Unfortunately, there’s no Chupacabra in this week’s deceptively titled episode of The Walking Dead. But mythical goat-sucking creatures aside, since it does start with a flashback, let’s play the Lost game.
The parallels between the shows are many since both take place in a universe boiled down to a handful of survivors, but the characters now have their own matches as well. We’ve got an obvious Jack in Sheriff Rick Grimes, the leader with his share of demons who wants to do right. The new Kate is Lori, caught between her love for both the good guy (Rick) and the bad boy (Shane). If Shane has the role of Sawyer, then Daryl has his personality, along with Sayid’s survival skills. And the lovable Glenn recalls the comic relief of Hurley.
The flashbacks this season provide wonderful opening scenes. The compelling (but frustratingly disorganized) webisodes at AMC.com prove that the first moments of the zombie apocalypse make for powerful TV. Seeing napalm dropped in downtown Atlanta underscores the gravity of the situation. As the characters slowly come to terms with living among civilization’s ruins, it’s interesting to revisit those moments when society was merely on the brink.
“Chupacabra,” though, is mostly devoted to the show’s two most interesting characters. First, we see the badassery of Daryl, who survives a fall of a cliff, an arrow through his abdomen, hallucinations of his missing psychotic older brother, zombies gnawing on his boot and a bullet grazing his temple. He knows the Georgia woods—how to hunt squirrels and dine on their raw flesh and how to find a missing girl. He’s transcending his rough redneck upbringing, caring beyond himself even when he questions the wisdom of his generosity.
We also get more of Glenn this episode, the nice-but-kinda-useless delivery boy who got cozy with the farmer’s daughter last week. Glenn is collecting secrets these days like Daryl collects zombie ears. In addition to his own dalliance with Maggie, he knows about Lori’s pregnancy and—in this week’s gut-punch closing scene—the barn full of walkers.
That’s a hell of a mood killer. The tension between Hershel and his guests—made plain during the silent dinner—is escalating each week. Things aren’t quite right at the farmhouse, and I half expected to see Maggie push Glenn down into the den of zombies to keep her secret safe. Instead, Glenn just has one more secret threatening to explode his brain.