Fear The Walking Dead: “Date of Death”

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Chris and Travis hit a major roadblock in their relationship as Chris becomes an official bro-migo.  Meanwhile, the zombies are… I don’t know where the zombies are.

INTRO

We open at the hotel.  After Madison turned on the lights in last week’s episode, it’s turned into a human bug-zapper, only much less fun to watch.  As refugees come to the gates and beg for entry, they can only refuse them and say sorry.   After all, the show has too many plotlines and characters as it is.

Meanwhile, Travis is in shock after having watched the psychotic fruit of his loins murder someone in cold blood.  One member of the three bro-migos, James, has also been shot and Travis does all he can to help.  Chris is hardcore now and turned to the dark side and values life no more… He’s like psycho Carl only without the dad joke memes.

We leap suddenly to the future where Travis appears at the hotel gates and his reunited with his wife who, like me, has to look up his character’s name on IMDb first before giving him a hug.  It’s a reunion between two lovers with all of the intensity of a cold ham sandwich.    Madison asks what happened to Chris and Travis stares blankly, trying to remember his lines.

Back in the past, Chris and the bro-migos decide it’s time to leave and load up their injured compatriot in the truck, but the ride is too much for poor James and his passes out.  Branden looks pissed and, later that night, the trio discuss their plans to become a duo.  Travis argues against this saying that their vocal harmonies are perfect and takes a gun, vowing to protect James with his life.

A few days later, Chris brings food and an olive branch of peace.  He and his dad have a heart to heart talk and Chris tells him that he’s in over his head and that Travis’ actions are putting him in danger with the guys.   Travis promises Chris he’s going to take care of him and then, OH!   Chris pulls a double cross, the little prick!   It was all a ruse!   Branden puts a bullet in Jame’s face and Travis realizes that his son is not only lost to him, but is also a duplicitous dickhole.   He is the new third Bro-Migo.

As the bro-migos load up the truck to head to what’s left of San Diego, Travis begs Chris not to go, but Chris has made his little psycho mind up, tells Travis that he’s a pussy and that he’s better off without him and Travis can only watch as Chris and his new pals drive away down the road proving that Chris isn’t just crazy, he’s a full blown fucking idiot too.  If they shot a guy they’ve known since he was six for getting a hurt leg, what do you think they’ll do to you when you get a hangnail?

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Travis is wracked with guilt for some reason, even though his son was a complete shit of a human being, and mourns the fact that he never told Chris that he loved him at the end.   Maddy listens to Travis speak as if he’s reading Once Upon a Time fan fiction that she’s barely interested in, and then goes to tell Alicia that her father didn’t die in an accident, but rather committed suicide to avoid starring in Fear the Walking Dead.  Knowing that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to them, they both say that they love each other.

REVIEW TIME!

While I shit on Fear the Walking Dead for a lot of what it does, I will give credit where credit is due and say that this is probably one of the strongest episodes of the season.   Even though it was zombie-free, it was a harsh and heartbreaking drama of a good man trying desperately to do the right thing in a world ruled by wrong.   Most of this episode was carried by Cliff Curtis and he handled it brilliantly from his desperation to his heartbreak… you could literally feel that he was watching a piece of his soul drive away in that truck.

The true tragedy of Cliff Curtis’ performance in this episode is that it was matched by exactly no one else.  For goodness sake, Madison acted like she hardly cared that Chris was gone and that trying to console Travis is inconvenient.  There’s just no chemistry between these two and Maddy is approaching Lori levels of unlikablity.

But still, despite that and despite the zombies being reduced to day players, I really did enjoy this episode.   It was strong and emotionally compelling.   It had a stronger focus and didn’t feel as haphazardly scattershot as the previous weeks, perhaps because with Travis back, we actually have a main character.  We have a goal – keeping his family unit in one piece.   These are things that Fear the Walking Dead has been missing and, let’s all pray to zombie Jesus, that the writers have realized this as well.

Two hour season finale next week!   Let’s just really really hope it doesn’t suck.

About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.