Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead featured a scene that seems to have viewers divided in how it played out. Those who have seen “Nebraska” may already know what I’m referring to. If you haven’t, here’s the point where you want to stop reading because there are episode spoilers ahead!
In the second half of “Nebraska,” Rick, Hershel and Glenn encounter two outsiders who happen upon them at a bar in town. Tony and Dave come off as relatively friendly at first, with a toast “to better days and new friends.” But then Dave starts asking questions and the mood begins to shift. It seemed pretty clear to me that Dave and Tony's intentions weren't entirely on the up and up when they started inquiring as to where Rick and the two other men were camped out. Maybe they just wanted to combine groups, but maybe they were hoping to rob them blind and attack their people. Maybe this is how they’ve been getting by. We don’t really know at this point. The tension mounts and in the end, Rick puts bullets in both of the men.
So, what exactly happened? At first glance, it looked like Rick merely decided that these two men were threats to him and his group, so he shot them but upon further review of the shooting scene, it definitely looks like Dave went for his gun, or at the very least, made a sudden move that Rick determined was him going for his gun.
While we know Rick isn’t the kind of man who could kill two living people and not be affected by it, it seems to me he had no other choice in this situation. Based on some of the comments we received in our episode breakdown, others seem to think Rick is turning dark and headed down a similar road that Shane has taken. I’m disagreeing pretty firmly on that at this point. At least, I don’t think drawing his gun and killing both men means he’s like Shane. While I don’t think it’s impossible that Rick may begin to explore his darker side, I don’t think it’s fair to compare him shooting someone in self defense, to Shane shooting Otis and leaving him for Walker-bait in an effort to improve his own chances of survival.
I would be willing to consider the argument that killing Tony, who barely had time to react to Dave getting shot, may have been unnecessary. However, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about this as I know very little about guns, but does the fact that his rifle went off when Rick shot him mean he had it cocked or locked or whatever it is you do to a gun to make it ready to fire at the pull of a trigger? If that’s the case, I’d say that presents a strong argument that Tony was prepared to fire his weapon in that bar.
I may not be in the majority there, so vote in the poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comment section. Did Rick have any other choice? Was he wrong to fire first? Should he have waited a second or two longer to be absolutely sure Dave was going for his gun, or was it pretty obvious even before Dave moved that they were in serious trouble?
What's your take on Rick's decision?