The Walking Dead, Ep. 2.09: “Triggerfinger” not nearly as exciting as its title

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The Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 9: “Triggerfinger”
Written by David Leslie Johnson
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Airs Sundays at 10pm EST on AMC

Especially given that we got a glimpse of some above-average writing and acting in last week’s shootout at Hershel’s bar of choice, “Triggerfinger” represents a pretty major stumble for the show. After a relatively exciting cold open (featuring some of the nastiest zombie effects yet seen on the show), we get an episode heavy on one-on-one chats, most of which either serve to repeat familiar beats, or to complicate relationships that didn’t need to be complicated. It’s not a good look for The Walking Dead.

First off, let’s talk about Glenn. Usually the most reliably personable and reasonable character of maybe the entire gang, Glenn more or less gets thrown under the bus this week. First of all, we’re meant to believe that he feels immense guilt for “freezing up” at this week’s shootout because he had something to live for, namely Maggie, even though earlier in that sequence, we see Glenn squaring off successfully with a pretty huge crowd of zombies, which is hardly a task for the feeble. Second, the scenes between him and Maggie near the end of the episode just reek of a desperate attempt to manufacture conflict. Yikes.

Speaking of manufacturing conflict, anyone remember when Daryl was the refreshingly no-nonsense badass? This week, he and Carol play out the world’s most boring psychodrama, with Daryl “pulling out” and pretending to totally isolate himself from the concerns of the group and Carol in particular. The problem is we know he cares, because we’ve already seen him go through this process at least once before. Find some new places for this character to go, guys.

A few little moments work. Rick and Lori finally have an adult-esque discussion about the baby’s paternity. Shane and Lori discover the gap in perception between them when it comes to their past affair. Actually, those are probably the only two scenes that don’t ring false for one reason or another. Worst of all is probably Maggie’s insanely boring story about a family feud that erupted when her sister found her birth-control pills. Oh, Maggie. We might care if you were talking about a character we’ve barely seen while conscious. But, you know, maybe not. With Lori not dead on the side of the road, Glenn and Maggie at a crossroads for no good reason, Shane keeps hitting the same character beats repeatedly, hopefully there’s nothing left to do but start to patch up the show’s many character flaws.

Simon Howell

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