Hola! And welcome to the return of Fear the Walking Dead and my episode recaps for this and the following seven weeks. After a couple of weeks off chillin’ and watching movies it’s time to get the recapping hat back on, and fortunately for me last night’s episode was straight to the point.
Note: This will likely not be a long recap, and you’ll see why as we go along.
A journey of a hundred kilometers begins with a step—
Nick (Frank Dillane) sleeping on the floor with a dead couple next to him. Sophia (Diana Lein)—who was at the estate with Celia—comes in and tells Nick a little about the couple. There’s a car outside and her son is nearby. She’s going south to La Paz; she wants Nick to come. No one’s leg: everyone has moved on. But she knows he wants to be with the dead. She doesn’t want him going north alone, but she doesn’t want to go there with her son; she wants him to find his father first. The car is almost packed and she gives Nick a backpack and shows him the way north. They hug and she kisses his forehead, all the goodbyes going down. Sophia leaves: Nick returns to the house for a moment then leaves—Which gives us the nice montage of him walking north with cool music. He reaches a bridge and gets on the main road. The sign post ahead says: Tijuana, 100 kilometers. Best get walkin’. Personal Note: Ever since the above still was presented as one of the cast images I’ve tried figuring out where this shot was taken. We know they’re in Mexico filming on the Baja Peninsula, so there couldn’t be too many highways like this available for filming.
Last night I actually found the location: it’s Corredor Tijuana-Rosarito 2000, also known as Corredor 2000, connecting the Mesa de Otay area of eastern Tijuana with Rosarito Beach. The area where filming took place is about twenty kilometers south of central Tijuana. This is also where the scene with Nick approaching the highway bridge was filmed as well.
What tipped it off is the presence of a large antenna in the distance on the right. There weren’t a lot of four-lane highways with an antenna nearby, and the cuts in the hills were also a tip-off. On the image below we see the antenna circled in yellow, the bridge just below the blue arrow, and the area where Nick is seen walking in promo shots circled in red.And when you see it in street view it looks like the area in question– –only a little different because of using a camera on a raised platform with the focal length adjusted to make the hill look steeper and the antenna closer. It should also be noted that in the scene Nick is actually walking south away from Tijuana: we know this because the antenna in the distance is on his right. That means the scene was filmed in the early morning if the shadow is any indication.
RT: I love so much that you found this location! The image of Nick walking is one of my fave Fear the Walking Dead stills so far.
CF: It has been mine, too. It’s far more iconic of their situation, much like the initial view of Rick riding into Atlanta was for The Walking Dead.
Nick still walking. It’s hot as hell. Wrecked cars on the highway; nothing good inside—
So How About a Flashback? Nick is thumb wrestling with Gloria (Lexi Johnson)! They are in rehab and she’s trying to help him get out of rehab by getting him to open up ‘cause that’s what the counselors like. Nick doesn’t want to talk at first but gives in and starts ripping on his dad. It’s obvious there’s a lot of issues, like Daddy never being there for Nick, but this just seemed like another problem Nick has: it’s probably not the reason he’s a junkie. Gloria is touched and they hug.
RT: I was SO excited to see Gloria! Shame she was just some rich bitch though 😦
CF: Yeah, that was a bit of a disappointment as well. But then she didn’t have that hard-core look that Nick had, so one had to assume…Back to Mexico. It’s almost night and Nick is tired. He finds a house and checks it out. No one home: looks like it was stripped. Later he’s got a fire going and it’s time to feast on his apple and water. It’s oh, so quiet. While he’s sleeping someone approaches: it’s a woman and her child and she has a bat. She attacks Nick and drives him off, and he leaves his backpack behind as he runs into the night.
Nick still walking the next day and there’s dead ahead on the road. Lot’s of wrecked cars, too, with Infected inside. He reaches in one to get water, ignoring the zombie. He gets a radio, too, and tries getting something. Nothing. There’s a jeep with guys approaching so he hides. They have weapons and start killing the few Infected outside. Checking cars they find a live person. He wants water: they give him a knife to the brain. Radio goes off and gives Nick away. He runs and they shoot at him. They chase him for a while, trying to make him dead-dead. He’s off into the brush running like hell. Finally ends up in a field and starts walking again. Walking, walking, walking. He could use a ride. If only someone had a RV—Not you, Rick: you’d take four days and every goddamn road in Baja to get to Tijuana. Get the fuck out of here.
RT: Haha! You’re absolutely right. Rick is entirely useless in this situation. But it certainly had that road trip feel to it with Nick walking and walking…
CF: TWD is never going to live down that RV trip. In Nick’s case he kept moving north and at least reached his destination. For him it was more like heading from Atlanta to Alexandra.
RT: Nick is really just Rick 2.0, the version that doesn’t buffer and glitch out every time there is a roadblock or similar obstruction.
CF: I think what we are seeing is Crazy Nick. When he completely loses his shit he’ll probably just shut down and wait to be eaten by the dead.
