For an episode focused on Travis and Chris, ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ is surprisingly tolerable this week. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s free of annoyance or idiocy.
The episode opens by acknowledging that Maddie was a complete dumbass last week when she turned on the hotel’s lights hoping to signal her son Nick. Instead, the lights drew a mob of survivors seeking refuge. They crowd a gate leading to the hotel and beg to be let in.
(Wait a second. Where did this gate come from? I don’t recall seeing it in establishing shots of the hotel previously. Why would a resort hotel have a giant gate around it? Wouldn’t the building be accessible from a lot of different directions? Are we supposed to believe that Maddie’s group and the wedding guests built a security gate when they were cleaning up the hotel last week? For that matter, getting a good view of the size of the hotel, it seems completely implausible that they could have lured every single zombie out of it already.)
I’m getting lost in a tangent here. Sorry about that.
Maddie and the guests are afraid to let anyone in. All Maddie can keep saying over and over is, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” However, her stupidity is vindicated when Travis appears and works his way to the front of the crowd. Maddie orders that the gates be opened to let him in.
The majority of the episode takes place as a flashback to a few weeks earlier, with Travis, Chris and the three Douche-bros on the farm. Travis is appalled that psycho Chris feels no remorse for murdering the farmer. The Douche-bro named James got shot in the leg and is in pretty bad shape. Travis, who once took a first aid course or something, scrounges up some supplies to stitch up his wound. (This makes Travis a medic in addition to a boat mechanic and a high school English teacher.) The kid can’t be moved until he recovers, but the other two Douche-bros get very antsy about waiting. They want to leave for San Diego and don’t believe Travis when he tells them that the city was fire-bombed. Even Chris, who saw the damn city in flames, won’t listen to his dad. He wants to stay with his new best friends.
After a week, the boys have had enough. They toss James in the back of their pickup and head out. They don’t even get out of the driveway before James passes out from the pain of being bounced around and Travis demands that they all return to the farm. He begs them to give James more time to recover, but nice guys that they are, they’d just as soon kill their buddy and leave. Travis tells them to go and offers to stay with James, but they won’t have that either. The three of them had made a pact that, if any of them died or were close to dying, the others wouldn’t let him turn into a zombie. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but James is having second thoughts now.
Travis locks himself in the barn with James. Chris comes knocking and, out of the blue, apologizes to his father. He says that he realizes Travis is right and that the Douche-bros aren’t his friends. This should be clearly suspicious to any normal thinking person, but we’re talking about Travis here. He lets Chris in. The boy gives him a hug, but it’s a ruse. He tackles his father and pins him to the ground as the other two Douche-bros run in. James begs, “Show me mercy!”, but Douche-bro Brandon blows his brains out with a rifle. Chris is totally stoked! He loves murder!
Travis digs a grave for James. The Douche-bros and Chris pack up their truck to leave. Obviously, they’re not taking Travis with them. He’s such a wet blanket, helping them survive and not letting them murder their friend and everything. Travis begs Chris to stay with him, but Chris blows him off and rides off into the sunset with his buddies. Afterwards, Travis also abandons the farm and wanders off toward the sea… until he spots the light from the hotel.
Now we’re all caught up to the current timeline. The hotel guests had to let 43 refugees in. They’ve set up a camp in the parking garage to search them for weapons and inspect them for zombie bites. Travis feels terribly guilty about failing Chris but Maddie tries to reassure him that it’s for the best. Later, Maddie has a heart-to-heart with Alicia and explains that her father didn’t actually die in a car accident. He committed suicide (probably because his kids were so annoying, if I have to speculate). What prompts this confession now is unclear to me.
The episode ends with a new group of refugees at the hotel gate, and… oh shit, it’s the Douche-bros! What are the odds all of these characters would find each other and be reunited again? (Pretty good, actually, considering that this is a very predictably written TV show.)
I still hate Chris and Travis (to be honest, I hate most of the characters on the show now), but as far as they go, this is a pretty decent, low-key, character building episode with some old-fashioned moral dilemmas. I’m glad that Nick’s soap opera nonsense was sidelined for a week.
This was no doubt intended to be the calm before the storm of this weekend’s two-hour finale. I don’t expect much out of the ending. I’ll see the season through, but I may be done with the show after this. I doubt I’ll be back for Season 3.