So Much Daryl

Season 2 Episode 5 “Chupacabra”

The Episode

Couldn’t be more excited we have finally made it to a Daryl episode. I’ve been not so patiently waiting for this moment. And there is lots to say about this episode, so let’s go!

I’m clearly going to start out with all things Daryl. He has decided to set out on his own to search for Sophia. Says he’s going to go up some hills to get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. He takes a horse and gets going. It turns into a pretty bad trip. The horse gets scared of a snake and drops Daryl down the mountain where heforest of trees impales himself with one of his arrows. He tries to climb back up the mountain injured but falls again and loses consciousness. At which point he starts hallucinating Merle. After almost being a walker’s lunch, Daryl pulls the arrow from his side, eats a squirrel and ventures back up the mountain eventually making it out. Oh, and he also found Sophia’s doll! Still no Sophia though. And just when you think he’s out of danger, Andrea shoots him on his walk back to the farm, mistaking him for a walker. She only grazes him thankfully.

A couple of things I’d like to delve into on this adventure. First of all, let’s talk about those Merle hallucinations, what’s going on with that? Hallucination Merle might be my favorite Merle by the way. His one-liners are awesome. Daryl is hallucinating his brother is with him and it seems like the show might be trying to do a few things with this. First, it’s motivation for Daryl. With his brother’s taunts he finds the strength to get himself out of his predicament. Hallucination Merle also saves his life at one point by waking him to a walker trying to chew his shoe. Second, sounds like Daryl might be trying to work through some of his insecurities. After all this time he’s still feeling worthless within the group, like they are just using him and will toss him aside. I don’t think he wants to think that but secretly he’s a little low on self-esteem. Also, he has some guilt over not being able to find his brother. Third, this helps reveal some more of Daryl’s life. He states Merle wasn’t always there for him when he was growing up, letting us see that Daryl’s really been a lonely guy since childhood. And lastly, it feels like the show might be trying to close the loop on Merle. Since they left us hanging on the Merle thing in Season 1, by giving us this fake Merle, they seem to be saying, “ok, here’s Merle once last time, say goodbye”.

And let’s not forget about the ear necklace. At one point Daryl goes about cutting off the ears of the walkers he kills and wears them as a necklace. Ick! I just had to do some research to see if there was some meaning behind this. I was expecting something perhaps related to Chupacabras based on the episode title, but no. It seems to just be a thing one does as a form of trophy collecting, usually done during war. It can be seen as a way to scare or display dominance over ones enemies, which is still fitting but not very exciting.

Now, I would just like to be perfectly clear how many manly things Daryl does or survives this episode, let’s recap.

  1. Rides a horse. (Yes that’s manly to me.)
  2. Shoots a squirrel while it’s climbing a tree.
  3. Cuts open said squirrel and eats it raw. (you know, for survival)
  4. Climbs up a mountain with his bare hands while injured.
  5. Pulls an arrow from his body, loads it into his crossbow and shoots a walker with it.
  6. Gets shot in the head and lives.

I mean, halfway through that list and it’s clear Daryl is a badass.

In other news, Rick is butting heads again with Shane and Hershel. Shane continues to tell Rick he’s wrong about everything. He’s still unhappy about looking for Sophia and now feels like Rick is doing a poor job by sending everyone out over and over again to look for him. It’s a tough one but I think Lori points out to us and Shane why Rick’s way has to be the winner. Shane keeps telling everyone that he’s making the tough decisions by not getting emotionally attached and using logic instead of emotion. But Lori points out that isn’t really making the tough decision. Closing yourself off is not a tough decision, it’s the easy one. It’s harder to leave yourself open to pain and failure than it is to just turn your back and walk away. In a rare moment, Lori hits the nail on the head. And this is generally why I end up on Rick’s side with his decisions. Even though I think Shane has the better survival instincts at this point, Rick’s limitless ability to keep making the human “good” choice is what I really want. But I guess we’ll see if making that choice pans out or not.

Hershel is trying to keep Rick and his group at a distance still but his people and Rick’s keep making that complicated. After the two have a long talk about all communications running through just the two of them, Maggie lets Carol and Lori cook a meal in the house for everyone. Which is probably the most awkward dinner ever. Except for Maggie and Glenn exchanging notes not so secretly.

barnAnd at the end of the episode we get a glimpse into why Hershel is so against getting close to the Atlanta group and his desire to deal with walkers on his own. Glenn unknowingly picks the barn’s hayloft to do it with Maggie. She doesn’t find out though until after Glenn has already headed to the location. And Glenn finds a barn full of walkers locked up. Maggie shows up a second later and makes it pretty clear she knows all about it and now has to explain to Glenn what’s going on. So what is going on? Why on earth is Hershel and his family keeping walkers alive in the barn!?!?

Best of the Episode

Besides the entirety of the Daryl-ness, his entire ordeal is made better by another touching moment between him and Carol. In a thank you to Daryl, Carol lets him know that he did more for Sophia today than Ed had ever done for his daughter. Also letting him know that he’s worthwhile and every bit as good as everyone else. Even though Daryl plays it like he doesn’t care, I’m sure the message got through.

A minor moment but I just love Lori’s face when Rick comes back and says Shane told him something. Of course Lori is thinking that it’s about her and Shane and her eyes practically bulge out of her head. That is of course not what Shane told him, but those eyes make me laugh every time.

The barn of walkers of course also a memorable moment. Did anyone think at all that we would see a barn full of walkers being kept like livestock in a barn, no, of course not!

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