Chupacabra (The Walking Dead)

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The Walking Dead episode
While injured, Daryl Dixon hallucinates his missing brother, Merle.
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 5
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by David Leslie Johnson
Featured music Bear McCreary
Cinematography by Rohn Schmidt
Editing by Nathan Gunn
Original air date November 13, 2011 (2011-11-13)
Running time 43 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Season 2 episodes
Episode chronology
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List of The Walking Dead episodes

"Chupacabra" is the fifth episode of the second season of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead. It originally aired on AMC in the United States on November 13, 2011. In the episode, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), delusional from being wounded in a search mission, desperately tries to return to the Greene farm. Meanwhile, Glenn (Steven Yeun) unravels a secret that could endanger the survivors.


The episode begins with a flashback. Trapped in a traffic jam while escaping to a refugee center, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) watch in horror as military helicopters drop napalm on Atlanta. In the present, the survivors continue their search for the missing Sophia. Hershel (Scott Wilson) however is beginning to grow concerned over their continued presence on his land after a number of disputes, including Rick (Andrew Lincoln) letting a young farm resident accompany them on their search, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) borrowing a horse without asking. In particular, he is worried about the increasingly close relationship between Glenn (Steven Yeun) and his daughter Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Glenn meanwhile is horrified to learn Lori is pregnant — Lori begs him not to tell Rick.

While out searching for Sophia, Shane angrily tells Rick that he feels they are wasting time searching for the missing girl, and that the rational move would be to cut their losses and head towards Fort Benning. Rick is angry, but later tells Lori that he is beginning to worry Shane is right. Lori confronts Shane, who tells her that the only important thing to him is that she and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are safe. Lori replies that she and Carl are no longer his problem.

Meanwhile, Daryl, on his 'borrowed' horse, finds Sophia's doll in a creek. However shortly afterwards his horse throws him and runs away after encountering a snake on the path. Daryl is hurled down a steep hillside — in the fall, one of his crossbow bolts pierces him in the side. Semi-conscious, he has a vision of his missing brother Merle (Michael Rooker). Merle taunts him, saying that the other survivors do not respect Daryl and that he has become Rick's "bitch." He also berates him for spending more time searching for Sophia than for Merle, his own flesh and blood. Daryl regains consciousness just in time to see a walker chewing on his shoe. He kicks him off and beats him to death with a large stick. Seeing another walker advancing on him, Daryl rips the bolt from his side and shoots it in the head. After he has killed them he makes a necklace out of their ears before once more attempting to climb the hill. Tiring near the top, the vision of Merle appears to him again. Spurred on by his taunts, Daryl is able to reach the top and begin returning to the farm.

The survivors spot a returning Daryl from a distance and mistake him for a walker. Andrea (Laurie Holden), ignoring Hershel's rule about firing guns on the property, shoots him, grazing his head and knocking him unconscious. Rick hurriedly hides the ear necklace before Hershel arrives. After Daryl regains consciousness and outlines where he found the doll, a grateful Carol (Melissa McBride) thanks him for all he has done.

Carol and Lori attempt to thank Hershel and his family for their hospitality by cooking them dinner. The ensuing meal however is awkward. Glenn, attempting to break the silence, asks if anyone can play the guitar. Patricia resentfully replies that Otis, killed by walkers (actually murdered by Shane) while fetching surgical equipment for Carl, was the only one who could.

Maggie slips Glenn a note under the table asking him where they can have another sexual encounter — this does not go unobserved by Hershel and Dale Horvath (Jeffrey DeMunn). Glenn writes an answer and returns the note. After the meal ends Maggie opens the note with Glenn's response saying that he will meet her in the barn outside. A horrified Maggie hurries outside and runs toward the barn, but she is unable to prevent Glenn from discovering that the locked building is full of walkers.


Rooker made a guest appearance on the show.

"Chupacabra" was directed by Guy Ferland and written by David Leslie Johnson. The episode features the return of Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, who last made an appearance on the season one episode "Tell It to the Frogs". Rooker confirmed his appearance at the 2011 Aliens to Zombies Convention at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.[1] "Nobody expected this level of Merle worship," he articulated. "He's such an out-there, crazy, anything goes kind of guy. There's an uncertainty about Merle—like he'll come back when you least expect it. He's the boogeyman, and viewers love that suspense. The number one question I'm asked is, 'When is your character coming back?' I can't say when, but I promise it’ll be a wild ride."[1] Writer Robert Kirkman insisted that Rooker was a delight during production, and hoped that he would regularly appear on The Walking Dead.[2]

"Chupacabra" further analyzes the development of Daryl Dixon. In the episode, Daryl continues to search for Sophia; eventually he lies deliriously on a riverbank, where he simultaneously hallucinates his missing brother Merle. Kirkman stated that he established Daryl as the survivalist of the group.[2]

It’s nice seeing Daryl out there on his own. We established early on that he is the survivalist of the group and also it’s interesting that this guy who does seem to be a bit of prickly pear is the one that is throwing himself gung-ho into this mission of searching for Sofia. So it is nice to see a little bit of a soft side to him. But at the same time, you’re watching him cut zombies’ ears off and making a necklace out of them, which is a little bizarre.[2]


Critical response[edit]

Eric Goldman of IGN gave a favourable review of the episode, praising the development of Daryl Dixon and the performance of Norman Reedus, although he criticized the slow pace at the Greene farm. Overall, he gave the episode a 7.5 out of ten, a "good" rating.[3]


Upon its initial broadcast on November 13, 2011, "Chupacabra" was watched by estimated 6.12 million viewers,[4] down slightly from the previous episode.[5]


  1. ^ a b Karlin, Susan (November 10, 2011). "'Walking Dead': Michael Rooker on the return of Merle Dixon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Collis, Clark (November 14, 2011). "'The Walking Dead': Writer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight's episode, 'Chupacabra'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ Goldman, Eric (November 13, 2011). "The Walking Dead: "Chupacabra" Review". IGN. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ Gorman, Bill (November 15, 2011). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Stays On Top + 'Housewives Atl,' 'Hell On Wheels,' 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Homeland,' 'Dexter' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ Seldman, Robert (November 8, 2011). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Walking Dead,' 'Hell On Wheels' Lead AMC + 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Homeland,' 'Dexter' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 

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