Review: The Walking Dead – Season 2 Episode 9 “Triggerfinger”

Written by Chris Beaulieu February 21, 2012

“Triggerfinger” begins, much like the last episode, with a low-angle shot of Rick holding his gun after firing. Shots like these are not merely for the aesthetic purpose of making Rick look incredibly badass, as they also create a visual pattern that connects the shooting of the walker-infected Sophia to the killing of the living men in the bar. Both shots invite the audience to contemplate the implications Rick’s actions. Was shooting the walker version of Sophia emotionally harder for Rick than taking the lives of the living?

This question is addressed in the episode, but not very well. The dilemma of the value of life came across very explicitly when Rick, Hershel, and Glenn must decide what to do with a young man, Randal, who gets his leg impaled on a fence as walkers are coming for them. Randal jumping from the roof was similar to Lori crashing her car in that it only made logical sense as an introduction for a new plot problem. As Rick and Hershel discuss what to do with Randal, they bring up (without any subtlety or tact) the main themes of the show. They exchange sentiments along the lines of “we can’t just leave him to die”, and “we can’t help him without putting ourselves in danger”, which is what the entire series boils down to. The whole incident was an overt application of the show’s theme, which, up to this point, had been a continuous undertone.

There was a similar lack of subtlety when Andrea argues with Dale about Shane. She believes that Shane has done more for the group than Rick, while Dale thinks that such a notion is absurd. There also seems to be an upcoming development of political strategy as Andrea talks with Shane about his image. She tells Shane that although he always makes the right calls, his trouble is in the aggressive “presentation” of his views. Furthermore, Shane seems to be the conservative candidate as his issues revolve around the belief that giving Randal a “care package” is going to result in “some kind of war”. You can tell that Shane is against universal healthcare when the camera cuts to his look of frustration just as Hershel says the words “nerve damage”. Randal’s life has been saved, but he’s going to be a liability for everyone else.

Are you kidding me?

I mentioned that Rick has been showing that he has a bit of Shane’s attitude in him, but now Shane is starting to show that he’s got a bit of Rick in him as he goes to rescue Lori. Shane reveals that he loves Lori and that he’s willing to go against his principles to protect her; he will not always leave the weak to die, at least when it comes to Lori. However, we see him return to his normal state as they discuss what to do with Randal.

While a bit on the nose at times, “Triggerfinger” brings up interesting brings up some interesting developments for Rick and Shane. As the tension between the two increases, there may eventually come a time when Rick and Shane must fight each other for survival, and all it will come down to is survival of the fittest.

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About Chris Beaulieu

When Chris isn't studying film, reading English literature, fencing, or watching re-runs of Frasier on TV, it's because he's writing awesome reviews for We Eat Films.

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