The Walking Dead – Season 2 Episode 5 “Chupacabra”

Written by Chris Beaulieu November 16, 2011

In “Chupacabra” the hunt for Sophia resumes in full force, but some like Shane are beginning to question it. As Rick delivers orders over a map, it becomes unquestionable that he has become the leader, however only of the group considered to be “his people”, which becomes a driving conflict in the episode. Hershel begins doing everything in his power to divide Rick’s “people” and his “people”, hoping for some departure of the new group; it doesn’t help that everyone seems to be pushing Hershel’s buttons. The resounding message of this episode is that Rick and his companions need not make themselves comfortable while at the Greene farm, and that they may soon be on the road again in search of safety, leaving any hope of finding Sophia behind.

One of the more satisfying moments of the episode came from the conversation between Rick and Shane. Starting off by talking about their High-School exploits really shows the audience why the two are friends. However, the conversation takes a dark turn when questions about the search for Sofia arise, and Shane places some questionability into Rick’s now unquestioned leadership. In thinking that Sophia is a lost cause and that the search is holding everyone back in danger, Shane demonstrates that if he were leader, things would be much different. The question to look forward to then, is how many of the group agree with Shane, and if a political conflict will arise within the group. Shane’s motto of “making the tough calls”, again recalls the necessity in killing Otis to survive. If it were to be divided into two camps, they would be soft compassion vs. cold rationalism.

Daryl is proving to be the most likable character in the series, as we get more of an explanation for his tough yet softhearted demeanor. As he struggles to climb a Cliffside with an arrow in his leg, Daryl is also confronted by visions of his brother that ridicule him and his position in the group; it is a mental conflict just as much as it is a physical one. The worthlessness that his brother makes him feel pushes his body beyond its limits, and explains his survival mechanisms throughout the series: to him, fear makes him weaker than everyone else. In this episode, Daryl maintains his badass, survivalist persona while becoming much more of a human character.

The necklace of ears that Daryl makes seems to be a reference to atrocities committed during the Vietnam War. If one wanted to connect this to the metaphor of walkers as European colonialists, (mentioned in last week’s review) they could argue that the ears Daryl collected represent the fictitious (yet ignorantly prevalent) notion that Native Americans collected European scalps as trophies.

There was a taste of development for Dale as he was talking to Glenn and Andrea. We see that he’s thinking rationally by warning Glenn about having sex with Maggie so as not to upset their host, but we mainly see that he’s good at making people mad at him because he didn’t immediately high-five Glenn after finding out that he got laid. Glenn’s reaction to Dale seemed a little immature, but somewhat understandable as his only piece of happiness was diminished.

The barn full of walkers at the end was a good hook, but a bit of a surprise ending. The show could do without the last moment hooks for the next episode, as the character developments alone are enough to keep viewers interested. “Chupacabra” does a good job of setting up questions to come, as it feels like the story will eventually move away from the Greene home and into unknown territory.

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About Chris Beaulieu

When Chris isn't studying film, reading English literature, fencing, or watching re-runs of Frasier on TV, it's because he's writing awesome reviews for We Eat Films.

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