So, where were we? The country style kill machine Daryl gave Carol a Cherokee rose, little Sophia was still missing, the Rick/Lori/Shane triangle was still chugging a long and Glen, the wonderful and amazing Asian gave Maggie, the farmers daughter the best damn 45 seconds of her life! We saw last weeks teaser, we know that Merle is back in some way shape or form and the title of the episode is Chupacabra. What can we expect? The search party finally finds little Sophia but she is pinned in the middle of a zombie vs goat sucker blood bath? Nope, but we do get another cold intro flashback, wa-hoo.
Ready to talk about this weeks The Walking Dead?
The cold opening flashback seems a little tacked on. Personally, and maybe I am in the minority here, I enjoyed not knowing about what lead up to the zombie infested world we see each week. I kind of liked being in Rick Grimes perspective of being dropped into it and just moving forward. We learn that Carol’s abusive husband/Sophia’s useless now dead dad was apparently always useless and abusive, and was also into hoarding food and being a dick. Thank you for expanding on a dead character with stuff we pretty much knew already. We also learn that on the way to Atlanta ‘they’ stopped broadcasting the emergency signal moments before going all Apocalypse Now on the city. Not really the most important thing to add to the story, however it was pretty neat.
Back to now and back on the farm, Dale is cheerful, Lori is pregnant, and Carol wants to cook a meal for Herschel and the clan as a way of saying thanks. The search for the eternally missing Sophia continues, a little more focused now thanks to Daryl discovering the farm house where the little girl may have been and probably ate cat food. At this point, Shane decides to tell Rick what we’ve all been yelling at the screen the past few weeks. Maybe it is time to call of the search. Of course it is hard to gauge how long she has been missing as a view, they don’t really let us know just how long its been, but come on. It’s starting to drag the show down. The only purpose it seems to serve now is to cause friction between Rick and Herschel over Daryl’s commandeering of a horse, one of farm dwellers going out to search without the consent of Dr. Greene and to have Daryl once more venture off alone into the woods to give us some good old fashioned hillbilly anti-zombie fun.
If you are a zombie or a squirrel, be warned. Daryl has a crossbow bolt with your name on it. Ok, he only has one so it probably just says ‘you’ on it, regardless. This is about the point where I start to wonder why Daryl is even slumming around with the rest of the survivors. While everyone else is talking about their emotions or questioning a higher power, he’s the only one getting s#!t done. Along the river, he finds the second chunk of evidence that little Sophia might still be in the land of the living. A not close enough to infringe on copyrights Raggedy Anne doll. This is also where the above mentioned arrow turns on its master. A snake spooks the horse, throws Daryl off and into the river, with his one arrow puncturing his side.
This is also where we get the episodes title and welcome back Merle, sorta. Daryl apparently once saw a Chupacabra, and as the imaginary Merle tells us, he was on ‘shrooms at the time. Yes, the imaginary Merle, big brother pops back in this episode as Daryl’s subconscious, brought on by the pain of his injuries. I actually really liked this plot device, going so far as to say I prefer it over the character coming back in the flesh, alive or undead. Don’t worry, Merle is still an insufferable ass in his imaginary form. Daryl’s visions of him reveal far more about their relationship, makes you love Daryl more as he defies his abusive older brother. He awakes to a zombie with a taste for shoe leather, takes him and his zombie traveling partner out and keeps their ears as souvenirs.
Back at the farm, we finally see some plot lines progress. Glen and Dale exchange a dialogue about the ladies that reveals a couple of things, Glen has an amateurish and dangerous understanding of a woman’s, um, cycle and that while everyone is content on playing house, things are starting to break down a little. Herschel’s distrust of Rick and the survivors is growing as they continue to wear out their welcome. Lori’s pregnancy is still a secret shared with just her and Glen and you can see the question as to who the father is hangs heavy on her. Andrea, who was starting to almost seem less insane flips back to her aggressive and unsettling ways, wanting to take a more active approach to the defensive of the farm, with very unfortunate results.
She shoots Daryl.
When our favorite redneck zombie kill machine finally makes his way back to the farm, he is bloody, muddy, and somewhat in Andrea’s defense, sort of did look like a walker from a distance. What I found very interesting is how Rick, trying to keep the survivors somewhat in Hershel’s good books, calls out to not shoot because the small town vet wants to handle them himself, why? What for? How? Doesn’t really matter because as soon as Rick, Shane, T-Dog and, Glen get close enough to see that its Daryl, she shoots anyways. The classic just grazed head shot knock out plot device, somewhere an old western writer is smiling.
To be honest, this episode still has the same jerky start and stop cadence that has plagued the whole second season thus far. As a handful of dangling plot pieces are tied up with dialogue towards the end, we just see a few things repeated. Rick and Shane disagree, Hershel distrust is growing, Lori is moving towards a mental break down.
When we finally get to the planned meal from the start of the episode, we also see Maggie in an act of rebellion. Hershel advised her to not be so ‘friendly’ with Glen, which leads to a mid meal not passing to plan a late night rendezvous and Glen, a classic casanova, opts for a romp in the hay.
How the HELL did no one ever notice the barn doors shake and moan? Wait, let me back up, the barn was a rockin long before Glen came a knockin. See, old man Hershel has been penning up walkers in there, Maggie wasn’t able to stop Glen before he climbed in and found it all out. This really bugs me, sure Doc Greene forbade anyone from going near the barn, but come on… Are we to believe the zombies have stayed quiet? I’m not familiar with zombies exercising this much restraint, especially when humans are coexisting on the same property.
Why is Hershel keeping a small zombie herd? Well, this is the set up for next weeks obviously titled Secrets:
oh, and here is the sneak peek,