Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 1, “Monster”

FTWD S2 E1 Travis and Madison

Here I am again, back for Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead, and let me tell you, I’ve waited for this moment for the better part of half a year, particularly after spending last week watching a RV spend a hour tooling around Stand-in Virginia in the zombie version of Are We There Yet? Now, though, we’re out on the sunny Dead Coast, and it’s time to see how Team L.A. and the Moppy Teens are dealing with the dead.

 

If you gaze long into the abyss . . .

 

It’s night. Fires all around and explosions in the background while Madison (Kim Dickens) stands on the beach at the bottom of the cliffs looking out to sea. Red light bathes her face as she watches lights out on the water. Everyone packing up to get out. Nick (Frank Dillane) and Strand (Colman Domingo) are out on Abigail getting her fired up. Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Maddie are waiting for pickup, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) behind them kneeling next to Liza’s (Elizabeth Rodriguez) shrouded body. The shoreline is full of fire and Strand sees people that might be coming their way. Not only that, but zombies are incoming; they’re all over Strand’s house and they’re moving towards the beach. Travis is fighting them while Nick is heading in as fast as possible.

FTWD S2 E1 Nick

“This is not something I picked up in Junkie School.”

It’s all crazy time shit going down. One of the infected is trying to eat Travis but Maddie gets them with a blow to the head: she’s got those East Coast Zombie Killing Skills down pat. Zombies are everywhere as Nick roars in for pickup. Travis gets Chris and Liza’s body, and it’s all in dammit, time to get the fuck out. There’s a zombie in the surf heading for them, and Nick takes its face off with the launch motor prop before they’re away and gone.

RT: This scene drove me crazy! In a good way. Mostly. I loved the instant insane action of them having to leave, the tension building of the infected approaching, the realisation that they have, in fact, learned something from season 1. And then there is Emo-Fucking-Chris dragging his dead mama around like he is the only one suffering. hello, the world has officially ended. If the government is bombing everything that moves on land, chances are you do not have the monopoly on grief just now Chris.

CF:  They had Chris down in Emo-land so much.  I wanted someone to slap the shit out of him hard.  But your comment about the action:  yes, they need more of this, where they have no feeling about what it’s like to be in a fight.  Daniel’s really the only one who’s been there, so it’s gonna be fun watching everyone get up to speed fast.

Daniel (Ruben Blades) is waiting on the fantail with a shotgun and Strand appears happy. He fires up the engines and they head out to sea. Everyone is at the stern looking back at shore. Everything is burning as helos fly in from the ocean and drop ordinance. There’s a pan up and we see Cobalt is happening: the military is in the process of “humanly terminating” the remaining population—and by that I mean they’re burning the city to the fucking ground. L.A. is a total fire storm, and anyone who was left behind in the last twenty-four hours is likely a pile of ashes.

RT: If this didn’t happen in Rick’s neck of the woods of The Walking Dead, am I safe to assume L.A. was ground zero for the origin of the infected?

CF:  The thing about the L.A. area is that there are a lot of military bases within a few hundred miles of the city.  Atlanta didn’t have that, plus the CDC is there and they probably didn’t want to wipe it out along with the city.  Given the lack of damage in Atlanta, I’m thinking their issues was more like just too many cities and not enough ordinance.  With L.A. it’s easier to pile on and burn it hard.  Plus L.A. is a hell of a lot larger with all the outlying cities, so it’s a hell of a lot larger than Atlanta.

"Look on the bright side: this will really cut down on our production costs."

“Look on the bright side: this will really cut down on our production costs.”

CF: I just want to say when The Walking Dead people put their minds to it, they can do some great cold openings using little or no dialog—see the opening to TWD episode JSS. The opening to Monster is right up there with anything TWD has done, on par with Days Gone Bye and No Sanctuary. This is how you hook the viewer.

Next morning and it’s kickback mode. Madison is asking questions of Strand and discovers Abigail can travel 3000 miles on a tank of fuel as long as they don’t push the motors. Travis is below deck while Chris is watching over his dead mother.

RT: Always beware when numbers are used. As soon as he said 3,000 miles SO LONG AS THE ENGINE ISN’T STRESSED, I just knew shit was about to go down 😉

CF:  I caught that, too.  Of COURSE those bastards will get stressed at some point.

