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So long, and thanks for all the fish!
And we roll on to week two of Season 2, Part 2 of The Walking Dead! This has spoilers.
Last week’s episode was basically a summary of Part 1 of the season, leaving my recap a recap of a recap (BRAHHHHMMMM). But it ended strong with Lori flipping her car on the interstate in search of Rick, who was busy being pinned down with Glen and Hershel in an abandoned pub after the killing of two aggressive Jersey-sounding survivors from Philly. OH! Fugetaboutit! Gabagool! Racial epithet!
The first half hour of “Triggerfinger” might be some of the finest minutes of the series thus far. It opens with Lori awakening from her car crash, pinned inside the vehicle in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night. Scary enough, right? Nay! Zombies are also trying to push themselves through the mangled car frame, jagged glass peeling back their rotting, bloody skin. NOW YOU”RE SPEAKING MY BLOODTHIRSTY NERD LANGUAGE, AMC!
Just last week I bemoaned the series’ lack of imagination concerning zombie sequences and this week answered in spades. I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Hit Zombie Cable Series! Forgive me.
And then there’s Rick, Glen, and Hershel’s pub situation. Turns out the dead Philly guys had a bunch of jittery friends who happen to be armed. Rick, Patron Saint of dealing with unreasonable assholes, tries, in vain, to reason with them, only to evoke gunfire. He, Glen, and Hershel return fire, attracting walkers. They end up making the tough decision to flee with a young, impaled guy who was just shooting at them. I know, I know. Thank God, a 17th cast member.
Mr. Cobain, Mr. Hutchence, and Ms. Winehouse… Ima have to ask you to step back.
The standoff at the pub is great, white-knuckled scariness. The “conflict with other survivors” element of zombie stories has only been brought to the forefront in the last decade or so, probably starting with 28 Days Later, in which a squad of soldiers become the main antagonists. It’s a concept The Walking Dead has dallied with before. There’s ol’ Mearle Dixon, running around somewhere minus one hand, or the CDC professor who was super ” ” and tried to murder everyone. Last night’s pub shootout was Walking Dead‘s most successful attempt at the concept to date, making the enemy survivors faceless, nervous, and believable foils to Rick and company. If someone had killed any of our crew, would Rick and the gang act any different? Maybe, maybe not, but the series continues to prove that zombies are a fantastic side dish to a healthy serving of moral quandary.
Is it just me, or did last night’s episode resolve itself really quick? I’m not going to lie, I was ready for a few episodes of Rick negotiating his way out of the bar and Lori wandering alone through the woods. I’m fine with moving on, but how does a series spend seven hours of television looking for a little girl and then neatly sweep aside two stickier, scarier situations in thirty minutes? It’s another weird call for a series that’s already become known for making them – we’ll see how it plays out.
“Sorry about murdering your friends and everything, but we got about 8 minutes to wrap this up.”
The rest of “Triggerfinger” backed off into usual dramatic territory. Lori returns to the farm safe and sound and young Carl learns that his mom is pregnant. An awesome “birds and the bees and the zombies” talk could have ensued, but instead there had to be more static between Glen and Hershel’s daughter. Man, getting laid during a society-ending apocalypse sure is terribly complicated, huh Glen?
But Shane remains the issue at hand. Once again, he privately professes his love for Lori, who now suspects that he could be a murderer, and maybe even lied about Rick’s condition at the start of series to get in her pants. Yeah, it’s about time someone said it, but it only reminds us what a stand-up dude Shane used to be. The sitch gets more awkward when Lori reveals to Shane that Rick knows about her and Shane’s affair. I can only imagine the tense “I know that you know that I know that you know” stand-off we’re in for when Rick and Shane finally butt heads.
Let’s be fair: Shane did loose his marbles at the end of the first half of this season (Jesus, AMC, just air full seasons), but for the last two episodes, Shane’s worst offenses are refusing to shake hands with the old men – he’s been grumpy, but not a dangerous maniac. Rick can’t even deny the fact that if Shane is a murderer, Rick has now murdered too – both men doing it for the good of Lori and Carl. Writers: You’re doing it right. Shades of gray are the way to go. I don’t know want to know what corner I want to be in.
Better alert the music department, though; those high tension violas at mere mention of Shane’s name in the final shot seem to imply he’s cackling in a thunderstorm somewhere, curling his handlebar mustache.
See you in seven.
Rob is an accomplished screenwriter and has worked in the industry for several years. He blogs about film at his website, “Heroes are Boring”.