The Walking Dead S2, E5: “Chupacabra”

Remember all that stuff I’ve been complaining about most of the season? Well, “Chupacabra” was a full hour of all the worst bits of the show. Granted, there were some cliffhangers of gut-wrenching proportions (and Daryl is made of win), but those were flickers of light in a silly, insipid world. The Walking Dead wants desperately to be a great show (and, if you go by the ratings, there are many people who believe it’s the next best thing to M*A*S*H), but it’s a long way from “great.”

I have very little patience for cold open time jumps. Most of the time they serve as filler and don’t actually add to the plot or characters (see “Save the Last One” as a prime example). While we didn’t exactly need this episode’s flashback (the scene would’ve better served season 1), it doled out some decent back story on how Shane and Lori were pushed together and why they’d even bother going off with Carol’s family. Side note: if that was supposed to be Atlanta the helicopters napalmed, why didn’t we see the bombed-out results?

It’s a bad sign when every time the camera pans to someone other than Daryl or Glenn I immediately lose interest. It’s an even worse sign when I find myself wanting to smack one of the only two characters I can tolerate when the writers ruin him by falling back on tired gender stereotypes. Seriously, Glenn? PMS? Because Maggie isn’t up for round two she’s automatically on her period? She couldn’t just, oh, I don’t know, not want to have sex again? Glenn is smarter than that. And that cocky lean against the pillar as he shows off his over masculine sexuality was so caveman douchebag it retroactively tainted my good opinion of him. (Also, dude, c’mon, if Lori’s preggo, how the hell can she be hormonal from PMS?) Speaking of awful stereotypes, Tarzan hunt missing girl, Jane stay home make food and do laundry. Listening to Shane and Rick recount their sexual exploits is just as pleasant as listening them talk about chicks, man, in the patrol car during the pilot.

Apparently Shane reverted back to being the village tool. And to top it all off, he’s taken over Lori’s role as Debbie frakking Downer. He’s not just depressing, he’s an ass. The only thing he’s capable of is pushing Rick’s buttons in his own personal pissing contest. Rick may be president of their idiotic little gang, but Shane is intent on needling him every step of the way. Yes, I get why he’s behaving that way, and no, I don’t know why I keep expecting the writers to be more subtle in shifts in character dynamics. Shane is back to being a shouting machine with nothing useful to contribute.

Lori popped in to remind us she’s still carrying a secret baby, Dale for whatever reason thinks Hershel’s feelings are more important than Maggie’s, Carol acted like a 1950s housewife, some other people did stuff, and Hershel’s true colors began to bleed through. Last week I said he was a deep river, and tonight we saw some of those swirling depths. His father left more of an impression than he would care to admit. Hershel’s quite the little dictator, in life and in death. He rules his farm with an iron fist in a velvet glove and if Rick continues to poke the bear in the zoo he will get bit, either by Hershel or his pet walkers.

The best part of every episode this season has been Daryl, and he continues to win in “Chupacabra.” His story line this week is exactly the kind of stuff I hoped this show would be. What happens to him isn’t due to stupidity (probably should’ve asked first about that horse, though) like every other situation his companions have stumbled into (anyone feel like hoisting a zombie out of a well?), but just something crappy that happened. Instead of overreacting or panicking, Daryl went a teensy bit cuckoo bananas and dug out of his own grave.

I went into TWD expecting Breaking Bad plus zombies, a high quality show about a group of if not likable then at least interesting characters struggling their way through the end of civilization. Instead we ended up with True Blood that thinks it’s Breaking Bad, a low quality show with ridiculous characters, sitcom-level dialogue, and cul-de-sac plots that thinks it’s better than it really is. With a lot less sexy vampire sex. Plus zombies. The cake is a blood-encrusted lie. I was promised great drama and got pulp fiction instead.

Final Thoughts

  • “They’re dropping napalm in the streets.”
  • “My son and I are not your problem anymore. Or your excuse.”
  • “People in hell want slurpees.”
  • “You see eleven condoms, I see eleven minutes of my life I’m never getting back.”
  • “Keep it simple. I’ll control my people, you control yours.”
  • “It’s a wonder you people have survived this long.”
  • “I shot Daryl.” “Don’t be too hard on yourself. We’ve all wanted to shoot Daryl.”
  • I don’t know about you, but when all my girlfriends and I get our periods at the exact same time we all turn into raging hormonal bitches.
  • Hell on Wheels isn’t nearly as heavy metal awesome as the commercials make it out to be.
  • I know I say this every ep., but Daryl is soooooo cool. If Norman Reedus doesn’t win an Emmy I’m gonna be mighty pissed.
  • Couldn’t concentrate during Daryl’s Merle hallucination. TWD needs to hire a new continuity person, because whoever is supervising now totally screwed up that scene. Now he has mud on his chin, now he doesn’t!
  • That zombie ear necklace, while a sexy little accessory, cannot be sanitary. Also, how cute was it when Daryl covered up for modesty when Carol brought him dinner.
  • Shane thinks barking orders is authoritative, but Rick’s diplomacy and ability to pick his battles is what makes him a leader.
  • Someone take that gun away from Andrea before I hit her with it.
  • Now that the show is veering back toward the comics, make sure you preface your spoilery comments for the virgins.

Alex Brown is an archivist by passion, reference librarian by profession, writer by moonlight, and all around geek who watches entirely too much TV. She is prone to collecting out-of-print copies of books by Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen, and Douglas Adams, probably knows far too much about pop culture than is healthy, and thinks her rats Hywel and Odd are the cutest things ever to exist in the whole of eternity. You can follow her on Twitter if you dare.


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