**Attn: Please see notice at end of article*
The Walking Dead:
The Episode 8 Season 2.5 Premier Review
*Be Advised: In case you aren’t familiar with my usual review protocol, this article is for people who have already seen episode 8 and so will contain spoilers. It will also have mature language/content, as well as graphic imagery and interpretations/examinations that possess the obvious and unapologetic personal bias of yours truly. You have been warned.*
The Walking Dead is back, everyone! The world is in its rightful place, the universe has re-aligned, and Sunday nights are once again something to look forward to rather than merely the remaining bit of freedom before the start of a new week.
Yes, the so-called season 2.5 premier episode #8 “Nebraska” kicked off the show’s second half and the beginning of what looks like an intense downward spiral for everyone. The cast has said in all of their interviews that as slow-burning as the first 7 episodes were, that’s as fast-paced and insane as the second half will be, and if what went down in episode 8 is just the beginning then I’d say we’re in for one Hell of a wild, fucked up ride.
After Rick takes out walker-Sophia you have what you would pretty much expect from most of the camp. Those living on Hershel’s farm took the “cleansing” of the barn walkers the hardest, particularly the woman who got half her face blown off by Daryl’s shotgun- yeah, that was the step-mom. So of course one kid has to go rushing over to try and restore some dignity to her, struggling to uncover and separate her corpse among the heap of bodies. This made for a perfect moment to have her turn and attack the kid so that everyone has to rush over and try to stop step-mommy dearest from taking a bite out of Kid on Farm #3. The end result is an awesome pick-axe through the face maneuver courtesy of Andrea, which is exactly the image one would want stuck in their head of the last time you see your beloved mother. My thoughts during all this?
Um, what happened to all the freaking guns everyone had like, 2 seconds ago?? Did they all just forget they had them? I actually saw Glenn drop his shotgun and T-Dog has his pistol in his hand while he’s trying to put momma-walker down with completely ineffective but vicious-looking kicks to the head! At least Andrea knew what to do instead of panicking and screaming like a ninny or turning to shoot Daryl like she would’ve not too long ago.
We knew Hershel would be devastated by this and probably not very happy with our group- particularly Shane. So of course Shane has to mouth off like a total retard and accuse Hershel and his family of knowing Sophia was in the barn this whole time, even though it makes zero sense for him to deliberately keep something like that from them. What does he gain from that? Hershel wanted them off his land asap, and after Carl was healed the only excuse the group had to stick around was searching for the kid. Hershel had help and those wild animal wrangler things he was using to lead the walkers to the barn- if he knew he had Sophia he could’ve grabbed her and lead her to the that mud the walkers get stuck in, then left her there for Rick and the others to find. After that he could say they had to get lost like he’d told Rick was the deal from the start so that he could go on with his delusion that the dead wife he keeps locked up and feeds live chickens was going to be moving back into her side of the bed sometime in the future.
I think Shane’s just pissy because he didn’t have the balls to shoot Sophia and Rick did.
He might also have realized by then that if he hadn’t killed Otis and they’d had a chance to talk to Hershel and his family about the girl they were looking for the mystery might’ve been solved back in episode 3 or 4, making it partially his fault they found out so much later and in such a terrible way.
That was what his little explosion at Dale was really all about- anger and insecurity and wanting to be better than Rick. Dale didn’t even need to say anything and Shane was in his face going off about how he (Dale) does pretty much nothing to keep the camp safe even when he claims to know a threat is looming, referring to himself. He even went so far as to point out that Dale had a chance to stop him since he thinks he’s such a danger but then couldn’t pull the trigger. Then during his tirade to try and convince himself of his own value, along with all the things he’s done to help the camp he throws in saving Carl’s life and how “that ain’t you, that ain’t Rick; that’s me!” How did Rick get into this conversation? Suddenly it’s not just about how Shane is awesome and Dale is useless but also how Shane is better than Rick and how frustrating it is that everyone can’t see that. That one sentence says more about his state of mind and the deep-rooted hostility he’s got brewing for his former best friend than anything else he says to Dale in that confrontation.
Let’s jump to another important interaction Shane has that speaks to his character: when he’s doing that weird hand-washing thing with Carol after she tears up all the Cherokee Roses.
It seems like he’s actually doing this nice thing; being caring and nurturing towards the emotionally and (mildly) physically damaged Carol by talking to her and cleaning up her scratches and wounds. But if you listen to the things he’s really saying you notice it’s a completely self-centered conversation and an empty gesture that’s meant to manipulate, not help Carol.
