Walking Dead: Out, Out Damn Shane

I’m not the first or even the only one to think that Season 2 of The Walking Dead has been more than a little…slow. There was even an internet meme going around when the show came back last week, stating: “Missed the last six episodes of The Walking Dead? Missed nothing!” And I had to agree. The “previously on The Walking Dead” segment told me in fifteen seconds everything important that happened and made me feel like I could have skipped many of those episodes. So, it’s a good thing that now that we’re two episodes in since the break, this one seemed pretty solid and actually moved the story forward a little bit more.

“Triggerfinger” opens with Lori passed out in the car she’s just driven off of the road. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about her character. She seems like the person who is most often written to suit what the show runners think they need. One minute she’s taking charge, then next she’s manipulating people. I know people change and have moods, and that everyone has a bad side, but I think my issue is mostly in regards to how flaky and passive she is. Which is why the end of the episode is a nice surprise. But I’ll get there.

There’s some gross and interesting zombie interactions with Lori, after which we cut to the post shoot-out scene in the bar. Rick, Glenn and Herschel are dealing with the two men they’ve just had to eliminate in self defense. What follows is my favorite scene this season so far. It’s a well-crafted and well-acted scene recalling the tone of movies like The Birds or Signs (the good parts where you can’t see what’s attacking the house). The scene also informs us a bit as to the bigger picture of the world outside of our little band of survivors. I had thought that what happened with the two men would become important later, perhaps their group would find them, go in search of Rick’s, but what happened was much more instantaneous and helped speed things up a bit. I’m glad they didn’t wait to do something great.

Another thing this scene does effectively is put characters into a situation that we haven’t really seen them in thus far. Herschel and Glenn with guns? Having each other’s back? It’s new and exciting for the show and I hope they continue to expand on the characters and how being forced into new situations informs who they are. We see this played out well with Glenn when he explains to Maggie what happened.

Little hints are dropped throughout the episode (leading up to some not so little hints) that Shane thinks he is pretty much in charge. He sits at the head of the dinner table, he starts making plans, yet one of Herschel’s family members reminds him this is not his home and he needs to keep his language clean while in it. It was a nice touch, especially considering that Herschel later tells him off in a big way, telling him to keep his mouth shut. All this does is anger Shane, of course, and he has a conversation with Lori about how the baby growing inside of her is his, how he needs to keep the both of them safe, and how he thinks she is denying her true feelings for him.

Personally, I think this scares Lori, but what she does in reaction is a bit more creepy, in my eyes. In a very Lady Macbeth-y move, she has what I think will prove to be a very motivating conversation with Rick, about just how dangerous she thinks Shane is. Perhaps this might be one of a few little hooks keeping people watching. For now, I’ll stick around. Especially if these episodes continue to improve.

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Terry Blas is the creator of the web comic Briar Hollow and cohost of The Gnerd podcast. image

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