‘The Walking Dead’ Season 2 Midseason Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 13th, 2012 at 9:08 am,

Andrew Lincoln and Scott Wilson The Walking Dead Nebraska The Walking Dead Season 2 Midseason Premiere Review

Given the difficult circumstances The Walking Dead survivors found themselves in at the end of the midseason finale, the return episode -titled ‘Nebraska’ – really had no choice but to pick up immediately following Rick’s decision to shoot Sophia. That being the case, the majority of the episode works as a direct extension of ‘Pretty Much Dead Already’ – which, as expected, works out to be an exercise in guilt, grief and for some, the realization that believing in hope is tantamount to standing idly by.

Although there are plenty of lingering plot points and character threads the episode could have chosen to cover, ‘Nebraska’ steers clear of hurrying along the storyline for the sake of getting things moving, but the episode feels dutiful and filled with a purpose, nonetheless.

Now that the search for Sophia (Madison Lintz) is over, so too is the sense that there is something to wait for. So now, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Shane (Jon Bernthal) and the rest of The Walking Dead’s core survivors can busy themselves with the task at hand. Largely, that means cleaning up the walkers which had been stumbling around Hershel’s barn. But perhaps more importantly, it means beginning a period of mourning for not only Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride), but also Hershel and his daughters, who had been holding out belief their loved ones weren’t actually dead.

‘Nebraska’ balances the need to grieve with the call to action nicely – even though much of the action consists of digging graves and burning bodies. And while those tasks don’t necessarily get one’s heart pumping, they do fall into that bizarrely fascinating topic of unpleasant responsibilities the end of the world brings about. As Andrea (Laurie Holden), T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Shane busy themselves, there is the feeling of forward progression that was lacking in the first half of the season.

But really, given the undercurrent of distrust and hostility between Rick and Shane, and Dale’s (Jeffrey DeMunn) increasing belief that Shane is a danger to everyone, the characters are likely grateful for the distraction. Moreover, since no time has passed between the events of the midseason finale and now, it’s a decent enough excuse to keep all the characters from standing around wondering: What do we do now?

There are a few characters given the opportunity to ponder what the next move will be, though, namely (and perhaps obviously) Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who have something to lose with the very real prospect of Glenn’s group leaving the farm. Maggie’s straightforwardness concerning the issue of Glenn remaining with her, as well as her admitting she has feelings for him works well against Glenn’s less assertive personality. Although the young couple’s moment is interrupted by Beth (Emily Kinney) falling ill, it does lead to a rather nice moment between Glenn and Rick that gives the group’s defacto leader yet another hat to wear – one suggesting Rick take the role of father figure for more than just Carl.

Jon Bernthal The Walking Dead Nebraska The Walking Dead Season 2 Midseason Premiere Review

Showing how easily he slips into the role, Rick deals with Glenn’s confession concerning knowledge of Lori’s pregnancy and her attempt to terminate it by simply saying, “You did what you thought was right. It just so happens it wasn’t.”

With that, the episode slowly turns its attention to Rick, who has to deal with the burden of his inability to save Sophia and the a growing concern that his inefficacy as a leader has resulted in the unpleasant situation at hand. Perhaps Rick’s feelings are rooted in his conflict with Shane, or the loss of Sophia, but most likely, Rick’s doubt may come from the fact that whatever course of action he takes (alone or otherwise) is immediately followed up with someone telling him he’s made the wrong decision.

Case in point: after learning that Hershel has left the farm to get plowed at the local bar, Rick’s first instinct is to retrieve him. Unfortunately, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) sees this as another opportunity for Rick to die, and immediately calls his decision making skills into question – citing Carl’s acceptance of Rick’s judgment to shoot Sophia as evidence. Apparently, a young boy being realistic is cause for more concern than recovering the only person with medical experience, but that seems to be Lori’s role, as of late; hopefully it will change now that she’s found herself in a potentially deadly situation.

It seems like yet another unnecessary spousal spat, but it actually works to give more weight to Rick’s split-second decision at the end of the episode; mainly providing evidence that, more often than not, Rick’s instincts are right on the money.

