Indeed. What do you do for the rest of your life when the world has ended? Do you join up with a band of bad guys and loot and kill, or do you find the safest possible place, stock up and hide?
The Travis and Chris show started out well, with father-son bonding and some long-overdue driving lessons. Chris was happy, maybe because he was finally getting a hundred percent of his father's attention, something he's clearly wanted since the beginning of the series. Chris even acknowledged that it was his fault that Travis injured his feet so badly. (And please don't tell me there is amputation in Travis's future.)
Enter a trio of murdering and looting American youths with frat boy names: Brandon, Derek and Baby James. Brandon the leader (who reminded me of Logan Echolls, except that Logan had depth) said that he loved being a post-apocalyptic god -- no school, no jobs, no bills to pay, ever again. Even though their relationship began with Chris stealing what they had already stolen, Brandon saw Chris as a positive addition to his gang because Chris is also American, and good at taking out "the wasted."
Just like that, Chris's deep need for constant approval shifted, and he wanted to run with the other young wolves and Travis was standing in his way. Travis doesn't trust the three boys, because who with any sense would? Okay, Chris does, and I'm trying to see Chris's point of view here. He's only sixteen, his mother just died and the world ended, but still. I wish I could care about Chris as a character, and I don't. He's like a juvenile version of Shane from the parent show, but lacking even the interest of being Rick's romantic rival.
Travis is my second least favorite character (after Chris) but at least I felt for him here. Travis honestly believes that the people in charge will fix the world at some point -- what happened to Los Angeles should have clued him in, but no -- and that the smart thing to do is find some sustainable place to live where the two of them can wait it out. An isolated house with some elevation, a water supply, some crops. And shocker, that's just what they found. There were even some chickens. Or as the frat guys called them, "Protein!" Not living beings that could provide eggs ad infinitum, but objects. And unfortunately, the frat guys also saw the farmer who already lived there in much the same way, and Chris shot the poor farmer.
Where is Fear the Walking Dead going with this situation? Can Travis deal with Chris continuing to murder people, or did his expression signal that he just reached the breaking point? Will Travis have to let Chris go and move on without him? Or possibly have to bury him, like that farmer did with his own three children?
Alicia did a lot better in the strangers-becoming-friends department than Chris and Travis. Even though new character Elena Reyes, the hotel manager with the fire axe, made a serious mistake that still haunts her (locking in the wedding party in an attempt to save the rest of the hotel guests), she also did exactly what Travis wanted to do: she found a safe place at an elevation, and decided to wait it out. The moment they met at the elevator shaft, Elena saved Alicia's life. Cool sequence there. In fact, I think this was Alicia's best episode yet. I was touched when Alicia said simply that her mother would die for her, because it was true, and that she had to take the risk and try to save her. Huge contrast in maturity to what was happening with Chris.
Alicia also got to be an action hero for a change, in the terrific elevator shaft scene and hanging from a balcony as she and Elena tag-teamed the hallway walkers into yet another hotel room. ("Do Not Disturb.") I loved the bits with Alicia counting walkers, practicing with her butterfly knife, and then putting up her hair and prepping for action. Although she could really use some scary face paint, too.
And then, Alicia and Elena used walkers as weapons and outwitted the angry hotel guests, which included character actress Brenda Strong from Desperate Housewives as the bride's mother. Loved the little race/class struggle microcosm there, by the way, with the staff versus the guests. Hey, those guests had locked Madison and Strand in the bar to die, so they deserved it. (I'm guessing we'll see how Madison and Strand got out of that situation in next week's episode.)
Elena and her nephew Hector are strong survivors with character and morals, a huge contrast to the Spring Break Gang. I say keep 'em. Maybe with their knowledge of the hotel, they can help find Ofelia.
Where the hell is Ofelia?
-- Flashback to the wedding. Who else knew that we were going to get a mouth-to-mouth walker face bite situation? Everyone? Yeah.
-- Chris told Brandon he has taken out 17 walkers. It's very like Chris to keep count.
-- The Madison-like walker was well done. She was even wearing Madison-like clothes.
-- Campfire! You don't light a campfire, guys. Walkers are attracted to fire!
-- The Spring Break Gang are from San Diego. They didn't seem to absorb Travis's news that San Diego was destroyed.
-- The graves at the chicken farm were a little reminder that the action is taking place in 2010.
-- Is there a trend with female character names starting with a vowel and ending in the letter A? Alicia, Ofelia, and now Elena?
-- This close to the apocalypse, the walkers still have facial muscles and are a lot more vicious with their body movements.
Chris: "This is pretty easy."
Travis: "You haven't parallel parked yet. Three point turn."
Chris: "Won't be any need for that."
Chris: "They're good people. They're strong people."
Travis: "They're not our people."
The second -- no, third -- strong episode in a row. Three out of four large cans of frijoles,
Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.
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