Alicia learns the hotel has more survivors, while Travis attempts to redeem Chris on the road

By Nick Romano
September 05, 2016 at 01:00 AM EDT
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Richard Foreman Jr/AMC
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  • TV Show
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  • AMC

“We were nothing before this, man. We were less than. But now, the end time’s made us gods.”

Nick said something similar in season 1, though less prideful. He was one of the “nothing” — a drug addict — who found his place in the infected world. The same is true for Celia, who served Thomas before gaining control of the estate. The same is true of Alejandro, a pharmacist-turned-messiah. Can those who weren’t “nothing” find their place? Do they have to completely change who they are to survive?

The Walking Dead already posed these questions, and we saw Rick’s group answer them. Nevertheless, “Do Not Disturb” attempts to re-contextualize them around other members of the “nothing,” including the presence of a hotel manager. Madison’s group stumbled across the remains of a wedding reception in the last episode, and now we find out how it all went to hell.

It begins as you’d expect: The manager, whom we later learn is named Elena, observes the frivolity as cameras flash, the best man makes his speech, and the bride (played by Schuyler Fisk, Sissy Spacek’s daughter) is preparing for her first dance. Her husband is nervous, but she laughingly tells him to “be classy” for the cameras. During the dip, she looks over to see her mom (Desperate Housewives’ Brenda Strong) quarreling with her dad, who is soon called to take over the dance.

On the dance floor, the bride’s father collapses, and we can already see where this is going. The family and guests rally around him, but he soon comes back as a walker and his first victim is his daughter. The room erupts into chaos, but Elena remains level-headed. She tells one of her employees to “go get the vehicles” before they both leave the room and lock the guests inside.

We pick back up in the present with Travis and Chris walking down a road in the hopes of finding shelter. Travis is struggling, his feet mimicking the walkers as he drinks from a water bottle. He still seems cold to Chris, which is understandable since he found out he’s losing his mind. If Lizzie from The Walking Dead were in this series, they’d have a lot to talk about. They soon come across a car, but while Travis breaks in and attempts to start it, Chris wants to investigate a taco joint across the street. “I can protect myself, you know this,” he says. For Travis, though, “That’s what worries me.”

NEXT: Steal from the best and make it your own

Armed with a crowbar, Chris walks into the restaurant and sees canned beans and bottles of water. He hears voices in the back and peers over the counter to see bodies — not walkers, either. He shoves the food in his bag, but is soon accosted by walkers shambling in through the door. One of the guys, a young man around Chris’ age, emerges from the back as he fends them off. Chris even saves him from one of the dead, but he sprints back to his dad as the other guys come out on the scene. Chris hurries Travis to leave because of walkers, conveniently leaving out the part where he robbed a group of men. Chris looks back as they drive down the road and glimpses the guy he saved watching them flee.

Night arrives and Travis’ foot isn’t getting any better. Chris offers to drive so he can heal faster, but Travis shakes off the notion, perhaps out of distrust. Chris fiddles with the radio but only gets “dead air,” turning to the glove compartment where he finds a friendship bracelet. They discuss where they’re heading next, though Travis doesn’t have anything more specific in mind other than “away.” His hope is to make a home somewhere elevated and secluded with a well, but you can’t be too picky during the zombie apocalypse, as we know.

Perhaps it’s the notion of a father-son road trip or the friendship bracelet, but Travis pulls off the road to teach Chris how to drive: “Good time to learn, no traffic.” It’s a rare, genuine moment for them. Travis’ main advice is to “look down the road, not right in front of the bumper,” which also doubles as solid life advice.

We then get a brief look at Alicia in the aftermath of the walker attack at the hotel. She locked herself in a guest room and is peering out the peep hole, marking the number of walkers she sees with lines on the wall. When she believes it’s safe, she goes to open the door but thinks well enough to check one more time. And wouldn’t you know, there’s one staring straight back to offer a scare.

Back in the car, Travis examines his foot and sees it’s badly bruised, while Chris notices a walker coming towards them on the road. It initially seems like Chris will drive the car straight into him, but he swerves to avoid the creature, looking back to see it bathed in the red glow of the brake lights. After exchanging jokes about parallel parking, the conversation turns back to the outbreak at hand. Travis is hopeful someone is working on a cure; he doesn’t believe this is the end of humankind. “We can get back what we lost,” he insists, though Chris says “not everything,” reminding us of the emotional scars he left on the group.