Speaking of which, after Hershel finally turns his back on a nasty case of cirrhosis, he, Rick and Glenn are introduced to a couple of strangers. These men, Dave (Michael Raymond-James, Terriers, True Blood) and his associate Tony, bring with them the requisite sense of foreboding and menace often associated with strangers in such post-apocalyptic settings. Naturally, as Dave’s seemingly casual talk shifts to requests that he and his publicly urinating friend join the trio at wherever it is they call home, the menace suddenly comes from both sides of the discussion, and begins to feel rather pressing.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes The Walking Dead Nebraska The Walking Dead Season 2 Midseason Premiere Review

Although they make no attempt at overt aggression, Rick sniffs them out immediately; he knows there is something off about these two. The scene plays out as one of the most tense to ever be shown by The Walking Dead, as the threat comes from a source other than the titular zombies, and because the writing in everyone’s dialogue – especially that of Rick and Dave – comes with an implication of pending violence. Once it does erupt, the violence is quick and brutal, and shows that Rick (and the show as a whole) is ready to spring into action.

This encounter becomes a portent of conflict to come, and may finally put The Walking Dead where it needs to be: in a world that is rife with danger, which doesn’t necessarily come from the threat of the undead.

Largely because of the ending, ‘Nebraska’ comes off as a positive sign for the remaining episodes of season 2. More importantly, the episode is certainly suggesting that the waiting game is over, and the time for action is now.

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The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights @9pm on AMC.

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  1. I like a show that focuses on it’s characters. I like caring who lives and dies. I like that they’re on the farm. Why would they leave the one walker free place they’ve come across??? I like that the walkers aren’t the only threat. I like that other survivors and members of the group (Shane and Rick) could turn around and kill someone.

    It’s more than mindless zombie killing. It’s real. It makes you think about what you’d do in a situation like that (whether it be zombies or not).

    I LOVE the show! I loved this episode!

    • We are starting to see the leader in rick emerge from shooting sofia to the real reason hes the chief, being able to gunsling in a bar and protect his friends through action not inaction or wasted action. He also steps away from the boyscout role verbally saying it finally and then acting on it in the bar when he was lying to keep them safe(not very boyscoutish. Turns out they all agree with shane even herschel at the end and itr looks like they will stay on the farm. Why oh why do characters go off by themselves it only leads to flipping your car in a ditch, the zombie apocoplypse is much like swimming-buddy system when outside the ropes. Now a whole episodde is going ot be finding and fixing her, youd figure the lesson learned by sofia was not to go off on your own…. ever.

      • Well she’s a pregnant lady in a zombie apocalypse. I think sometimes people might not think very logically. I just hope the baby’s ok…

        • Yeah but you would hope they have all learned by now that they need to be thinking and acting smarter. Behaving irrationally = dead.

          There is really no excuse for what she did other than to blatantly contrive a plot device. This little tangent was not good writing imho.

          • i agree. she yells at rick for wanting to go find hershel, then gives him no time to get back and goes chasing after him. they are making her character rather annoying.

        • I hope Lori,s baby dies inside of her and becomes a zombie and eats its way out… time to Die Lori!! ok I feel better now….

          • hahahahahaomg this made me laugh.

  2. I think something that should be noted is the fact they are working with a smaller budget with more episodes. I think the farm, unfortunately, is a neccessary evil due to the budget. Hopefully this means they have saved some money to finish off season 2 with some crazy high octane episodes…

    • Then they never should have started. Do it right (or at least try) or don’t do it at all. I’m calling this dead in the water and won’t be tuning in for the considerable future. Really messed up a sure thing with this one. Unfortunate but at the same time all to common. I knew it was way too much to hope for that they would have the budget to do scenes outside, or with lots of zombies (being a show about people with zombies here and there). let alone the swearing and actually adult content that goes on that surely will never be shown. Like a dumbed down PG version of Batman…….WEAK and getting weaker.

