"Nebraska" is the eighth episode and mid-season premiere of the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the fourteenth episode of the series overall. It premiered on February 12, 2012 at 9/8c on AMC. It was written by Evan T. Reilly and directed by Clark Johnson.
Emotions run high in the aftermath of the barn walker massacre. Beth Greene hurries over to her mother, Annette, to mourn, but she is still alive and attacks Beth. Andrea drives a scythe through the zombified Annette's head to end the struggle.
As the Greene family walks back to the house, Shane accuses Hershel of knowing Sophia's whereabouts, but Hershel denies knowing that she was in the barn, speculating that Otis had likely put her there before he died, and angrily orders Rick's group to leave the farm. Rick ridicules Shane for his actions, but Shane mocks Rick's failed diplomacy with Hershel, and criticizes his decision to continue the search for Sophia.
The survivors decide to bury Sophia, Hershel's wife, his step-son and burn the rest of the bodies. Rick seems to be questioning his own leadership capabilities, admitting to Lori his frustration that he had everyone searching for Sophia when she had died long ago.
Tensions worsen between Shane and Dale. Carol refuses to attend Sophia's funeral, which angers Daryl. Hershel packs his wife's possessions in cardboard boxes, and digs out an old flask from his wardrobe, searching for the means to cope with the reality that there is no cure and he had been hanging onto a fool's hope.
After the funeral, Andrea and T-Dog pile corpses into Otis's truck, saying that Shane did what needed to be done. Dale protests, suggesting that a new problem with Hershel was created in the wake of resolving the safety concern of the barn walkers.
Maggie asks Glenn if he would stay if the rest of his group were to leave, but Glenn is unsure on how to answer. Beth suddenly grows ill and collapses. She suffers from a fever and other serious symptoms, and seems to be in some state of shock. The group looks for Hershel to care for Beth, but discover that he has vanished, leaving behind his empty flask as a clue. Rick decides to look for Hershel at the local bar, and takes Glenn as backup.
Shane is washing up at a water pump when Carol emerges from the forest, muddy and scratched. Shane cleans her cuts and apologizes for what had happened to Sophia. Meanwhile, Dale reveals to Lori that he believes Shane shot Otis and left him as bait to cover his escape, and that it's only a matter of time before he kills someone else.
En route to town, Glenn confides to Rick that Maggie told him that she loved him. Rick says that they need more good things like that in their lives, and that he should embrace those moments.
Beth's condition creates concern, prompting Lori to send someone to search for Rick and Hershel. Daryl is the best choice, but he is still upset over the sacrifices he made in vain to collect Sophia, and snaps, "I'm done lookin' for people." Lori decides to look for Rick herself, but crashes Maggie's car on the highway after unexpectedly hitting a walker in the middle of the road.
At a bar, Rick discovers Hershel and tells him about Beth. Hershel reflects that he had robbed his daughters of a normal grieving process by giving them false hope, and allowed himself to believe it too. Hershel also says that Rick must relate, saying he saw the same feeling wash over Rick's face when Sophia emerged from the barn that there is no hope. Rick argues that nothing has really changed, and people are counting on them to be strong; that it isn't about what they believe anymore, but about keeping their loved ones safe and giving them hope. This resonates with Hershel, who finishes his drink and decisively puts down his glass.
They are interrupted when the bar door opens and two strange men walk in, giving their names as Dave and Tony. Dave says that they've come from Philadelphia and had tried to seek refuge in Washington, D.C. but the roads were blocked, so they kept heading west. He also reveals that they encountered a soldier from Fort Benning, who told them the base was overrun. He mentions that the latest rescue plan they heard about involved trains running to places like Nebraska, but concludes that "The truth is...there is no way outta this mess." The five men converse cordially at first, but the strangers become increasingly impatient when Rick's group will not divulge information about the Greene farm.
"We can't stay out there," Dave says. "What do you suggest we do?"
