I spent all morning in a kayak in the sun, and all afternoon in front of a TV with a cold beer in my hand, so this recap will probably be extra, ah, good.
Episode 4 of Fear the Walking Dead opens with a long monologue from Travis’ son, Chris Manawa, talking about, ah, something? Look, show, don’t tell. And maybe he suggests nature is taking everything back. Um, is he implying months have passed? Nature doesn’t take everything back that fast in Los Angeles. (Houston, yes. Nature would take Houston back in three to four days. The houses would be covered in ivy and insects would be carrying people away.) 9 days have passed. It hasn’t been very long at all.
Meanwhile, Travis is taking a long run, confident everything is back to normal. Madison is confident things are back to normal to, to the point where she wants the family room repainted—again!—and is complaining that her house looks “like a refugee camp.” Madison’s son Nick is so confident things are back to normal that he’s taking a swim in the pool and being useless.
On to more important things—the National Guard is making an announcement. It’s an infected-free zone in a 6-mile radius (one of 12 safe zones south of the San Gabriels). The lieutenant thinks this is a great thing. The crowd isn’t so impressed and wants to know when the phones are back up, whether they be moved, and so on. The soldiers are flirting with Alicia and Ofelia. They seem a little more interested in Ofelia, and the actress playing her is 10 years older than the actress playing Alicia so I’m good with that. The lieutenant dragoons Travis into convincing a neighbor to participate in screening.
While Travis is trying to talk down his neighbor, Alicia sneaks back into their neighbor’s house, because THOSE PEOPLE HAVE NO SHAME. She sees an empty pill bottle—the reason why Nick is so laid back at the moment? Travis’ neighbor is finally getting screened and we get a long, ominous shot of Travis walking away but nothing happens for the moment.
Travis’ ex treats someone in the neighborhood and a minute later we get a lingering shot of him, so maybe we have our first walker of the episode? No, but we were right before–Nick is stealing the morphine Travis’ ex was trying to give him.
Back from the commercial break and Ofelia is fraternizing with one of soldiers while he ignores calls on the Humvee. He’s super into her; she seems more into him getting her medicine.
Shift scenes again and Madison and Travis are doing the dirty. In the dark, which is understandable given the lack of power, but still. It’s appreciated though, because that’s about as much sex as we’ve gotten during the entire run of the original series. Take it from the comic, post-apocalypse people are going to be getting down.
The neighbor from earlier went missing and his wife comes to Travis for help (post-curfew). He goes looking, rules be damned.
[Checks clock. 34 minutes in and no zombies and no Daniel Salazar (that’s the barber.)]
Back again and the lieutenant is hitting balls (badly). Travis wants him to send a patrol out, but the lieutenant points out they already picked him up. Travis retorts that maybe he should have notified his wife. The lieutenant returns that he’s not a social worker, “that’s your job, mayor.” This is perhaps poor counter-insurgency practice. And nobody told me there was an election.
Travis’s ex gets confronted by a real doctor from the government and Madison crosses into the DMZ DZ. Which apparently stinks, being full of dead bodies left lying around. This is perhaps poor counter-zombie practice. She sees a patrol approach and dives under a car.
[Checks clock. 46 minutes in and no zombies and no Daniel Salazar. At least we have soldiers.]
And hey! There is Daniel Salazar. The doctor is treating her, and they want to transport her to a facility for surgery. The Salazars are (probably rightly) paranoid, but they don’t really have a choice, do they? The doctor goes to see Nick next. Travis is kind of anti-doctor after the neighbor got hauled away.
Madison spills she went outside the fences to Salazar and he asks what she saw. She saw men and women, not just the infected, shot in the head. Salazar tells a story about what happens when people got taken away from his village in El Salvador. He’s a pessimist. He does also drop that he’s leaving Ofelia with them.
Blah blah blah, some stuff involving Nick and drugs. Moving on to more interesting things, they’re pulling Griselda out of the house. Daniel starts to go with her but there are only two names on the list, and the second name is Nicholas Clark. He tries to run but fails like he fails at everything in life. Daniel isn’t getting in but the doctor invites Travis’ ex-wife along to keep playing nurse. Madison sees that and blames her (Liza! At least something good came of all this.).
The episode ends to Travis sitting on the roof. Now he SEES the signal flashing.
It was a slow—a very slow—episode, albeit with a great payoff at the end. But that just further cements a Walking Dead reputation for only being able to pull off great set pieces. Too many—all—of the characters aren’t compelling. As long and slow and boring as the episode was, we didn’t get much interesting out of the characters. Alicia is freaking out and I can’t even bring myself to include her in my recap.
I’m fascinated to see the fall, but…I don’t know what’s going on. And not in a way that indicates any kind of masterful writing. Civilization basically fell in 9 days? How? We’ll probably never know. The show doesn’t actually seem that interested in digging in. A season seemed plenty to cover the time from outbreak to Rick waking up, but I didn’t realize it would be a six episode season (a la season 1 of the original series). No wonder everything feels rushed.