      • Well I wonder if Kirkman presented his show to HBO or Showtime first. Maybe if he did, and they bought it, we could have gotten a higher budget with no censorship…

      • Oh and the budget was cut back after Season 1. There was NO WAY they were cancelling the show…firing Darabont proved they would rather continue on with budget problems.

        • HBO did want it! Which is why I blame Kirkman for this. He was so hardcore (in the past) about selling out, spin offs, and his work not being represented right that he refused to have The walking Dead made into anything for years.

          I totally wich Showtime or HBO would have gotten this. I couldn’t even watch it on AMC with constant ads blowing it up into something it’s not. Just couldn’t do and can’t do it any more. On to the next thing.

        • Since Durabont left it has all been downhill. coming apart at the seams. Sad to see, hard to watch.

      • I sooooooooo agree with you. I expect Dawson Leery to turn up at any moment when some bull melodramatic dialogue starts up.

  3. you follow the comic at least somewhat beause that is where it came from. And without it the latter would not exist Same with everything else. What if Lord of the Rings just killed off the elf at the end of the first movie? People would hate it because it changed so much and it would suck. What if Silence of the Lambs went way off script? or one flew over the cuckoo nest? American psycho? The Godfather? Shawshank redemption? Girl with the dragon tattoo? Children of Men? Shindler’s list? Fight Club, Apocalypse now? The Help? Trainspotting? All were not completely based on but followed the literal material quite closely. Sure it could be SHOCK VALUE when they don’t but that is flash in the pan stuff that doesn’t say much about the quality of the material. CHEAP THRILLS get old fast.

    Seems to me the only difference in deviating from the print is GREATNESS as most of those movies that follow the printed works tend to be much more successful in general.

    OMG WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

    But hey I would rather jeopardize the potential of the show so it can appeal to more people and keep ya guessing with lame plot twists and half assed resolutions, not to mention character degredation. Just the difference between something being legitimatley awesome and just “Ok” or “good” which is all The Walking Dead has become.

    It’s like it totally just ripped off the comic like a bad Batman adaptation. GOOD WORK KIRKMAN. Should not have lost Frank Durabont. Show has been downhill all season.

    • If you have not read “No Country for Old Men” by Cormac Mcarthy (short book) try reading that and compare it to the movie. This was one of few I have seen that actually took a good book and added their own touch to it and made it better .

  4. I was a little disappointed with this episode. Don’t get me wrong I think deep character back stories are important as well, but come on this episode had one freaking zombie in it unless I miscounted but I’m pretty sure I didn’t. My grandfather read an article the other day that said something to the effect that AMC will be using less zombies because it’s too expensive to do all of their makeup. AMC is really screwing with a good thing. I’m currently searching for the article and I’ll post it if I find i I hope it’s not true :(t

    • @ yeti – you said it man. Also it is cool that your Grandfather is into it.

      • Yeah me and him watch it every week religiously as well as Merlin and Spartacus vengeance . I was wrong about him reading that article recently though, he read it around the timer hat frank Darabont lefty he show. He did however forward me this link that you might find interesting ;) http://hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/walking-dead-creator-robert-kirkman-289308

        • cool. Appreciate the exchange of info. From what I have heard they (AMC) just didn’t increase their budget. So now they have to do 13 episodes with the same amount that they did the whole first season. Pretty much the same thing. They are totally screwing up not only a good thing but a sure thing…..not many of those when it comes to the business of media, lol when you get a cash cow you milk it, right.

          In regards to the article, totally interesting. I only took a couple courses on contract and business law in school and it and from what I remember contract law can be complicated as hell. Sounds like everything should be easily resolved though if KIRKMAN has nothing to hide and it has all been done legally. The court will just need everything on the table. I mean if Tony Moore hasn’t been provided with the appropriate information then his accusation has foundation. hypothetically speaking: If you got 10% of a business in a contract deal then you need to know how much the business is worth to know if you in fact are getting 10%. Otherwise you could be getting 9.5% or 5% …..who knows right. Another example of the courts having to hold the hand of business.

