'The Walking Dead': Finally, Rick's the man Lori needs

twd-s2-ep9-rick.jpgWhen Zap2it talked to "The Walking Dead" showrunner Glen Mazzara in Janaury, he stressed the importance of horror movie pacing. After watching Sunday's (Feb. 19) episode, "Triggerfinger," we know why. The show -- one of Mazzara's first without the imprint of predecessor Frank Darabont -- brought the show a new aesthetic.

From the first seconds of the show when Lori ( Sarah Wayne Callies) wakes up in her crashed car with a zombie trying to force his way through a shattered windshield just inches from her face, we were on the edge of our seats. And her kill -- a turn-signal stick through the eye -- didn't do anything to slow things down.

While Lori was busy dispatching zombies, Rick ( Andrew Lincoln), Hershel ( Scott Wilson) and Glenn ( Steven Yeun) were busy back in town fighting off the first live people we've seen since Rick found Glenn in Atlanta. The way that scene -- set in the bar where two other interlopers were gunned down by Rick in the midseason premiere -- was shot had tinges of Scary Movie-making 101 all over it, too. The way it was shot, in particular. We would not just see Rick, but see him as Hershel or Glenn would -- framed by a doorway or a piece of furniture in the foreground. It lent the show a new immediacy and cinematic quality that raised it's game up a notch, if not two.

A lot happened in this show, and we'll talk about it in Monday's Zombie Chat at 1 p.m. ET, but the crux of the episode was Lori's Lady MacBeth-like machinations to set Rick and Shane on the path to a showdown. The final scene, as homey and safe as it felt inside Lori and Rick's tent, was the most powerful as Lori carefully made her case.

"You killed the living to protect what's yours?" she asks when Rick tells her about the barroom shootout.

He replies in the affirmative and we can see Lori suddenly realize that he is exactly what she wants: someone who will do anything -- moral or not -- to protect her, Carl and her unborn baby. She no longer needs to keep Shane around in case Rick doesn't prove to be up to the job, so with a whisper she lays the groundwork for Rick to think of his one-time best friend as a threat to his family.

Hats off to Lincoln for that final shot where he stares dead into the camera and we slowly see his personal ethics aligning with what he said early in the episode as he tried to avoid a showdown with the gunmen.

"We've all done things we didn't want to," he says. "It's like that now, you know that."

Finally, he is the man Lori needs.

A few other points of interest:

-- Carl continues to become a more complex character; he tells mom he would've shot Sophia, too, if dad hadn't. We also love that he's now wearing his dad's sheriff's hat full-time, just like in the comics.

-- Andrea and Shane seem to be circling each other again. She thinks he's the group's unacknowledged leader. He's in need of a fan. We're not sure where this is going, but have a feeling it can't end well for either of them.

-- Daryl ( Norman Reedus) seems to be working through his grief (and hopefully getting over his Sawyer stage). By the end of the show he seemed to have been successfully brought back into the fold by Carol (Melissa McBride).

-- Glenn is in love (with Maggie) and it is scary. We feel for you, dude.





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