After its second episode, "Fear the Walking Dead" has declared loud and proud why it's worth your attention — because the collapse of civilization is so damn depressing, and so damn fascinating.
The episode, titled "So Close, Yet So Far," centers on the Clark and Manawa families dealing with the realization that something very horrible and wrong is happening in their world, and they need to start reacting fast. The ultimate goal: Gather the family together, leave town, and head to the desert. But goals are not reached so easily, especially in the zombie apocalypse.
Here's everything that happened in "FTWD" week two:
Note to all future actors from "The Wire" who appear on a "Walking Dead" series: Prepare to die. After the deaths of Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) on the main show, Matt (Maestro Harrell) has followed suit — or, at least, he's on the way.
After missing his rendezvous with girlfriend Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in last week's premiere, Matt has finally reared his head again, for what's very likely the last time. We don't know how it happened, but Matt has a nasty bite wound on his shoulder, and has accrued a fever of 103 degrees. Alicia wants to stay and keep him company, but her mother Madison (Kim Dickens), now alert to the new world order, urges her to come home. She's about to refuse, but Matt convinces her to leave.
"I love you," she says tearfully, trying to argue.
"I love you too," he responds, weakly. "That's why you gotta go. Okay? You gotta go."
And so she goes, and so goes Matt, a character we are not likely to see ever again, unless he's in full-fledged walker mode.
"I'm about to step into a world of sh—. You know that, right?"
So speaks Nick (Frank Dillane), still dressed in the oversized clothes he snagged at the hospital, still freaking out. Sure, now he has confirmation that he isn't losing his mind, and the world is actually changing for the worse. But that doesn't change the fact that he's a heroin addict, and he is about to go into serious withdrawal, which means serious trouble for the whole Clark family.
With Nick feeling sick, Madison takes it on herself to go back to her school and find medicine for her son, at least enough to stave him off of the addiction. In the meantime, Alicia stays home with Nick, to watch over him while he recovers. She almost leaves to go back to Matt, but Nick has a seizure right as she steps out the door, forcing her to stay behind. It's actually kind of amazing that such an awful thing for Nick more or less saves Alicia's life.
The Principal ProblemAMC
When Madison returns to the school, she finds it completely empty — well, almost. Tobias (Lincoln A. Castellanos) is there too, scavenging for supplies, starting with the knife Madison confiscated in last week's premiere. They raid the nurse's office, the cafeteria (did you know that school lunch food is designed to survive a nuclear strike?) and more, and are about to get away clean… when they run into a little bit of a problem.
Art (Scott Lawrence), the principal of the school, and the guy who looked like he had turned into a walker for a minute last week, is actually a walker now. How did he die? Who knows. He was alive and well at the top of the episode. But he's anything but alive and well by the end of the episode, moaning and groaning and groping at Tobias, trying to turn him into a meal.
Zombie Art almost gets what he wants, too, if not for Madison's quick thinking. She beats him repeatedly with a fire extinguisher, caving his brains, putting an end to him for good, right in the nick of time to save Tobias' life.
Afterwards, Madison drops Tobias off at his home. He insists that they go their separate ways, saying he'll be fine moving forward on his own. Is that the last we'll ever see of him? Hopefully not, but that's a story for another day.
The Apocalypse is a RiotAMC
Meanwhile, as Madison is busy taking care of her side of the family, Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) is taking care of his. He tries to track down his ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) and his son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), but Chris is not answering his phone. Instead, he's caught in the middle of a riot in downtown Los Angeles, joining a group of protestors who are agitated over the shooting of an unarmed homeless person.
Travis finally convinces Liza that things are not right in the world, and the two of them track down Chris, pinpointing his location thanks to a TV broadcast. When they reach him, the riot hits its breaking point, and the three of them need to get out of there very fast.
The Manawas seeks refuge at a barber shop, the reluctant guests of the Salazar family. The father, Daniel (Rubén Blades) is not interested in helping Travis out, not at first, but he eventually agrees to keep them safe from the riots outside for at least a little while — but given the way the world is turning, it does not feel like anywhere will be safe for too much longer.
Skip to DesertAMC
Later, Madison returns home, gives Nick his medicine, and hears that Alicia tried to run away to see Matt. She's not worried about that right away. She's more worried about Art's bloodstains on her jacket. She tries to wash her clothes in the bathtub, but the blood doesn't clean easily. Finally, Madison breaks down, crying over the horror she just witnessed and participated in.
As she's starting to feel overwhelmed in the moment, Madison gets a phone call from Travis. They catch each other up, but the news is not all good. Travis says he's not sure when he'll be able to escape the riots, and that Madison should just take Nick and Alicia far away from civilization, out into the desert as they planned, without him. Before she can argue, there are gunshots on the other side of the call, and the phone goes dead. We know that Travis is not harmed — not yet at least — but Madison is left in the dark, literally, as power starts to fade in and out throughout LA.
Madison's neighbors across the street, earlier celebrating the 9th birthday of a little girl named Gladys, begin to scream bloody murder. Alicia tries to run outside and warn them, but Madison stops her. It's a lost cause. The screams linger throughout the night, and they are likely to echo in the Clark family's hearts for many nights to come — or at least until the next monstrosity shambles along.
What did you think of "Fear the Walking Dead" this week?