Recap, The Walking Dead, Episode 2.09, “Triggerfinger”

“You killed the living to protect what’s yours? Shane thinks I’m his; he thinks the baby’s his. And he says you can’t protect us – that you’re gonna get us killed.”

I could easily open up nearly every WD recap with the words, “Let’s talk about the gender issues.” I refrained last week but since the show is giving us such rich material to complain about, let’s talk about the gender issues.

I’ve noted before that the women on the show are given the rough end of the character development stick. Lori is shrill to the point of unlikability. Carol is almost entirely defined by her role as a mother. Andrea’s righteous grief over her sister’s death was twisted into making her almost entirely unsympathetic for much of the season. (Not that T-Dog’s plot line is a richly mined depth either.) The women do stupid things. They get regulated to the sidelines. They go into comas from stress. They get inconveniently pregnant. No one did the laundry this episode, but on the same day the survivors slaughter their former family members and neighbors at the barn, they cook a formal sit-down meal where Shane sits at the head of the table. This would be a perfectly OK occasion to point the gang at the paper plates and make them cook their own goddamn food.

Lori, of course, remains the biggest point of contention. Last week, she drove into town without telling anyone she was leaving, for no reason at all because Rick and Glenn had gone to town only twenty minutes or so before that, for the exact same reason she was going, and she knew this, and because ladies are terrible drivers, she hits the only goddamn thing in the road during the apocalypse. Her flipped over car of course attracts walkers. The entire car accident, the reasonless trip into town all build up to allow Lori 45 seconds of badassness. It’s totally Buffy-level badassness too – she rips a piece of her car off to stab one walker in the eye, wallops another in the head with a hubcap and then calmly retrieves her gun and shoots him in the head. She doesn’t horror-movie scream, she doesn’t freeze, and she doesn’t panic. She is entirely competent.

So why did the writers have to show her doing something ridiculous in order to give her a moment of glory? Are they trying to suggest that she can only be competent if there is no one else around? That she’s using and manipulating the men for her own survival? That would almost make her interesting. But I’m fairly sure they just thought this would be an opportunity to make the critics of the show shut up already.

But then they go and pair that with her following scenes: Shane tricks Lori back into camp after finding her on the road and then reveals her pregnancy to everyone, so she can make outraged face, which will lead to Shane once again telling Lori they belong together and that he knows the baby is his, which leads to Lori finally admitting that Dale was probably right about Shane being two steps from total cuckoo. So what does she do with the information? Or better yet, how do the writers portray her passing on this information? Lori tells Rick what’s been going on with Shane and her concerns about his dangerousness, but the whole scene, in dialog and framing, is shot to cast Lori as this Lady MacBeth type figure, conning her husband into”¦ what? Was she trying to convince Rick to murder Shane? Because it sure seemed like she was goading him into being the proactive party in the inevitable Shane-Rick showdown.

Andrea has her own moment of what-the-fuckery in the episode, but at least it’s character-consistent fuckery. Despite finding out that Shane lied to Lori to get her back, finding out that Shane is probably the father of Lori’s baby (oh, hello, pregnant character), and seeing Shane advocate murdering a man in cold blood, she follows him outside to confront him – on his personality . His big problem, Andrea insists, is that he’s just not presenting his otherwise-not-at-all-manipulative-and-psychopathic plans in a friendly manner. She’s the goddamn Dale Carnegie of the survivor set.

And now the boys:

Herschel, Glenn, and Rick are trapped inside the bar when True Blood Rene’s friends come looking for them. Instead of, you know, just hiding quietly until they leave, Rick waits until they walk away to yell out he just murdered their friends. (A million gold stars to the first person who brings me a gif of Herschel’s “the fuck you say” face in reaction to this.) Then there’s a firefight. Why not? It’s the Old West after all.

The gunshots bring walkers into the town. Before the group can escape, Rick goes to play hero rescuing one of the bad guys who had fallen off a roof and impaled his leg on a wrought iron fence. I don’t blame him for this – this is entirely in keeping with Rick’s character. And they had a few minutes before the walkers were really upon them. But when it because apparent that they couldn’t get him off the fence and he’d bleed to death, Rick makes Herschel attempt a leg amputation with some dirty knife he had in his pocket. The fuck? Come on. Even humanist Herschel advocates putting the guy out of his misery. And in the end, Rick just rips the guy’s leg free anyway. Why didn’t he do that to begin with?  Rick, why are you making it so hard to like you? You’re the hero of the piece!

