Be warned: A couple spoilers in here if you haven’t seen the Feb. 12 episode.
Anyone following the Walking Dead has been waiting since Thanksgiving weekend for Season 2 to pick up again with Rick, Shane, and Herschel and their teetering grasp on humanity. The appropriately named “Pretty Much Dead Already” episode that left us all hanging over leftovers featured Shane’s revolt against Rick’s moral authority and Herschel’s fool’s hope. The culminating heartbreak and disillusionment over what all they found in the barn was one of the finer scenes in zombie history.
Which leaves us to pick up the pieces in “Nebraska,” though it turns out what we want is not what we get. The namesake scene—as Rick, Glenn, and Herschel meet the strangers Dave and Tony in the bar—speaks for itself.
Dave: Every group we came across had a new rumor about a way out of this thing.
Tony: One guy told us there was a Coast Guard sitting there in the gulf sending ferries to the islands.
Dave: The latest was a rail yard in Montgomery running trains to the middle of the country. Kansas. Nebraska.
Tony: Low population. Lots of guns.
Glenn: Kind of makes sense.
Dave: You ever been to Nebraska, kid? There’s a reason they call them flyover states.
Laughter. Rick takes a shot.
Dave: How about you guys?
Rick: Fort Benning, eventually.
Dave: I hate to piss in your cornflakes, officer, but we ran across a grunt who was stationed at Benning. Said the place was overrun by lame-brains.
Glenn: Fort Benning is gone? Are you for real?
Dave: Sadly I am. The ugly truth is, there is no way out of this mess. Just keep going from one pipe dream to the next, praying one of these mindless freaks doesn’t grab hold of you while you sleep.
What was the quest for Sophia but another Nebraska? Or (apparently) Fort Benning. Or the CDC? Which gets at what makes this show so compelling: the mix of suspense and existential dread.