NEXT: Chris makes friends

The sound of an empty gas tank signals them to pull over and set up camp. They light a fire and sip from the stolen can of beans while reminiscing about their camping trips. Though Chris remarks how his mom hated those trips, Travis says she knew how important they were to them, and now the mountains may be their best shot at finding a secure place to live. Chris asks if they should make their way towards the border where there’s water, but his dad explains that water attracts everyone, including predators. Water, as it turns out, is also what’s causing problems for Alejandro’s colony. Well, that and the oxy.

Speaking of predators, the guys Chris robbed have found them. The pair quickly stomp out the fire and hide in the brush as the strangers pull up in a truck and start canvassing. Chris finally tells his dad why they should be more afraid than normal and grabs for the crowbar in Travis’ hands, but his dad refuses to give him the weapon. Travis willingly reveals them when the men call out. They introduce themselves as Brandon, Derek, and Baby James, while complimenting Chris’ “major badassery” with the walkers at the taco joint. After they tensely try to size each other up, they decide to make camp together.

Meanwhile, Alicia is making her own friend. She emerges into the hotel hallway, which is illuminated by the pulsing yellow emergency light. She’s soon blocked on both sides by walkers and turns to force open the elevator doors, though the elevator itself sits a few feet down on the floor below. Alicia brilliantly saves herself by jumping to the chords, and the walkers reaching for her fall down the shaft. She then desperately pulls herself to the open doors on the floor above and finds herself staring into a flashlight. It’s Elena, and she helps pull her onto the floor. But as Alicia catches her breath, Elena pushes her up against a wall with the handle of an axe and demands, “Where is he?”

The fear at the camp has since dissolved, and Brandon notes Travis and Chris are the first Americans they’ve met since the outbreak. Sitting around a new fire, he says they’ve been able to survive because they’re “outdoorsy,” but they’ve been trying to get home. Travis becomes the bearer of bad news, as he explains the military bombed San Diego and Los Angeles, where they’re from. Staying optimistic, Brandon says, “We’ll come back. We always do.”

Turning the conversation to Chris’ fighting skills against the “wasted” — a name they made up when the first walker they saw looked like a drunk — the guys press them for how many they’ve killed. Travis notes how killing “just came to [Chris]” naturally, and firmly states he doesn’t count. His son does, though, blurting out 17. Sensing the danger of leaving Chris with these guys, Travis mentions they’ll be on their way in the morning, but Brandon offers to at least drive them to the next town.

NEXT: Time to herd the walkers

As they sort their plans, we pick back up with Alicia, who’s trying to tell a panicked Elena she doesn’t know anything about the missing “he,” which turns out to be Elena’s nephew, Hector. Alicia says she needs to get downstairs to find her mom, and learns Elena is able to move the walkers by luring and locking them into various rooms. “Whomever has the keys controls the hotel,” Elena says. Alicia also discovers there are still guests residing in the hotel — roughly 12 by Elena’s estimates. To that end, the women decide to team up: If Elena helps Alicia find her mother, she’ll help her find Hector.

Travis and Chris are finding it hard to reach the same understanding as they sit in their tent. Noting the destruction of San Diego, Chris wants to stay with Brandon’s group and is somehow convinced they’re “good people” — coming from Chris, that’s not exactly a good thing. Travis, trying to keep a level head, is quick to ask why Brandon has so many supplies, implying they’ve probably pillaged and even killed to get them.

Familiar feelings start to creep back and Chris accuses his father of wanting to stick somewhere close to Madison instead of doing what’s best for them. He angrily tells him to “crawl back” to the group, while asserting Brandon’s crew knows how to survive. Travis believes them to be dangerous, but Chris says, “Maybe that’s what it takes.”

We cut back to Elena, who’s about to move the walkers from the stairwell. She pauses for a brief moment of grief, clearly recognizing one of the walkers in a maid’s uniform as someone from her past, but Alicia snaps her back to reality and lures the walkers into an empty bedroom. Alicia locks herself out on the balcony, and Elena closes the room door as the walkers try breaking through the glass. Alicia worries Elena betrayed her, but she soon hears her voice as a bedsheet is thrown from the balcony next door. Despite a slip caused by the walkers breaking through, Alicia slowly climbs across to safety.

