TV Review: The Walking Dead – Chupacabra

Wow, seems like quite a lot got introduced last night, from some more in-depth discussion about how reasonable it is to continue to search for Sophia, to Daryl’s hallucinating Merle who in turn tried to undermine the strength of the group, on up to Glenn stumbling into the otherwise normal Hershel’s barn full of zombies.

Let’s look at the Sophia one first, since the show really seems to be spinning its wheels on the lost girl. This time, the debate was between Shane and Rick, with Shane being the voice of cold logic and Rick defaulting back to emotion, with a few nice touches of pure selfishness thrown in for good measure. Shane’s argument centered around looking at the situation logically. At this point, the girl has been missing so long that, statistically, it’s extremely unlikely that she’ll still be alive. Further searches are both putting people at undue risk, and slowing their progress to Ford Benning, a plot point I pretty much forgot about.

Huh, looks like some good stuff down there.

Rick, on the other hand, focused entirely on emotional arguments. Finding Sophia was the right thing to do, she’s just a little girl, etc. But the most telling of his arguments was that they needed to find the girl because she looked right in his eyes and trusted him. He let her down, and he’s willing to risk the safety of the group to make that right.

I believe there’s a pretty interested debate here. While I try to be logical, I, like Rick, have a hard time overcoming the hurdle that there’s a little girl lost in the woods full of zombies. Just writing her off and moving on is, well, a little cold. But I can definitely see what Shane is trying to say here. They have finite resources, most of their people have no experience in the woods, and every time they go out they’re risking their lives. So where would I fall? I guess I’m just glad to not have to make the call.

Speaking of people risking their lives, poor Daryl sure ended up on the short end of the stick this week. After his skittish horse bucked him down a steep ravine, he found himself pretty badly injured and totally cut off. In pain and exhausted, he starts to hallucinate his brother bullying him into getting up and getting back to safety. A bit of a cheat after the Merle appearance in the promo, but I guess we should have saw that coming.

The fact that Merle, and by extension his insane paranoia, was all in Daryl’s head was interesting, but I think it stretched believability a tad too far. Daryl has been a fairly well respected member of the group, who has risked his life time and again to help others, and is working well past the point of exhaustion to track down Sophia. I can buy that he’s got some doubts about his place in the group and what these people truly feel about him, but Merle coming out and saying he was a hated outsider was just too on-the-nose for me.

However, Merle’s pr essence did lead to one incredible transition: between Merle kicking Daryl’s foot to get him moving, with the reveal that a zombie was trying to chew through the man’s boot. Awesome stuff.  This, in turn, led to a pretty fantastic zombie fight, with Daryl brutally dispatching two zeds while in extreme pain.

And, of course, Daryl goes through hell to get back to camp, only to get winged in the head by Andrea with a hunting rifle. I honestly didn’t care for this twist in the least. Andrea just blatantly ignored everyone telling her not to shoot, then takes a pot shot at a target she can’t really see, all while four or five of her friends are down range, and after they all lay down arms on seeing who the “walker” really was? Stupidity.

Arguably the biggest development of the night was one I’d been waiting for since we met Hershel: the big barn full of zeds. It was very nicely setup a little earlier in the episode, when Rick mentioned that Hershel wanted to deal with the zombies personally, but the show never put too fine a point on it. When Glenn climbed into the barn anticipating a little loving and finding a dozen zeds inside, well, that was just fantastic.

Chupacabra was definitely a spacer episode. It was more focused on moving a lot of pieces into place than telling its own story, but that’s an unfortunate necessity with serialized shows like this. It opened some interesting arguments, but fell back on silly coincidences and bad writing a little too much for me to praise. That said, I’m definitely interested to see where we’re going next.

Grade: C+

48 Comments

Dave

Oh course not; I just think that this show tends to handle the scenes with zombies a lot better than the scenes without.

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Calicade

Hmm.. Indeed.. Zombies do tend to flavor things up with emotions.. And it comes more natural to people to kill for survival.. Then to talk about their emotions.

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Dave

Most definitely. This show in particular really seems to struggle with character moments though.

Angelina

I was thinking the same thing. I would have tried to stay away from that family if I’d heard that exchange.

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Calicade

Well fucking hell!.. Daryl is just that much cooler now… The rogue of the group fo’ sho.

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Calicade

You know the Australians in Vietnam would collect the penises & ears of the Vietnamese they killed? Insanity cannot be judged on trophies.

Dave

Well when you see a dude walking down the street wearing a necklace made of human ears, you don’t try to size up the strength of his psyche.

Calicade

Me personally? I’ll compliment them on the nice set of trophies.. And if they try to attack me, then its their ear that will be joining the others.

Calicade

RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGERAGE RAGE RAGERAGE RAGE RAGERAGE RAGE RAGERAGE RAGE RAGERAGE RAGE RAGERAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE
Stupid blonde bimbo!

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Dave

Hah. I can’t imagine Dale’s going to be too happy now, what with Merle putting that bug in his ear, and then, you know, getting shot.

