Fear the Walking Dead: The New Frontier

"It's a terrible world, isn't it?"

What a shocker.

Even with the foreshadowing, I was totally not expecting Travis to die after they'd put so much effort into improving him as a character. In part one, "Eye of the Beholder," he was an outright badass with a gladiator battle and everything. And there he was in the copter, shot by someone at random in the neck and gut, and Alicia actually had to watch him commit suicide by falling out of the Huey. That last shot when he was looking into Alicia's eyes was heartrending.

And now what? Do I have to forever picture Travis's broken body on the ground with quite possibly his brain intact, a walker Travis snarling at passing coyotes forever? I hate it when you don't actually see the body. Not that there's much chance that Travis survived two gunshots followed by a plummet out of a moving helicopter.

It's like Madison can't win. She got both of her children back, but lost her man in the process. At least Madison, while allowing herself to grieve for Travis, didn't lose sight of survival for an instant. She's already taken a good look around and decided that they're staying, and if they have to, they'll take over. I'm anticipating at the very least a fight to the death with Troy, or at the most, a burning ranch house and exodus a la Baja.

At least Madison has Nick and Alicia now, and it feels like she really has them. Although Nick was unsuccessful in restraining his totally understandable homicidal feelings toward Troy, he did stay focused on keeping Luciana alive, and he did pick up on everything his mother was trying to tell him. I'll repeat what I said in my review of the previous episode, that it doesn't feel as if Nick will simply walk off alone again any time soon. That's good.

While Madison tried very hard to protect Alicia from having to make life and death decisions, there wasn't a lot she could do about what happened to Alicia in the chopper and later, in the desert. That whole sequence made me like Jake, though. The poor guy had to take out Charlie, his father's goddaughter and a woman who clearly meant a great deal to him, and then he had to carry Luciana all those miles to the ranch. The Broke Jaw Ranch. Not a name that inspires confidence and a sense of home.


The man in charge of the ranch, Otto, seems quite calm and rational for a gun-toting survivalist. There were a lot of RVs and tents on the grounds, and at least he isn't taking guns away from his people, a stupid rule to enforce during an apocalypse. Plus he brought coffee to Madison even when he wasn't letting her in the gate, which gives him points in my book.

Killing the unconscious Luciana at the gate didn't make a lot of sense, though. Not when they could do exactly what they ended up doing, which is tie her down in case she dies.

While in the wild, Jake mentioned to Alicia that Troy had always been "that way," and that Otto took Troy out of school when he was little and gave him free run of the ranch. That almost made sense. What do you do when you know your child is a psycho? Permanent care seems like the only option, but what do you do with him during a zombie apocalypse? Take him out back and shoot him in the head? And yes, if Troy is killing people for fun, which is what he was doing back at the Depot, that's what you do: take him out back and shoot him in the head. I'm guessing that the Clarks' conflict with Troy is going to drive a lot of the upcoming action.


On the lighter side, I really enjoyed the Strand section of the story back at the Rosarita Beach Hotel. In order to defuse the mob at the gate, Strand pretended to be the doctor they were seeking, and then he got to have fun bandaging wounds and successfully delivering a baby that the mother decided to name after him. Seeing a baby born tends to have a positive effect on people, and it was delightful that Strand was no exception. He even took a meal to Ilene Stowe, the woman who stabbed him for no reason. After her totally predictable suicide, he got a karmic reward: the keys to her daughter's wedding gift, a brand new car that was covered and waiting in the parking garage.

Now all we need to do is find a way to get Strand to the Broke Jaw Ranch. Even with her kids to back her up, Madison could definitely use another friend and ally.

Bits:

-- The ranch has cows! I could live without beef, but cream in my coffee would mean a lot to me. What an apocalyptic luxury.

-- Bunks, with cobwebs and possibly scorpions. How come the Clarks didn't shake out the mattresses? Yes, they had a lot on their minds, but come on. Scorpions?

-- Did Jake say that Troy was his half brother? Alicia compared Jake growing up with Troy to herself growing up with Nick, somewhat apt, but Nick is a prince compared to Troy.

-- Ilene's hotel room looked like they'd filmed an episode of "Wedding Hoarders" in it. Maybe it was the decorated mannequin of the bride.

-- I hadn't realized it during the episode, but according to Talking Dead, Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie) was the guy who captured Ofelia in the season two finale. Callie is also a Deadwood alumnus, making his scenes with Kim Dickens a Deadwood reunion.

Quotes:

Madison: "Bring our family together. Take what we need. Stop anyone who gets in our way."

Strand: "De nada, asshole."

Otto: "Little cream and sugar. Hope that's how you take it."
Madison: "Right now, I'd take it black, cold and too weak to defend itself."
What a Madison thing to say. It totally signals how she sees the world these days.

Madison: "I put a spoon in your other son's eye."
Otto: "Guess he's lucky it wasn't a fork."
I like a bizarre sense of humor in a man.

Otto: "After my first wife left, my two food groups were Jack Daniels and Coke."
Seriously, I could like this guy. I hope Madison doesn't have to kill him.

To tell you guys the truth, I wasn't even sure I was going to review this season, but I really enjoyed both premiere episodes. Three out of four scorpions,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves science fiction but hates horror, and is confused about why she loves The Walking Dead so much.

6 comments:

Henrik Bennetter said...

Much better!
Sad to see Travis go, but he certainly went out a total hero. Cliff Curtis molded his character well. Thankyou.

I hadn't realised either that Otto captured Ofelia, thanks for pointing that out. Does that mean we'll se her again in the next episode? Here's hoping.

Billie Doux said...

Hey, Henrik: no idea, but it makes sense that the Clarks will run into Ofelia at some point soon. I hadn't picked up on Otto being the one to capture Ofelia at all. Sometimes watching Talking Dead can be helpful.

Steven Lee said...

I stopped watching at the end of season one, but I think it shows how badly they cast FTWD at the beginning. I never liked Cliff Curtis in the show and his character was weak. They wouldn't get away with killing Rick or Carl. Not that I watch the Walking Dead anymore (which I vetoed after season six, episode one.)

paladinteacher said...

Bille, thanks for sticking with reviews for the showl It's a different take from The Walking Dead, and I find it interesting.

Steven, I disagree about Travis's character. I think that his outlook was realistic. Yes, Travis was slow to let go of the rules of society, but not everyone is going to adapt at the drop of a hat. Travis' journey - struggling with Chris, losing his son, killing the boys who killed Chris, then being reunited with Madison - I think his death is going to resonate.

In the scene in the hotel with Ilene and Strand, Ilene already looked like a zombie; haggard, gaunt and pale. When Strand opened the patio and she took a deep breath of fresh air and thanked him, I was faked out. I was surprised when she took her swan dive. On the other hand, seeing the hotel room made me think of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations.

When Madison heard about Travis' death, she put up a wall between herself and her children. She swallowed her grief and then went off alone. She confessed to Strand that she lied to Nick and Alicia about their father's death. Mmadison needs to open up more to her children if they are going to be a unified force.

Billie Doux said...

paladinteacher, you're welcome! And I'm enjoying your comments. Definitely a Miss Havisham vibe in Ilene's hotel room.

Patryk said...

I was totally suprise that they wrote Travis out. So much attention was paid to saving him in the season premiere that it was definately something shocking. Which is great for the show, that's what it is supposed to do, suprise us, to be succesfull.

So Ofelia is somewhere on the ranch then if that's the same guy who grabbed her. Yay for all the cast in one place. Come on Strand you can stumble onto the rach too.