How long was it before Shane was ready to walk away and leave Carol with no closure- no definitive answer as to whether her daughter is alive or dead but always wondering and never truly giving up hope? How many times did he say that Sophia was dead and that they were wasting their time searching for a body? How many times did he yell this or point this out right in front of Carol? It was among the things he listed as having “enough of” before he busted open the barn: “Enough wasting our time looking for a little girl who’s gone!” and he looked right at her while he said it.
Now all of the sudden he’s full of sympathy for her; implying that he might have done something different if he had known her little girl was in there when we all know that’s bull. Then at the same time he’s justifying what he did and throwing a pity-party for himself, going on about how he was just trying to keep people safe and now everyone thinks he’s so mean and awful because of it He was just trying to help because he’s such an unselfish and giving person, wah, wah, wah; I’m drowning in my tears for how unappreciated Shane is when everything he does is what he thinks is best for the group.
Shane does not give a single fuck for anyone in that group other than himself, Lori, and Carl.
He said himself that he’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe- that means everyone else is expendable. Right now it benefits him/them to be in a large group but the second that’s no longer the case- the second they become a hindrance rather than a help or a risk rather than safety in numbers- Shane would be snatching up Lori and Carl and leaving their “family” faster than Wally West on crank.
Another thing Shane frequently does (besides sneak in and use the electric shaver in Hershel’s bathroom) that I find pretty damn ballsy of him considering he’s the one who killed the guy, is bring up Otis’ death when he’s arguing in order to give more weight to his point. He’ll talk about how Daryl almost died looking for Sophia when everyone knows he couldn’t care less about Daryl or if he died out in the woods. But he knows that Rick cares, so he uses that the same way he uses Otis’ death. When he wanted Andrea to fall in line with him during the barn shooting he brings up that walkers killed her sister and she’s pissed and ready to go. Then he has the nerve to blame Amy’s death and the death of all the other members of their camp that night on the fact that Rick went “to go rescue a drug dealer” and wasn’t there.
Um, remember all the guns everyone- including yourself- used to kill the walkers in the barn like you insisted had to be done?
Well you wouldn’t fucking have them if Rick hadn’t thought to get them from the station and bring them! Then he went into the Hell he just managed to escape from again in order to bring those guns back with him to camp while he happened to be out trying to rescue someone’s brother…who yes, also happens to be a dick and a drug dealer.
But seriously- how dare Shane pull this shit and try to say what happened that night was Rick’s fault! Who was standing guard/keeping watch at camp when this happened? Why didn’t people have weapons close at hand at all times? Shane was the one supposedly in charge- he should’ve seen to these details instead of sitting around the walker-attracting fire drinking beer and relaxing after a good meal with everyone else.
That’s what happens to people who let their guard down: they get themselves eaten! That’s it! You can’t say it’s Rick’s fault for not being there “in time” because you got caught looking like the crappy leader you really are.
Then just like Rick needed to go get those guns, he also needed to go into town and haul Hershel’s whiney, drunken ass back to the Farm because the man is the closest thing to a real doctor they have and also like the guns, he will be needed in the future. But I’m getting ahead of myself now. So going back to after the barn and mom attacking and getting axed-
Carol fled from the scene after Daryl stopped her from running to her dead daughter & getting killed. We find her in the camper just sitting and staring out a window when Daryl comes in. He doesn’t say anything; he just sort of leans against the wall across from her so she knows he’s there. He doesn’t try to talk to her or touch her, he doesn’t say he’s sorry or ask if she’s ok; maybe it’s because Daryl isn’t exactly a naturally loquacious person but if you ask me, it’s because he knows there’s nothing anyone can say or do right now and that the best, most helpful thing is just being with her so that she knows she’s not alone.
The have a funeral of sorts for Sophia, step-mom, and step-brother, which Carol decides not to attend, claiming that what they were burying-or “that thing” as she puts it- is not Sophia. She gives a great monologue about how her little girl never slept alone and afraid in the woods at night, or went hungry, or tried to find her way back to them, and it sounds almost as though she’s grateful for that. Except what she’s really saying is that she never did these things because her child has been dead this whole time while she’s been at camp, foolishly worrying and holding out for hope, and you can see that she’s in shock and hovering on the edge of this huge chasm of grief she just hasn’t fallen into yet.