The boys blindfold their new captive and bring him back to the farm, where Herschel will repair extensive damage to the guy’s leg which will end up leaving him with only a limp. Sure. Whatever. Shane, of course, wants to just straight up murder the dude and storms out when everyone else stares at him like, you know, straight up murdering some guy might be distasteful, but not before Herschel gives him a piece of his mind.  Herschel’s had a very rough 24 hours on the farm, but his character is given a lot of depth in these last two episodes – he’s definitely growing on me.

Next week, it looks like we’re going to get the beginning of the Shane-Rick showdown, since we see the beginnings of a fight in the trailer. Since time moves in a weird spiral on this show, I’ll guess they’ll stretch the fight out over three episodes, all of which take place in the same 4-hour time period, at the end of which Lori will have had her baby.

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[E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of powderroom.jezebel.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at slay@persephonemagazine.com. She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

46 thoughts on “Recap, The Walking Dead, Episode 2.09, “Triggerfinger””

  1. I’m a little late in commenting on this one, but what the hey. Figured I’d chime in anyway.

    Like most readers, I’m growing increasingly annoyed by Lori. I fail to see why she’s got two men so besotted with her, especially since she has all the sexual allure of a twelve-year-old boy (c’mon, the woman’s a stick!) Plus, there’s the whole shrill, self-righteous attitude that’s a bit off-putting. And then she has to go and wreck one of the few remaining cars, because, y’know, women are terrible drivers (and are also constantly getting lost and can’t even grasp basic directions like “Follow this RIVER!” — i.e. Sophia)

    So yeah, a lot of the gender stuff bugs me, but I feel like Andrea’s getting a lot of criticism too, and I actually like her. Sure, shooting Darryl was stupid and pointless, but at least she IS a good marksman (or markswoman, rather). Someone mentioned in the comments that it seemed unbelievable that she’d be such a good shot when she’d “never handled guns” before. I didn’t get that impression at all. I think it was pointed out that she’s quite comfortable with guns — it was the taking them apart and cleaning them she was having trouble with. Maybe she’d only ever fired at shooting ranges and such before, and so might not know all the ins & outs of gun maintenance.

    As for her sleeping with Shane, well, I liked the way the actress put it in an interview: she saw something she wanted, and went after it. Plus, in such high-intensity situations — y’know, like a zombie apocalpyse — I’m sure there’d be a lot of heightened emotions. With death a constant shadow overhanging everyone, it’s only natural they’d want to “get it on.” I’m surprised more people aren’t hooking up in the show.

    I think she’s a strong, capable character, and doesn’t like being treated like a child (as Dale keeps trying to do). She gets Shane’s philosophy, which is much more practical — they can’t really afford notions like mercy and compassion in a post-apocalyptic world. The other characters are holding onto those ideals because maybe they haven’t quite yet grasped what they’re really up against. I think Shane and Andrea DO grasp that, and behave accordingly. The old rules don’t really apply anymore.

    One last minor comment, regarding the women all cooking… y’know, that didn’t really bother me. I mean, sure, the guys could have helped out, but I think if I were in that situation, doing something as normal and mundane as cooking might actually be a comfort. They’ve been camping out all this time, it would be nice to have a real kitchen, and a real, home-cooked meal. I’m not the most domestic person, myself, but I could see craving that sort of thing. I’d have gone for a nice, hot shower, first, though. Damn, just imagine how sweaty/smelly everyone must be!

  2. I think my main problem with Shane is that, like so many others on the show, the actor is playing him so heavy-handed. He reminds me of Sawyer at the beginning of Lost, trying to find his footing with this character that is supposed to be damaged and fucked-up and awful, but still needs to do something that gets the audience to root for him. I feel like he is still trying to find that with Shane and hasn’t quite hit it yet. He just comes across as all bad to me because the nuance and rationale of his behavior isn’t there yet, which I blame on direction and writing as much, if not more so, than his acting. I think Josh Hollaway eventually figured it out and really created a something awesome with Sawyer, and I hope this will happen here as well.

  3. I rolled my eyes when I saw Shane sitting at the head of the table. Who do they think they’re fooling with this shit?

    Ugh. I just find the women so poorly written. I don’t even think that the actresses are necessarily bad. Stop making them run around like total idiots!

  4. I’ve been marginally annoyed with 99% of the gender stuff in this show and the Plan B crap was my breaking point…At that moment I lost my last remaining shred of respect for Lori’s character. So when she flipped her car, I as many others, did wish she would die. I live in Austin and I go to “TV at the Drafthouse” and watch it w/ a huge crowd and everyone cheered that she would be dead.