          • No problem man, you’re definitely right about them milking the cash cow but they’re only using one hand when they need to upgrade to one of those automated milker thingies. It’s probably just another case of uh oh looks like I missed my shot, better sue my much more talented childhood friend

  5. Still alittle boring. They’ve lost the thrill and struggle. There to safe now, it feels like a family drama or soap opra but with a few zombies. I agree with most of you how the story is nice and more realistic but it takes to long in my opinion for the story or catches to evolve. Still looking forward to more shows.

  6. This is the best zombie story I have ever seen…my friends and I can’t stop talking about it…stunning!

    • Al your kidding right mate?

    • then the comic would blow your mind. This is all pg kid stuff compared to it.

  7. Look, the problem with this show is NOT that it doesn’t follow the comics, or that it doesn’t have that much zombie action. The CDC episode of season 1 wasn’t in the comic and didn’t have any zombies, and that was a great episode.

    The problem is that every episode of this season is the same thing. Shane and Rick argue. Rick cries to Lori. Lori reassures him. Rick decides to take action. Now Lori argues with him. Dale stares at Shane and makes wild accusations he has no logical way of determining. T-Dog walks across camera. Daryl tries to lift Carol’s spirits. Herschel tells everybody to leave. Rick asks to stay. One zombie shows up to fill the show’s quota.

    You can claim all you want the show is supposed to be about the characters. I agree with that. But at the same time, actual development NEEDS to happen. You can’t just retread the same conversations every episode and call it drama. The reason the bar scene this episode was so good is precisely because it was NEW. I loved the fact that you really couldn’t tell what Rick was thinking. Did he put himself in Herschel’s shoes? A bunch of unknown people trying to encroach on your land? Or was he only defending his /own/ position on the farm? Doesn’t matter, cause at least it was something different than everything we’ve been watching this season.

    Ultimately, though, the show is really suffering from just being a TV show instead of a movie. Clearly the decision to have the Sophia-in-the-barn revelation being the mid-season finale was made way before any of the episodes were fully written. So the writers were stuck filling 7 episodes with material that really could have fit in 3 or 4.

    So, really, the show doesn’t need to follow the comic. What most comic fans are really complaining about is that the just show doesn’t have enough going on, there’s too much retreading and everything’s kind of same-y. Then the look at the comic, which DOESN’T have this problem. THAT’S the reason we’re bitter. If you want to change the story, go for it. I actually liked the Sophia is dead twist. But at least change it for the better.

    • Well I think next episode is going to change all of that working on what we think everyone is.

      We saw Rick up the ante on survival. Quite honestly I think most people figured Rick would have just shot the second guy once not to kill. Not to mention the head tap.

      Herschel had a wake up call however I cant figure out how that will play into the story line. I mean after he admitted that Rick was right the assumption is they can stay……

      So unless Shane kidnaps Lori….??? giving them a reason to leave the farm I don’t know.

      Of course you have the friends of the people that got shot that may follow them to the farm creating the need for them to leave going to the prison. I dont think Shane would leave without a fight though.

      Regardless I think its a build up for the change you are asking for. Once Sophia was found/shot a lot of people changed their views/attitudes or just dug their heels in deeper.

      They are giving (IMO) us reason to care for the people/characters or hate/dislike them. Its not enough to show Shane is what he is. We have to see how it effects others, Dale, Theodore, Amy etc.

      As the viewer I can like or hate Shane but to see other characters support him or not is needed. I mean hate Shane for being a ‘butt’ however 99% of his decisions have been spot on. To include killing Otis. I believe it was portrayed that neither was going to make it. Shane made a decision to save Carl’s life. Some people saw it as him saving his own skin…..

      Anyho I do agree the character development has peaked for the Farm. It is time to move on and over come other obstacles, which in turn will test their development as characters again…..maybe changing some.

      • Amy = Andrea…. :D

    • Damn! Jbrose23 is DEAD on the money! Great overview, man. Extremely insightful and analytical.

      He is ABSOLUTELY right. It’s not about the show not following the comics. I’ve very much enjoyed some of the plot deviations, that is when the show actually has a plot. The Merle handcuffing – brilliant. The CDC – awesome. Sophia in the barn – wicked. But the endless rehashing and arguing and boring nothingness, that’s got to end.

