fear-the-walking-dead

It may be hard to believe, but even the apocalypse has its dull moments. Case in point: this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead.

The tired trope of “all life is precious” was the theme of this week’s vignettes, as we caught up with our friends at the hotel and Travis and Chris at the farm.  We learn the expected – Travis and Chris separate, while the paradise that Maddy envisions at the hotel is destined to be short-lived once the locals get wind of their location.

It all inched the story forward toward what’s been long-anticipated – the whole family winding up back together, despite the long odds of finding each other in walker-ridden Mexico. Yes, the world is ending with a whimper, not a bang, but mercifully, there are only two episodes left, and the payoff must be at hand.

This week’s recap:

*** Madison’s stupid decision to turn on the hotel lights has brought its expected results – a swarm of apocalypse survivors is massing at the hotel gates, pleading for entry. Although the gates are sagging, they are holding, and the decision is made to turn everyone away. Until, that is, Madison spies Travis in the swarm, and they crack the gates ever so slightly to bring him in.

*** Travis appears shell-shocked, which is kind of his normal appearance, but it’s a tad worse than usual. He tells Madison that he and Chris found each other but parted. It seems that Chris feels he’s been adapting to this strange new world, a world where Travis’s numb nuts pacifisms has no place. During last week’s killing of the farmer who owned the barn the gang was holed up in – a man eventually killed by Chris –  one of the lads took a bullet. Although it’s not life-threatening and Travis manages to sew the man up, he’s still in considerable pain and incapacitated. In other words, he’s dead weight, and Travis balks at the notion that he should be put out of his misery.

*** Travis is still spooked by Chris’s killing of the farmer, and is the only one who digs the man a grave. He also makes sure to research the man’s name, something the others could not care less about. Travis feels that ignoring the man’s death is an affront to humanity, but he’s unable to convince anyone else, particularly his son.  He’s further shocked when he overhears a conversation in which the men are planning to kill James, the invalid. So Travis takes up residence with a handgun to guard James, further alienating his son and the rest of the crew, who feels his constant moralizing is grating. As Chris tells him, ““There is no more good, there’s no more bad, right or wrong. It’s us or them, kill or be killed.”

*** That arch philosophy is proven when Chris suckers Travis into a false sense of security during his guard duty of James. Chris wrestles him to the ground, and the others rush in. It seems they’ve all promised themselves that they won’t let each other turn, and even thought James is on the mend, they feel that he’s going to eventually die, so let’s hasten the process. As James begs for mercy, he’s coldly dispatched via shotgun. The others want to get out on the road to San Diego, and despite Travis’s insistence that the city is burned, they’re not listening. Chris decides that it’s time to part from pops: “Your way, it doesn’t work — it can’t. You won’t do what needs to be done.” And so, without even an “I love you” or “Thanks for the fish,” they depart. Travis’s last words to his son?  “God damn you,” a phrase that will haunt him. Chris doesn’t look back as the truck pulls away.

*** Back at the hotel, Travis finishes telling his story to Madison, and lets her know his regrets that he didn’t recognize his son’s behavior sooner. Travis now has a huge amount of regrets, and for a man given to brooding when his dinner is late, it’s sure to weigh him down when future action is needed.

*** Travis’s confessions do prompt one action from Madison – she finally works up the courage to tell Alicia how her father really died, which is suicide by car instead of an accident. Alicia is stunned by forgiving.

*** As we close out this episode, there are again some people at the gate. This time, it’s the two rogues from the farm, Brandon and Derek. But what happened to Chris?

Next week: Madison’s hotel is starting to reach beyond its capacity, but no one appears eager to check out.  It looks like some of the walkers dispatched to the sea have returned, so perhaps there’s yet another battle in the hallways looming. And, of course, there’s Travis, he of the long, soul-searching showers and haunted looks. How will he deal with the arrival of the two young men who stole his son?  There are two episodes left, and we still have to find out what’s going on with Nick and his Tijuana colony.