What did The Walking Dead teach us, for what seems like the hundredth time? Never. Leave. The Farm. It only leads to potential death.
Realistically, the group won't take the advice and for the sake of the show and this episode it provided for a fantastic hour of television. "Triggerfinger" brought back to life the intensity and pulse-pounding thrills that seemed to have taken a nap on much of the early half of season 2.
The best moments revolved around Rick, Glenn and Hershel penned up in the bar after killing Tony and Dave. Not only was there finally some action (man, can Hershel run and shoot! Who knew?), but the pacing of tension during those scenes was top notch. There was a real sense of waiting for something bad to happen, waiting for something to pop out and waiting to see how Rick and the two would escape.
I enjoyed some of the stylistic choices of camera work here, which included plenty of zoom-ins on characters and dramatic close-ups that captured the fear of being trapped and on the verge of an unknown death. Even the crooked angles and high above shots gave the episode a certain freshness that - combined with the shootout - made for a high level of intensity.
I have no idea what made Rick call out to the men after he left, but I guess it's in his nature to try and make everything okay, or at least justify his actions. Which were true, he was drawn upon first, yet I don't know why he didn't make up a story, like they thought they were walkers and that's why they shot.
And the show does a good job of maintaining for the audience the recognition that Rick and everyone associated with him are the "good guys" and everyone else starts off as a potential threat. In fact, we don't know anything about the other group or what they've been through. They may be good guys themselves simply looking to survive. It's a great dynamic to introduce.
It's also enjoyable to see that dangerous situations aren't always involving zombies. It's still nice to have that very basic conflict between people. And unlike walkers, humans are perfectly unpredictable.
To top off the problem situation, the sound of gunfire called in more walkers. If you've been missing out on the gore, (and yes, watching zombies rip flesh off still alive people is disgusting), this episode was sure to be right up your alley. I know I've missed dealing with their stumbling, gnashing, clawing, selves.
Even Rick pulling up Randall's leg from the fence spike was intense. The feeling of everything closing in around them and the potential inevitability of leaving him behind while he was screaming and the zombies were stumbling closer was pure terror. Leave it to Rick to make the quick decision to save him. The choice certainly means that Rick still has a sense of right and wrong, a level of humanity, even when faced with death. He hasn't become as hardened as someone like Shane. Sure, his kills on Tony and Dave were relatively cold and direct, but he was drawn upon, and he wants to protect his people.
Rick may be an idealist in many terms, but he continues to prove his status as a leader who makes the right decisions and a true hero of the show.
Plus, he told Lori what I'd been thinking about her actions in running after him: "Are you crazy?" Well said, Rick. At least you recognize the idiocy behind it.
I guess I'm just glad that they didn't draw the particular car crash scene out, nor did they seem to imply that a cliffhanger would involve whether or not her baby was alright (at least for now.) It really seemed like she walked away from that crash pretty unharmed. Not great story wise, but not overly drawn out.
And while I think many of Lori's choices don't make any sense, I was glad that she told Shane about letting Rick know that they had slept together. She was even clear about there being nothing between them without any hesitancy. It looks like only beast mode Shane sees this destiny of love for them.
I was pleased that she let Rick know what happened as well. It's kind of refreshing when characters don't hold back all of this important information and simply communicate, especially with Lori and Rick as husband and wife. That's what they should be doing if they want to keep their family and their relationship intact.
If anything, it looks like Rick may need to prepare for a potential Shane problem. Like that wasn't obvious? Though, those final moments seemed to imply that we won't have to wait five or six episodes before anything takes place. Things are starting to pick up and a Shane and Rick face off seems very likely.
That included bringing back Randall to the farm. The possibility of warring factions between two groups is intriguing, as is the potential for moving the story forward. Hopefully, Randall has plenty of character and dimensionality and is not just a catalyst for a action packed standoff. I'm really excited to see where this new storyline takes us.
This was an entertaining, tension-filled and story-moving episode. While the characters still haven't left the farm or dealt with the aftermath of the barn massacre, there was a great amount of pacing and action to get things going. I think a show like this is really most effective when it finds a way to build suspense, allowing the viewer to become sucked in and giving the characters things to do that not only make a modicum amount of sense, but also push everything forward.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.