      The comic is definitely a different medium, but it’s also a far better product because it isn’t stale and boring. If the writers are having problems coming up with material (and they clearly are), then all they’ve got to do is refer to the comics for inspiration.

      I think the TV format is certainly working against this story. The writers are filling each episode with boring crap and five entertaining minutes at the end of the show. This is classic 80′s TV format and it’s why I hated TV in the 80′s. No modern scripted drama is written this way, except TWD.

    • I thInk Rick shooting the two guys in the bar was the first (and only) interesting plot development since the end of season 1. There are a lot of implications to those shootings, with the main one being: everyone is talking about how abominable Shane is for sacrificing Otis for the group. But, Rick shoots two guys in the because they wanted shelter from the zombies, just like Rick and his band of survivors want. So, what’s the real difference between Rick shooting the two guys in the bar and Shane sacrificing Otis? Didn’t they both do it for the good of the group?

  8. i really dont understand what made lori take off like that …i thought it was a dumb excuse to put her life in danger and just seem like a lack of creative writing … just my take .. i did enjoy the end of the episode as i could tell it was not gonna end well.

  9. I liked the ending. The show continues to address the question of will people hold onto their humanity in this post apocalyptic world. Really, it’s our world, which to paraphrase Rick’s comment to Herschel in the bar scene “people were always getting cancer or facing sudden death one way or another, so nothings changed”. The question is how do we hold onto hope in such a reality?

  10. I think this show is great. It does and doesn’t follow the comic books which is great and something Kirkman really wanted for this show. Yes, this season did drag but it’s mostly because Kirkman wants to guarantee more seasons to come. I don’t know about you but I don’t want a 2 or 3 season show where in 3 season the whole thing ends and neither does Kirkman. People are looking at nonstop zombie killing but seem to forget that the whole comic books are based on human survival, human reaction within themselves and others. I see them leaving the farm toward the prison at the season finale just so people will continue to watch. Again, that is the point when it comes to series.

  11. I’m just glad that dale finally told someone about Shane killing Otis.

  12. I loved the episode but seriously they need to get off the farm. The girl who who fell and is now in a catonic state im wondering if she will become a zombie? i didn,t see her get bit or scratched but when maggie said she,s burning up. I remembered in season one thats one of the symptoms. The Fever burns you out. so im intrested to see what happens to her. Shane is a loose cannon and i really have come to despise him. I honestly hope they don,t spend the rest of the season at the farm but seeing how they seem so safe there i would be willing to bet that they do stay put. Something major needs to happen to force them out Maybe the farm could get overrun by walkers thereby forcing evreyone to leave? im hopeful that the pace of the story picks up because it seems to be going agonizingly slow.

  13. Really liked how the initial “slowness” (or what the haters are calling slowness) in the early parts of the episode fed into the latter part in the bar. In our review, we elaborate on why the ending feels so powerful, but this is what the show needs to aim for – a balance between these quiet moments that lend it a certain gravitas and some great action/violence, which serves to remind us that this isn’t a safe world anymore.

    Overall it was an okay episode. The end was fantastic, and helped to contextualize the early part. A welcome return overall!

  14. Just watched ep 9, the magic of the first season is gone! I’m struggling to watch it now, I haven’t read the comics so I can’t compare.

    I do think in a real Walker Apocalyptic world, only the fittest would survive.
    They have to get off the farm, the weak, old and stupid should stay and/or die and the evolved should move on.

    As you would if the situation was real- your life would certainly become one hellish road trip, searching for answers, secure shelter, more weapons, living Cities, whatever it is that would give you hope to survive to stay alive!
    They are sitting ducks staying on the farm, it’s annoying the crap out of me and why haven’t mobs of Walkers come for those fresh cows?

    The only characters I care about are Rick, Darryl, Andrea, Glenn and Hershals daughter. All the others are merely soap opera fodder.

    I don’t know when I will tune in again, but thanks!

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