Walking Dead: Daryl, Interrupted

I’ll be honest. I was really excited for this week’s episode of The Walking Dead when I found out it was titled “Chupacabra.” I’m Latino. My grandmother, Mama Lupe, lives in a cement house near a volcano in Mexico. She and my aunt swear they’ve seen a chupacabra, the famed Mexican monster that sucks the blood out of goats. I’m sort of jealous.

But the episode itself starts with a Lost-esque flashback, becoming more and more popular in this series, and in episodic television in general. Some shows like ABC’s Once Upon a Time are completely dependent upon the device. This time, we are thrown back to just after things started heading downhill in the world. Our group barely knows one another, and they are all stranded, trying to listen for any sign of radio contact.

I wasn’t too certain about the importance of this scene. Why show us this? I’m aware that a good scene has the potential to have multiple meanings, but all I take away from this (considering I thought Lori and Shane were on their way into the woods to “do it”) was how different things are now for Carol without her husband.

We’re then brought into the present where, yes, the search for Sophia STILL continues, and I have a feeling it might continue for a while longer. As the group plans to split up to cover more ground, Jimmy, a young member of Herschel’s group, asks how he can help. Someone makes a joke about how Daryl might just spot his chupacabra out on the ridge where he will be looking, and Jimmy asks, “You believe in a blood-sucking dog?”

Daryl replies, “You believe in dead people walking around?”

I love it. This is the kind of writing and dialogue I really respond to well in a series. It’s referential to itself, to the world we are witnessing and overall, it’s passively witty. My Mama Lupe saw one! Tia Ruth saw one! You go look Daryl. Keep your eyes open. Keep the faith.

As the groups split up once again, we are treated to a great scene between Shane and Rick, as they discuss spreading the group too thin and trying to survive. It’s clear they see things very differently. Shane thinks they need to give up the search in order to move on and survive. Rick, motivated by his guilt in leaving Sophia behind, can’t even consider giving up.

Shane has a point, at least from an audience point of view, because the search for Sophia feels endless. There’s too much focus and time spent on it, and the story needs to come to some sort of resolution soon. As proof of this, Daryl gets a lot of screen time. For him, at least, the search just gets more and more treacherous. He’s done more searching for Sophia than anyone else, and I’ve enjoyed his well-written scenes and how he is strangely motivated in a way I didn’t expect, but still totally makes sense.

There is a bit more character development with self-prescribed tough girl Andrea, as she gets to be the lookout and play around with her gun. It’s tense and effective in turning her character inward in a different way than before. But even so, leave her alone, Dale. It’ getting old.

Lines are drawn between the two groups, mostly by Herschel, who wants the two groups to keep to themselves and look out for their own. The two crossing that line are Maggie and Glenn (who suddenly doesn’t wear his hat anymore now that he’s gotten some). This union leads to an interesting development that was hinted at in the last episode, and that will hopefully lead the show in a more exciting direction in upcoming episodes. I won’t tell you what it is, but I will say, they didn’t find a chupacabra.

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Terry Blas is the creator of the web comic Briar Hollow and cohost of The Gnerd podcast.image

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