"I dunno...I hear Nebraska's nice," Rick replies.
"Nebraska," Dave repeats with a bitter laugh. "This guy..."
Dave reaches for his gun on the bar, but Rick quickly draws and shoots Dave in the head. Rick then quickly pivots, planting two bullets in Tony's chest before he can train his gun on Rick. Rick then finishes him with a bullet in the head.
- Jane McNeill as Patricia
- James Allen McCune as Jimmy
- Aaron Munoz as Tony
- Amber Chaney as Annette Greene
- Travis Charpentier as Shawn Greene
- Tony Gowell as Arnold Greene
- Jewel Wilson as Josephine Greene (Photograph)
- Amanda Dyar as Walker
- Ashton Lee Woolen as Walker
- Triston Johnson as Walker
- First appearance of Dave.
- First appearance of Tony.
- Last appearance of Annette Greene. (Zombified)
- Last appearance of Sophia Peletier. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Shawn Greene. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Arnold Greene. (Corpse)
- This is the first episode made entirely under the leadership of Glen Mazzara, who replaced his former boss and Walking Dead creator, Frank Darabont, as showrunner after Darabont was fired the previous summer.
- This is the first time Rick has directly killed someone in the TV series.
- Time Magazine wrote: "Intentional or not, the show’s title alludes to one of pop culture’s strongest references to Nebraska, the 1982 album by Bruce Springsteen. In the title track, the Boss tells a first-person narrative of Charles Starkweather, who went on a rampage, killing 11 people in 1958. The song’s narrator sees humanity plagued by existential doom, which may be catching up with Rick and the gang." Robert Kirkman stated, "Evan Reilly [who] wrote [Nebraska is] a huge Springsteen fan."
- The term that Dave and Tony called the walkers is "Lamebrains" (Chupacerebros). This episode marks the introduction of the third name for the zombies in the series.
- The name of the episode, "Nebraska," refers to the fact that Dave and Tony said they were heading to Nebraska due to the fact that it has a low population and plenty of guns.
- It also refers to Rick's smart comeback, "I don't know...I hear Nebraska's nice," which initiated Dave and Tony's failed attack.
- The song played at the end of the episode is called, "Regulator" by Clutch.
- Lori's character development in this episode was panned by critics, Eric Goldman from IGN was angry upon viewing the crash sequence, avouching that it stunted any development intended for the scene. He stated, "The Walking Dead really needs to work on strengthening its female characters, and it doesn't help when Lori has a major accident for such a stupid reason, getting distracted as she looked at a map while she drove. Yeah, yeah, there was a zombie in the road, but it could have been an animal [...] just as easily, and it really undercut the intended drama of her situation when it just seems so stupid that it happened at all."
- Dave and Tony also mention a 'refugee' camp in Washington D.C. This could be referring to the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
- Sophia's body at the beginning is in a different position than the previous episode.
- Rick's hands are on his pistol or at his sides in the bar, except when you see him in the mirror, when they are folded across his chest.
- After Maggie slaps Shane, a boom microphone and a huge light reflector are briefly reflected in the Greenes' front door when she opens it.
- ↑ Boris Kachka, The Showrunner Transcript: The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara Opens Up on Darabont’s Departure and Reworking the Series, Vulture, (February 8, 2012).
- ↑ Nate Rawlings, The Walking Dead Watch: Nebraska, Time, (February 13, 2012).
- ↑ Clark Collis, 'Walking Dead' writer Robert Kirkman talks about 'Nebraska' and previews the rest of the season: 'Things just keep getting worse from here', Entertainment Weekly, (February 12, 2012).
- ↑ [tv.ign.com/articles/121/1218552p1.html Lori's Development Panned by Critics]
- Darren Franich, 'The Walking Dead' recap: Guy Walks into a Bar, Entertainment Weekly, (February 13, 2012).
- Travis Woods, The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 8: Nebraska – TV Review, Screen Crave. Gives the episode a 7/10 rating.