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Walking Dead Recap: "Chupacabra"

Written by Christian Hoffer on Monday, November 14 2011 and posted in Reviews

"Chupacabra" reminds viewers that even the smartest people make mistakes and that even the safest places have dark secrets waiting to be revealed.

"Chupacabra" opens with a flashback to Shane, Lori and Carl's attempt to escape to Atlanta. The scene is significant for two reasons. First, it shows Lori's first encounter with Carol and Sofia. Secondly, the scene reveals why Shane and Lori never made it to Atlanta. After Lori leaves Carl with Carol and her abusive husband, she and Shane witness the bombing of Atlanta by military forces in an ill-fated attempt to control the rising zombie plague.

Moving to the present. Lori is still dealing with her pregnancy, which was revealed last episode. She arrives late for laundry day, although Carol seems to have taken charge of the laundry to keep her mind off of her missing daughter. Carol asks Lori to approach Hershel about making dinner for the residents of the farm as a thank you for their continued generosity. Meanwhile, Rick and Shane begin to organize the search for Sofia, recruiting a volunteer from Hershel's farm and allowing Darryl to ride off on one of the horses to survey the area at a nearby ridge. The group divides into teams and move off into the woods to hunt for the missing girl.

In the woods, Shane and Rick begin to argue about Rick's recent leadership decisions. Shane tells Rick that sending their people off to search for Sofia wasn't in the greater good and that the search has already cost one man (Otis, whom Shane murdered) his life and almost caused the deaths of Shane and Carl. He reminds Rick that as a leader, he sometimes needs to start looking at the numbers instead of listening to his heart.

To prove Shane's point, Darryl, who's riding alone, discovers Sofia's doll in a nearby stream. He heads up a cliff to try to get a better vantagepoint, but is bucked off his horse after it crosses a snake's path. Darryl tumbles down a cliff and ends up with one of his arrows through his side and a nasty head injury. Although Darryl attempts to bandage himself and climb back up the cliff, he fails and winds up taking a second tumble down.

Back on the farm, Glenn is receiving mixed messages from Maggie, whom he slept with last episode, and begins to search for someone to talk to. He goes to ask Lori, but Lori thinks that he wants to know about the results of the pregnancy test and tells him off. Glenn realizes that the test was positive and discovers that Lori never told Rick about her affair with Shane, leading Lori to force Glenn into secrecy as Rick returns to the farm, upset and doubting his recent choices. Lori tells Rick that he's doing all that he can and that no one questions that Rick is doing what he thinks is right.

While Lori may think that Rick is doing a fine job at being a leader, Hershel disagrees and puts Rick in his place about his group intermingling with Hershel's people and property. Hershel reveals that Darryl had taken the horse without permission and that the volunteer from his farm did not have Hershel's permission. He also reminds Rick to let him handle any Walkers that might wander onto his property.

Back in the woods, Darryl begins to hallucinate that his brother Merle is standing over him. Merle gives his brother some survival advice, taunts Darryl about his supposed weakness and finally reminds Darryl that he doesn't owe Rick, Shane or any of the other survivors anything. Merle then prods his brother to stand up and begins to kick him. Darryl looks down and realizes that a zombie is actually chewing on his shoe. Darryl kills the zombie after a brief tussle and pulls the arrow out of his side to kill a second zombie that was quickly approaching.   Darryl then rebandages his wound, eats a squirrel for nourishment, and cuts off the ears of the zombies he just killed as decoration. Darryl then climbs the cliff side with a little encouragement from the apparition of his brother and begins to head back to the farm.

Andrea has stationed herself on top of the RV, leading Dale to ask as to why she's suddenly interested in helping keep watch. Andrea nastily replies that she's tired of doing laundry and wants to contribute to the protection of the camp, thus continuing the season-long bitchiness towards the man that saved her life. Dale enters the RV and finds Glenn, who's still seeking help about his women problems. Glenn asks Dale if all the women in the camp are PMSing, as Maggie, Lori and Andrea are acting especially moody. Glenn then tells Dale about his tryst with Maggie, leading Dale to berate Glenn for sleeping with the farmer's daughter. Glenn stomps off, still frustrated and confused about the whole situation.

As Glenn leaves the RV, Andrea seeks a Walker slowly walking towards camp. Andrea prepares to pick it off with her sniper rifle, but Shane, T-Dogg and Glenn all begin to race towards the lone zombie. Rick tries to stop them, as Hershel has requested that all Walkers be left to him, but seeing his group's resolve he also begins to head towards the zombie. Of course, the zombie isn't a zombie at all and is a very battered, bloodied, tired and dirty Dale. Although Rick and the first responders stop their attack in time, Andrea, who's overeager to show her worth to the men, shoots Darryl in the head, not knowing that he's not a zombie.

Luckily, Andrea's still a crappy shot and only grazed Darryl's head. The group rushes Darryl to the farm, but not before removing Darryl's ear necklace and discovering Sofia's doll on his person. Hershel grumpily performs first aid on Darryl, bandaging his wound as Darryl explains his findings to Rick and Shane. Hershel then discovers Carol cooking dinner and confronts Maggie about the Atlanta survivors continued presence on the farm. He also recommends that Maggie discontinue her friendship with Glenn. Andrea and Dale finally patch things up after Dale comforts Amy about shooting Darryl by telling her that everyone has wanted to shoot Darryl at some point.

That night, the two groups experience an incredibly awkward dinner. Rick and Shane exchange glares. Maggie and Glenn exchange uncomfortable looks and Hershel just glowers at the assembled group. Glenn attempts to break up the silence by asking if anyone knows how to play guitar, only to learn that the deceased Otis was the only person from the farm who knew how to play. However, Glenn is rewarded for his attempt with a note from Maggie, asking him where he wants to have sex with her that evening. Glenn giddily writes a response and passes the note back, much to Hershel's discomfort.

Carol stops by to drop off some food to Darryl, who's recovering in bed, and tells him that he did more for Sofia that day then her father did all his life. She then kisses Darryl on the head and tells Darryl that he is as good of a man as Rick or Shane. Speaking of Rick and Shane, the two begin to argue about whether or not to continue the search for Sofia. Shane reminds Rick that a third person has almost died during the search and that continuing it would be a fool's errand. Rick storms off, leaving Shane and Lori alone. Shane tries to explain that he's only doing what he can to protect Shane and Lori, but Lori calls him out and tells Shane to stop using her and her son as an excuse for taking the easy way out.

Maggie, meanwhile, steps away from dishwashing to read Glenn's response. Glenn had written "Have you ever done it in a hayloft before," leading her to run out towards the barn. Glenn, meanwhile, finds a way into the barn and discovers that Hershel and his family are hiding an uncomfortable secret. The barn is full of zombies, and Maggie arrives too late to prevent Glenn from finding out. The episode ends with Maggie stopping Glenn as he exits the hayloft, saying "You shouldn't have found out about this."

So what did we learn from this week's episode? Even the strongest people make mistakes, even the most able people get hurt and even the safest places have dangerous secrets. Darryl's a badass and isn't afraid to use his body as a quiver. Glenn's an idiot when it comes to women but should at least be commended for having the balls to ask someone if they want to have sex in a zombie-infested barn. Rick's too compassionate, Shane's too cold, and Hershel is slightly racist and doesn't want his daughter gallivanting with an Asian fellow. Also, there's zombies in the barn, which is sure to open up a can of worms next episode.

Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer

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