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'The Walking Dead' Review: Season Two, Episode Two -- 'Triggerfinger'

Television
by Terry Curtis Fox
February 20, 2012 1:02 AM
5 Comments
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"The Walking Dead"
Spoiler alert:

There was a lot of incident in this week’s episode of "The Walking Dead"-- a high zombie-count, several off-screen killings, an amputation-- but not a whole lot of story. If anything, the narrative developments actually drive the series backwards.

It turns out that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) really was responding last week to someone’s “drawing down” on him. Neither Hershel (Scott Wilson) nor Glenn (Steven Yeun) so much as questions his actions. That puts Rick back in the unambiguous good-guy, heroic role, a very strange choice given the out-of-control, revenge-seeking guy of the comics, not to mention the fact that the show is on a network that celebrates leads like Don Draper and Walter White.

With an audience that trusts and loves it (myself very much included), “The Walking Dead” could go anywhere. That was the promise of the fall mini-season, as well as last week’s winter opener.

Instead, this week seems like a scramble back to shore. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) not only survives her ill-motivated car wreck, but does so unhurt and unchanged. Hershel has become a second Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), unhappy with the state of things, but resigned to the continued presence of the regulars on his farm. Daryl (Norman Reedus) -- who had flourished in the fall -- is once again a redneck outsider. Someone even flat-out says that Glenn is a “good guy.” (This episode has a lot of on-the-nose dialogue.)

The new human antagonists are even more faceless than the zombies. They’re not only off-screen and not individualized as they’re killed off, but the one member they leave behind has no say in his fate.

Worst of all, by episode’s end, we’re pretty much left with good Rick and bad Shane.

That’s a pity because Shane’s (John Bernthal) most significant action – heading out to find Lori – could have been a head-spinning moment. Here was Rick, having killed the living, and there was Shane performing the kind of heedless heroics that he’s criticized Rick for previously.

There’s not a single moment when Lori even considers that it’s Shane and not Rick who has put her first. (Defending Shane is left to Andrea (Laurie Holden), who is far outside this episode’s drama.)

Indeed, by episode’s end, Lori is telling Rick how dangerous Shane is (just as Dale has told the audience). And there is saintly Rick, accepting Lori’s baby as his, whether or not it carries his genes.

 "The Walking Dead" is so much better than this. Let’s hope tonight was a simple misstep and not a significant change in direction.

Television
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5 Comments

  • jon | February 20, 2012 1:16 PMReply

    I am so tired of seeing or hearing people say that the portrayal of rick thus far goes against the comics, citing that rick is such a "out of control or revenge seeking person". when i see this i really wonder if these people actually read the comics or just a wikipedia article. If you really did read the comics go back and read em because they are still at the farm. At this point in the comics rick was still doing "the right thing" and not making hard choices, rick was helping hershel with the walkers in an attempt to put em in the barn, they even left when immediately after hershel stuck a gun in ricks face and kicked em out. It wasnt until they find their next home rick starts making the hard choices for the better of the group, not until after woodbury rick grows darker and more vengeful and not until after the event that makes them leave their new home that rick adopts the "i will kill anyone to protect whats mine, no matter the cost" mantra that spirals him out of control as the above reviewer put it. Dont bash this show thats doing a very good job (and telling a somewhat different story, kinda like an alternate universe) and moving the characters in their seemingly correct development arcs by calling the comics as your reason why unless your going to point things out correctly.

  • Kim | February 20, 2012 9:24 AMReply

    Shane being bad does = comic book story line. Eventually Rick or his son is gonna kill him. Just has to happen.

    I only agree that Lori is an idiot and the writers missed a great opportunity to bring in Michonne or the Governor in finding her instead.

  • T | February 20, 2012 7:31 AMReply

    I agree completely with this review! I'm hoping the story and characters move forward in a way closer to the books or at least in a better way.

  • mikes | February 20, 2012 7:14 AMReply

    these writers onf the blogs get worse and worse... the episode was great and shane has be presented as going bad sense the pilot

  • William U. | February 20, 2012 4:04 AMReply

    Someone has no idea what they are talking about. This episode was amazing!!!

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