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Hey, TWD-ers! Welcome to the minicap for episode 205, “Chupacabra”. So far this season has oozed at a snail’s pace, and while this week still does offer plenty of oozing, we do get some pretty big developments towards the end. Let’s get to it.
This week opens with another flashback. This time we’re on a highway that’s backed up for miles with traffic—this time the drivers and passengers are all still living, though. This is taking place around the time Wildfire first appeared, so nobody’s quite panicked yet, including Shane, Lori, and Carl, who are in one of the vehicles. But then some helicopters appear overhead, flying towards Atlanta, and in a few moments the choppers are napalming the city. NOW it’s panic time. The most important beat in this scene, though, is that, while watching Atlanta burn, Lori takes comfort in Shane’s arms. This is one of the earliest moments that Shane starts to feel real responsibility for her and Carl.
Then it’s back to the present storyline. This is taking place the morning after Lori found out she’s pregnant. She still hasn’t told anybody, and the rest of the survivors are busy focusing on their present tasks. Everyone is making plans. Carol wants to cook a big dinner in the Greene’s kitchen to thank them for their hospitality. Rick and Shane finally organize the search for Sophia. Daryl decides that he’ll be heading into the woods alone and takes one of Dr. Greene’s horses to cover more ground. And one of the Greenes’ neighbors, a seventeen-year-old named Jimmy, volunteers to join them. Everyone sets out.
But it’s not long after the search begins that Shane begins to question Rick’s decisions. The two of them are walking through the woods together, and Shane openly wonders whether it makes any sense for them all to still be searching for Sophia after more than three days have passed. Unlike Rick, Shane feels he’d be capable of making a tough decision like calling off the search. Rick tries to hold to his principles, but he’s starting to think he’s fighting a losing battle, holding onto morals that are no longer relevant.
Back at the house, Glenn is trying to suss out the situation between himself and Maggie after their pharmacy sexcapades last week. Being that he still has eleven condoms, he’d like very much for things to continue, but Maggie isn’t sure.
Meanwhile, Daryl finds a clue down in the woods: Sophia’s stuffed doll. That can’t be good. But before he can continue looking, a rattlesnake slithers out of the bushes and spooks his horse, causing it to buck him off and send him tumbling down a hill. And he manages to impale his side on his last remaining arrow in the process. Daryl manages to pull himself on his feet, tie a tourniquet around his torso and try to climb back up the hill, but he doesn’t have the strength and goes tumbling back down again.
And that’s when Merle shows up. Don’t worry, not the ACTUAL Merle. A hallucination. (Too bad). The Merle-llucination starts teasing Daryl for being an idiot and falling down the hill onto his arrow, and, worse, for not being the man he raised him to be. The Merle-llucination can’t believe Daryl has completely aligned himself with Team Rick, since Rick is the one who handcuffed Merle to the pipe back in Atlanta. Daryl tries to argue, but the Merle-llucination isn’t having any of it. He orders Daryl to make things right and shoot things in the face. And then, the Merle-llucination vanishes and in its place are a couple zombies. Daryl snaps out of it and bashes one zombie’s face in with a tree branch, then pulls the arrow out of his side and shoots the second one with it.
Back at the house, things are getting tense. Rick and Shane have retuned from the search and Rick needs some reassurance from Lori that he’s making the right decisions for the group, which she gives him. And then, Dr. Greene takes Rick aside for a talking-to. Apparently Daryl didn’t have permission to borrow the horse, and Rick didn’t have permission to let Jimmy go on the search with them. Team Rick is starting to wear out their welcome.
After his zombie battle Daryl summons the strength to try climbing the hill again. But on the way up the Merle-llucination appears again. This time it doesn’t have any murderous orders to give him, it just wants to taunt him for being a big baby who can’t even scale a 200-foot sheer cliff with a gaping puncture wound in his side. Daryl shoots back with some long-suppressed grievances he’s had for Big Brother, about how Merle was pretty much never there for him growing up, but the Merle-llucination just laughs, and Daryl finally pulls himself back up.
But Glenn and Maggie are still trying to figure their whole sex thing. Dr. Greene (who was also unaware of the dinner party, and isn’t happy that Team Rick is getting so chummy with his group), has sensed that Maggie and Glenn have something going on, and he tells her to knock it off. Being 22 years old, she doesn’t appreciate her Dad meddling in her sex life. Glenn, on the other hand, turns to Dale to ask his advice on women, but Dale is just horrified to hear that Glenn banged the host’s daughter. Dr. Greene definitely will not be happy.
On top of the RV, Andrea has decided to pick up a shift keeping watch with a rifle, and soon she spots what looks like a zombie shambling out of the woods—but actually, the setting sun is obscuring her vision and she doesn’t realize that it’s actually Daryl, who’s limping along zombie-like because of all his injuries. Shane and Rick tell her not to shoot the zombie so as to obey Dr. Greene’s no-guns policy, and they run off to take the zombie down. But Andrea, being Andrea and thus constantly resentful of any type of authority, ignores their wishes, and just as they reach the zombie and see that it’s Daryl, Andrea pulls the trigger.
Luckily, the bullet only grazes Daryl’s face. He’ll survive. They take him inside and he gives them Sophia’s doll. To Shane, this is proof enough that Sophia won’t be found alive and reason enough to stop the search. Rick won’t listen to this argument any more, so Shane leans on Lori instead. She tries to back Rick up, believing that Shane just wants to take the easy way out by abandoning the search, but Shane makes it clear what he’s really after: his primary concern is protecting her and Carl. Looks like someone hasn’t quite moved on from his post-apocalyptic romance too much. I’m sure things will get even better once he learns he knocked her up, too.
But that gets tabled for the rest of the episode. At the dinner party that night everyone eats in tense silence. Maggie passes Glenn a note, indicating that she’s still down for some hook ups and asks him to name the place. (I’m pretty sure Dr. Greene saw it happen, too, but he doesn’t raise a stink about it). Daryl lies in bed recovering from the beating he took all day, and Carol brings him some food to thank him for all he’s done. She tells him he’s a good person, and he starts to reconsider the Merle-llucination’s suggestion that everyone in Team Rick is out to get him.
Oh, and what was Glenn’s suggestion for a meeting place? The barn. Remember how Dr. Greene said the barn was off-limits to Team Rick? Well, Glenn finds out why. He climbs up into the hayloft and, surprise, there’s about thirty zombies trapped in the barn. Maggie tries to catch him before he sees anything, but it’s too late. Dr. Greene’s been keeping zombies as pets.
And that’s the episode. Full recap is Tuesday. Until then, you can read up on last week’s debacle here.