska” got a 7/10 as far as ridiculous interpersonal drama went (and frankly, in this show, that’s not a good score) and a 2/10 as far as zombies went. I think we had exactly two actual walkers in this episode, and neither of them was walking around for very long.
What’s really ironic is that if they played things up just a little more, this show would be truly funny, as opposed to unintentionally silly, which might actually be nice (we could use some comic relief). Let’s hope next week’s episode is a little better…and has a few more walkers in it.
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