Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) made his first human kills when The Walking Dead Season 2 episode "Nebraska" premiered on this day in 2012. In the mid-season premiere, Rick's group of zombie apocalypse survivors grapple with the aftermath of a devastating discovery inside the Greene family barn. When Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) orders the group to leave the farm after an argument with the hotheaded Shane (Jon Bernthal), he disappears to an abandoned bar before he's found by Rick and Glenn (Steven Yeun). The trio encounter Dave (Michael Raymond James) and Tony (Aaron Munoz) from Philadelphia, who parrot rumors about Nebraska before the confrontation turns violent.
When Rick denies Dave and Tony shelter on the already too-crowded farm, he tells them to keep looking. "I hear Nebraska's nice," Rick says, gunning down a grinning Dave when he reaches for his weapon. Tony is too slow to fire off any shots, taking two to the chest — and another to the head to keep him from reanimating — inches away from a stunned Glenn and Hershel.
Dave and Tony would be Rick's first people kills, but they wouldn't be his last: Rick would rack up six dozen human kills before his disappearance in Season 9.
"I think this was a particularly good episode coming back because the two guys in the bar represent new threats and they are really just the tip of the iceberg," Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman told EW in 2012. "It's really good to come back and be off of the farm and see that there are more dangerous things out there than the zombies. Things just keep getting worse from here."
The season would continue with surprise deaths — Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) is disemboweled by a walker just episodes later — and the group would have to make a hard decision when faced with what to do about Randall (Michael Zegen), one of Dave and Tony's friends. Season 2 would culminate in a fatal confrontation between Shane and Rick, who would later lead the group to their next destination: a prison.