Daniel gets the shotgun ready as they are a lot of people in a nearby, overloaded boat screaming for help. Madison wants Strand to stop; he’s like fuck that, you must be crazy. Travis sees this as does Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), so gets into Teen Mode and wants to help. Travis shows off those great parenting skills of his and tells her to listen to the radio. Way to pass the buck, Trav.

RT: I was getting really mad at this point, wanting to bitchslap all the women for their sentimentality. But then I remembered, they are not on season 6 of Fear, only season 2. The one downside of having Fear follow directly after The Walking Dead is that it is very hard to roll back to a time when everyone was still making rookie mistakes.

CF:  It’s like going back to Season 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead and seeing how people just sort of acted like things might just turn out normal at some point.  If it wasn’t for Rick and Shane being in the group, who knows how they would have turned out?  Given that Daryl and Merle were going to rip the Atlanta group off and split, it’s a good chance they all would have died if Rick hadn’t arrived.

RT: Yes, I keep forgetting these people don’t have zombie literature or culture and really do think things will get better soon.

Strand wants to head down the coast to San Diego, and not because ComicCon badges are gonna be dirt cheap now. There’s military there: Coronado, Point Loma, Navel Station San Diego. If anyone can help out, it’s them. ‘Cause, you know, right now they’re in the mood to help out when they aren’t burning shit to the ground. Madison isn’t quite on-board with Strand’s ideas and wants to stop, and he tells her that if he does stop, it’s gonna be to drop off some asses. Madison is pissed but she doesn’t push the point.

Alicia is hearing nothing but shit on the radio and it’s hell everywhere, which is what you want a moody teen who just lost her boyfriend to hear. Travis in on deck with Daniel when the Coast Guard sends out an open broadcast and lets everyone know they can’t help anyone, they’re just as screwed as everyone else. They ask for forgiveness, and you can see the hope slipping out of Travis’ eyes with this one.

There’s all sorts of little drama scenes on going. Nick and Strand talk and Nick wants to know what they’ll do if SD doesn’t work. Strand doesn’t know and has a drink. Alicia and Maddie are on deck and Maddie’s trying to get her daughter to sleep. Below deck Maddie speaks with Travis. He doesn’t know what to do with Chris, who hasn’t left his dead mother’s side. Madison is getting her game face on and says she doesn’t think about the people they left behind, because you know that will drive you nuts.

RT: I think AMC are going to have to be real careful how they tread here as far as TWD fans go. For people who have picked up Fear as a standalone will be fine, but I can see Walking Dead fans getting very sick of stupid mistakes very quickly. However, if AMC makes the characters evolve too quickly, they will not gain the audience love like those in The Walking Dead. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

CF:  I’ve already seen people in The Walking Dead fanbase getting on the “These people are so stupid!” kick already.  It’s like two weeks after the outbreak, and Rick isn’t even awake yet, so we’re not dealing with combat monsters here.  It’s a totally different beast here.  Like we said last season, people wanted to see the start of the outbreak, and now they’re getting it, but they’re pissed that it isn’t all Rick and Co. killing zombies and taking names.  That’s how it goes, bro.

While Alicia isn’t getting any good news she does get the song Five Years to Cry and a hello asking if there are people alive. Alicia clicks the mic and wants to talk, but doesn’t. The Radio Dude knows she’s there, she must be shy, he gets it and still wants to talk. She finally talks, because what harm can that do?

RT: Me during this entire episode: “Back the fuck away from the CB Alicia!”

CF:  Travis should have had his ass kicked for giving her that fucking radio.

Daniel is on the stern fishing when Chris pops up to talk. He grabs a pole and talks about fishing at Big Bear Lake with Travis. Daniel is sorry about Liza; Chris is sorry about Griselda. No one got to say goodbye, but it doesn’t make a difference, ‘cause there’s lots of feels going. Daniel gets an eel, which is okay to eat, and if you don’t like it, tough shit, guess what’s for dinner?

"I can prep this in no time: I brought my razors."

“I can prep this in no time: I brought my razors.”

Nick literally runs into Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) and asks if she needs help with her wound. He knows all about healing after getting hurt and offers a lot of advice after he gets shut down on redressing her wound. One might think Nick was almost trying to make a play for Daniel’s daughter . . .

RT: Please let this be a real thing. Imagine the hot mess they would be?!

CF:  Insanely hilarious!  I so want this.

