But despite the promise of its title, "Triggerfinger" devotes the majority of its runtime not to gunplay, but to wordplay—or at least, what passes for wordplay when it comes to The Walking Dead's below-par dialogue. As it turns out, love abounds in the time of zombies, and "Triggerfinger" focuses on two pairings and a trio: Daryl and Carol, Glenn and Maggie, and the long-running tensions between Rick, Lori, and Shane.
The budding relationship (romance?) between Daryl and Carol is The Walking Dead's most unexpected, and theoretically its most interesting. And it's built on more than their Us Weekly-friendly rhyming names; Daryl and Carol each have pasts marred by abuse (Darryl's father and Carol's husband, respectively), and the two are each mourning the death of Carol's daughter Sophia. But Daryl's standoffishness and disconsolate rage threaten to keep the two apart before they've begun (and his collection of zombie ears won't help much either). The Walking Dead still hasn't done enough to establish Carol as a three-dimensional character, but it's promising to see the series hinting at a new storyline for one of its least-utilized characters. We'll see if they follow through on that promise in the weeks to come.
The central romance of season two has been between Glenn and Maggie Greene, who told Glenn she loved him in last week's episode. It's a moment that might have had a little more emotional weight if The Walking Dead had actually showed it. The Glenn-Maggie relationship has promise, too; Glenn is consistently one of the series' most interesting and best-acted characters (due in no small part to the talents of Steven Yeun), and Maggie is by far the best character to emerge from Hershel's farm. But the weight of the relationship carries new consequences for the characters; in "Triggerfinger" Glenn freezes in a moment of danger, failing to help Rick and Hershel as they fend off their adversaries—because he carries the additional burden of Maggie's love, and because he's afraid of what his death would do to her. As far as logic goes, the explanation doesn't totally pass the smell test—wouldn't it be just as logical for love to make him fight harder to get back to her?—but as a TV contrivance designed to keep the lovebirds apart, it's serviceable enough.
With the two newer romances on hold, The Walking Dead returns to its old faithful: the Rick-Shane-Lori love triangle, which is easily one of the most lopsided love triangles in television history. The Walking Dead has repeatedly missed opportunities to make Shane a more realistic rival for Lori's affections, and "Triggerfinger" features yet another, when Shane rescues Lori from the car wreck—proving a commitment to protecting that even Rick hasn't offered—before lying, rambling, and generally acting like enough of a crazy person that Lori essentially tells Rick to kill him by the episode's end.