Angelina

When Daryl went down I thought for sure it was the end of the episode. I was swearing up a storm until I checked the time.
Almost killing the best character on the show better wake her ass up!
I was worried that “Merle” messing with his head would and the missing horse would trigger Daryl to run off. He better work through whatever is going on or AMC is gonna hear from me. A strongly worded letter goes a long way. lol

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zombiemutts

“When Daryl went down I thought for sure it was the end of the episode,I was swearing up a storm until I checked the time.”

I dropped the biggest F-Bomb at my place and got weird stares from the two people watching it with me

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Calicade

Lol my whole family said “What the fuck?” It was a nice bonding experience for us all to all yell in anger at Merle as well.

Angelina

I forgot… does anyone know how much time has past on the show? I’m thinking it’s been a week or 2 since Rick found the group. If so, she cannot deny that the baby is Shane’s. Facebook fans are debating about who’s baby that is.

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zombiemutts

“It opened some interesting arguments, but fell back on silly coincidences and bad writing a little too much for me to praise”

I am not sure why none of this has bothered me so far. This is normally something I zero in on.

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Dave

For me, if this episode had a more definitive direction rather than being a setup episode I probably wouldn’t have minded as much.

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zombiemutts

Honestly I didn’t see it as a set up episode since by nature this show should always be linked together every time. So in essence you could say every episode was a set up right? These episodes tend to have several points to make and for me the main story was one about Daryl. We learned so much about Daryl and his past and the writers spared us from a boring flash back.

Daryl is a huge player now as evidenced by everyone being so upset that he got shot. I think it’s important and wise they showed us so much about him. Even better they showed us he is not like his brother which. In my opinion being able to do that without idiotic flash backs of two kids or teenagers well played.

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Dave

Well with serializes shows, there’s always a sort of continuous motion, liek you describe, but I still think there are peaks and valleys in activity, and there are moments where you need to move the pieces into place for one of those peaks.

In this case, we’ve obviously got something big brewing with Hershel’s barn, but along the way we’ve also got to make it so that the group isn’t as cohesive as it should be. So what does the show do? It throws a few monkey wrenches into things. Tension between Rick’s group and Hershel’s. Rick and Shane butting heads on the Sophia question. Lori hiding her pregnancy and Glenn knowing about it (and clearly needing someone to talk to). Daryl resenting the group. Andrea accidentally shooting him.

With all those little things cranking up the pressure, when the big thing does hit, it hits bigger.

Angelina

I know what you mean about cranking up the tension for the big thing. With all the small irons in the fire, besides Shane, it’s hard to tell who is on the brink and who will stand strong.

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zombiemutts

One thing I love that this show gets right every frame is the look of filth on everyone when appropriate. Nothing bothers me more than when you see groups of people in a show that always look like they are ready for a photo shoot for some clothing line.

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Angelina

Skinny too. I was thinking that if the zombies don’t kill Lori or her baby, the lack of food will. Women put on weight to keep a baby healthy when preggo. If she doesn’t get more food, the baby will not live. But then… problem solved! lol

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Calicade

Though the thinking is quite harsh.. If she manages to maintain and have the baby.. The groups fucked.

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Dave

Yeah, the pregnant/having a newborn in the undead world thing is just balls out insane.

When my wife was pregnant I tried my hand at a short story on the subject. Didn’t come out very well at all, but just thinking through what you’d do with a baby when trying to survive. It boggles the mind.

Dave

I’m curious what everyone thought about Glenn’s “Are they all menstruating at the same time” line. The wife and I talked about it quite a bit, and we kind of both believe it’s indicative of the show not knowing quite what to do with female characters. Any thoughts?

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Calicade

Hmm.. I’m rather harsh.. And I’m the only male child out of 3 children.. so..
I would expect them all to get over it.. Of course there are the cramps, but keep the attitude in check.. I don’t care if anyone is feeling pain.. In my mind each sex should be treated equally… So no pity, and no “Oh men are stronger” Or “Oh women are stronger” Its all bullshit and I won’t have it.. Personally.

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Angelina

I think it is funny that the genders did fall into sterotypical rolls and that the group has discussed it … ladies complaining about doing laundry and all. I took the scene to be more related to Glenn being a young inexperienced man. Having a girl as a roommate is way different that living with mom or sisters.
As a girl, I get along better with guys so I am not really sure how I would deal with other women in my group.

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Calicade

You do have a point there Angelina.. I was raised a gentlemen.. So the only time I really lay the fist down is because some one is being ignorant, a douche bag, or just over all causing issues.

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Angelina

I like that he is that character. Despite the end of the world, he is cautious but optimistic – things can’t be this bad forever but I’ll deal with it bad while it is.

A kid cannot play that roll since they are scared and under mom’s care and older people have seen to much of the world even before the end to be that character.

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legomiles

FX airs The Walking Dead a week later in the UK, but it was worth the wait! The barn filled with zeds was a nice touch, but I’d like to know how they got there. Will the team be forced to make an impromptu move before the big breakout? Will Sophia be Left 4 Dead? Did the sheriff guy (sorry don’t know all their names) notice that rag pinned to the tree in the woods?

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