Alicia is still talking to Mystery Dude on the radio. She’s trying to track this guy down, but he’s not talking much. They talk about the Infected Apocalypse and she says it was all over before she knew it was happening. She wants to know if he lost anyone.

Travis and Daniel talking as the later swabs the deck. Daniel tells Travis that what he did was mercy for Liza, and he wishes he could have done the same. Travis doesn’t really know what to say, ‘cause this isn’t the Travis who was starting to get his shit together in The Good Man; this is the Travis before that time who’s acting like they’re all out on a Gilligan-style three-hour tour and he doesn’t know what the fuck he should do next.

RT: Yeah, Travis lost it for me all over again in this episode. I was so disappointed in his character. Please fix this AMC as I can see just how wonderful he can be and now he looks even worse that he’s been returned to his previous persona.

CF:  Given that in one of the teasers he states, “I choose to survive,” I think Daniel has a heart-to-heart with him, which is to say Daniel will probably be five seconds away from slitting Travis’ throat trying to get him to see the light.  It’s coming:  it’s just a matter of when.

RT: Please let it be soon! We have a Madi-Strand boat to ship 😉

Maddie staring out to sea, alone, looking through binoculars. She comes inside to rest and hears Strand talking to someone. No one at the controls: the boat is on autopilot. She hears Strand again up on the flying bridge speaking Spanish, and she also thinks she’s hearing music, too. Strand is clearly out of it: even he admits he’s not sleeping much, if all. He tells her he likes to talk to himself to stay awake; it’s a talent of the gifted. Maddie isn’t buying the hustle and says it’s also a mark of the crazy. Down in the regular bridge she asks about the water depth, and Strand says it’s forty-four meters. They both know what this means: it’s time to make a drop off.

"That mass of kelp is where I'd want to spend eternity, let me tell you."

“That mass of kelp is where I’d want to spend eternity, let me tell you.”

Alicia is still on the radio, chatting up her new boyfriend who can’t in any way be a threat. He wants to go to Hawaii, but it’s far. The dude wants to know if they can make Hawaii. You can see where this shit is going—

RT: Alicia, be smarter than this! you’re a teenager for Christ’s sake, question everything.

CF:  No, she’s a special snowflake that lost her boyfriend who was gonna give her a one-of-a-kind tat that she’s totally forgotten.

Maddie tells Daniel it’s a perfect day, but she wants to know what’s going to happen next. Daniel says if this is the end of the world, it’s already over. She knows he doesn’t trust Strand; he says Strand was ready to boogie before the bombs fell almost like he knew shit was going down. You can see the gears grinding with these two, who when it comes to being bad ass are both down in that column.

Alicia’s new radio boyfriend says everyone’s dead, even his girlfriend. Boo-fucking-hoo, dude, get a new one. Of course Alicia’s eating this shit up with a spoon.

RT: My fave meme on Twitter about this episode:

 

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CF:  That just nails her right there.  That’s criminal but totally true.  “I can still find love at the end of the world!”

The Abigail comes to a stop and it’s time to say a few last words before feeding Liza to the fishes. Travis gives the eulogy, which is more like a rambling stream of thought that’s winding around like Mulholland Drive. You can see his heart ain’t in this, not at all. He says Chris was the best thing Liza and he did together, so yay for that successful genital pressing there. Chris comes up, looks down on Liza and just pushes the body in the drink without so much as an, “Adios, Mom!” Travis is pissed about how sudden this went down and chases Chris below deck. It comes out: the kid is pissed that dad shot mom, thinks Travis could have done something to help, and punches Travis in the face. He rejoins the group and Maddie sees the bruise.

RT: Travis should have smacked Chris back. Asked him just what he would have done to save his mother’s life from an infection that is incurable. Seriously, Travis, you need some balls…

CF:  I was surprised Travis let him slide.  Madison, though . . .

Alicia is back talking to Jack, aka Mystery Dude, and Jack sounds like there’s trouble. His boat is taking on water. She wants to come and get him. But of course. So she goes and finds Travis to try and get help. Strand wants to know about Jack as there’s a lot of drama building. He wants to know what she told this guy, and Alicia says she didn’t say anything important, because shit like size and range ain’t that important, right? You can see Strand is running on his last one, and right there he lays down the three rules of Boat Club, which are, one, two, three—It’s My Fucking Boat!

RT: Strand is my out and out fave character so far. My only hope is that Maddie dumps Travis and hooks up with Strand.

CF:  We need DRAMA!

