It's said that one should never swerve dramatically to avoid oncoming wildlife on a slow country road. So with that in mind, poor Lori might have been better served by just splattering that walker all over the bonnet of her car. Instead, she winds up injured and upside down in a ditch. To make matters worse, no one even knows she's missing.
At the bar, Rick, Glenn and Hershel reap what they have sewed as a gang of fellow survivors come looking for Tony and Dave. Upon hearing that Rick shot them both dead in the previous episode, they open fire on the bar. Not content with George A. Romero's zombie oeuvre alone, Triggerfinger is an Assault On Precinct 13 inspired episode – although the angry breathers of this episode are considerably less competent than Carpenter's hoods or the remake's gangsters. As Glenn cowers behind a dumpster, Hershel proves himself a mean shot. Attracted by the gunfire, the surrounding area is soon overrun by walkers. The rest of the surviving antagonists turn tail and run, leaving Rick and friends with one of their seriously injured friends to deal with. Jumping off a roof, the lad impales his leg on a railing spike. Glenn is suitably horrified as Rick and Hershel discuss lopping off this poor kid's leg. The one thing The Walking Dead television series has been missing so far is traumatic amateur amputation.
In her ditch, Lori finds herself beset by hungry roamers. She manages to escape the car and even fends them off herself before being rescued by Shane. Already stressed, Triggerfinger gives the tortured cop plenty of opportunity to rub his own shaven head. There's a great drinking game to be played with this series of The Walking Dead: every time Shane rubs his head, have a shot. Pour yourself a double if Daryl shouts “Suff-fia!” Rubbing his head is to Shane as taking his sunglasses off is to CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine.
Eventually both parties reconvene at the farm. Shane manages to once again make everyone angry, with Hershel going so far as to tell him to shut his mouth. He more or less admits to Lori that he murdered Otis and has yet another tense confrontation with Dale. He finds an ally in Andrea, who suggests that his storming around everywhere, shouting at everyone might not be the best course of action. He responds to this by rubbing his head some more. Andrea raises a good point though, suggesting that Shane has done more for the group than Rick ever has. It's a shame his interpersonal skills suck: Shane is a very good leader, in spite of everything.
Which is not to discredit Rick's rather impressive talent: staying so cool and chilled in the face of such relentless misery. Where comic book Rick responds to most questioning of his authority with melodramatic shouting (“we are the walking dead!”), Andrew Lincoln seems to take everything in his stride. It's difficult to sound too angry with a Southern drawl like that.
More than any other episode so far, Triggerfinger feels like real, visceral zombie horror. Their attack on Lori as she lies helpless in the car is gruesome and very tense, with a ghoul literally crawling over broken glass to get to the terrified pregnant mum. The action is gory and fast-paced, both in the bar gunfight and the various zombie attacks which occur throughout. Quite how Lori and Shane didn't hear the gunshots from this nearby gunfight (or vice versa) is unclear, but such plot holes have become par for the course by now (how did T-Dog and Andrea not collapse with the vomits while disposing of the rotted zombie corpses last week?). And with everyone else pulling their dramatic weight, T-Dog remains a burden. Even Dale the disapproving serves more of a purpose.
The balance between scares and emotion was better in Pretty Much Dead Already, but this episode deals with the fallout better than last week's episode did. Daryl's grieving for Sophia is subtly put, while his interactions with Carol are genuinely very touching.
While there's still a lingering feeling that The Walking Dead is resting on its laurels for the time being, Triggerfinger is a fun, scary and thrilling episode, quite nicely picking up the pace after one of the series' slower instalments.