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

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) protecting what is his

With this episode, it becomes clear that Shane’s mask of sanity is lowly slipping and that he has turned almost delusional with regard to Lori and the baby that he thinks is his. Delusional in the Fatal Attraction sort of way. He is starting to think that he and Lori really had something deep and meaningful going on during those couple of weeks where they thought Rick was dead and it looks like confrontation with Rick is going to be inevitable as Shane is slowly losing it. In fact, it looks like Shane is going to mix it up with someone soon and pull the trigger again.

Lori stuck in the car

 

Maybe it is the trauma that ensues from living in a world post apocalypse where everything you have ever known is gone or maybe it is because Shane has always been kind of an unstable, violent asshole and it is all surfacing just now that this thin veneer we call civilization has vanished. Whatever it is, Shane is “falling down” and it becomes increasingly more clear to everyone that they’re gonna have to worry about him just as they have to worry about Walkers. I used to root for Shane because what he said made sense and he had guts, but he has pretty much crossed the line into instability and psychosis and he will be dangerous.

As I write this, I realize how truly ridiculous and boring this show has turned otherwise. I mean, the main point of contention seems to be the love triangle and the otherwise petty quarrels of a bunch of people who seem to have missed the memo that the world has come to an end. As a result, the show has taken on a whiny, cranky soapy tone with zombies thrown in to appear original as soap operas are generally associated with a negative stigma of lameness and chick flick. The apocalypse and asking the tough questions have become secondary, if they haven’t disappeared altogether, to accommodate the Rick, Lori, Shane, Maggie and Glenn’s relationship problems.

At the same time, the remaining characters and their personalities have been moved to the background as we hardly ever hear anything from them anymore. At this point they all seem to be serving in a merely ornamental capacity or to move the storyline along, such as Dale who every now and then serves as a voice of caution to warn others against Shane, just so he can go back to what he was doing (whatever that might be),  or T-Dog whose role has been reduced to that of scene filler at this point. Or Andrea whose character and its agony, which had been so beautifully initiated, have been reduced to some one dimensional “extra” almost, loading dead bodies into trucks or running errands.

Carol and Darrell also always seem to be having the same “conversation” – and with that I mean Darrell throwing a hissy fit like a child who lost his puppy after a week’s search and don’t want loving nobody no more, calling everyone a “bitch” – while Carol gives him teary eyed looks or throws a line at him and walks away, just so they can resume where they left off the next time.

Yes I understand Darrell is hurt that the search for Sofia ended so tragically, but he’s been  just grunting into the camera for the past three episodes.  There is no development in his character.

Carol lost her husband and her daughter and is still seen just lurking around the camp, washing clothes and tidying up or alternately taking Darrell’s abuse. I mean we just saw her daughter turn into a Walker and have her brains blown out in front of her by Rick, and she is going about her business as usual. For whatever reason, she now has made Darrell her project and I still can’t figure out if she is after him in a motherly or romantic way.

“Triggerfinger” is 2 stars tops, mainly because it no longer really seems to be about the undead and a world ravaged by illness and thus the apocalypse. It is about peoples’ petty interpersonal quarrels; short sighted people who fight each other even after the world has gone down, over concepts that don’t mean anything anymore in this new world order (maybe that is the point?). I mean what happened to being worried about survival and finding some answers; what happened to driving through desolate landscapes marred from the apocalypse, encountering the destitution and horror in the aftermath of days gone by?

Glenn and Rick

 

Whereas season 1 and even the beginning of season 2 (i.e. before they landed on the “Farm of our Discontent”) were looking at the problem of a world ravaged by disease and having come to an end (note the flashbacks they had about how it all started), most of season 2 has unfortunately been about the marital problems of Rick and Lori and Shane’s insanity. How the apocalypse began, what Jenner said, the discussions they had about the human soul vis a vis such a horrific disaster, wondering whether this is even a world worth living in or whether there are any last outposts left and just the setting, which after all is one of zombies, have been muted. The show has lost its sinister, mysterious tone and zombie encounters are thrown in in a strategic manner, as if they were fulfilling a requirement and had to run down a checklist of necessary genre elements to put in before they can resume with their melodrama.

Where is the journey, the adventure, the terror, where is the desolate landscape or walking into other people (such as Vatos in season 1), human interaction, tragedy (Amy’s death, leaving Jim behind, Dale talking about his wife), finding abandoned buildings and landmarks.; making a connection with people and each other. I am interested in looking into this disease, asking the tough questions (see Jenner and CDC), not watch people engage in petty personal quarrels amid the damn fucking apocalypse. It’s like these people just don’t get that the world is over and that it really doesn’t matter anymore who is doing whom or who said what and when.

This show was phenomenal in the beginning, because it looked at the theme of the zombie apocalypse in a smart way that was never done before. It balanced drama with action, originality with believable writing and multi dimensional characters; it was tragic but without venturing into soap territory. It was great during season 1 because it struck the perfect balance between the interpersonal (i.e. the characters) and the bigger picture (i.e zombie apocalypse), thus illuminating the grander canvas if their tragedy, instead of looking st it from this narrow lens of interpersonal struggles of the characters.  Now it is all just about these people and their feelings. At this point you could easily replace zombies with the ebola virus or WWIII or a natural disaster or hey, even Melrose Place and nothing would change.

When you reach a point in your story where one of its main premises (i.e. zombie apocalypse) can be easily exchanged with something else (like viral outbreak or flood or nuclear blast) and nothing about the story and the characters within would change, you know you have met a dead end in terms of originality.

People who enjoy this kind of thematic of the Days of our Zombie Lives kind will be just fine and really like where the show has gone. But if you are looking for more depth and originality instead of cliches and predictable story lines, I am afraid you will be disappointed. I don’t care for Lifetime Television for women.

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