Season 2, Episode 9—Triggerfinger

The-Walking-Dead-Rick-GlennCrazy tension is starting to mount as our survivors are beginning to realize the living can be just as dangerous as the dead- perhaps even more.

The danger is coming from within as Shane continues to unravel like a frayed sweater in a room full of kittens, and unfortunately there is a Team Rick and Team Shane line being drawn in the sand.  Not to mention enormous pressure coming from the outside as we discover that our friends in the bar from last week weren’t kidding about having lots of other friends-with lots of guns to boot.

The character development in this episode was solid as we see Hershel finally waking up to what’s really happening in the world, and I was even a bit chilled when Lori (not so subtly) suggested that Rick contemplate eliminating Shane as he did the folks in the bar.

That’s what makes this show so alluring. It thrusts us into a world of tough choices provoking us to ask ourselves, “What would I do in that situation?”

“What is right?”

This whole episode (and much of the series) has a revolving theme about self-preservation vs. compassion, and it is truly one of the strengths of the series. You could see the regret in Hershel’s face as he kept looking back at the guy he shot in the firefight who was being eaten alive, but the best scene that drew this idea out is the dilemma Rick faces with saving/killing the young bad guy named Randall who got impaled.

Where does the line fall between compassion vs. self-preservation?

That noteworthy scene begins at 17:30:

Hershel: Rick!  We have to go now.

Rick: No.

Hershel: Shh-I’m sorry son. We have to go.

Randall: No no- don’t leave me please.

Hershel: We have to go.

Rick: We can’t.

Glenn: He was just shooting at us!

Rick: He’s a kid.

Randall: Please help me.

SEASON 2, EPISODE 9 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1. What would you have done with the kid if you were in their situation?
2. Does it make a difference that Randall is a kid in terms of saving him?  Explain.
3. Could you make an argument that it would be more merciful to shoot Randall?  Why or why not?
4. Why would Rick quickly take out the two guys in the bar but struggle with killing one of the same group who tried to shoot him?
5. If you were the kid on the fence, would you rather be saved or shot? Why?
6. Did Rick make the right decision?  Why or why not?

Read the following passage from Scripture:

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?  Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

(James 2:14-17)

7. When do we have opportunities to help people who are in desperate need?
8. Are we just like Hershel when we ignore the cries for help from people who are in spiritual danger?  Why or why not?
9. When have you struggled with compassion vs. self-preservation?
10. According to this passage, how does your compassion and self-sacrifice connect to your faith in Jesus?

Wrap up
Hopefully we won’t ever be in a situation like Rick in this episode, but we have opportunities all the time to help people that are in need.  This week, think about how you can get past your natural tendencies toward self-preservation and focus on the cries for help from the people God puts in our path.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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