Walking Dead Report: Triggerfinger (2/19/12)

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2012-02-20 04:23

The Walking Dead - "Triggerfinger" (2/19/12)
Written by: David Johnson
Directed by: Bill Gierhart

Reviewed by: Brett G.

The Walking Dead report will is a weekly series that recaps the show's most recent episode; spoilers and speculation will follow.

After last week’s episode, I felt like this season of The Walking Dead didn’t really have much of a clear direction; however, “Triggerfinger” reminds us that this series has been building towards a huge boiling point the moment Rick crashed in on this group of survivors and dashed the life Shane had weaseled out for himself with Lori and Carl. Okay, that might be putting it a bit harshly--for all of his white lies and half truths, I’m not sure Shane’s intentions were malicious from the start; however, as the show has pushed on, he’s edged closer and closer into being a full on heel.

This episode continued the trend, as he told another one of those white lies to get Lori back to the farm, but you can almost feel for him and his reasoning (almost). The interesting thing about Shane is that he’s being presented as the pragmatic one here--the one who sees through everything and refuses to play in “fantasy land”; however, he’s just as delusional himself if his continued pursuit of Lori is any indication. He’s talked himself into clinging to what they had before Rick was back, and one gathers that this is what will finally boil the pot over (especially if Lori’s sudden transformation into Lady Macbeth in the last minute is any indication).

If that’s not enough, Rick and Shane now have something else to fuss over in the form of the survivor that was brought back to the farm. That Rick couldn’t just leave the poor guy impaled there was obvious enough (the show is doing a good job in keeping Rick’s moral core intact), but the way this move will eventually spin out and encompass the entire group will be interesting. Essentially, you can already see rifts emerging; technically speaking, it looks like it’s Shane and Andrea vs. everyone else at this point, but I imagine other characters will begin crossing the lines in the sand.

Team Rick and Team Shane seem to be inevitabilities at this point, and it certainly won’t be as black and white as the love triangle. The Walking Dead has done a fine job with nuance and complexity--as much as I really find Shane’s overtures towards Lori to be a little creepy at this point, it’s difficult to deny that his pragmatism works in the bigger picture. He makes a fine point here--what if the wounded survivor they’ve patched up eventually finds a way to lead his own pack of people back to the farm to reenact the biker raid at the Monroeville Mall? Typically, I’d criticize the show for presenting yet another character to an already bloated cast, but this guy is more of a plot device that will be lighting an already hot fuse. It’s perhaps a little perfunctory in the wake of a lot of films that have featured similar quandaries, but it’s at least bringing some sustained tension to this arc.

Rounding out the subplots this week were the interactions between Daryl and Carol, who have quietly become two of the more fascinating characters on the show. I took to Norman Reedus’s Daryl pretty much immediately (he’s good at the scoundrel with the heart of gold shtick), but it took me a while to warm up to Melissa McBride’s Carol, who was mostly just a weepy afterthought. The odd coupling of these two have made both much more interesting, and this week subtly hinted that both see each other as missing pieces in each other’s lives--she’s the good parent he never had, he’s the wayward son that she’ll need to look after.

The writers even tried their best to sell the drama with Hershel’s sick daughter, as Maggie had a decent moment there to actually convince us that she actually had a sister at one point (plus, it totally made sense for Andrea to poke her nose into someone else’s business here, considering her own history). I think I’m slowly coming to accept Hershel’s place here, too; there’s always a “guest star” quality whenever someone is introduced into a show, but, given that he and his family have been around for so long now, you get a sense that they’ve become just as important to the dynamic here. This comes at the detriment of some of the previously established characters (like T-Dog, who has practically become a non-entity) and Dale (who is just itching to carry the banner for Team Rick).

For the most part, “Triggerfinger” is a solid episode that’s keeping the pot stirred and seems to actually be charting a course a bit; plus, it even had some fine action for the first time in quite a while--no one can complain about a lack of Walkers this time out (seriously, how gruesomely cool was the one that grated his own face off while wedging himself into the car?). At this point, I think it’d almost feel ironic and even unexpected if the Walkers actually began to do some damage--everyone’s so worried that either Shane or Rick’s decisions are going to get them all killed, so how neat would it be if Walkers were to make all that a moot point and remind us what this show’s title is?
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