Welcome to the Occupation. You’re safe: would we lie?
Nick resting on a pool float and Travis is out jogging like it’s no big deal, and Lou Reed reminds us of what’s going on:
Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such fun
But it isn’t, really. The military is present, there’s a patrolled fence, supplies coming in from somewhere, we’re told in voice over it’s been nine days since the power went out, and we can see smoke rising from over a hill, probably something in downtown L.A. still burning. While we watch someone who looks like Carl Grimes enter the neighborhood—and, man, is he really out of the house!—Chris sits on the roof of his house with a video camera and thinks he sees someone signaling in the distance from the “dead zone”, but we know that can’t be true because the military says there’s no one out there. Gotta be right . . .
RT: I really loved that there is a character who is documenting the zombie apocalypse. However, I think Chris needs to lose the teenage angst-wankery. *high fives AMC for placing a Carl lookalike in this episode*
CF: I’ve seen a few people point out the Carl lookalike. I read that even Chandler posted something along the lines of a “No comment” about it being Carl. And as far as Chris losing the angst-wankery: just wait until he’s almost eaten by a zombie.
Madison is inside watching a clock that’s now marked to let her know when the power is coming on and when it’s going off. Travis comes in wondering about the power and acting like northing’s changed, that what they’re going through is just a speed bump along the highway of life. Madison is pissed that she has to do so much around the house while Travis and Liza are out helping the solders, and he’s back in her face letting her know that they are doing important work. Because she’s a moody, festering bag of hormones, Alicia tells them to cool their shit and stop acting like this is normal, because it’s not normal. Jeez, old people.
RT: I actually really enjoyed them all trying to cope like nothing had changed. I think there would be more of this that first suspected during the apocalypse. While Travis has his head in the sand, sometimes you just need to paint the house, not because of blood stains but because there is no internet and nothing to do while the power is out but pretend shit will eventually go back to normal.
CF: I think, depending upon where you lived, there would be a whole lot of people who’d think it would be over in a week or two, maybe a month at the most, and they’d continue going on with their lives like it was no big deal. I also think Travis is in a position where he simply doesn’t have great coping skills. He wants to believe the military is in control and knows what they’re doing, and soon he can go back to teaching Jack London.
Back to Chris who is still on the roof awaiting another signal from the Dead Zone, and when he doesn’t get one, he shows what he taped earlier to Travis. Dad had drunk the Kool-aid, unfortunately, and kid, if the military says there’s no one out there, then there’s no one out there. Travis is really doing his damnedest to hang onto the past, and there’s no way in hell he’s gonna believe for a moment someone’s lying to him.
Junkie Nick is still in the pool. All he needs is a man servant to come to the side and ask if he’d prefer straight up heroin, or if he’s more in the mood for a speedball. Instead Mom shows up and tell him it’s time for his medication, but he’s like, nope, I’m kickin’ this stuff. Maddie’s heard way too much of this bullshit before, and she ain’t buying. Hey, do something useful and clean the damn pool, junkie.
The CO of this holding area, Lt. Moyers, calls a street meeting and tells everyone that the area around them is clean for six miles in any direction. But there’s lot’s of questions, like “When can we leave” and “Where are you getting this medication and food?” and “Why can’t we get phones?” Lt. Moyers doesn’t like answering question from dumb ass civilians, and tells them, with a big ass smile on his face, to just shut the hell up and obey because they’re lucky—otherwise he may be forced to shoot them. You just know this son of a bitch wants to pull the trigger on a lot of people, and he wants to do it soon.
RT: Even before they stated the over-obvious with the golf game, I was hoping someone would stab this man in the eye.
CF: Where’s The Governor to slice a few people into the Walker Pit when you need him?
But the Loouie is a buddy, too, and he pulls Travis aside because there’s a job for them. See, on of the neighbors—Doug—he doesn’t want to get screened, and they want Travis to speak with him. Travis is reluctant, but the options are put to him: talks him down, or the army’s gonna put him down. Travis eventually goes and sees Doug, and the dude is pretty much freaking and in the middle of a nervous breakdown. You know, the way a whole hell of a lot of people who don’t go for morning jogs in their zombie-free street would likely be.
Emo Hormone Sack Alicia decides to wander about Zombie Suzie’s garden, and this leads her to head into the sealed off house, which deters Alicia for about five seconds because fuck seals. Things still look as they did that night they broke in, got Suzie’s shotgun, and discovered she was a zombie. Alicia enters the master bedroom and finds a drawing she did for Suzie back when she was a small girl and Suzie was her baby sitter. She also finds a note, read it, and begins to cry . . .
Speaking of Liza being busy, she’s out looking over people, trying to make them feel better and using whatever is available, like a morphine drip for the guy next door who is probably on his last leg and is simply being made comfortable. Liza’s making someone comfortable as hell, however, because a few moments after we see Liza checking on her patient, we cut to a scene of Nick lying under the dude’s bed taking that sweet, sweet morphine through a vein between his toes. Whereas in Episode 2 most people were like, “Hey, the junkie is the only one with brains,” well, the junkie has turned into what he always was: a total asshole. Don’t worry, ‘cause karma’s a bitch—
We find Ofelia and a new solder, and yes, it’s Sexy Time! Just like on The Walking Dead, even with the undead all around, there’s still time to feel boobs and rub genitals. They’re having a good time kissing and groping, then Ofelia buzz kills the shit out of the moment by asking about medicine for her mom. Needless to say, Soldier Boy and his withering erection are not happy.
RT: Even with nine days past, I was wagging my finger at Ofelia. Although, once she asked about her mum, I was like”Oh yeah, if you’ve got it, use it!” Smart making out with the military in order to gain favours or information. I wonder if her dad put her up to it?
CF: Yeah, I was Ofelia going that route about half way into her routine as well. The moment she asked about the drugs–bingo. The way to a man’s heart is through his penis. Unless you’re Carol, then it’s through his sternum.
But Sexy Time ain’t over yet! It’s also night Patrol Time, and Madison and Travis are in the garage, in the back seat of a car having make-up sex! If this show were on HBO, we’d be calling it Boobs and Zombies right about now. There’s small talk, and Madison brings up Chris’ video, which she was shown. Travis is still being a dick and blowing all that talk off, but Madison wants to know why all the shit they were promised isn’t here after nine days—then there’s Doug’s wife at the garage door telling Travis Doug is gone, daddy, gone. He’s driven off in his car, which he’s not allowed to do ‘cause that’s one of those things you should be happy you can’t do. Travis says he’ll find him, but one can see the worm of doubt starting to turn behind his eyes.
RT: Actually, we’d have to just call it Boobs, because nary a zombie was seen in this episode. but that’s okay with me as I think there is method to the madness with AMC cutting walkers from this episode and lulling the characters — and the audience — into a false sense of security.
CF: The military would be doing a piss-poor job if the joint was getting overrun with zombies. I think they’re in the process of trying to contain the infected to certain areas, while at the same time they’re not real sure what to do. It’s when the downtown crowd starts to move you’ll see it all get crazy.
Next morning, and Madison is trying to signal the house Chris saw. Travis is walking the fence and finds Doug’s car. There’s no sign of Doug—please, someone yell, Hey, Doug!—but Madison gets a signal, and being far more of a realist than her boyfriend, you know some shit’s gonna be up with her.
Travis is talking to Lt. Moyers while the LT is driving golf balls—and the last time we saw some asshole driving golf balls he got dumped in a zombie pit. Moyers ain’t in any way going out to look for Doug, fuck that nose, and he blows off Travis like a hurricane would a candle. Travis finally mentions the light Chris saw, and he’s told there’s nothing out beyond the fence, there’s a reason they call it the Dead Zone, dude.
Liza comes to check up on Hector, and finds there’s a new doctor in the house, Doctor Exner—
Liza is told her patient was taken out of the house, and in a private moment she’s called out as not being a nurse. Liza says she knew the dude was going to die, she just wanted to make him comfortable, so she’s pretending with these people who don’t know her. Exner asked if she wants to “pretend a little longer,” and you gotta wonder what she means.
RT: Which basically means that they are already short on medical staff out there in the big bad world. It makes sense too, as doctors would be the first line taken out on account of people going to the hospital because they are “sick”.
CF: Yep. The dead rising up and biting the doctors and nurses–they are more on the front line than anyone else at first. I’m of a mind we’ll discover Exner has no freakin’ staffof her own anymore.
Madison decides to go “over the fence” and cuts her way out—and let’s say it now, that hole is somehow gonna come back and fucking bite everyone on the ass by the last episode. She heads into the Dead Zone, and it’s dead all right: Burnt cars, missing people signs, clothes all over the street, and dead bodies laying in the street, all shot in the head, and several of them in no way sick. This is some real bad shit, and she knows it.
RT: Totally agree with you. That hole is the biggest liability ever! But, if the military are doing their job, they should notice the hole before it all goes to the crapper… surely… I am placing my money on “Nope, no way in hell” because that would make a way better finale for season 1 than a synopsis that reads “The National Guard finds a hole and fixes it.”
CF: We didn’t see how Madison “fixed” the hole, but somehow it’ll be the weak point in their defenses, I feel. Then again, Rick had a hole cut in the prison fence to get in and out quick, so maybe this won’t. Maybe. Could be?
