Fear the Walking Dead season 2, episode 10
This Fear the Walking Dead review contains spoilers.
Well, I’ll say this about “Do Not Disturb”: FTWD has gained momentum since leaving the open sea behind. I appreciate that this fledgling show wanted to set itself apart from the more formidable The Walking Dead, and moving the action to the water for its sophomore season was a good idea on paper. In practice, though, not so much. But now with everyone being driven apart even as they drive farther inland, danger and conflict abound. The undead abound, too, which is one thing FTWD was lacking a bit in the first half of its second season. What the show hasn’t lacked, though, is family drama. This trend continues in “Do Not Disturb” and in last week’s “Los Muertos.”
Like Madison with her kids, Travis is an overprotective parent. He’s prone to selling Chris short, believing that his son is incapable of fending for himself. We as viewers know this to be untrue, of course. Alicia and especially Nick are quite capable at fending off the dead. Chris is likewise quite confident in his zombie-killing abilities, having racked up a substantial body count already. While Chris’s newfound bloodlust gives his father pause, these same skills catch the attention—and gain the respect—of a trio of gun-wielding American frat bros. While they seem dangerous at first, Brandon, Derek, and Baby James (yes, Baby James) are actually pretty chill, despite Chris stealing food and water right out from under their noses. At the end of the day (and end times), they’re all just Americans south of the border. At least, that’s how Brandon sees it. He’s more than happy to share whatever food and supplies they have with a badass father-and-son duo.
While I don’t quite buy this chill vibe, I do like how impressed Brandon and his friends are with Chris. They don’t see him as an outcast or as a freak. Chris is like the new kid at school in this regard; he has a chance to reinvent himself as the ideal student and go-to friend. Brandon and his mates don’t see the whiny wimp-turned-outcast that Chris was only a short time ago. Instead, they see a person who is well-equipped to survive. It doesn’t take Travis long to stomp all over his son’s newfound cred, behaving like a bummer and not appreciating or embracing the upside of the apocalypse—namely no more cops, no more bills, no more responsibilities. In other words, the end of the world is basically one long spring break waiting to be exploited and savored. Chris gets it, and they get him, so what’s so hard for Travis to understand?
Well, in a nutshell, while Chris thinks Brandon and his friends are good, strong people, the problem for Travis is that “they’re not our people.” He believes the world can be rebuilt, yes, but only with the right people, people with bona fides. And these entitled tourists don’t fit the bill. He thinks they’re dangerous and unpredictable. In the end, though, it’s an unexpected standoff with a chicken farmer that clarifies for Travis who the real threat is, and it’s not their traveling companions—it’s his own son. Brandon and his friends may or may not be all talk, but Chris has no problem killing a man on whose land they’re trespassing. Not only does Chris kill any chance for peaceful resolution, he’s killed himself, too—at least from Travis’s point of view. It’s obvious Travis subscribes to the preservation of life. How else to rebuild and remake society, if not through seemingly impossible acts of compassion?
I haven’t forgotten about Alicia, who is still trapped on one of the hotel’s upper floors. We find out that it’s Elena, the hotel manager, who led the zombies into the stairwell. Like the wall in Alejandro’s colony, Elena uses the dead defensively, as a way to ward off the living. Makes sense. And Elena seems to be doing very well for herself. She’s got plenty of rations and has keys to every lock in the hotel. Locked away in her tower, surrounded by the dead, she’s more or less untouchable. That is, until she takes Alicia in. By the end of the episode she gets her nephew Hector back, but at the price of her peanut-filled sanctuary. Which leads me to ask—why would someone who has it relatively good risk so much to help a stranger find her mother? Like the Chill Frat Bros of the Apocalypse, there’s a sense of entitlement here that exists to serve our main characters’ interests. At least Elena doesn’t wind up becoming a red shirt, which is nice. What did bother me, too, was not knowing how Madison and Strand made it out of that bar intact. I hope we skip back in time to see how this cliffhanger was resolved.
Some closing thoughts:
With regard to the wedding guests, Elena pulls what I’d call a Reverse Father Gabriel. (Fans of TWD will know what this means.) Alicia is awfully forgiving of this, saying that she and hers have done much worse.
A nighttime driving lesson is such a terrible idea, even under the best of circumstances. One interesting moment is when it seems as though Chris is going to run over a zombie that has stumbled into the road. Instead, he drives past, leaving the corpse to shamble for another day. Did he spare this zombie only because his father was in the car beside him—or does he prefer using his own hands to take out the dead?