With this episode, The Walking Dead has finally picked up in intensity. “Nebraska” is reminiscent of the kind of breathtaking and gripping episodes we got to see in the first season as it was intelligent, thought provoking and tackled some of the tough issues from the inside out. It also finally got off that sanctimonious tone we had to endure for the most part of the second season where everyone sort of agreed that Shane was wrong and the bad guy and Hershel had a valid point. Rick also finally gets some things about the reality of their situation into his head and reaches a pivotal moment.
The line of who is good and bad and what is wrong and what is right is a thin one, at least in this show. Dale walks around warning everyone that Shane is dangerous and that he murdered Otis, but the bar scene with those two shady guys with a murderous agenda showed us that they were going to need someone of Shane’s attitude to handle the situation; Rick had to do what needed to be done. Simple as that. For the first time he stood on the other side of the fence where Shane usually stands, where tough decisions have to be made. It was clear from the way the two guys behaved that they were going to be worse than the Walkers: the fat dude was already talking about pretty much raping women if he got his fingers on some and the other one gave off a creepy, dangerous vibe and pulled the gun on Rick. Rick had to act in a split second and make that call and he made the right call. The question now is: is Shane really a bad guy? What is good and bad anymore in this world? In this reality? Had Shane not sacrificed Otis, Carl would have died just as Rick, Hershel and Glenn would have died had Rick not killed the two intruders.
This show is great at showing us how humans behave, on the deepest level, when their existence is threatened. It was very realistic and it begs the question of whether you can afford to still live by the old rule book in a world that has no rules anymore; no societal ones at least (hence that guy pissing right in the corner of the restaurant, like an animal in the wild, and not even bothering to step out. He doesnt need to. Who is going to stop him? The owner? The cops?)
Shane was a man of the law before the fall, yet after the world came to an end, he just had to make some tough decisions – first small ones, then big ones, such as sacrificing Otis to make it out; he did things he would never have done before. This show is doing a great job at getting to the bottom of that pit and digging through what is the human aspect; the human heart. The desperation and existential desolation these people are facing in a world gone under and ravaged by disease is palpable, especially during the conversation Rick and Hershel have in the bar about hope and what to live for anymore in the face of such apocalyptic devastation. I mean heck, even Hershel finally got the desperation of their situation and understood the sheer ignorance in his views.
Lastly, I loved that hopefully with Lori’s accident, they might actually put an end to this stupid and ridiculous pregnancy story line that’s just degraded the show to soap opera level. The only misgiving I have is more of an afterthought really, which is that I hope they really will NOT stay on little house in the prairie much longer. I dont think most people would want to see another 12 episodes of these people working through their feelings and emotions with zombies thrown in for fun. I don’t expect action but I also dont expect intimate mental exposés.