The Walking Dead 'Trigger Finger' recap and review

‘Trigger Finger’ perfectly embodies the issues I have with The Waking Dead, name that when it was good it was really good, and when it was boring it was really exceptionally boring.  A good chunk, let’s say 40%, of ‘Trigger Finger’ was tense, suspenseful, and exciting, as Rick, Herschel and Glenn attempted to escape from the friends of Tony and Dave, the two guys that they shot at the end of last week’s episode.  The rest of ‘Trigger Finger’ featured people moping about on the farm, yelling at each other about things I didn’t care about, which pretty neatly sums up my issues with The Walking Dead.  But don’t worry, we’ll get to that.

Let’s start with the good stuff.  By giving Rick, Herschel, and Glenn some non-zombie enemies to square off against, Walking Dead finally reached the levels of action and suspense that I’ve been waiting for this season.  Our heroes are put in a situation that they can’t talk themselves out of, although they certainly try.  As much as you have to respect Rick’s decision to be honest with Dave and Tony’s friends about what happened, it probably wasn’t the smartest of choices to make.  And so: shootout! 

The stuff leading up the shootout was nice and suspenseful, but it built to an even more exciting escape sequence, as the town is descended upon by walkers right as Rick and the gang are trying to make their escape.  This show always works best when embracing it’s horror roots, and this storyline had plenty of great kills, including a guy who got his face ripped off by zombies, after getting shot by Herschel in a rare and enjoyable moment of badassery.

As the walkers close in, one of Dave and Tony’s friends gets his leg impaled on a fence, and his friends leave him for dead.  Rick, being Rick, decides that they can’t just leave him, resulting in my favorite scene of the episode.  As the walkers close in, Herschel first attempts to remove the guys leg while Rick and Glenn cover him, before deciding that they just don’t have the time.  The poor guy (whose name we will later learn is Randall) screams for them not to do it, but also for them not to leave him, leading Rick to contemplate putting him down.  These moments of moral uncertainty are something that they show should work to have more of, putting our characters in situations for which there’s no right answer.  Ultimately, Rick decides to yank Randall’s leg off the fence, tearing his muscles to shreds in the process, and paving the way for an intense zombie-escape sequence....that we didn’t get to see.

This is when the episode bounced back to the farm for a large chunk of time, leading us to wonder until the end of the episode what happened to Rick, Herschel, Glenn, and their new buddy Randall.  I understand the idea behind the strategy, attempting to build suspense and what-not, but in reality I just spend all of the farm scenes wishing that I knew what was going on with the Randall situation.

There was one non-Herschel/Rick/Glenn scene that I actually quite liked:  Lori’s escape from the crashed car at the start of the episode.  I’m not the biggest fan of Lori, but that’s mostly because the writers haven’t given her much to do besides loudly disagree with anything that anyone says ever.  Watching a pregnant woman have to take out two zombies after getting injured in a car crash, though?  That’s some horror-movie sh*t right there, and I was totally on-board.  For some characters, dispatching walkers is a piece of cake, which is why it was a breath of fresh air to see someone in a situation where two zombies was a major threat.  However, that’s about where my love of the Lori/farm storyline from this episode ended.

I understand that we need to build the tension between Lori and Shane, but the drama centered around him lying about Rick already being back on the farm seemed forced and artificial to me, as did a lot of the stuff going on at the farm this week.  My major problem with The Walking Dead is that the characters have a tendency to get boiled down to whatever they are dealing with at the moment, and that was especially true this week.  Take Dale, for instance.  That guy no longer talks about anything besides how much he hates Shane.  He’s not a character anymore, but a walking talking-point, which is a shame.

Daryl, this episode, seemed to be going down a similar path, not doing anything but being mean to Carol.  I see where the writers are going with this, showing that his guilt over Sophia is overwhelming him and driving him a bit nuts, but it all seemed a little bit out of the blue.  I am, however, curious to see where it goes, which is more than I can say for a few of the other characters.  But then, none of the other characters are crossbow-wielding badasses, so that’s to be expected.

The other major development at the farm was Shane telling everyone about Lori’s pregnancy, and Carl’s reaction, all of which was so uninteresting that I’m not even going to write about it.  So there.

The next morning, just as everyone was getting ready to stage a daring rescue expedition, Rick and his crew roll back into town, with Randall in tow.  Honestly, this is the development from the episode that I’m most excited about.  People always talk about how they want more zombies in the show, but anyone who reads the Walking Dead comics knows that it’s other people who are the real threat.  The way that the gang deals with Randall is going to be very important, because there’s all sorts of stuff on the line here, both practically and morally.  Not to mention, it’ll be nice to have a new face around, and I hope he doesn’t get killed right away. 

This brings me to the last scene, which I just found kind of weird.  Lori goes all Lady MacBeth, whispering in Rick’s ear about how dangerous Shane is.  I don’t know what her endgame is here, but if she wants Rick to kill him, she should probably just mention that Shane tried to rape her, right?  But anyways, while I liked the creepy staging of the scene, with Lori behind Rick, resting on his back, it felt a bit too on-the-nose for me.  At this point, it’s pretty clear that Shane isn’t gonna survive the season, and that moment felt like an unnecessary stepping stone on the road that happening. 

So, overall, I would say this episode was a significant improvement over last week, and especially over the first half of the season.  As much as a bitched about the farm scenes, we’ve had worse, and they were overshadowed by the awesome stuff going on in and around the bar.  I still hope that we get the cast off of the farm sooner rather than later, although with the addition of the immobile Randall, that seems unlikely.  Either way, this episode has set up some interesting threads that I’m eager to see pay off.  Here’s hoping the season continues to get more intense from here on out.

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Eric Zipper Eric Zipper is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles. When he's not making you laugh, playing video games, or watching movies, he's probably sleeping. Follow him on Twitter @erzip
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