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"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. It was written by Evan T. Reilly and directed by Clark Johnson.
Emotions run high after the barn massacre. Beth hurries over to her mother, Annette, to mourn, but she isn't dead yet. She tries to attack Beth, but after a struggle, Andrea drives a scythe through the zombified Annette's head.
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, and his step-son Shawn, 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. At Maggie's suggestion, 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 in town, 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. Tony begins barking threats, prompting Rick to jump to his feet with his hand on his gun; seeing this, Dave tries to calm things down by laying his own gun on the bar, and addressing Rick with a more reasonable tone.
"You gotta understand...we can't stay out there," Dave insists. "You know what it's like."
"Yeah, I do," Rick answers grimly. "But the farm is too crowded as-is, I'm sorry. You'll have to keep looking."
"Where do you suggest we do that?" Dave asks.
"I don't know," Rick replies with a shrug. "I hear Nebraska's nice."
"Nebraska," Dave repeats with a bitter laugh. "This guy..."
Dave reaches for his gun on the bar and Rick blows him away without hesitation. He then quickly pivots and shoots Tony twice in the chest before he can react, knocking him back against the wall. As he slides to the floor, Rick quickly strides across the room and, standing over Tony, executes him with a third bullet to the head.
As the smoke clears, Hershel and Glenn stand alongside Rick, the gravity of what's just happened settling over them.
- Jane McNeill as Patricia
- James Allen McCune as Jimmy
- Aaron Munoz as Tony
- Amber Chaney as Annette Greene
- First (and last) appearance of Dave. (Alive)
- First (and last) appearance of Tony. (Alive)
- Last appearance of Annette Greene. (Zombified)
- Last appearance of Sophia Peletier. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Arnold Greene. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Shawn Greene. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Louise Bush. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Doug. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Mr. Fischer. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Mrs. Fischer. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Lacey. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Duncan. (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.
- The title of the episode, "Nebraska", refers to the fact that Dave and Tony said that they were heading to Nebraska due to the fact that it has a low population and plenty of guns.
- Interestingly enough, The Walking Dead: World Beyond takes place in Nebraska.
- This is the first time Rick has directly killed a human in the TV series.
- The song played at the end of the episode is "The Regulator" by Clutch.
- In the Netflix version of the episode, when Maggie tells Rick about Patton's Bar, the subtitles call it Hatlin's Bar.
- The group holding a funeral in the farm is adapted from Issue 11.
- Hershel admitting to Rick he was mistaken on his beliefs is adapted from Issue 11.
- 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).
- 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.