It’s really hot and Nick isn’t doing well among the cactus: he takes one right in the ankle! Son of a bitches hurt, don’t they? He finally opens a leaf and tries to get a little fluid–nope. You’re fucked there, dude, so let’s chop it up. He does and finally eats it. Well, it ain’t that bad–until he gags and pukes.After that he needs to take a piss. So he does—in his hands. And then drinks it. Dude! What the fuck!
RT: You know you’re in dire straits when your urine doesn’t make you gag but cactus juice does.
CF: I’ve read before that drinking your urine isn’t good for you due to the salt. Then again, when you’re an ex-junkie you have probably drank worse.
Nighttime. Wind is blowing and it’s cold. Nick finds an abandoned car, lays back and begins flashing back—
LA Rehab time. He’s with Gloria again and her parents are there as is Madison (Kim Dickens). Gloria’s folks look well off, reinforcing the case that she’s just some bored rich bitch with nothing better to do than get high and let Mummy and Daddy pay for her rehab. After the case worker meets with Madison she sits with Nick. He wants to know where his dad is but the news isn’t good. Maddie tells him dad was in a head-on collision and is dead. Nick is freaked and pissed. Maddie’s crying, he’s screaming. Gloria shows up to see what happened and looks through the door window—
Back in Mexico. It’s morning and Sansa Stark must live nearby ’cause she let the fucking dogs out! Nick is attacked by two dogs and has to fight them off while trying to get on top of the car. He’s bit several times and his leg is fucked up good.
RT: Sansa must rule down in Mexico because all I kept hearing was the sounds of dogs, even after this scene. Did she gather them all up after the zombie apocalypse just in case Ramsay reanimated?
CF: Game of Zombie Thrones. That’s coming next on HBO. We better copyright that title now! But, yeah: a lot of dogs. And these turned mean fast.Just then a small pack of Infected show and dogs go after them. They take care of the hounds fast and puppy chow out on them. Nick is fascinated.
The dead are still there and Nick is on the roof baking and in pain. They hear him on the roof and approach and suddenly he’s not looking thrilled about his prospects. Then there’s horn honking and shooting in the distance and the dead walk off. He’s down off and enjoying a bit of raw pooch when a zombie with no legs approaches. Nick takes his belt to tie off his bleeding leg and skedaddles.
Say It With Me: Walking again. He’s walking with the dead—hum, The Walking Dead, I like that—and following the pack. He’s gonna be one with them soon as he’s fading fast and seeing and hearing shit from them. Gloria calls to him: she’s right there in the pack next to him. Hang on, Nick: she’ll take you home. This dude is fucked.
RT: If I hadn’t done so many articles on the Season 2 return of Fear the Walking Dead, I would have pegged this episode for Nick’s swan song.
CF: Yeah, if AMC hasn’t shown that one teaser with Nick watching the guy in the bus I would have expected him to die at some point. The bad part about this is for a guy who just got off smack a couple of weeks ago he’s got a hell of a lot of stamina. He should have went down about half-way to Tijuana.
RT: That was exactly the trailer that kept me going in regards to Nick’s survival.
CF: I noticed in the teasers after the show that we didn’t see much of Nick at all. I’ve seen some pictures where Frank was shooting down by the ocean so we know there’s more, but the production is keeping it real quiet. And in that teaser I did notice Alicia looking through empty hallways. Did we call that shit, or what?
RT: Haha! Her looking through the halls is gonna lead to some awesome memes I think 😉
CF: “I don’t like my room; they won’t mind if I take another.” It’s a shame she can’t meet up with Carl.
He’s barely hanging on. TJ is 40 clicks more and he’s bumping into the dead as they walk. A jeep shows up, honking the horn. It’s the guys he ran from before. They start cappin’ the dead and Nick’s in the line of fire. They go down around him; he keeps moving ‘cause fuck it, right? One of the dudes realizes too late that he needs to reload his Rick Grimes special and is bit and taken down before he can shoot. His buddies book: Nick watches him being eaten. The guy begs with his eyes. Nick left all his fucks back with the cactus.
RT: Maybe he traded in his fucks for invincibility?
CF: That look Nick gave the dude was kind of chilling. It’s like he doesn’t give a shit if he lives or dies, and is just moving on because he has nothing else to do.
RT: Yep, Nick is messed up on so many levels — and that was before the zombie apocalypse. He is just floating around to see what happens. Potentially the worst kind of bad guy…
CF: Nick and Alex instead of Chris and Alex. They could rule the wastelands forever! Unless Lucinda has something better…
RT: Nick ate a dog that had already been chewed on by the undead, maybe they could all be the new Terminus?
CF: And that’s something else to keep in mind: he chewed on a post-Infected gnawed dog and hasn’t turned. There’s something that happens in TWD comic to a certain character (*cough*rick*cough*) that should have turned him but didn’t. I think being near death when the ZA start is how you beat the virus.
