I return this week with another early review from The Walking Dead Season 2. Episode 9 is titled Triggerfinger, and like the last review, this will be mostly spoiler-free. I’ll touch upon many of the main themes and elements of the episode, but have specifically omitted a couple of items to prevent giving everything away. If you haven’t watched any of The Walking Dead Season 2, you’ll want to avoid this review.

**Mild Spoiler Warning** The Walking Dead’s midseason return ended with a bang and episode 9 deals with the aftermath of Rick’s actions. Even though Rick probably didn’t realize it, Dave and Tony alluded to the fact that they weren’t alone, and their friends come looking for them. We’ve seen Rick in action before, but now we get to see how Glenn and Hershel handle a hostile situation.

Except for the barn shootout in episode 7, there has been a bit of a zombie dry spell for the last few episodes. Sure, we’ve seen the occasional zombie in the woods, but nothing matching the numbers in the season 2 premiere or when Shane and Otis were at the school. Triggerfinger gives fans plenty of zombie-related action and reminds Rick and the audience that the zombies are never far behind. As usual, the look of the zombies is impressive and one zombie in particular really stands out as having one of the better makeup effects of this season.

Jon Bernthal continues to impress as Shane and remains one of the most (if not the most) interesting character on the show. The Walking Dead is definitely Rick’s story, but I find it is easier to understand Shane’s actions. Although Shane has made mistakes and is too blunt for his own good, he brought the search for Sophia to an end and really does look out for the group. The show is leading to a fight between Rick’s side and Shane’s side, but they are going to have to really make the audience hate Shane if they want us rooting for Rick. They tried to do that with the death of Otis and we’re seeing more of unstable Shane in this episode.

Episode 9 furthers relationship issues between Glenn and Maggie, as well as Daryl and Carol. Glenn and Maggie seem to be spinning their wheels a little bit. This kind of back and forth may be normal in the real world, but I'm surprised they aren't getting along better given their current situation. Daryl and Carol's relationship is an interesting, albeit surprising, match. They may not have a physical relationship, but it's obvious that Carol cares for him more than others in the group. I'm curious how their relationships will change when more group fighting breaks out.

Last review, I mentioned that Andrea and T-dog were mostly absent from episode 8. We’re still not getting much of T-dog in this episode, but we see Andrea continue to change from her season 1 character and there is more interaction between her and Shane. This episode makes it seem like Shane and Andrea could be a strong team, something that is an interesting change for fans of the comic book series.

This episode definitely delivers on the extra action that has been promised, but the story is still building up to a larger conflict and there are only 4 episodes left. I could be wrong, but I feel like this season is going to end like the last episodes of Spartacus and go out with a bang. Some people are worried about the show pacing, but this isn’t Lost. There isn’t a huge mystery that will only be revealed at the end of the series. Not only will this show move beyond Hershel’s farm, it needs to do so quickly and without as many members of the group.

Overall, this is another solid episode of The Walking Dead. There are those that may never be happy with the balance of this show, but I think they’ve done a great job mixing the character building with the horror. For me, the deciding factor on this season will be how they conclude it. We’ve seen some great build-up and it’s leading to what will hopefully be a huge conflict at the end of the season. Unless the creative powers have decided to extend some of the drama and popular characters, I’m predicting that 4+ characters will be dead by the end of the season.

Episode Score: 3.5/5

*Scoring: In terms of scoring, I’m not rating The Walking Dead against other TV shows. The score is based on how I rate this episode against other episodes in this season.

Catch up on our recent coverage of The Walking Dead Season 2: