Walking Dead: Chupacabra Review - Mania.com

Mania Grade: B

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  • TV Series: The Walking Dead
  • Episode: Chupacabra
  • Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn
  • Written By: David Johnson
  • Directed By: Guy Ferland
  • Network: AMC
  • Series: Walking Dead

Walking Dead: Chupacabra Review

Condoms, Arrows, and a Barn Full of Zombies

By Joe Oesterle     November 14, 2011


The pre-credits flashback tried to trick us into thinking in world without Rick, Shane would be just as heroic, but don’t believe it. Shane is a flawed character, and those flaws are only going to get bigger and more dangerous as this series goes on. It’s tempting to believe, as Shane could have been this show’s protagonist as he hugs Lori tightly while the couple watch in horrified amazement as US government helicopters rain napalm on what had to seem to them as civilization. This of course was the beginning of everybody’s learning curve. Civilization is yesterday’s luxury, and civility is not long for this world either.
   When we flash forward to current day Shane, he’s spouting off some very cold but reasonable logic to Rick. In a world that hasn’t been infested with undead flesh eaters, a lost girl has, on average, has about 72 hours to be found. After that, any law official will tell you, the odds of finding a child, decreases drastically with every minute that passes. Factor in zombies, and Sophia’s chances of survival would have to be severely worse.
   Realizing those odds and making sure the head of your operation is keenly aware of the low probability of finding Sophia alive is not what clues you in to the fact Shane is not a virtuous man. That fact is found in the light banter Rick encouraged when he attempted to elicit conversation from his seriously somber sidekick. Apparently among Shane’s sexual high school conflicts he lists at least one married woman, and he doesn’t seem all that conflicted about the dalliance some 15 years later. This is what points to Shane’s character flaws. This is why Shane could never be the story’s hero.
   I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in a better universe, Shane is a better man. In better times, Shane is not a monster. These are not better times, and unless I miss my guess, Shane will one day become just as harmful, and much more treacherous than the zombies he’s helping the gang fend off. Even in these times, Shane is capable of heroic actions, but Shane is not a hero. Rick’s the hero, and we’re witnessing the genesis of a monumental rift between two very old, very close friends. By the way, I’m betting we’re going to find out that Lori is also listed among Shane’s schoolboy conquests.
   Man, I hate Andrea. I truly did expect to start liking her by now, but after she shot Darryl that girl is on my “let a zombie eat her” list. At first I felt sympathy and compassion for her, then I just figured I could wait out her legitimate bouts of depression, but what the hell? She’s not an experienced shot yet, Hershel explicitly forbid firing weapons on his property, Rick, the group leader ordered her to not shoot, and then she not only takes aim at one of the best characters in the whole show, she fires her shot when 3 others in the group were close enough to get blasted if she missed. To be fair, that’s probably more of a writing mistake than a character flaw, but whatever the reason, I now hate that chick. (I do reserve the right to like her again – mostly because she’s pretty hot.)
   So if Shane is a survivalist, and Rick is the compassionate leader, it’s becoming clear that everyone’s favorite hillbilly, Darryl, is a less refined combination of the two. (Not that either one are going to be confused for Thurston Howell the Third anytime soon.)
   It’s doubtful Rick or Shane would have made it back to the farm had they been thrown off a horse down a steep rocky hill with an arrow sticking through their sides (twice.) Of course neither of our cop buddies had the advantage of a heavy dose of tough love from their douche bag hallucination of a brother.
   We learned a little of Darryl’s social insecurities this episode, and it’s because of his lack of a traditional upbringing that he’s been the warrior, tracker that he is. It was nice to see Carol kiss Darryl’s forehead in appreciation of all his selfless work. Funny thing is when I heard Carol compliment Darryl on doing more for her daughter in the past week or so than her actual father did during her whole life I couldn’t help but paint her with that same brush. We don’t know much about the relationships in Carol’s family, but from my viewpoint last season, she is at the very least guilty of allowing her husband to aggressively browbeat their daughter, and very likely much worse.
   Steven Yuen once again delivered a stellar performance as the awkward and inexperienced Lothario. It’s hard to tell if Maggie was even going to let Glenn bust out condom number two until Hershel went ahead and forbid it. Shane could have told Glenn the best way to get a girl to sleep with you is to have her father to prohibit that kind of action.
   Dale once again was the voice of reason when he too tried to reason with younger hormones. Both Dale and Hershel have different reasons for preventing their union. Hershel’s are partly religious, and partly concern for the heartache Maggie will feel if Glenn is bitten or when he kicks the whole tribe out of his farm. Dale is simply thinking, please don’t fuck up this sweet zombie-free patch of land.
   And there’s the irony. Turns out there’s more zombies in that barn than living people at the dinner table. Not exactly sure why Hershel is keeping them all under one roof. Some people collect comic books, others action figures. Hershel is a zombie aficionado.
   Truth be told, I know exactly why Hershel in the graphic novel is running a zombie warehouse, and I assume this is the same reason, but you never know.
   Looking back it didn’t seem like much happened in this latest installment, but there was a lot of character development this week. I realize a lot of people turn on this show for zombie chases, zombie fights, and zombie kills, but that’s not really what this show is about. This show is about the human condition and what happens to certain personality types when pushed to extreme circumstances. Darryl clearly didn’t have the greatest upbringing in the world and he’s turned out to be an outstanding team member. Shane seems to have had a better home life during his formative years than Darryl, but he’s not half the man Darryl is capable of being.
   Oh yeah, and Lori is pregnant, and there’s a real chance good this baby’s feet might be made of clay. That’s not good news for any husband to receive, but it’s got to be a bit more heartbreaking if you find out it’s your less than heroic best friend’s kid and you’re living in a world where zombies definitely exist and Chupacabra’s might as well.
   Oh yeah part two. T-Dog was worthless again.
Click this link to check out some of Joe Oesterle’s Dia de las Muertos photography at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and feel free to browse the site for some unedited stories from his book, “Weird Hollywood.” http://joeartistwriter.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/dia-de-las-muertos-hollywood-forever-cemetery-2011/


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Wiseguy 11/14/2011 8:13:00 AM

I'm with you on Andrea, man she's a bitch. She pissed me off ever since she started blaming Dale for not committing suicide. Now she takes a shot at a figure she herself couldn't clearly make out, then does it when tyhe others are mere steps away and after being told not to shoot. If nothing else she should already know they don't want gunfire as it may attract walkers. Guns and hos just don't mix

I haven't read the graphic novel but my guess is that the zombies in the barn are family. Hershel already said he expects a cure.

I'm with Rick on keeping the search going but once his boy is able to travel what then. At some point if you don't find the girl you have to make that decision, I just don't think they've reached that fork in the road and that's why that whole argument with Shane seemed a bit forced to me.

Oh and if I was Hershel I think I may be at the breaking point, taking my horse, the young kid and then the use of the gun on his property. Yeah I think I may be asking these folk to keep it moving

rogue188 11/14/2011 8:36:12 AM

Hmmm, I agree with you Joe. I just think that this episode was better than just a B. I know its nitpickiness, but a B is more deserving. My reason for the B was the insertion of a hallucinated Merle and Darryl's struggle to survive. Seeing Darryl's scenes in trying to get up the hill and even fight some zombies really resonated with me. It was good tv. I would like to know what you thought of Darryl and Merle's brotherly interaction. Would also love to know what you think of how this will turn out in Merle's eventual return in real life.

millean 11/14/2011 8:36:47 AM

Ditto on just about everything Wiseguy just said.  Hershel may have his panties in a wad, but at least Glenn may now have some leverage on him (as well as that tease Maggie, for that matter.)

So how long as Andrea been ticked off with Dale? 4 or 5 episodes or something like that?  Then Dale comes in, makes one humorous comment about wanting to shoot Darryl, and all is forgiven?  Typical emotions of a woman, I suppose.

Joe may want Andrea to get killed, but personally I'm hoping that wig Shane had in the flashback scenes is what dies a slow, painful death!  :)

rogue188 11/14/2011 8:37:02 AM

Weird, it won't let me write B plus. B

xJokersxWildx 11/14/2011 9:20:04 AM

For a Character not in the the actual comics.. Daryl rules. Norman Reedus rocks and the whole interaction with Merle was great.  You gotta love that hillbilly music they played during Daryl's escape from the canyon.

Great Episode.! B

JonnyRotten 11/14/2011 9:38:28 AM

Great episode, lots of Darryl time, who is carring the interest I have in the show.  This Rick - Shane thing going on about searching for the little girl is getting old ... Shane is right, in a "normal" world the search would have been called off ... sure Rick feels guilty about it but COME ON.  I hate to say it but Sophia is a write off.  

The Barns secret is out, full of Zombies, hmmm I bet they get out somehow, nasty stuff (but to predictable). 

Hershal is the Elder on the farm and therefore in charge, they should have consulted him with all matters.  He's has a right to be pissed.





iceknight52 11/14/2011 9:53:00 AM

***Possible Spoiler as I relate graphic novel to the television show***


I have to admit, there is a good reason some people are dead at this point in the graphic novel, some never existed and some have had their brains screwed out...they all needed it! Not a fan of the development the producers are taking with some of the characters. Would like them to also step away from this formula of an exciting episode followed up with a filler episode. Nothing wrong with throwing a few one twos during the season, not every other one needs to be a snooze fest. On the flip side, yay for the barn! Now make is as cool as the graphic novel and lets get a move on...I need some prison time!!!

Moz72 11/14/2011 10:36:01 AM

Hey Joe! Loving the Walking Dead!

I have'nt been reading the graphic novels, so can you share why Hershel is collecting the Zombies? Does he have some nefarious motive up his sleeve or is he some nutjob pretending to be sane? WTF??

And speaking of Darryl..when he rolled down the embankment again with the arrow in his side..how the hell did that arrow not break or open his wound even more. How was the arrow able to stay intact?  Hats off to whoever made that arrow..that sucker is unbreakable!

Also,..wonder if Merle is going to come back at some point and cause dusruption amongst the survivors. Seems like to me we have'nt seen the last of Merle.

And what's with Sofia being missing this long?? You think she said "Screw This!" and high-tailed it out of Dodge..or has she been taken?...I suspect Hershel has her locked up somewhere.  That's my guess.


sportwarrior 11/14/2011 10:58:25 AM

Definitely one of the better episodes this season. I haven't been too excited about the show because of its slow pace this year... even character development has been stagnant at times. But this episode was very deliberate in its development, and the plot point at the end definitely has me ready for next week's episode.

I will say that the story about the lost girl is getting pretty worn out. I get why it's still lingering for character development reasons, but Shane's logic is hardly cold... he's been looking right along with the rest, and there's a point where you just have to give up and go.

TheMovieGuy28 11/14/2011 11:17:52 AM

Another Monday, another great episode in the books, and all my fellow maniacs are in discussion mode about kick-ass tv.

Really, is there anything better? Have a great week guys!


ps-I agree with everything said. simple, quick, to the point

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