Nick is dead on his feet—no pun intended. He’s being watched by a woman and two men. She doesn’t recognize him, but one of the guys says they should help because he walks with Them. The woman is Lucinda (Danay Garcia) and she and her bros are sportin’ the same kind of bloody camo that Nick has had. The guy still wants to help because Nick is down and ready to die. She says he’s not The One, so chances are good they’re waiting for Neo to show.
RT: Absolutely agree they are waiting on a Messiah here. It’s hilarious that Nick might turn out to be the one true God of the undead though.
CF: Oh, that would be fucked. Nick and his Army of the Undead. I do hope we learn who it is Lucinda’s waiting for.
RT: Me too (about finding out who they were looking for).Flashback. Nick with Gloria. Nick’s reading Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. (Note: the prologue to this book is titled The Book of the Grotesque, from which the title of this episode is taken.) They look clean, but they’re in the shooting gallery. She’s getting ready to fix. She wants to read his book, but I think in a little while she’ll be eating instead— Back in Mexico. It’s raining and that’s helping Nick recover. He limps into a village the next morning and dogs are barking. He can’t move well and looks sunburned. It looks like he’s finally outside Tijuana. He finds a store and heads inside looking for medicine. No joy, so it’s back to limping down the road. In another building he finds duct tape and fixes his leg, because that shit can fix everything. And that’s when Lucinda and the boys show up! He doesn’t understand them—them speaking Spanish and him English—but he knows when they say “Infected” and tells them, “I was bit by a dog.” He asks for water and gets some. Lucinda decides to show a little mercy and makes him come with. He’s in a clinic and supposed to be resting. Alejandro (Paul Calderon), who speaks English, sees to him. He’s told that his leg was nearly infected and in a little while longer he would have died. Nick doesn’t seem to give a shit and says he wouldn’t have minded that. Alejandro tells Nick that he’s a bit foolish: while death should be feared, it shouldn’t be pursued, either. He asks where Nick came from and he says Valle de Guadalupe, which is in reality about 100 kilometers away, just south of Ensenada. Alejandro knows Nick was walking with the dead, and Nick says there was safety in numbers. He wants to know why Nick is here and he says he wants to be where the dead aren’t monsters. Alejandro opens the clinic doors and—hey, it’s like Woodbury out there! Looks nice, it’s protected, looks like there’s walls of some kind, and there are live people walking around. Nick looks happy and feels safe. Yeah, we know that’s bullshit.
RT: Woodbury is EXACTLY what I thought too when he swung open the doors. That place is screwed — and probably at the hands of Nick is my prediction.
CF: It really did have a Woodbury feel, like the show was trying hard to prove that life is still cool in some parts of the country. It’s all hype and you know this shit is gonna end in tears. And one last thing: do we really think that with everything falling apart and the U.S. military burning their own cities to the ground, that the U.S. wouldn’t have torched Tijuana? I don’t believe for one second they would have left that city standing.
RT: Good point. Maybe they tried burning their own cities and realised the dead were escaping anyway, so gave up? About the only thing I can come up with
CF: That seems to be sort of what happened with Atlanta. The only other thing we know for sure is that they didn’t burn a lot of the cities on the East Coast of the U.S. because they were necessary for command and control. Beyond that we only know they torched nearly all of the west.Couple of quick notes. It was an interesting episode in that we get to see Nick alone and trying to survive and coming close to checking out because he’s not really a country boy. I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons he really wanted to go to Tijuana: he’s more comfortable in an urban environment. But we also saw some of his back story which, to me, leave us wanting to know more. Though I’m going to say that we’re going to see everyone get a littler bit of a back story here as they cope with trying to survive in Mexico during this Day of the Dead.
Also: while I’m not an expert on heroin, it did seem to me like Nick was really loading up on the Mexican Brown that he was about to cook for Gloria and him. Could it be that he intended to check them both out with overdoses so there’d be no more rehab bullshit for them? I’m guessing that’s what made Gloria turn—she ODed—but Nick? Maybe she didn’t eat his face because he Rick Grimes’d the fuck out and was hovering so close to death that she thought he was dead. Is it possible? Sure, why not? Talk it out among yourselves—
RT: That sounds plausible enough. Or, maybe she reanimated and heard a noise from outside the room? Those undead have the attention span of a gnat after all…
CF: Yeah, Nick’s breathing was probably so low he wasn’t making any sound. All it would have taken was for a junkie in another part of the building to make a sound and she would have been off. I still wonder if Nick planned for them both to die. It did look as if he was using a lot of heroin for them both to fix.
RT: I think you may be right about the murder suicide thing. Which means he is probably still suicidal and having him wandering around the undead and trying to fit in makes more sense when you look at it from that slant.
CF: When you look at it that way it makes perfect sense.
That’s Episode 8, and next week it looks as if we catch up with Madison, Strand, and the girls. As always, leave a comment below and tell us how we’re doing!
Madison Clark — Kim Dickens
Nick Clark — Frank Dillane
Gloria — Lexi Johnson
Lucinda — Danay Garcia
Alejandro — Paul Calderon
Sofia — Diana Lein