(There’s some nicely obvious camera work during that scene, too with a cup filled with markers and some kid’s flashcards on the table in your line of vision while Carol stares out the window and talks. It’s blatant but still effective.) It’s a wonderful performance on the part of Melissa McBride, who’s been simply brilliant from the start of the season. Norman Reedus has been more and more impressive as well, giving us a subtly developing humanity and vulnerability in Daryl that’s believable and not over-done.
It’s like Carol’s refusal to go to the funeral and her seeming distance from Daryl while she’s in this shocked state is personally hurtful to him and he seems angry and disgusted with her as he leaves the RV. She let him down in a major way right then and I don’t think we’ll be seeing any flowers in beer bottles anytime soon.
After the grave digging and burying there’s the piling up of the rest of the walkers into a truck to take out & away from the farm to pile and burn, which is where Andrea, Shane, and T-Dog go. You see Andrea hauling and hefting right there with the men, tossing bodies into the back and then riding on the edge of the bed while they’re taken to be burned. She’s seriously come a long way from puking at the sight of them in trees!
I seem to remember last season where there were gloves and bodysuits and face protectors and great care all used when handling the bodies of people with this deadly disease. Suddenly no one seems all that concerned with blood and fluids getting on their skin or worried about handling the bodies at all. T-Dog has an open wound on one arm from what was probably a cut down to an artery that’s covered with nothing but a Band-Aid looking thing, and I doubt the wiped down the truck bed with some bleach after emptying it of bodies. Did they even change clothes??
I find that to be a little on the stupid side considering they don’t really know anything about the infected other than one sure way they can transmit the sickness to another person- a bite. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be spread other ways! I mean, HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact, needle sharing/blood, and breastmilk; that’s three very different ways to become infected with the same virus. How can anyone be sure that a bite is the only type of exposure that can lead to infection? Dr. Crazy-Pants Jenner at the CDC even told them that they don’t know anything about what it is and that it could be viral, bacterial, microbial or a bunch of other things. Those three alone- viruses, bacterium, and microbes- work and spread in such completely different ways that basically he really was saying that he knows jack about the infection
This is why I think Farmer Kid #3 isn’t in some catatonic shock from all the horror and grief- I think she’s infected and got that way through some kind of contact with mom when she was attacked, other than a bite. Or it’s entirely possible she just caught some really nasty disease from being so up-close and personal with a corpse, which is among the nastiest freaking things on the planet! Either way, shit is about to get all kinds of messed up for everyone.
Speaking of messed up:
“Hi Dary! I know I never talk to you & basically act like you aren’t there, and I totally don’t appreciate anything you do for everyone at camp or give a shit about how you might be feeling about Sophia being dead after you nearly died yourself while out looking for her- but now I want something from you! So instead of asking you for help, I’m going to tell you what I need you to go and do for me. What?! No?! What do you mean no?! What is WRONG with you?? How could you be so SELFISH?!”
I’m surprised all he did was call her “Olive Oil” considering he’s grieving and in pain. Then when she decides to go herself, she crashes. Of course she crashes.
Honestly; how retarded do you have to be to get into a car accident when there is literally not a single other driver/car on the road!? How the Hell did she manage when there were still people around?! So why is she out driving around like Halle Berry in the first place? Because the only person who’s more self-centered than Shane, is Hershel.
Oh boo-hoo I was wrong! I looked like the ass that I am! My kids deserve better than me! No one likes me because I’m a pompous, condescending, racist blow-hard! I’m going to run away into town to get drunk and cry about it and how sad everything is for me! Enter Rick and Glenn who’ve come to fetch Dr. Lush and bring him home so that he can help his other kid; the less-interesting one who isn’t banging the Asian boy.
Of course this doesn’t happen without Shane chipping in about how Rick is making another bad call in deciding to go get Hershel. That’s pretty much all Shane says to Rick these days- how all his choices are wrong, how everything is his fault, how he’s delusional and doesn’t know what he’s doing…and yet for some reason Rick hasn’t pistol-whipped Shane into a sticky paste. I mean it’s got to be building up in the guy! Here’s his supposed “best friend” who told his wife he was dead, started nailing her, then didn’t have the balls to do the right thing and come forward to fess up about it. He continues to pursue her and try to take choices and control of situations regarding Rick’s son away from him, openly contradicts and defies him, and now argues against/insults all of his decisions, undermines him as a leader, and is just a dick to him every time they speak. At some point Rick has to stop buying into Shane’s bullshit campaign to make him doubt himself and then all the crap that he’s been holding on to is going to pop and come spilling out like some giant rage-pimple.