    I mean…I’ve literally NEVER watched a show that made me want characters dead. Usually if I hate characters, I hate the show and stop watching but somehow WD has me thoroughly transfixed.

    One big WTF moment for me was when Shane lied to Lori and said Rick was back already so that she would also come back to the farm…Why didn’t she say, “Then why did YOU come to get me and not him?” Clearly if Rick was back at the farm and Lori was missing he wouldn’t send Shane alone.

    I feel like there’s a lot of sloppy writing.

  5. There was some talk on The Talking Dead that there might be some backstory about Hershel that we don’t yet know (I haven’t read the comics, so don’t spoil, pretty please; they also don’t spoil on there, and Chris Hardwick, the host, has read the comics), b/c he was such a crack shot at the walkers. He hit them square in the forehead. I’m assuming military experience. I was pretty angry about Rick, Glenn and Hershel hanging around and inviting ALL THE WALKERS to the noise by shooting and shooting. Blergh. Just get in the truck and go, dumbasses! Or, you know, sit in the bar and talk to the people sauntering by. :|

  6. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Walking Dead is all about the acting. The best actors wring every bit of context and emotion out of very little dialogue. You can see that in the Daryl/Carol interactions. However, in the case of Andrea and Lori, I think the actresses are simply not good enough to work around the sparse character development. (I also think Dale is phoning it in, while we’re on the subject.) Instead of subtly showcasing Lori’s growing concern about Shane and her dawning realization that he is both murderous and delusional, we have a lot of Lori delivering lines in exactly the same tone and with exactly the same expressions. That’s one of the reasons why the women look so illogical — they have no nuances.

     

  7. The only reason I still watch this show is because I’m usually hanging out with the husband when he wants to turn it on. The women are infantilized at every fucking turn. All the men run around apologizing to each other for not informing the other cock-holders about Lori’s vaginal status — it’s like she’s not even a person. I wish there was just ONE woman on this show to root for.  I kinda root for Glenn and Maggie, but I have a feeling the writers are about to screw it up.  Grrrrrrr.

    1. I was seriously concerned that they had killed Glenn. It seemed like the thing the show runners would do, you know, just cause.

      I feel like just a tiny bit of effort on behalf of the writers would elevate the existing female characters. I actually like Carol, but her role has been so limited she’s given nothing to work with. Maggie’s declaration of love for a guys she’s known for a few days and banged once is just… like, really? Really Maggie? I had such hopes for you. And you’re right — Lori’s actress is just so uncharismatic there is no reason to believe she’s the lynchpin in a triangle. I barely understand why Rick loves her, much less while Shane would toss away 20 years of friendship over her. What’s she got, beer flavored nipples?

      1. Again, a better actress could have made you buy the “Maggie loves Glenn” thing. The elements are all there. Despite her banter, Maggie is a very emotionally sheltered young woman who feels things very strongly and has simple values. When she meets a genuinely nice guy like Glenn who saves her life, it might not take very long for her to fall into some version of love.

        I feel bad criticizing the women’s acting, so let me go ahead and say that I think Carl is not very good either. There. Now I’ve made fun of a child’s acting ability. Much better.

        1. You’re right — the talent side is noticeably tilted towards the men’s favor. People like Daryl so much because the actor makes him feel like a real person, with a lot of complicated layers.

          There, there. Carl isn’t the best actor. At least he gets a pass on behalf of his age.

  8. Oh man, how I look forward to this recap.

    Here’s a thing that doesn’t make sense: Herschel was Glen’s “cover” when they were walking out of the bar and Herschel shoots a guy. This guy is not dead, but he can’t walk. So, obviously, all the walkers come and eat him alive. But Herschel never even tried to shoot him a second time, despite the fact that he knows he’s a slab of meat waiting to be eaten by zombies. Herschel would totally put a guy out of his misery, and we know this – he advocates doing it not two minutes later for someone else. Fucking Herschel.

    Also, I got so irritated with Lori’s, as you called it, “Lady MacBeth” moment in the end and Rick’s CRAAAAAAYZAY face (now that is something that I want a gif of – I would use it all the time). First, since when did Lori become all manipulative? Perhaps it’s when she went through puberty – AMIRITE, LADIES? But even worse than Lori’s sudden manipulativeness is Rick’s sudden craziness. He’s supposed to be Level-Headed Leader Man! Shane should be the one going to Rick acting all nutty and wanting to fight.

