The Walking Dead - Season 2, Episode 9 - "Triggerfinger"

Spoilers ahead. . .

You can feel The Walking Dead turning slowly, ever so slowly, as new show-runner Glen Mazzara redirects the inertia of the second season toward a season finale and a third season that shows much more promise.  'Triggerfinger' continues the development of several plot lines while delivering a fair dose of zombie gore and anxiety.

When last we left Rick, Glenn, and Hershel, Rick had just gunned down curious Dave and fat Tony, two ambiguous types who had asked too many questions and been a little to eager to brandish their weapons.  Now, three of Dave and Tony's associates are now in town.  Rick and his crew are drawn into a shootout, forcing Glenn and Hershel to make their escape out the back of the bar.  Hershel handles a gun well enough, but Glenn does not.  By the time Rick can join them in the back alley, one of the others has been gunned down and is being eaten by walkers, while another has fallen off a roof an impaled his leg on a spiked fence, offering a nice moment on non-zombie gore.  How do you get yourself off a spiked fence, after all.  Rick has a solution, and it's very much like tearing off a bandage all at once.  Ouch.  The dynamics in these scenes are clear: Rick is decisive, even brutal; Herschel has some skills but is clearly following Rick's lead; Glenn has yet to find his intestinal fortitude.  But they manage to rescue the stranger and his mangled leg and get away in time.

In another thread, Lori regains consciousness in her flipped car, with a walker or two ready to make a midnight snack of her.  Lori holds her own in an especially cool sequence that shows the truly relentless nature of a zombie, as one particularly ravenous zombie almost tears off his rotting face trying to force his jaws through a hole in the windshield.  Lori takes out the walkers, but is stranded in the middle of nowhere.  It's another example of Lori's increasingly poor judgement.  Fortunately for her, Shane rides in to the rescue, tells just the right lie to convince Lori to return to the farm, and the immediate plot balls from last episode are no longer rolling.

The remaining scenes -- forgive me if I've scrambled the order in reviewing the episode -- Carl asking that Lori's baby be named Sophia, Shane and Lori disagreeing about the significance of their past relationship, Carol's attempts to talk to Daryl  -- have the effect of the Soap Opera Sledgehammer.  We already know that these characters are going to say something like this, so do they have to say it?  Why not find an image, an action, some cinematic way to convey what we really already know?  The strange romance developing between Daryl and Carol is an example of this over-writing.  At the end of the world, people would no doubt seek comfort in others -- however unlikely.  Carol's approach to Daryl, which starts out with such promise as she examines his hanging "hunting trophies," gets trampled on by clunky dialogue.  Does anything really need to be said?  She's touched by his efforts to rescue Sophia, but despite his heart of gold, Daryl fears people.  He's a man-child who needs a mommy.  Dysfunctional, perhaps -- but it makes sense.  We're getting there.  Less talk, less talk.

Zombie Kill of the Week: Lori, just because it's about time.
Zombie Quotient (from 1-none to 10-major herd): 5

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