Recap | The Walking Dead: ‘Triggerfinger’

The most consistently frustrating aspect of The Walking Dead isn’t the sometimes painfully slow pace or the occasionally perplexing story detour — anyone remember the Vatos? — but rather the tendency for characters to behave a certain way simply because that’s what the plot requires. The writers need the story to move from Point A to Point C, and come hell or high water it’s going to get there. If that means Point B doesn’t make a lot of sense, or we have to skip it entirely, so be it.

That’s how we end up with Andrea as Shane Lite, Dale as the glaring Deducer of Secrets — can anyone explain how he figured out Shane killed Otis? — Beth in a catatonic state, and, as “Triggerfinger” opens, Lori trapped in a flipped car with a walker breathing down her neck. At the risk of retracing ground covered last week, there was no real reason for her to set out after Rick, Glenn and Hershel. Sure, Beth had developed a fever, but she was in no danger; in the end, Doc Greene only gave her a sedative.

On the plus side, Lori’s Bogus Journey did demonstrate that she’s capable of more than scowling, chastising and pining for her husband (although her desire to find Rick took precedence over the need to track down Hershel): Banged up, and possibly concussed, Lori still took out two walkers on her own. As satisfying as that moment is, though, it soon becomes clear it isn’t the “real” reason – the writers’ reason — for her ill-advised road trip.

Back at the farm, everyone suddenly realizes Lori is missing. Now, I understand Hershel probably owns several hundred acres, but how is it that none of the dozen or so people (except perhaps for the increasingly distant Daryl) knew she’d taken off in a car? (Granted, members of the Greene clan disappear for entire episodes; notice that Beth’s boyfriend Jimmy isn’t at her bedside. Maybe he fell down a well.) Naturally, Shane springs into action, and finds Lori walking along the road, determined to get to her husband. She’s bruised and shaken, so Shane does what most anyone would do: He lies and tells her Rick is safe and sound so she’ll return with him to the farm. It’s a white lie, as Shane later rationalizes, but it’s that act — not the near-rape at the CDC, not the slaughter at the barn, not the irrational behavior, not the stalker-like overtures, not the assertions about the baby, not the constant criticism of Rick — that finally turns Lori against him.

And that, it appears, is the entire reason for her misadventure. The resulting lie, as minor and excusable as it is, puts the final wedge between the former lovers. Why? Because the writers need to hasten Rick and Shane along on their collision course. So Lori, who only recently defended Shane for making the tough decisions and dismissed Dale’s accusations about his role in Otis’ death, now recognizes him as a threat to her family and the group.

We’ll get back to that, though, because “Triggerfinger” does include some good moments — hell, great moments — easily among the best in the series. As you might expect, Rick’s showdown with Philadelphia transplants Dave and Tony has repercussions, as the gunshots not only attract the two men’s friends but also a swarm of walkers. The Western undertones of “Nebraska” are amplified here (note the poster for the Wild West show in the photo above) as Rick, Glenn and Hershel are pinned down in the bar, left to shoot their way out.

As tense as the scene is, it also reveals something about the three characters. After gunning down Tony and Dave out of a primal desire to protect what’s his, Rick attempts to reason with their friends, saying, “Let’s just chalk this up to what it was, wrong place, wrong –” before being cut off by gunfire. The seemingly pacifistic Hershel, meanwhile, is at peace with Rick’s actions, and even demonstrates that he’s handy with a gun, dropping the man who shoots at Glenn as the latter makes a run for their vehicle. And Glenn, with Maggie on his mind, freezes up.

We’re given further insight when one of their assailants falls from a roof, impaling his leg on a wrought-iron fence only to be left behind by his friend as walkers pour into the area. During a frantic debate that bounces between shooting the young man and amputating his leg, Rick violently yanks the limb from the spike so they can flee just ahead of the zombie horde.

Returning to the farm with the blindfolded man (his name’s Randall) the next morning, they spark another round of arguments, this time about the danger they bring with them — one that only ends when Hershel, undoubtedly to the cheers of countless viewers, tells Shane to shut his mouth.

That leaves Andrea and Shane to sulk (again) like petulant teens about how they’re misunderstood outsiders and, more importantly, Rick and Lori to have some time alone. However, what begins as an endearing scene of domesticity, with the sore spouses helping each other out of their shirts, turns into something darker, as Lori begins to manipulate her husband, using Rick’s reservations about shooting the two men to her advantage. Revealing that Shane believes the baby is his, Lori insists he’s dangerous, delusional and responsible for Otis’ death. What’s more, Shane believes he and Lori are meant to be together.