    The shit makes no sense.

    1. I think the ladies only exist for vaginal purposes and to be talked about/cared for by the mens for their own good. Lori’s Lady MacBeth makes sense if you want your female characters to be nothing but negative vapid stereotypes.  She’s manipulative!  Her magic vagina makes all the mens act irrationally!  Ugh.  I hate Lori, can you tell?  And she’s played with no charm whatsoever by the actress.

      1. The ladies on this show bring The Drama (just like in real life LOLZ). The one that I hate the most, personally, is Andrea. She’s absolutely useless. She’s your typical Head-Strong Woman who does things her own way, but her way is always wrong and the men around her always know best! Remember when she almost killed the redneck, whatshisname? That was ridiculous. You finally have a woman on the show who is interested in shooting and things that are not doing laundry, and she has to go and be completely unable to control her ovaries feelings and do stupid things as a result.

        1. Daryl. He’s dreamy. But yeah, after being told by EVERYONE not to shoot the guy walking towards them, and with no marksman training at all, Andrea climbs on top of a van and shoots INTO her own men just to be a big shot. That was the same episode where she said ‘I don’t want to do the laundry, I want to protect the camp’, proving that she’s basically incompetent at everything.

          1. I really don’t feel that Andrea’s actions in that episode were so grossly irrational. She’s an adult. Andrea can think for herself and isn’t obligated to listen to great wisdom of the men of the group and sit on her hands. The men got to… what? 6 feet away from Daryl and they STILL thought he was a walker! It wasn’t until Daryl spoke to them that they knew he wasn’t a walker. Andrea thought that she had a clean shot and that she could prove her worth to the only people in the group who hold power.

            TL;DR: I don’t think this situation should be used as an example of how useless and terrible Andrea is.

            1. The problem is that Andrea had only handled a gun a couple of times, and until we see her do this, never had rifle training. And she was shooting into her own group of people — an untrained shooter aiming into/through a crowd of her own people is super dangerous. It was more likely that she’d shoot one of her own men than Daryl. Its not that she’s not an adult who can’t make her own decisions, its that she was being irrational and shooting just because they told her not to. It was definitely framed in-story as an irresponsible and rash decision.

    2. I actually expected that Hershel was going to go out and try to save the guy he shot — he was sort of standing in a way that I thought meant he was going to go check on him before the zombies came. The only reason he didn’t shoot the guy was because it would attract attention — except that the show has shown before that the zombies would rather stick with the victim in front of them rather than go after other prey. That was the whole point of Shane shooting Otis!

      Ugh.

      1. Now, I would understand the “attracting attention” argument if they didn’t appear to be in the middle of an old-school gun fight. I was expecting a close up of someone’s boots with spurs on them, or a tumbleweed.

        Also, when it comes to Darryl, I’d hit it.

  9. Every week when I watch the show, I complain about the female characters. They’re written so horribly, and that’s even in comparison to the male characters, who I also don’t think are terribly well written. I was actively rooting for Lori to die when the car flipped, though I knew she wouldn’t. She cannot get off my screen fast enough. Andrea looked like she was going to have some character development when she finally learned to shoot well, but that’s gone absolutely no where (except giving the writers an excuse to have her fuck Shane). And Maggie, who is the only woman I like on the show, is professing her love for Glenn after knowing him for a few days. Because that’s what those emotional women do! They fall in love at the drop of a hat! And then they have Glenn turn around and blame his freezing up at the bar on his need to protect his woman.

    I haven’t read the comics, so I don’t know if the women are an accurate reflection of the comic or not. But, I really don’t understand where the show writers are coming from with this. The dinner scene was laughable. You couldn’t get more blatant about how the women only exist to serve the men. I really, really want to love the show. It’s so very good in parts. But the way the female characters are written makes me contemplate giving it up.

      1. That makes what the writers are doing to the women even more frustrating. I don’t think the show needs to be, or should be, an exact retelling of the comic, but they could at least use the comic’s characterizations of the women as a guide.

    1. RELATIVELY VAGUE COMICS SPOILERS AHEAD.

      SPOILERS. KIND OF.

      I MEAN IT. STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW.

      This show has one more chance to redeem themselves as far as their treatment of women. If they fuck up That One Badass Female Character Who Has Not Yet Appeared On The Show, I am so fucking out of there. Seriously. There will be no shutting me up about it.

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