Alicia then tells Elena she’s coming with her to be her guide through the hotel. Elena says she’s never left the tower since the outbreak, but is convinced to change that policy when Alicia explains her mother would die for her. The two descend to the lobby level and enter the room where the wedding from hell took place. Elena is instantly haunted by her decision to lock them in as she explains what happened to the guests and how those who survived wish her dead. But Alicia says she’s seen and done worse herself, a line she’s used before, and vows to keep Elena safe from the others.

Travis and Chris are now riding in the truck with Brandon’s group. Chris is in the front joking around with Derek and Baby James about girls, while Travis is in the back with Brandon, who’s explaining the joys of their newfound existence. Brandon is drunk on the lack of responsibility and pressures to make something for himself. It’s in this almost Dionysian moment of finding utopia in the midst of a horrific, world-ending tragedy that he says “the end times’ made us gods.”

NEXT: Can Chris find redemption?

Their pow-wow ends when Chris points out the signs of a farm off the road. The group go investigate and find nothing in the trailers and cupboards, while Brandon’s boys fear they’ll get Montezuma’s Revenge from drinking the well water. As they go investigate the barn, Travis says he and Chris should leave them behind and make their life here.

Chris argues they “need a group,” but Travis is quick to point out they already had one of those. Still not taking responsibility for his actions, his son redirects the jab and puts the blame again on Madison, saying “they look at me different.” Travis watches as Chris runs to meet up with the others, and it would seem he has found his group. The guys crack open the barn and are overjoyed to find a flock of very live chickens. Travis, however, is quickly pulled back into the potential dangers at hand when he sees a line of graves belonging to the Suarez family. Who buried them, and is that person still on the farm? Obviously.

In the hotel, Alicia is scared when she sees the bar has been barricaded shut with the walkers inside. Before she can investigate to see if her mom is there, a group of the remaining hotel guests burst in, one of them holding Hector by the neck. Among them are the groom and his mother-in-law, who demand Elena turn over her hotel keys and leave to save her nephew’s life. Seeing no other option, Alicia tells Elena to comply, but the quick thinker grabs her and hides behind a door as she unleashes the walkers from the bar. During the commotion, she sees a walker that looks like her mom, though the face is too distorted to tell.

Much like last week’s episode, tonight’s final moments swiftly bounce back between the two story lines. Travis tries to explain the farm’s owner could still be alive, but Brandon isn’t listening and the others are having too much fun grabbing the chickens. That’s when Mr. Suarez bursts in with his rifle. Chris and the guys are trying to stand their ground with Brandon holding his gun, but Travis says they have no right to take this man’s home.

In the hotel, Elena leads Hector and Alicia to an underground maintenance tunnel as the walkers are in pursuit. The men start panicking when Suarez shoots Baby James for breaking one of his chicken’s legs, and Elena reaches a white door during the shouting. Realizing it’s locked, Hector attempts to force their way in as the walkers get closer. In a sequence of events, Chris is the one who guns down Suarez, while Alicia’s shouts prompt the door to open, revealing her mom and Victor safely inside.

As mother and daughter reunite, Travis kneels down to watch Suarez slowly die. Showing no remorse, Chris extends his hand out to his dad, the friendship bracelet seen on his wrist. Travis instead turns away from his son, looking back on the life he took.

Thematically, these events are an echo of what we saw in The Walking Dead: Dale imploring the group to not be corrupted by this harsher world before it devoured them; Rick seeing how the outbreak changed Shane; and Carol needing to put down Lizzie, who killed her sister in a moment of insanity. Chris has the signs of both Lizzie and Shane, someone who may have been nothing in the old world, but in this new one has been transmogrified into someone his own father can’t stomach. We know how Rick would’ve handled this situation, but Travis’ need to cling to hope is becoming a liability — perhaps it’ll even lead to his downfall.

In any case, the back half of season 2 has so far been about the children: Nick, Alicia, and Chris. All three began the outbreak as a family united — even with Chris more on the outskirts — and all three have now been pushed to very different places, both physically and emotionally. Chris is right, there are some things they can’t get back… But how much more will he lose before it’s too late to reunite with his family?

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