Draped over the back of a sitting Rick, she becomes the figurative devil on his shoulder, the literal voice in his ear, asking, “You killed the living to protect what’s yours?” It’s a chilling moment that marks a turning point for Lori. While she’s never been a likeable character, the writers in the course of one episode have transformed her into Lady Macbeth, goading her husband — a good man, she’s repeatedly reminded everyone within earshot — to commit murder. It’s disturbing development from which there’s no return: Even if Rick doesn’t kill Shane, Lori will always be the person who tried to put him in the position to do so.

Grade: B+ (but only because the showdown at the bar is so good)

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Comments

  • W_mcenery

    The stupid plot holes tend to become the focus of this show. You would think that the people making it would get it by now. With a huge audience, more and more peole will leave due to this as sometimes it can be unbearable. I do think, this was the best of the episodes, minus the mid season finale. It was all due to the shoot out. Best part was Rick ripping the kid’s leg off the spike. I literally yelled out loud and felt shivers for a few minutes after.

  • Duskknight45

     Same here. I kept yelling, “Rip his leg off the spike!” And he did :).

  • Italian_pride26

    Very very slopping writing. Were not really supposed to like Lori, shes supposed to be the reason Shane is going crazy and causing drama, thats the whole point but now im starting to not like a couple other characters just because of sloppy writing, and were actually supposedto care about those characters, its not thier job to piss of viewers like it is Loris. Obviously we want them to move the story fast but they definitely are not doing it in a good way, there is give and take to move it along quick without leaving holes, and they just arent doing it.

    Still, this was a good episode, and the series is still better than average but since Darabont left it has gone soooo down than what it was.

  • Tomfitz1

    And the crowd is cheering:

    SHANE DEAD!
    SHANE DEAD!

  • http://profiles.google.com/maskedmanissue1 Masked Man Issue 1

    Quick thought: Does anyone think Dave is really dead? He only got one shot at the end of last episode and disappeared behind the bar. By comparison, Tony got 3 shots and we saw his body (bullet on the head included). 

    Why bring Michael Raymond James talents to portray creepy psychopaths for only an uncomfortable (yet outstanding) scene?

    I’m voting for him to come back at Rick and Hershell with a vengeance in a few episodes down the road. Who knows, maybe he can be the new Governor in season 3… 

    Or, at the very least, another extremely unpleasant non-walker that our group is going to have conflict with later on (he, remember Merle, Daryl’s brother?). 

  • Random Commenter Guy

    It looked to me like he got shot right between the eyes.  But you’re right, they didn’t spend as much time showing us he was dead as they did hit portly friend.

  • Random Commenter Guy

     *his

  • http://twitter.com/MrNailsin Douglas Nelson

    You ever notice how the comments on TV episodes are all alike?

  • http://twitter.com/rick3262 rick rick

    Slow paced, I don’t care about these people.  Walkers are pieces of furniture; otherwise, we wouldn’t care about the show.

  • Fearless76

     Done that already… I follow the comics but the TV series has been dropped after the third or fourth episode in the Season 2.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had my on issues with the plot and storyline, especially during the Sophia searches. I think it has finally started picking back up, but I completely agree that it jumps sometimes. I do think, however, that given how the story is in the graphic novel, they’re doing an amazing job. I’m catching it all in high definition, beautiful picture from DISH. I have my HD Free for Life so I’m not paying anything extra and nothing beats seeing zombie brains in high def! My supervisor at DISH is the one who introduced me to this show when it first premiered, I love it!

  • Ziza9

    Lori is killing the show for me. I was rooting so hard for her to die in that car. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/maskedmanissue1 Masked Man Issue 1

    Yeah, she even seemed to forget she was in a zombie shot. Who survives a zombie attack without immediately looking behind their back to see other zombies coming? Weak! 

    Nonetheless, her delivery of the facts about Shane was actually honest and believable… up until the Lady Macbeth moment when she whispers like a devil into his ear. That was just a weird mix of good writing/acting with a poor plot development decision. It’s like we missed a couple of scenes in between the beginning of their conversation and the end.

  • Art

    She was completely honest with Rick and I think her point was that Shane is willing to kill to protect what he believes is his, nomatter what. In other words, “He will kill you the first chance he gets, so take him out first” Shady? Maybe. But not quite as sinister as it’s being made out.

  • walking dead fan

    I enjoyed alot to read this post and see your point of view, i already realised that some parts didnt make many sence but this just opened my eyes to some seriouse fails. Like lory getting mad with shane for such a reasonable thing, and indirectly suportting rick to kill shane like a figurative devil! thx budd ill keep checking this blog :) good job