Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead! Proceed with caution, survivors. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched the latest episode, “Do Not Disturb”, we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
There are times when the Walking Dead universe reminds me of that old joke about the plane that’s coming in for a landing. The one where the pilot says to his co-pilot, “Look how short that runway is,” and the co-pilot responds, “Yeah, but it sure is wide.” Which is to say that even if most of the characters in Fear the Walking Dead don’t possess quite as much depth as we’d like them to, the show’s plotting and mise-en-scene can still find a way to hold our interest.
Such is the case with “Do Not Disturb,” in which the show returns to Travis and Chris’ storyline for the first time in this back half of its second season. Tired, hungry, and thirsty, the two have, presumably, been waking their way south. Though not too south, since–as Chris points out–despite his bluster about wanting to start over and making a new life with his son, Travis doesn’t want to stray all that far from where he left Madison.
It isn’t long, of course, before father and son encounter trouble, in the form of some stupid kids from San Diego caught south of the border during the virus outbreak. Reveling in their newfound freedom, they indoctrinate Chris into their group. Travis believes they’re a bad influence on his son, and that belief is immediately justified when they find a farmhouse and, within minutes, Chris shoots its owner dead. Granted the man had already shot one of Chris’s newfound buddies, but that was after they A.) broke into his barn, B.) began hunting his livestock, and C.) refused to leave his property.
Despite the resourcefulness he shows in the episode’s early scenes, when he attracts the attention of his idiot pals by saving their lives and stealing from them, Chris is still as much of a moron as he was when we last saw him hovering over Alicia’s bed with a knife in the midseason finale. What makes “Do Not Disturb” watchable, however–what widens that short landing strip–is its staccato cross-cutting between Chris’s story and that of Alicia.
Still trapped in Hotel Hell, and cut off from the rest of her group, Alicia is determined to find her mom at all costs. Even if it means fighting her way through the most zombie-infested high-rise since [Rec]. She’s helped by the manager of the hotel, whom we learn was responsible for trapping most of the deceased guests in their rooms, as well as an entire wedding party in its banquet hall. I’d be lying if I said “Do Not Disturb'”s opening scene–a flashback in which we watch this grisly scenario play out–wasn’t the show’s best teaser yet, even if the bride’s dad turns a lot quicker than he should at this stage of the outbreak.
There’s even a nicely understated bit of social commentary, when the bride’s mom tells the Latina manager that she wants her to end the reception so that she and her fellow (whiter than white) guests can leave Mexico, presumably to its destruction, before the border is closed and return home to California.
By episode’s end, however, Alicia has brokered a deal to get the hotel manager’s nephew back from the the bride’s mom and the few surviving wedding guests. After which she sets their deceased friends and family on them, so that she can run off and reunite with Madison and Strand. It’s a victory the plucky lass well earns.
In Travis and Chris, however, we’re left with an even more dysfunctional father-son pairing than Rick and Carl. And since we’ve already seen the younger Grimes mature a lot quicker and at a much younger age than Chris, I suspect I’m not the only one growing impatient with his counterpart on Fear the Walking Dead. Call me a sadist, but I’m hoping next week’s episode begins with Travis offing the brat.
— Chris’s new friends are so insufferably written that one could easily make a drinking game out of this episode. Just take a shot whenever you hear the word “bro.”
— “I had the hotel to think about. We were at capacity.” Doing the service industry proud.
— The father of the bride collapsing after their dance and then, when she gives him mouth-to-mouth, biting his daughter’s face off? Well done, Fear the Walking Dead. Well done indeed.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).