Last week AMC’s zombie show roared back to life with its Winter premiere and an absolutely gripping final showdown between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and a pair of human survivors armed with guns and malicious intent. Will the follow-up, ‘Triggerfinger,’ satisfy fans of the high drama & action from last week?
Let’s bitch it out…
Speaking solely for myself, I can unequivocally say yes. ‘Triggerfinger’ gave us everything we’ve come to expect from The Walking Dead: zombie action, damaged characters, and strong inter-personal drama. All of the seeds that the show was planting in the early episodes of season two are starting to germinate and the conflict between our survivors is quickly becoming more of an issue than the zombies.
In a pinch: killing Sophia off was the best thing this show has ever done!
For most of the episode the action is divided between three locations: the bar, the car and the farm. Let’s deal with the car first because it’s the least interesting of the three. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) escapes from her car wreck and takes out two walkers before Shane (Jon Bernthal) comes to the rescue. It takes a while, however, since Lori stupidly didn’t tell anyone – except Norman Reedus’ Daryl – that she was leaving camp. In order to get her to return, Shane lies and tells her that Rick and the others have already returned. Needless to say she is not impressed when she discovers his “white lie.” He also does a bang-up job of spilling the beans on her pregnancy in front of everyone, including Carl, who immediately begins thinking of names for his unborn sibling (kids and their messed up priorities!).
Back at the bar, the fight for survival is only just heating up as the friends of the two guys from last week‘s ‘Nebraska’ arrive. These scenes are masterfully shot: director Bill Gierhart creates atmosphere and tension by giving us a great depth of field to emphasize how long the distance between the front door and the back of the bar is. I also loved that we never got to see the faces of the men who ultimately began the shoot-out – we identify completely with Rick, Glenn (Steven Yuen) and Herschel (Scott Wilson) and have no clue where the danger will come from. It ends badly for the new guys: Herschel shoots one (whose face is eaten by walkers), while another – Randall (Michael Zegen) – takes an ill-fated jump off the roof onto a fence while the remaining man drives away.
And therein lies the difference between “us” and “them”: their guys abandon their friends when the situation becomes dangerous. Ours do not. Herschel first refuses to leave without Rick, and then all three of them decide to rescue Randall, even though they might die doing so. It’s a stupid decision, and one that I’m sure most of would like to think we’d make in their position (but likely wouldn’t). Importantly this is also a subtle reminder of Otis, and distinguishes the differing approaches of Shane and Rick in this new world. This distinction factors in heavily for the rest of the episode.
When the group is reunited back at the farm, that’s when the real fireworks commence. (Side Note: I loved how Lauren Cohan’s Maggie bypassed her father to welcome back Glenn). The introduction of the injured – AND unconscious AND blindfolded – Randall divides the survivors, some of whom (Shane, Laurie Holden’s Andrea) fear that if he is let go he’ll bring his friends to the farm and begin a war. The two of them have a very interesting conversation that likely resonates with many viewers who haven’t agreed with Rick’s diplomatic approach: Shane’s decisions have been the right ones but it’s his “presentation that leaves something to be desired.” Whether or not you agree with Andrea, the battle lines between Rick and Shane have been set and all that remains are for individuals to pick sides. In the final scene, Lori – whispering in Rick’s ear like one of Shakespeare’s evil wives – poisons him against Shane by suggesting that Shane will do to Rick what Rick did to the two men in the bar in order to be with her. With the look on Rick’s face and the preview for next week, it’s clear that this conflict is coming to a head sooner rather than later.
- The only really frustrating scene for me was the manufactured drama between Maggie and Glenn. Initially I thought that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress from almost being killed at the bar, but no – it turns out that he was so concerned with her that he thought only of himself and failed the others when they were depending on him. It makes sense, I guess, but considering that this is the only non-dysfunctional pair on the show, this feels like false conflict. Couldn’t he have just as easily excelled in the same situation because he was so desperate to return to her (why go negative all the time, writers?!)
- The show continues to develop it’s unique pairings as Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) refuses to let Daryl (Norman Reedus) “drift away.” In a nicely done scene, Daryl yells at her for all the things he feels responsible for in Sophia’s death. It stings – and Carol cries – but in just the few episodes since barnaggeddon she’s already become a stronger and more interesting character. If she can just overlook the ear on his clothesline there might just be a chance for these crazy kids.
- I believe that T-Pain/Man/Dog got one line as usual. There’s a drinking game for recovering alcoholics in this: drink each time he gets a line and you’re sober 99% of the time.
- Lori and Rick never had the talk with Carl?! Isn’t he like 11? Didn’t he ever watch TV? Somebody needs to tell this kids that there are no storks in The Walking Dead!
- After last week’s conversation with Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Lori is firmly on board with the idea that Shane more-or-less killed Otis. So in case you’re wondering it falls like this:
Team Rick: Herschel, Lori, Dale, Glenn/Maggie & other Farm peeps (likely)
Team Shane: Andrea
Unknown: T-Dog, Carol, Daryl, Carl (too dumb to picks sides)
What did you think of the latest episode, folks? Are you on Team Rick or Team Shane? Do you want Carol and Daryl FREAKING Dixon to get together? Do you wish Lori had of gotten her face ripped off in the car by that really disgusting walker? Sound off below and look for TVangie’s take on the next episode, ’18 Miles Out’ next Monday!