Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa Suzanne McBride, Lauren Cohan, IronE Singleton, James Allen McCune, Scott Wilson, Emily Kinney, Jane McNeill, Aaron Munez, Michael Raymond-James
Writer: Evan Reilly
Director: Clark Johnson
Network: AMC, airs Sunday nights
Original Telecast: February 12, 2011
In the mid-season premiere episode “Nebraska” (Episode 8, to be exact) of THE WALKING DEAD Season 2, the horrific fate of Sophia (Madison Lintz) has shaken everyone to their core. Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his people reel from the permanent loss of the family and friends they were storing in the barn, Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) crew must accept Sophia’s loss and move on somehow, and the future seems utterly without hope. But when newcomers arrive to shake up the already fragile balance of life on the post-apocalyptic farm, how far will Rick go to protect those he already knows and trusts? Is there room for humanity in a world with zombies?
This premiere should have burst out of the barn like ravenous zombies, demanding that we follow the show again and reinvest in these people. Unfortunately, the same languid pacing and focus on endlessly repetitive conversations that distinguished the first half of this second year from the show’s massively successful first season is back, and it takes about 45 minutes before anything happens that really matters. When it does happen, though, the show becomes just as compelling as it was.
There are a few too many “running in place” conversations. Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) tap dance around their true feelings; Rick questions his judgment and leadership role…yes, again; and Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) shares his suspicions with Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) about Shane killing Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) as well as his belief that Shane will kill again, although he doesn’t go as far as to say that he once saw Shane nearly kill Rick. But at this point…why not? Why hold that vital piece of evidence back? Just to draw this out further for a follow-up intense conversation while people walk back and forth across the farm? Perhaps.
In other news, all of the character building with Daryl (Norman Reedus) unravels as he goes off on his own and vows never to help again, and Lori follows Rick into town in the latest in a long line of stupid things these characters have done this year when they should have known better. She spends more time looking at a map than the view ahead, resulting in an impressive wipeout. Maybe you can be that careless before the zombie apocalypse, but now? And she’s pregnant too!
Ah yes, Rick is in town with Glenn to bring a now hard-drinking Hershel back into the fold. The final twenty minutes or so take us to a bar that serves as the setting for a tense and ultimately sobering showdown. New survivors arrive, and the slow burn conversation is not, as with so many others, a needless time-filler but a brilliantly underplayed confrontation that carries a great deal of menace. Can these newcomers be trusted? Are Rick and Hershel and everyone else about to face enemies more dangerous than any flesh-eating Walkers? The future may or may not be without hope, but it does look very perilous indeed.
Three actors walk away with the episode. Andrew Lincoln swings beautifully from “lost” to “determined,” Jon Bernthal makes Shane a fascinating study in post-apocalyptic pragmatism, and Scott Wilson takes the occasionally insufferable Hershel and lays his soul bare in a tearful speech that shows a man waking up to reality, but losing everything in the process.
This episode may not have quite met the challenge of serving as an exciting and emotionally involving reintroduction to the world of THE WALKING DEAD, but in its final act it manages to make you interested in coming back to see what happens next week. For now, that’s enough
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Related Link: TV Review – THE WALKING DEAD – Season 2 – “Secrets”
Related Link: TV Review – THE WALKING DEAD – Season 2 – “Chupacabra”
Related Link: ASSIGNMENT X’s complete Season 1 episode guide
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD – Season 2 – “Nebraska”