Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“There is no hope. You know that now,” says Hershel (Scott Wilson) to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), devastated after the barn massacre of all the zombies on his farm – including what used to be his wife and step-son – in the season 2 midseason premiere of the horror series, The Walking Dead.
Hershel is not the only one grieving a loss as little Sophia was revealed to be among the flesh-eaters being kept alive in the barn during the time the group had been out looking for her. Her mother, Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride), is in shock and despair, desperately trying to convince herself her daughter died days ago and what was shot at the barn was nothing more than an undead ghoul and not her dear Sophia.
Meanwhile, Shane (Jon Bernthal) is making no excuses or apologies for the shooting spree he instigated at the barn and doesn’t miss an opportunity to challenge Rick’s authority and try to make himself the new leader of the group. Getting more and more concerned about Shane’s behavior, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) tells Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) he’s convinced Shane killed and sacrificed Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) to escape an army of hungry zombies and he believes it’s only a matter of time before Shane kills someone else.
When Hershel is discovered missing from the farm and one of his daughters has gone into extreme shock, Rick and Glenn (Steven Yeun) head into town to try to find him and bring him back home to treat her. This upsets Maggie (Lauren Cohan) who has now truly fallen head over heels for Glenn and fears for his safety out among the ‘Walkers’.
The Walking Dead: Season 2‘s midseason opener “Nebraska” continues the horror/soap opera series with less suspense and zombie attacks and more human drama and mourning for the loved ones lost. One of the best additions to the series is Scott Wilson as Hershel, the farm-owning doctor who was holding onto the hope eventually a cure would be found and he could save his wife and step-son from being flesh-eating creatures. His character brings emotional depth and spiritual awareness to a very dark and scary show.
Another plus to this season is the romantic relationship between Glenn (Steve Yeun) and Hershel’s daughter, Maggie (Lauren Cohan). The young lover’s plotline has shown a new protective, stronger side to Glenn and the two actors have solid chemistry.
One of the few down points in the series is the continuing downward spiral of Shane from being the strong second in command of the group to the irate, overbearing, violent and obnoxious member of the survivors. Jon Bernthal’s performance has gone from being a bit heavy-handed in some scenes to out and out over-the-top, even for a zombie apocalypse series.
Focused on the slow human drama of the cast and less of the terrifying suspense the series is known for, The Walking Dead benefits from the addition of new interesting and curious characters to an already strong cast. Here’s hoping that the band of survivors will soon leave their failing safe haven of a farm and head back out onto the open road where hope, new challenges, and of course hungry zombies await.