Nick goes and speaks with Strand about what the hell it is Nick gives to the group. Strand wants to know how close Nick came to dying, and Nick tells him it was like every time he shot up. Strand sees fearlessness, Nick’s like I was a junkie, that’s life. We do learn Nick doesn’t like being called Nicholas, which Strand remind him was the name his father chose. It’s funny, because it feels like Strand comes the closest to knowing how to touch Nick’s soul.

Maddie sees Chris and she wants to know if he hurt his hand hitting Travis’ face. Maddie talks about hitting her dad back when she was thirteen and mentions it didn’t end well. She knows about someone close to her dying, and then gets icy cold again and lets the kid know if Travis hadn’t pulled the trigger on his mom, she would have. Boom! Mic drop and out.

RT: See Travis, that’s what a set of balls looks like.

CF:  And Chris looked as if he’d been smacked after that one.  Maddie ain’t got time for this weepy teen bullshit.

Dinner laid out. Lot’s of talking, a little booze passed around. Time for eel, baby! It’s almost like normal. Chris shows and walks away. Moppy ass punk does a walk by and vanishes. He’s down on the fantail looking out into some nearby fog. Insides everyone hears a splash and Nick finds that Chris went over the side. He goes in after Chirs, but the kid says all he wanted to do was swim. So they get to swimming.

Alicia is on the radio telling Jack they can’t come for him. He’s good with that, then says he knows what she is and he’s coming. That’s not good.

Strand is up in the bridge. Alarms. Someone is coming. Alicia is on deck looking out to sea. Nick is underwater. Someone floats closer—Water Zombie! This shit is not cool!

"Dude, you know you have to wait thirty minutes after dying before getting in the water--"

“Dude, you know you have to wait thirty minutes after dying before getting in the water–“

RT: Did no one see the shipwreck beforehand? It was right there, next to them?! And if it was hiding in the fog, was no one concerned about the fog?

CF:  This was a case where everyone was having dinner and no one was on watch.  Bet they figure out they need to fix that in the future, you know?

Water Zombie Attack! Nick swims like a bitch towards the boat. There are a lot of dead floating in the water. Nick sees an overturned boat, hears pounding inside the hull. He swims over to it while Travis is out in the inflatable boat and pulling in Chris. Nick makes it to the overturned boat, which is overturned and shot to shit. Alicia is trying to find Nick, Travis goes in looking for him. Nick is still in the boat and finds the ship’s log—and a Zombie! Fuckers are everywhere! He gets away, but Water Zombie Two hears Travis as Nick gets away.

RT: This scene was by far my fave in this episode. It was as claustrophobic as hell and put you right there inside the overturned boat with Nick, I actually screamed a little at one point.

CF:  I knew Nick wouldn’t get bit, but still:  I couldn’t do that on a good day, and there’s he’s looking to help someone.  Nick is, once again, turning into the most complex character on the show by floating around in the background until needed.

Strand’s gets all kinds of alarms on the bridge, a total a holy shit moment. Someone’s coming and he wants to get some distance between him and whomever it paying the visit. He tells Alicia that the people coming could have shot up the boat floating nearby. Strand tells Madison they boat coming there way is doing 25 knots, they can do 20—and that means they need to get the fuck out now.

RT: And here’s the shit going down… Can’t wait until episode 2!

CF:  We know they have borders in the next episode.  I’m waiting for Daniel to play the “helpless old man” part for a bit and then unleash hell.  Episode 2 can’t get here soon enough.

There we are, the Season 2 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead. Let us know what you thought by leaving your comments below!

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5 thoughts on “Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 1, “Monster”

  1. Pingback: Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 2, “We All Fall Down” | The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

  2. Pingback: Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 1, “Monster” | Rachel Tsoumbakos

  3. Pingback: Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 3, “Ouroboros” | The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

  4. Great opening episode and I enjoyed every minute of it, although I had to to do some mental catching up what with TWD and Z Nation coming in between and talking of Z Nation, they don’t have the franchise on zombie variants anymore.
    Nick and Mopey picked the right time for a swim, especially with Nick’s superhuman sense of hearing and he almost gets himself turned just for a ship’s log of all things.
    That boat will do 35 knots by the way; I´m sure of that, so they should outrun their pursuers, although I was waiting for the line ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat!’
    This episode set the scene very nicely and with style, something TWD seems to have lost for the moment.

    Like

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