Liza and Doctor Exner are now doing rounds, They convince Griselda she needs to be moved to a “facility”, and when Daniel says he’s going with, he’s told it’s not a problem. Then they check out Nick, and Exner asks if he needs methadone. Nick is trying to tell them he kicked, and there’s more talk about “the facility.”
Daniel knows Madison went somewhere, and she says she was outside the fence. He wants to know what she saw. She tells him: bodies, the infected, and people who were shot that obviously weren’t sick. Daniel talks about his time in El Salvador, and tells them about the bodies of people from his village who were murdered by soldiers, and tells her that his father tried to tell him these soldiers killed because of fear, but he knows that’s total bullshit, and tells her to get ready, because when shit goes down, it’ll happen fast. He also gets her to promise to look after Ofelia, so you figure Daniel’s gonna go down at some point and join the Walker Brigade.
RT: I totally think “the facility” is just code for “gas chambers”. I’m pretty sure Daniel is alluding to this too.
CF: Yeah, that’s why he wanted to go, and got upset when they wouldn’t let him. He’s figured out that Griselda isn’t coming back, and he wanted to be there when she went. I figure the same for Nick: they ain’t gonna bother weening a junkie off smack, so slit his throat and toss him on the bonfire.
Missing his morning feeding, Nick is over next door looking for that good dope that his sick neighbor was getting and finds it all gone. He turns and there’s Madison, and Nick smirks at her with one of those, “What did you expect?” looks. There’s a beat, and then Madison begins slapping the fuck out of him, over and over, and chances are good if she’d had a knife Nick would have been shived good. You fucked with the wrong person, Nickie: you needed Mommy, and now she looks like she wants to piss on your grave.
RT: As soon as she hit Nick, I just knew these two were going to be separated. Which means it’s probably time for Madison to try on some of Rick Grimes’s variety of Crazy.
CF: Madison’s job at school is having to deal with situations, so now that every goddamn thing is a situation, she’s figuring out how to deal fast. And with the discovery that Nick is being a lying asshole once more, she just smacks the piss out of him. She also got smacked by the military people, so she’s about to go off the rails here fast. Real fast.
Madison goes to the garage and starts drinking out of a mug, but that doesn’t last long as the military shows up to get Griselda. They aren’t letting Daniel come with them. However, they’re also there for Nick. He tries to run, there’s a struggle, Madison gets a rifle butt in the face and Nick gets hauled off perp-walk style with his hands zip-tied behind his back. Exner convinces Liza to come along, and just like that she’s out of there. Madison accuses Liza of ratting out Nick, and Travis looks like he believes her. At this point it really looks like anyone who may be a problem for the military is being taken away, and the only reason they’re in the neighborhood is because it was clean and makes for a good spot to run patrols.
At episode end Alicia reads Suzie’s letter in voice-over, and you hear Suzie telling her husband that she saw something, something bad, and it makes her not want to stay around. Travis goes up on the roof and sees the light that Chris saw, and perhaps, at last, Travis can pull his head out of his ass and get on with dealing the right way.
RT: I think Alicia will be the one who works out everyone is infected, after all, she saw the empty bottle of pills in Susan’s house and she knows the woman killed herself rather than getting bitten.
Overall, I know many people were pissy there were no zombies in this episode, but I really enjoyed the settling into a false sense of security for the characters. I think Episode 5 and 6 will more than make up for a lack of zombies in this one — especially if no one fixes the hole in the fence 😉
CF: Yeah, they’ve been showing that bottle a lot, and it’s getting drilled in now that Suzie overdosed and died. She probably saw an attack and the eventual after-rise, and though all the nope on that, she’d rather die. And she did. And came back.
People need to get real about the show–it isn’t gonna be wall-to-wall zombies all the time. You gotta show how the world slowly burns down to nothing. A lot of WD fans said they wanted to see how it all went to hell, and now that they’re seeing that, they hate that they aren’t seeing a lot of zombies? *turns on Carol voice* Oh, sunshine, you can’t have it both ways.
Someone reminded me that at the end of the scene with Travis on the roof, at the same time he saw the light there was also gunshots, and the implication there is the military found this place that Travis mentioned, and killed the people there for whatever reason. We’ll have to see about that. Either way, Trav now knows the military is bullshitting him one way of another.
Madison Clark — Kim Dickens
Travis Manawa — Cliff Curtis
Nick Clark — Frank Dillane
Alicia Clark — Alycia Debnam-Carey
Liza Ortiz — Elizabeth Rodriguez
Christopher Manawa — Lorenzo James Henrie
Daniel Salazar— Ruben Blades
Griselda Salazar — Patricia Reyes Spindola
Ofelia Salazar — Mercedes Mason