I say “Go Team Rick.” He’s made some mistakes and I think he needs to do less wussy catering to people like Hershel, but he’s smarter and far more rational than Shane. Plus I’d follow a wannabe-White Knight over an attempted rapist any day, no contest. (Yeah, you forget about that shit? Because apparently Lori has since she says that she agreed that Shane did something that had to be done when he went all “we need to fight” and broke open the barn, then has trouble believing what Dale tells her about Shane killing Otis. Really? You really find that hard to believe about your psycho former sex-buddy?)
Lori acts like she’s all about supporting Rick when really she’s agreeing with Shane and defending him to the other group members. She’s also telling Rick not to go get Hershel and that he’s needed at the farm, not “running off solving everyone else’s problems” just like Shane was.
Um, why is Rick so needed on the farm? What is he needed for exactly? I mean, other than the possibility of a shit-ton of walkers showing up that night attracted by all the gunshots and the giant fire/pillar of smoke all out at a farm in the middle of nowhere that’s filled with yummy people and cows and horses and chickens and lit up like a big neon “Hershel’s Diner” sign?? Besides that, what duties does Rick have that are so important they warrant letting the only doctor go kill himself in a moment of grief-driven stupidity? Doctor Delusional may not seem so important to you now, preggers, but with the rate your people get hurt someone’s going to need a broken bone set & a cast or stitches or your lame-ass will go into labor you’re all going to be wishing someone had fetched Hershel instead of letting him drink till he passed out and woke up being eaten (and not in that good kind of way.)
So they’re in town at an empty, but apparently stocked, local bar so that Rick can say to Drunk Hershel after his long, whiney, slurry “I give up” speech: Hey bitch! Life’s hard all over- suck it up! That’s essentially what happened when two new (living) friends enter the bar. Yay!
First of all its two men- exactly as I said would be most likely in every case. Enter Dave and Tony. I was already familiar with the actor Michael Raymond-James from his role on HBO’s True Blood but I’d never seen Aaron Munoz before. Now Munoz will probably always be “Tony” whereas Mr. Raymond-James is “Rene” rather than “Dave” because, well, True Blood came first. Both men looked dirtier and worse for wear than ours and Tony was very openly carrying a very big shotgun he “took off a cop.” It was immediately tense and even Hershel straightened up and gave the men his full attention as they came in and made themselves at home.
At first they chatted a bit, the strangers giving some of their story, which included some pretty upsetting news. Tony claimed to have met a soldier that had been stationed at Fort Bennet, the original goal after the CDC and before the group was side-tracked with runaway kids and bullet wounds, who told him the Fort was gone- completely overrun with walkers. I believe him, too. The way he said it was like he was telling someone a road was closed for construction or something.
The wheels in Dave’s head are clearly turning and while he’s looking the three men up and down he explains that he has people to look after that aren’t doing very well, but the three of them seem to be doing fine. He’s being as polite and charming as he can and asking less and less subtle questions about where the three of them have been staying: There’s a truck parked outside so it can’t be in town but they look well-fed, clean, rested; they must have a nice place somewhere with food and water and shelter, safe from the walkers. Glenn is just smiling and chatting away with him, blithely giving away all kinds of information without the slightest hint of any reservations about it. You can practically hear Rick and Hershel mentally telling him “shut up, shut up, shut up fucking SHUT THE HELL UP!!” but he keeps going until finally Rick puts a stop to it.
Why are they making Glenn look like such an idiot?? Last season he was sharp, gutsy, brave, an excellent strategist- now he’s some clueless kid who can’t tell when someone’s fishing for information? Do you think that his experience with the Vatos-how they were actually good people just trying to take care of their relatives has him thinking that everyone is going to be like that? Maybe sex just makes guys stupid. Glenn was smart until he hooked up with Maggie- now he’s practically inviting these two to come take over the farm.
This is about when Tony decides to walk 5 steps away and take a piss right on the floor while asking if they had any “cooze” because he hasn’t had any in weeks. (Weeks? Riiiight.)
