The Walking Dead Post-Mortem: “Triggerfinger”
Greetings fellow zombie lovers and fans of those 2 dead guys from Philly! (They are my new favorite characters…it’s too bad they’re dead) I’m ready to conduct another Walking Dead post-mortem examination for everyone. I’m still pumped up from the final moments of last week’s episode. Not just because the scene itself was great, but because it showed that The Walking Dead is capable of achieving greatness. If the writers can generate more scenes like the bar stand-off in every episode, and if they can do it consistently, The Walking Dead will become the excellent show we all want it to be. That being said….this was the definition of a so-so episode. Oh Walking Dead…why do you do this to me….sigh…let’s begin exhuming “Triggerfinger”
**The episode’s teleplay is credited to David Johnson. A quick glance over Mr. Johnson’s IMDB page reveals he was the writer of the solid horror flick Orphan, the not so solid horror flick Red Riding Hood, and the upcoming (and very silly looking) Wrath of the Titans. I’ve heard The Walking Dead doesn’t exactly have a conventional writing room. Apparently, Frank Darabont, Glenn Mazzara, and Robert Kirkman came with the overall storyline and script breakdowns for season 2, and then farmed out the scripting duties for certain episodes to freelancers while writing several of the scripts themselves. Supposedly, this was a cheaper alternative than having a full time writing staff.
*** Yeah…The Walking Dead should have a traditional writer’s room with a full time writing staff. The ratings for this show are HUGE. It’s one of the highest rated programs in the history of cable television. AMC needs to stop counting beans and hire some good writers who are going to stay with the show for the long haul. So many episodes of The Walking Dead feel disjointed and schizophrenic in terms of quality, and I think that’s because many of the freelancers who are working on these scripts are never in the same room with each other during the writing process. The writers need to be able to compare notes and bounce ideas of each other. This is a very backwards way to run a television show.
“Triggerfinger” begins with a low angle POV shot from the perspective of one of the dead men from Philadelphia (the heftier one); Glenn, Herschel and Rick are all staring at him in silence. After this meditative opening scene, they decide it’s time to make their escape from the bar, however, cars pull up outside and dash their hopes of an easy exit. It turns out our friend’s from Philly had other friends who are now looking for them. These newcomers try to get in the bar, but Glenn block’s the door with his body. Rick’s IQ quickly drops several points as he attempts to reason with these people. As I recall, it went something like this…
Rick: I’m frightfully sorry, but I’m afraid that I was forced to murder both of your chums with my pistol. Though, to be honest, ‘twas they who attempted to fire upon on us first. I sincerely hope you all understand I didn’t mean to harm the lads, but was left with little other recourse. Surely, we can conduct ourselves in a gentlemanly manner and be on about our separate way. Cheerio.
After his brilliant plan fails, Rick decides it’s time for the trio to make their way outside. So naturally, Rick sends Glenn into harm’s way first, in the hopes he will find a safer way out of the bar. There is a fairly creepy sequence where Glenn makes his way through the dark and empty basement toward the back entrance to the bar. However, all the creepiness and suspense doesn’t amount to much: Glen sees a figure through the glass pane on the door, shoots at the door, then tells Rick the coast is clear. I really think Glenn should have come upon a walker lurking in the dark down there, it would have added all the overall intensity of the sequence. Herschel becomes this week’s Rick and guns down one of the mysterious assailants, and, thanks to Herschel’s actions we get to see some zombies munching on a human this week. Our trio makes it outside safely just as the mysterious gunmen are retreating due to the high number of walkers in the area. One of the shooters is not so lucky and while trying to jump into the back of a truck he gets his leg impaled on an iron fence gate. Rick’s IQ drops several more points as he decides the best course of action is to waste precious time helping a guy who was just shooting at him, as hordes of zombies draw closer and closer to them. Rick…you’re killing man.
Back at the farm it was more of the same. The group realizes someone is missing and someone else goes out to find them. This time it’s Lori instead of Sophia. Shane gets angry and storms off (shocker) to find Lori. Shane finds Lori, Shane lies to Lori and tells her Rick is back at the farm already, safe and sound. Lori finds out Shane lied to her when she gets back to the farm and realizes Rick isn’t there. Then Shane lets the beans slips about Lori being pregnant to everyone. None of this stuff was particular bad, but all these scenes did have a very repetitive feel to them. The scene where Shane talks to Lori afterwards, had an electrifying power to it though. Jon Brenthals is a terrific actor and has made Shane the most complex and fully developed character on the show. The choppy editing in this scene was a nice touch as well. One can only hope Shane’s increasingly distorted views on his role in Lori and Carl’s life, coupled his increasing hostility towards Rick (and Herschel) is building up to something cataclysmic.
There was some good to be found in Triggerfinger, most of it having to do with the zombies of course. Make up artist Greg Nicotero and his team continues to impress week in and week out. Their work on the zombie that was attacking Lori’s overturned car was the real standout this week. The skin ripping off its face as it kept pushing through the shattered glass trying to get at Lori was a truly gruesome effect. Unfortunately, there was a lot of bad in the episode as well. It looks like the writers are A) not going to kill Carol anytime soon, and B) going with Carol/Daryl romance, and C) are going to milk the ‘when will Glenn tell Maggie he loves her’ storyline forever. Yeah, Glenn didn’t tell Maggie he loved her this week as I hoped he would. Instead there was a off beat scene where he pushed her away for some strange reason I didn’t fully understand. I would prefer less histrionics between these two and more, you know, realistic human behavior. The episode as a whole didn’t build off the momentum from the final moments of Nebraska as well as I would have liked, but it did set up some very interesting conflicts for the upcoming episodes to come. The group is dividing up: Lori’s pitting Rick against Shane, Andrea looks to be siding with Shane. And T-Dog is…doing whatever it is that T-Dog does. That wraps it up for this week. Tune back in next Sunday night for another episode of The Walking dead, and come back here Monday morning for another The Walking Dead: Post-mortem.
Bonus section!!! Every week until the season finale I thought I might recommend a lesser known cult-classic zombie movie. I have seen so many zombie movies in my life, some good ones, some bad ones, some awesome ones, and awesomely bad ones. Today’s recommendation is one of the better ones: Amando de Ossori’s Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972). The film is much more of a supernatural horror movie as opposed to the typical pandemic/post-apocalyptic zombie movie. The film was a big influence on Peter Jackson, and his portrayal of the Black Riders in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Creepy, schlocky, violent, bleak, and unrelenting, it’s a must watch for hardcore zombie fans. It’s not available on Netflix streaming, but you can get the DVD through mail. Here is the trailer: