AMC: The Walking Dead Review – Episode 2.5 “Chupacabra”

Last week, I was a bad TV reviewer. Through the combination of a busy Sunday, and AMC changing its scheduling a bit because of the premiere of Hell on Wheels, I missed The Walking Dead. I’m knee-deep in the zombie apocalypse again this week, and it looks like I didn’t miss too much. Can’t say that I’m super excited about the Lori is pregnant plot and the predictable “who’s the father” question that will hang over the show for the next couple of episodes, but I think that for now I can largely ignore this.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, it seems like tensions are beginning to develop between Rick’s group and Herschel’s people. Herschel is a patriarch who’s kept a tight reign over his people, as we can see when he tries to assert his control over Maggie by telling her not to see Glenn again. We learn at the end of the episode that Herschel’s keeping a barn full of zombies for some obscure reason; I wouldn’t be surprised if this has something to do with the reason that the people in the house have been relatively untouched by the blight of zombies everywhere else. It echoes a plot from this summer’s Falling Skies, in which a group of humans cut a deal with the aliens; they’d be left alone, as long as they gave the aliens a kid every once and a while (and this plot calls to mind a similar one from Watership Down, one of my favorite childhood books). There’s nothing wrong with this sort of “protection through collaboration” idea, but just feel like I’ve seen a lot of it before, so I hope that Herschel hasn’t actually made some kind of devil’s deal to keep the zombies away from his people.

This episode, though, was really about Daryl. What an incredible badass, with a heart of gold no less. It’s pretty impressive to pull a crossbow bolt out of your body and then use it to shoot a zombie through the head. During his time in the wilderness, we learn a bit more about what makes Daryl tick. He thinks no one believes in him, and no one thinks he’s worth anything (makes sense where this outlook came from, with an abusive brother like Merle and a neglectful father) so he’s driven to prove everyone wrong. Life is cheap in this world, so I thought there was actually a small chance that Andrea killed Daryl when he stumbled back into camp. Luckily, though, she just grazed him. He brings back Sophia’s doll, giving the group new hope that the girl might still be alive out there. As he lies in bed, trying to recover from his wounds, Carol tells Daryl that he did more for her daughter than her father ever did; that was a nice touch, and shows how people in the group are really starting to care for his loveable redneck.

Crazy Violence Level: 6 of 10

Comments: Not a ton of zombie killing, but holy crap Daryl is one bad (in a good way) dude.

Notable Highlights:

– Crazy bad-ass sequence in which Daryl pulls a crossbow bolt out of his side, loads it, and shoots a zombie through the brain.

– Also, I seem to remember Daryl bashing a zombies face in rather gruesomely with the crossbow stock. Good stuff.