You can see the disgust on Rick’s face before the first drop hits the floor and Dave is trying to recover from his cohort’s super-sexy behavior, but even if there had been a chance in Hell anyone else was going to be allowed on the farm that chance was long gone now. No one wants these guys near their women and when Rick says they aren’t interested in a group merge and that he’s not going to take the two of them to the farm, Tony’s enraged outburst sealed their fate.
That’s when Rick went from being squeaky-clean & reliable Mr. Rogers to super-hot yet ice-cold James Bond (the Daniel Craig version) and blew away Dave in one shot while he was trying to draw a gun from behind the bar, then before he could even aim his shotgun Rick put two holes through Tony’s torso then went over to put a third in his forehead, leaving him slumped over on the floor in the puddle of his own piss. He didn’t bat an eye or hesitate or go for a wounding/disarming shot- just right for the kill. It was fucking awesome!
Now Hershel’s looking at him like he’s never really seen him before and Glenn can’t look at him at all. Remember what I said about his rage and repression with the popping and the pimple comparison? Maybe we just saw how pus is going to start to ooze out in different ways. There’s going to be consequences for this- there always is. Glenn and Hershel will never be the same with him again, more gunfire could draw walkers to them or to the farm, and if Tony and Dave really were part of a group like Rick and Glenn are…well what would we expect the others to do if some strangers had killed them and not the other way around?
We also have Lori in an unknown state in her flipped car and the approaching dark. I know she won’t be dead but my thought is that she might’ve lost the baby in the crash, especially since she was wearing her seatbelt. Though I’m sure it saved her life she can’t be past the 12 week mark yet and something like that could cause severe enough trauma to her lower abdomen for her to miscarry. This would mean that she’s going to be bleeding- A LOT –and it’s not an injury you can just put a tourniquet on, you know? I’m thinking of the walkers and the attraction of fresh blood. If she’s too injured to haul ass out of there before nightfall she’s going to be in need of a manly rescue. I hope it’s Daryl.
On the plus side should my prediction be true, this bit of writing very neatly frees the group up to leave the farm for a more exciting location, while also creating drama in the sense that Glenn will have to choose between going with the group or staying behind with Maggie, who loves him now. My prediction: Maggie and Glenn will both go with the group because everyone else- Hershel, Jimmy, Patricia, the one who’s already sick- dies over the next series of episodes.
I can’t wait to see what I’m right about this time!
I don’t think it’s possible to be a fan of this show or the comic and never ask yourself what you would do & if you would make it in a Zombie Apocalypse. Personally, I’ve always believed that I would probably do okay- and if that turned out not to be the case I’d simply “opt out.” But after watching episode 8 I am quite certain of my ability to get by in that situation. Why? Because this episode clarified for me exactly how completely and totally fucked up I am.
I’ve never really thought of Rick or Shane as sexually attractive. I could see the appeal and know that they’re both good-looking guys, they just never did anything for me. So what does any of this have to do with anything?
When Rick shot those two guys so fast and efficiently without showing an ounce of remorse, my exact thoughts were:
“Holy shit! Oh that was just AWESOME!! …And also really hot.”
Suddenly Rick is sexy as Hell and when I have a moment to really think about the implications of that change in opinion and the catalyst behind it- cold-blooded killing without any doubt or guilt- I realize how twisted that is, that this isn’t the first time something along these lines has happened, that I didn’t find Sam Winchester attractive until he was the vessel for Lucifer, and that I am so much more fucked up than I had originally estimated myself to be…
I’d do great in a zombie apocalypse!
But of course none of you would ever know that.
Image Gallery of Stills from Episode #8- “Nebraska”
**Note To my readers-
I know this is late. It’s so late that my review for episode 9 will be going up soon, and for that I apologize. You know I go in-depth with my examinations of the show and have frequent random tangents and that I always try to make sure any/all facts in my writing are accurate. Plus I have a ton of photos, many of which I acquire and edit myself, to sort through and prep for posting. On a good day I lean towards the slow end of the spectrum- add in other stuff and “slow” becomes…something that means even slower. As a general warning about this and all work for a while, expect delays. Why?
Hunter J. Conti: Born Feb. 9th 2012
My family always comes first and I have the most adorable newborn nephew ever, his 5 yr old brilliant and currently a bit needy brother, my exhausted and still recovering sister, and her equally exhausted and super-awesome husband, all in need of my services as The World’s Best Auntie.
I thought you should know exactly what it is that I’m doing instead of getting my shit done so that you will hopefully understand and be more inclined to forgive me 🙂 **