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Review #3133: The Walking Dead 2.5: “Chupacabra”

Posted on the 15 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

I’m a bit surprised to find that I’m liking the flashbacks in this show. I think they add a bit of needed perspective. We never really did get to see how things went downhill. Most of that period between Rick getting shot and waking up remains a mystery to us. This flashback that starts off “Chupacabra” was particularly interesting, because it gives us our first (brief) look at the military’s attempts to handle the situation. Napalming the city streets seems like a smart approach, but I guess it wasn’t enough. I hope we get some flashbacks eventually that showcase more of the military response to the zombie crisis. Maybe when the survivors make it to Fort Benning (at least, I’m hoping they make it there eventually).

Review #3133: The Walking Dead 2.5: “Chupacabra”

Of course, anyone who’s read my previous reviews for this show know the main reason I liked this episode. One of the benefits of a longer season is that there’s more time to focus on individual characters. This is a Daryl-centric episode. The cool thing about Daryl is that he doesn’t get involved in all the personal drama of the other survivors. Daryl just does what he has to do, and generally keeps his emotions to himself. So it’s a little hard to figure out what’s really going on in his head. Daryl just spends all his time out looking for Sophia. And that’s our first clue as to Daryl’s state of mind. It’s possible that searching for Sophia is, to a certain extent, Daryl’s way of compensating for not finding Merle.

I found that whole scene of Daryl being injured and surviving to be highly enjoyable, and easily the highlight of the season for me, thus far. (I found it pretty funny that it took all of about a minute for Daryl to rip the sleeves off of his new shirt.) Not only was it pure badass the way Daryl pulled that arrow right through himself so he could headshot a zombie with it, the whole situation also gave us the first good look at Daryl’s psychological state since the start of the season. We’ve never seen Daryl and Merle together onscreen, but Daryl’s hallucination of Merle gives us a pretty good idea of how the two related to each other. It’s good to have Merle back, though it is slightly disappointing that it’s just as a hallucination. Merle was never that interesting a character from a writing perspective, but Rooker managed to make the character interesting enough that I’d like him to show up again at some point, preferably as a real, live person.

It’s really becoming clear how instrumental Merle was in developing Daryl into the man he is today. Daryl’s whole life revolves around the expectations of his big brother. Daryl has always had that sense of family, and that’s what he’s looking for now. He’s committed himself to this new family, but part of him worries that they don’t really care about him. This may partially explain why Daryl is so desperate to find Sophia. It’s almost as if he wants to prove himself to his new family. Daryl still isn’t sure if he belongs with these people or not. And I like how the episode emphasizes Daryl’s wilder side. Daryl seems more comfortable on his own, searching for Sophia, hunting wild game, and killing zombies. It’s easy to understand why Daryl would feel out of place around the rest of the survivors.

It’s nice to see Carol expressing some appreciation for Daryl’s continued efforts to find Sophia. Daryl is pretty uncomfortable, and isn’t really sure how to respond. My impression of Daryl is that he really wants to fit and and be a part of a family, but isn’t really sure how to adapt to it. I don’t know where things might go with Carol, if it’s intended to be just a platonic thing, or something else, but this seems like it would be a very good thing for Daryl, considering the doubts he seems to be having. It’s interesting that Daryl is similar, in some ways, to Carol’s abusive former husband, Ed. He was also a bit of a redneck survivalist type. It’s almost like Daryl is the better version of Ed.

One of my chief worries for this season was how the writers would keep things interesting now that the survivors have settled into their new home base. Things are a bit slower, naturally, but I’m pleased with how this episode begins to address my concerns. Whether this is from the comics or not, I don’t know, but it’s beginning to appear that Hershel’s farm is not quite the idyllic sanctuary that it first appeared to be. Hershel has a whole mess of zombies locked up in the barn, and it’s a bit suspicious that he kept this a secret. What else might he be hiding? Tensions are already starting to mount, every so slowly, between Hershel and the survivors. Why is Hershel so sure that Rick and co. won’t be around for long? I guess we’ll know soon enough.

Rating: 8/10

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