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Review #3308: The Walking Dead 2.9: “Triggerfinger”

Posted on the 21 February 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

This may be entirely unintentional, but it almost seems like this episode is an example of the writers’/producers’ attempt to address some of the fan complaints. The character drama of varying quality is still present, but there’s significantly more action here than one would expect at this point in the season. And one gets the feeling that the pace isn’t going to slow down very much before the finale. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that during my usual perusing of fan reactions on the web, I saw a more of an overall positive reaction to this episode than I did for the previous one.

Review #3308: The Walking Dead 2.9: “Triggerfinger”

Personally, I found last episode to be slightly better as far as the character drama goes, but the sheer intensity of the first half of “Triggerfinger” partially makes up for some of its weaknesses. Lori was left in a fairly perilous situation, but she fights her way out of it with surprising speed and efficiency. But just as that problem is being solved, an even more dangerous situation is developing back at the bar. Rick’s shootout with the two strangers was just the beginning of a much larger problem, which has “main threat” potential written all over it. The two strangers had friends, and they’re none too happy to discover that their buddies were gunned down in a bar, and they’re not especially eager to accept Rick’s explanation.

The great thing about this situation is that these other survivors probably aren’t all that different from the survivors we’re already familiar with. If we’d seen the story from their perspective up to this point, we might fully sympathize with their actions. It’s clear that the scene intends for us to see Rick and co. as the ones in the right. The antagonistic survivors aren’t quite as sympathetic as they could be. But they’re at least painted as being just as human as the protagonists; driven by circumstance to take violent action. It’s this aspect of the storyline that currently interests me the most. There’s a lot of potential here.

The other half of the episode, dealing with the human drama back at the farm, is noticeably less interesting. They really are taking their time building up to this inevitable confrontation between Rick and Shane. It’s probably going to make for a stellar finale, mixing that conflict with whatever outside threat the farm will face, be that humans or the undead. But even I am starting to grow a bit weary of some of the plodding drama at the farm. And it’s becoming a bit of a struggle to believe that the other survivors would take so long to realize that Shane is completely unhinged and potentially extremely dangerous. I did quite like seeing Hershel telling Shane off, and I liked that brief moment where he thinks that Maggie is coming to hug him, and then she goes for Glenn. Hershel just shrugs it off.

I like the new Hershel. He’s much like the old one, but stronger, and lacking in the delusions that clouded his judgment before. It’s a bit of a surprise that he’s become one of the lest irritating and most likable characters on the show now. Glenn remains fairly likable, but I think his relationship issues with Maggie are becoming silly. Sadly, T-Dog seems to have almost nothing to do this season. Daryl has had a fairly strong story arc, but he’s still usually more of a background character. One of my favorite parts of this episode was his verbal tirade against Carol. It was like Carol was testing him, trying to get him to hit her. But no matter what horrible things Daryl will say to her, he absolutely refuses to lay a finger on her, and I think Carol likes that. Or, maybe she has deeper problems, and actually wants Daryl to fill the abusive husband role that her late husband originally filled.

If there’s one thing that “The Walking Dead” is getting right, it’s that it now has a reasonably good sense of direction and equally good pacing. The characters can still easily grate on the nerves at times, but this second half of the season has the potential to improve on some of the weaknesses of the previous half. The drama tends to be at its best when the characters are thrown into impossible, horrifying, suspenseful circumstances that require their inner-character to come forth. Such scenes almost always seem to inspire better writing and better acting on “The Walking Dead”.

Rating: 7/10

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