TV REVIEW: The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 5 – Chupacabra

Maggie has to decide whether she is interested in Glenn. Lori prays for the right decision regarding her pregnancy, Hershal gets even antsier at the interlopers and Daryl continues the search for Sophia.

This was the first time since episode one of The Walking Dead that we got a little back-story; we see Lori, Shane and Carl stuck in gridlock outside Atlanta, watching from the ground as helicopters drop Napalm in the remnants of the city. Fascinating watching if only for analysing the reason that the government decided on this course of action. Like Shane’s murder of Otis, this small flashback is sure to keep fans of the show talking. Maybe this is a start of a drip-feed of information on the past, but then again, maybe this is not what we need from The Walking Dead.

There was a hint last week that we may see the return of Daryl’s hateful, racist older brother Merle – when giving the Cherokee Rose to Carol, Daryl explained that there may not be any flowers growing for his brother. The hint, and the spoiler-laden preview of this week’s episode, had us on the right track. Daryl ‘borrows’ one of Hershal’s horses and rides out into the forest, but when his horse throws him and he is badly injured, it is Merle that saves him. Merle is as angry and vitriolic as he ever was, but thankfully (for now) he is Daryl’s hallucination – he has both his hands y’see – and he goads Daryl into pulling the arrow out of his side to kill a Walker with (badass!) and stumbling back to the farm. This is an interesting development for The Walking Dead. Daryl has always been slightly unlikeable but determined to make up for his brother’s shortcomings. If Merle is whispering ideas into his brother’s head, it is surely only a matter of time before old disputes come to the fore again and the group gets even more splintered.

This is the second episode in a row to focus on someone lost in the wilderness, and it is an interesting concept. Daryl made for a great protagonist for the episode, and it is great to see one of the smaller characters stepping out from behind the shadow of Rick, Lori, Shane etc…

Speaking of Shane, this week he is more determined than ever to call off the search for Sophia as he is sure that this will lead to one or more of the survivors getting killed. Of course Lori pipes up and confronts him about this, and asks him if he would search if it were Carl that were lost. She does not quite get the answer she was looking for, however, when Shane tells her that she and Carl are the only two people in the world that matter to him. Surely Lori’s inevitable rejection of Shane will lead to a further spiral on his behalf. Shane feels a little like a time bomb at the moment and it is going to make for incredible viewing when he finally does explode.

Carol and Lori decide to cook dinner for Hershal and his family as a thanks for letting them stay – they do not know that Hershal and Rick are butting heads again about the group staying at the farm, and who is in charge of whom. Another situation that is sure to blow up. Maggie and Glenn have discussed whether they should be ‘together’ or not, but when Hershal intervenes this pushes Maggie into the very happily surprised Glenn’s arms. Unfortunately for the status quo, Glenn decides that they should hook up in the hayloft and finds something very unsettling in the barn.

After last week’s slow burn episode, The Walking Dead is back on track. The season so far feels like it is finally building towards something, and there is definitely plenty established for the rest of the season to be going on with. There was also a step in the right direction regarding Sophia after Daryl found her doll. This storyline feels like it has been dragging on for months now, and it is about time it was wrapped up. In fact, many audience members may find that they have forgotten about Sophia entirely, and are focussed on the tensions within the group. It seems unlikely that Sophia will be killed off, but wouldn’t it be interesting though, if Sophia was in the barn and had been right under their noses the whole time? We can but speculate, and this is the great thing about this season of The Walking Dead; it’s leading to debate.

Chupacabra is perhaps the best episode of The Walking Dead this season; the survival story of Daryl was told incredibly well, and lots of ground has been laid for future episodes. As well as this, the bombing of Atlanta – for all it’s cut and paste CGI – is as shocking as it is interesting, and disturbing on a number of levels. Not many Walkers this episode, but plenty of drama.

GS Reviewer: Brogen

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