The Walking Dead 2.09: Triggerfinger

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Broadcast Date: 19 February 2012
Director: Billy Gierhart
Writer: David Leslie Johnson
Cast: Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden, Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, and Steven Yeun


© Copyright 20th Century Fox

© Copyright AMC Studios

What would you do for the people you love? Would you lie? Would you risk your life? Would you take better care of yourself instead? How about killing? Would you gun down two threatening strangers from Philadelphia before knowing their exact motivations? Better yet, would you pressure your husband to take down his best friend to alleviate your guilt over an affair for which he’s already forgiven you, thus endangering his sense of moral fortitude, the very quality that makes him a worthier lover? God, I hate Lori.

This is not to say I want her character written out. Mrs Grimes may come off as an insufferable shrew who can’t make a decision without her husband, can’t bother to look at the road while driving, can’t tell the difference between right to choose and right to choose the father after the fact, and can’t show an ounce of gratitude to a man who just rescued her and, a few days ago, nearly died to save her son, but at least she’s doing stuff, you know? I’m looking at you, T-Dog!

Still, I can’t for the life of me figure out what Rick and Shane see in the incessant whiner, who shows no understanding of what makes these men tick. Consider her manipulative rhetoric in this week’s cliffhanger. Lori’s banking on her husband’s strength, his ability and willingness to do all it takes in any given situation, like pulling a bloke’s leg out of a fence. However, he took the latter action to save a life, one that was shooting at him moments ago, no less. In other words, Rick’s awesome Rickness stems from his inherently generous heart. What kind of monster would even think of taking that away from him?

On the subject of fence boy, I find his group’s modus operandi intriguing in that it reflects the sort of community Shane keeps posturing about: shoot first, ask questions later; and leave the dead weight behind. Mind you, the hothead deputy doesn’t actually live by these rules. Lest we forget, he offered to sacrifice himself before shooting Otis in “Save the Last One” and leads the charge in this episode to rescue Rick, Glenn, and Hershel. As Andrea points out, “Shane has done more to keep this group alive than anybody, including Rick.” I dig her new role as the reasonable Alfred to his angry, marbles-in-the-mouth Batman.

© Copyright AMC Studios

I’m also enjoying the pairing of Carol and Daryl, who get the best scene this week. I expected the hillbilly tracker to lash out at his only friend, but what got to me is the resolve with which she flinches as the conversation reaches its climax, as if her role in life, her gift to the world, was to endure other people’s rage. Of course, Daryl never strikes her, but that’s beside the point. “Triggerfinger” features a unique take on a battered wife’s psychology, one that moves away from the “helpless victim” cliché without dismissing the severity of the situation. For all their suffering, abuse victims can prove remarkably strong, and the writers of The Walking Dead deserve major kudos for portraying that at last.

Glenn and Maggie have a more gentle rapport, but the recent bump in their relationship offers as much insight. Then again, I may just feel this way because I can relate to our favourite Korean pizza delivery boy. Some find love and attachment empowering in times of hardship. For others, the experience of worrying about someone and knowing he or she worries about you brings with it a sense of mortality. With Glenn, the feeling manifests itself as a fear of getting shot in the head or eaten by undead ghouls. Overall, I’d say that’s a healthy development, but I get how one might miss the freedom that comes with suicidal abandon.

I’ve taken the character exploration stuff a tad too far, haven’t I? As a proper Internet reviewer, I should instead point out that “Triggerfinger” lives up to its title by featuring more action than the last five episodes of The Walking Dead combined. I should also mention that the pacing remains a bit off, what with the show runners cramming all the gore and excitement in the first half hour, leaving us to wonder afterwards for fifteen minutes straight, “Oh, is this thing still going on?” I guess you can’t have it all. As one might put it, even Rick’s got his Lori.

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Category: The Walking Dead, Verdict: 3.5 | Tags:

          
Editor in Chief / Movie Critic: When he started this site, Dimitri never thought he'd be writing blurbs about himself in the third person. In his other life, he works as a writer, translator, and editor for various publications in print and online. His motto is, "Have pen, will travel."