Monday, February 13, 2012

The Walking Dead Season Two, Episode Eight: Nebraska

This episode begins right where we left off, with Rick shooting Sophia and everyone standing and crying. As Hershel and his family head back to the house, Shane who is not dead, loses his top and starts screaming that they knew all along.  When he moves to get into Hershel's face, Maggie slaps Shane. This had me cheering because it's about time Shane got put into his place. I am sick and tired of him bullying people at will.  Of course, Shane who is not dead, is not content and accuses Rick of not handling the situation, because he believes that Rick had them out in the woods looking for a little girl that was dead all along. 

As Andrea covers Sophia's body, Darryl approaches Carol in the RV.  In the house Glenn questions Maggie about Sophia being in the barn.  He tells her that this is for the best, and now they can move on. When Maggie asks what happens now, Glenn simply says that they will bury Sophia. It's so clear that what Maggie really wants to know is what Glenn's intentions are.  Outside they agree to bury the bodies of the ones they love and burn the rest. This is further proof of their detachment from the walkers.  At this point they are just monsters with no remnants of humanity attacked to them.

Laurie pulls Rick aside to offer words of  support.  She assures him that he did everything that he could. Considering Lori's history, this is obviously going to be temporary and in fact, I crack it up to shock at finding out that Sophia was in the barn all along.  Rick says that he is broken, because he believes that people are counting on him, but he had them chasing a ghost in a forest. Honestly, he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.  Until some sort of resolution was found for Sophia, she always would have been an issue in the group. There would have been those who would never have forgiven him, had he halted the search for her.

When Shane goes to get the truck to move the bodies, Dale is staring at him.  Shane reminds Dale that he had the chance to shoot him and that he didn't.  He also makes a point of saying that he does not believe that Dale is doing enough to keep everyone safe. Things are clearly coming to a head between these two, but I don't see how far they can go, considering Dale has already made it clear that he will not shoot Shane. I think that if Dale continues making his hatred obvious, it will put a target on his back.  With the death of Otis, Shane has proven that he will always put his well being first.

With the exception of Carol, they all gather for the burial.  Carol feels that Sophia died a long time ago, and that she didn't go hungry, she didn't try to find her way back to them, and she didn't cry herself to sleep at night. Carol's pain in this scene was absolutely heartbreaking, and as a mother I found myself feeling her pain.  A parent is not supposed to outlive a child. 

Maggie asks Glenn if he plans on leaving, if his group leaves. Before they can get further into the conversation, Beth collapses with grief.  Is it snarky of me to point out that the writers were playing into the fragile White woman with this. Also, how does passing out with grief lead to a fever? The group realizes that Hershel is missing, and they find an empty flask. Glenn offers to go with Rick to bring him back, but Maggie does not want Glenn to go. Why is Glenn always the first to put himself in danger for others?  Hershel hasn't even bothered to learn his name, and routinely refers to him as "that Asian kid".  Even Maggie, his daughter, does not think that Glenn should endanger himself.
Before Rick can leave, Shane and Lori attack him and tell him that now is not the time to leave.  Lori  says that Carl is getting cold, because he said that he would have shot Sophia himself.  Honestly, I don't see this as cold, I see this as logical.  What, should he have asked her for a play date?  Carl may only be a child, but he has had the same horrible experiences as everyone else, and it is ridiculous to think that he would not be changed by them. If Carl were oblivious to the changes, it would only serve to increase the possibility of him being walker bait. When Lori tells him to stop solving everyone's problem, Rick reminds her that they need Hershel for the baby. Yeah, the fact that Hershel opened up his home to them, feed them, helped them to search for Sophia and saved Carl, is not reason enough to look for him.  Hershel's only purpose is the degree to which he can continue to serve them.

As Carol comes walking out of the woods, she runs into Shane.  He tells her that he is "real sorry for her girl," and that when he opened the barn he had no idea. He says that he was just tying to keep everyone safe. Carol sits there and allows Shane to wash her arms.  It's clear that she's lost in her own little world and not really listening to a word he is saying.

Dale tells Laurie that he believes that Shane sacrificed Otis. Lori is clearly shocked and asks him to clarify, and Dale says that he believes that Shane shot Otis and left him for bait.  Dale goes on to state that he knew guys like him, and sooner or later, he is going to kill someone else. It's clear that Lori still does not believe him and for the life of me, I simply don't understand why not. Shane has already proven that he is controlling, on the edge, and he attempted to rape Lori.  Why is this such a hard leap for her to make? A man who is capable of rape, is capable of murder if you ask me.

On the way to find Hershel, Glenn tells Rick that Maggie said she loves him, but Glenn immediately denies the truth of her feelings, saying that she wants to be in love and needs someone to hold onto.  Rick reassures him saying that it's obvious Maggie loves him, and not because he is the last man standing.  Glenn says that Maggie does not know anything about him really, and that he didn't know what to say in response to her. I actually really like this point, because too often in dystopian stories, characters are thrown together and then because of the setting immediately invest in each other to point of claiming love.  Would they even notice each other under different circumstances?  Glenn isn't just being a downer, as Rick suggests, he is being a realist.

When they find Hershel, they tell him that Beth collapsed, but he says that he robbed Beth of the opportunity to mourn. Hershel says, "I was a fool Rick, and you people saw that. My daughters deserve better than that."  It seems that the reality of the situation is finally sinking in for Hershel.  Unlike Rick's group, Hershel has lead an extremely isolated existence on the farm, and therefore had little idea of what the world is really like, or how the walker react to being shot.

For some reason, Lori gets it into her head to go and chase down Glenn and Rick, after Darryl tells her in no uncertain terms that he is done looking for people.  I don't understand what got into her head. Rick knew damn well that the situation was urgent when he left. I think this comes down to yet another instance of a female character engaging in spunky agency. I am sick and tired of the men making logical decisions, while the women are constantly prone to act on emotion without thinking. It was like the writers were searching for some reason for her to get into a car accident, and this was the best that they could do.   

In the bar, Dave and Tony from Philadelphia enter and are surprised to see that Hershel, Glenn, and Rick, are actually alive and not walkers.  Tony says they tried to get to D.C., because they heard about a refugee camp, but the traffic on the road was overwhelming, and so they were forced onto back roads.  Dave and Tony go on to talk about various stories that they heard from fellow survivors about a safe place, but that they all turn out to be false. When Rick says that they are headed for Fort Benning, Dave and Tony tell them that it is gone, and that there is no way out of this mess. This further gives us an idea of how far society has crumbled.  It seems that there are only pockets of humanity left, and they are all searching for a place to be safe from the walkers.

It's clear that Rick does not trust these two, and gives them as little information about where they are staying as possible.  Dave and Tony ask to pool their resources and get together, but Hershel and Rick are adamant that they cannot take in anymore. Rick points out that they don't know anything about them, but Tony says that nobody has clean hands in this world anymore, and that they are all the same. Rick ends up shooting them both when they go for their guns.  The Rick of the first season would never have done this, but he has clearly changed, and placed a priority on the safety of his group.

Now that they have found out that Sophia is indeed dead, I hope that they move away from the farm. It's time for some new scenery.   This new group that they have encountered clearly does not mean them well, and I predict that ultimately they will lose the farm to them and be forced to leave.  Where do you see the second half of the season going?