AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 5: “Chupacabra”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by David Leslie Johnson
* For a review of the previous episode, “Cherokee Rose” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Secrets” – click here
We cut back to before the zombie apocalypse. Or, right at the beginning.
Shane (Jon Bernthal), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are out on the highway, alongside Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), her family, as well as tons of others. The road is blocked. Nobody knows what’s happening, while Shane tries to figure things out.
Then, out of the sky come explosions. People on the highway come to blows. Overhead, black helicopters fly in the night, headed towards the city. Everybody on the road heads towards the woods just in time to see the helicopters fire on the city, “dropping napalm in the streets” as Shane observes with wide, terrified eyes. These were the starting moments of what was to come – a better look at what the military did at the start of the outbreak can be seen in Season 1 of Fear the Walking Dead.
Back to the present with the survivors, Lori is still reeling from discovering her pregnancy. Though, it’s clear nobody else knows yet. Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) is up, as is Carol who tends to the laundry. Carol also wants to “cook in a real kitchen again” and cook dinner for Hershel and his family. Good idea, after all they’ve done for the group. Carol also thinks it’s best if the idea comes from Lori who is dubbed the “unofficial First Lady” of their little unit. At the same time, everybody’s still planning their search for Sophia. Daryl (Norman Reedus) has plans to take a horse and go out on his own, as usual; the title of the episode comes from a story he told around the fire about squirrel hunting and seeing an actual chupacabra, the mythical dog-like, bloodsucking creature. Amazing little addition, which surely will come into play later in the episode. Somehow.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) have a tenuous sexual relationship going. Only Maggie doesn’t seem particularly enthralled with their previous lovemaking, to Glenn’s dismay. “We‘ve still got eleven condoms,” Glenn tells her. “You see eleven condoms I see eleven minutes of my life I‘m never gettin‘ back,” replies Maggie.
Shane and Rick are out in the woods together. Like old chums again. Their “high school love life” comes up, respectively. First, Shane goes on about “banging 30 year olds on the regular” such as their P.E. teacher. Second, Rick’s fairly lax love life back then comes out. After a few minutes, Shane gets morbid saying they ought not be talking about their old stories: “The people in our stories are dead.” But he’s the one who brought it all up. He turns it into a talk with Rick about the people who depend on him. There’s always a duality happening. Shane always wants to turn another conversation, any conversation, into one about Rick. Anything he can do to break down the aura of Sheriff Rick Grimes, resident bad ass. He is jealous of everything: Rick and Lori, Rick being Sheriff in their new group essentially, Rick having Carl as a son. It’s as if Shane thought he was going to walk off with Rick’s life after he left him in the hospital, and Rick coming back was a shock to his system. Sad, and will go to tragic lengths.
In his own neck of the woods, Daryl is adventuring alone. Down by the water he tracks Sophia, a doll resting on a log. But after being thrown off the horse Daryl slides down a rocky cliff and into the river. An arrow sticks through his side, he lays there bleeding until eventually crawling out onto the shore. The survivalist in Daryl sees him do a bit of basic medical patchwork to keep him going. He tries to make it up out of valley, struggling over a hill, arrow still in his side. What will become of him? Soon enough he goes flying back down the hill, back he started. Except worse.
Glenn finally confronts Lori about her pregnancy. She needs to keep it quiet for now, which shocks Glenn knowing Rick hasn’t been told. This is developing into a tricky situation for Lori, as she can’t be totally sure whether or not Shane is the father. Deep down, you know that’s she is thinking. At the same time, Rick is already stressed with Shane questioning his leadership, wondering if he “make the hard decisions“.
Not particularly happy with things, Hershel reminds Rick of a need to control their groups respectively. He wasn’t told about Jimmy, the young boy of his group, heading out with Rick and theirs earlier. Nor was he informed about Daryl taking one of their horses. Hopefully communication improves, as Rick absolutely needs Hershel right now. He might not know it, but he does; a pregnant Lori can’t be out walking the wasteland with a child in her belly. Not to mention when it comes time to deliver.
Dale: “If I had known the world was ending, I‘d have brought better books.”
In the wilderness, Daryl is having another hallucination: not a mythical creature this time, instead it’s Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker). The vision of Merle calls his younger brother an “errand boy“, Rick’s “bitch” and so on. He reminds Daryl who is his blood, who is not. The things he tells Daryl aren’t true, they’re simply a darkness in Daryl’s mind speaking aloud in his rough state.
And when Daryl comes to it isn’t Merle over him, but a zombie now. He tries to get a bite of foot. Daryl fights back best he can, smashing the walker’s face in with a big stick. Puling the arrow out of his side, Daryl pushes through the pain and loads it into his crossbow. Just in time to put one through another zombie’s skull. A brutish, savage scene that certainly was, on first watch when it premiered, a scary moment for Dixon fans. Although, you should’ve known a tough son-of-a-bitch like Daryl wasn’t about to go down because of an arrow and blood loss. Afterwards, Daryl chows down on a squirrel, cuts off a few zombie ears to make a necklace, takes Sophia’s doll and heads back on the road, one step at a time. Now and then Merle reappears, cackling and taunting his little brother.
With Andrea on the lookout, she sees a walker on the horizon coming towards the ranch. Only it isn’t the living dead, it is more certainly the living – Daryl moves out of the trees. But with Shane, T-Dog and Rick running to see if it’s a zombie, Andrea is left on top of the R.V. with her rifle. A very tense couple moments pass. When Rick points his gun, then puts it down, a bullet flies past grazing Daryl’s head. She wants so badly to be trusted with the gun yet continually makes people nervous. Fortunately, Daryl is only knocked unconscious. Everyone is still worried, especially considering he’s wearing an ear necklace. But best of all there is a sign of Sophia, giving them a ray of hope in all the darkness. Even more, this situation brings Carol and Daryl closer, which proves to be an awesome, fun, friendly relationship for a long time to come.
A nice dinner is cooked by the women of Rick’s group. Everything is not exactly cheery across the table, everybody quiet and eating with only passing glances to one another. Under the table, Glenn and Maggie pass a note to plan another steamy session; both Hershel and Dale take note, the latter already having warned Glenn about shacking up with their host’s oldest daughter. Definitely going to see a fallout of some kind, even a small one come out of this situation.
Carol: “You need to know something. You did more for my little girl today, than her own daddy did in his whole life.”
Daryl: “I didn‘t do anything Rick or Shane wouldn‘t have done.”
Carol: “I know. You‘re every bit as good as them. Every bit.”
There’s already fallout. Just not the sort we might’ve expected. Maggie opens the note Glenn gave her at the table and it asks- Ever done it in a hay loft? This prompts a scared look from her.
Cut to Glenn out at the barn. Remember, the one Hershel said Rick out to stay away from? Well as he goes to check the place out, Glenn makes an unsettling, disturbed discovery: the barn is full of walkers locked inside. What is Hershel doing with all them? Will he tell the rest of the group? “You weren‘t supposed to see this,” Maggie says catching up to him.
The following episode, “Secrets”, will certainly drop a few bombs. Looking forward to another viewing. Stay with me and a review will be up soon enough.