14 November 2011

Abra Chupacadabra!

Is anyone else's DVR totally screwing them over for Walking Dead lately? My roommates and I checked it at 8:45 last night to make sure it was still set to record at 9 (we suffered too much heartache last week when this happened), and it STILL didn't record. It didn't even pretend to have an unresolved conflict. Like so many pre-zombies, it just died. Is this an allegory for the show? Is the show an allegory for modern cable-based technology? We're all going to die unfairly someday. Isn't that enough?

Last night's episode, "Chupacabra," dealt with women doing unexplainable things. Glenn asks Dale if all the women have synched up -- Maggie won't have sex with him a second time; Lori cries and cries, just because she's pregnant in an obstetricianless world; Sophia keeps dropping dolls and pillows as clues but never seems to be findable near them; and don't even get me started on Andrea.  WOMEN.

The episode starts in a stopped-up lane of traffic several weeks ago, where Lori and Shane watch Atlanta get nuked. It's the moment they realize things will never be fine again. If they're bombing Atlanta, the people in charge must be really pessimistic (probably a bunch of women). It's hard to say what this flashback has to do with the rest of the episode, but I have faith that I'll be bringing it all around by the end.

At present, it's a day for disobeying Hershel. First Daryl borrows one of his horses without asking, and then one of Hershel's sons volunteers for gun-heavy work without his father's go ahead. The womenfolk have the gall to cook a thank-you dinner in Hershel's very own kitchen. All of this frustration will most likely lead to Hershel kicking our gang out of his farm, as well it should. They're starting to act like they own the place (and the horses, and the daughters), and they'll probably be the downfall of Safe Haven Farms. But what makes Hershel so sure that they won't turn on him and stage a coup? He's old and he hates guns. If he's indoctrinated his children against guns too, it could be very easy for Rick's group to turn into pirates - the very kind of people any nice group of survivors would avoid at all costs - and to take his land. Will Hershel turn Rick into the King of the Savages?*

The real star of "Chupacabra" is old Daryl 'One Man Show' Dixon. After stealing a horse from Hershel, Daryl sets off looking for Sophia yet again. Only this time, his nervous horse sees a rattlesnake and makes a break for it, leaving Daryl to roll down a very steep, woodsy hill and to completely impale himself with a crossbow arrow. Questions: Why does he only have that one arrow with him? Did the others fly off and break during  the fall? Why is Georgia like this, with the steep, woodsy hills? God, at least he didn't fall into a kudzu gulch. He'd be buried alive in there, and he might not be the only one!!

True to form, Daryl immediately tries climbing back up with the arrow lodged in his side. Again he falls, even worse this time, and he passes out to the tune of Merle Dixon's cocky ramblings. This vision of Merle wants Daryl to succeed, so he taunts our hero all the way to safety. First he shakes Daryl's foot, waking him to the very real zombie gnawing on his shoe. (DID HE GET BITTEN? I ASSUME NOT, BUT DID HE?!) He then teases Daryl about leaving the arrow in the wound, prompting him to take it out and use it on a second looming zombie's head. Finally, he noogies him all the way up the original steep, woodsy hill. Thanks, Merle. All your ceaseless bullying has finally paid off.

And now we get to Andrea, the Queen of Cloudy-headed Women, who would rather shoot guns 'n' wrassle snakes than cook in the kitchen with the other ladies. She's the first one at the farm to sight Daryl, and since he looks like shit, she assumes he's a zombie. Naturally the glaring late-afternoon Georgia sun blocks Daryl's face in her binoculars. Rick, Shane, and Dale suggest she not shoot him, since it's loud and a waste of bullets and not a great weapon if you want to identify the thing you're about to kill. They even lower their own weapons as they get nearer to Daryl, giving Andrea copious visual cues that this is not a zombie. But no. She shoots him anyway and grazes his face. Thank you so much, Andrea. We couldn't have not done it without you!

Lucky for Glenn, Maggie wants to have sex again after all. Unlucky for Glenn, she lets him choose the spot (because he has such a majestic grasp of the farm's available spots). He chooses the mysterious barn, which Hershel banned Rick from a few episodes ago. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FULL OF ZOMBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Or about 6 or 7 from the looks of it). We live in a zombieful worlllllllld!

Circling back - what does that opening scene have to do with the rest of the episode? In the former situation, Lori and Shane watch their hope for refuge get bombed beyond recognition (although we had no trouble recognizing Atlanta in Season 1); in the latter, Lori and Shane (and everyone else) watch as their new hope for non-nomadic living disappears. And just like those women in the control tower who set off the nukes, it is the women of Rick's group - and their craziness - that destroy the chance to stay in their new home. That's quite a stretch, though.

*Graphic novel says no.

all photos courtesy amctv.com

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