Episode Title: So Close, Yet So Far
Original Airdate: 8-30-15
After witnessing the undead Cal in action, Travis, Madison and Nick realize something terrible is starting in L.A. They decide to pack up and head out of town until everything blows over (ha!). They must split up when Travis goes to his ex-wife’s house looking for his son, Chris. Chris was on his way home on the bus when all traffic stopped because the police shot a homeless man in the street. A crowd begins to gather in protest and Chris, filming the incident, refuses to leave when Travis gets him on the phone. Travis and his ex-wife, Liza, go to get Chris from the crime scene and realize how dangerous things are really becoming. Blocked by police and surrounded by rioters and a few Walkers, the trio find refuge in a barber shop with the owner and his family. Everyone hopes things will calm down enough to leave, but things only seem to go from bad to worse as the night progresses.
Meanwhile, Madison must deal with Nick who is in severe withdrawals. She can’t get the doctor on the phone to call in a prescription, nor can she get in touch with a pharmacy. She decides to go to the high school and look through the nurse’s medicine cabinet for any help, when her smarter-than-everyone-else student, Tobias, enters and asks for his knife back. He seems to have a good deal of knowledge of how society will crumble in the face of such a disaster as the one currently unfolding, so he decides to stock up on canned food from the school’s cafeteria. The school’s principal, Artie, having turned, attacks them and Madison takes him down with a repeated fire extinguisher to the head. She returns home determined to keep their house on lockdown until Travis returns and they can get out of the city, even when their friends across the street start screaming from being attacked, much to Alicia’s horror.
Since we spent last week being introduced to the main characters, this episode had much more story progression. I’m liking the struggle Travis and Madison face, needing to protect everyone in their blended family, so of course Travis will do anything to find his son and bring him along, and apparently his ex-wife too. I am very curious to know if their marriage ended due to his relationship with Madison, because that could cause some very interesting tension between the two women as they try to survive together in the future.
Alicia and Nick were much more tolerable this week, but they didn’t have as much screen time either. I actually felt sympathy for him, because an apocalypse has to be the worse time to go through a heroin withdrawal. And for her too, because, though many might think her actions of wanting to be with her sick boyfriend are stupid, I get it. It would be hard to abandoned anyone in the beginning, with such little knowledge of what’s really happening. She’s just following her heart, like so many would. She has yet to see Walkers in action, unlike the rest of her family. Thankfully, her junkie brother’s seizure saved her from a likely disastrous fate. Chris on the other hand, won this week’s obnoxious teen contest. I don’t feel they’ve given him enough to make me believe he would stick around the crime scene with his video camera as long as he did. Then again, if he’s carrying an actual video camera around with him, maybe he’s an aspiring documentary filmmaker.
I think things are moving along nicely. I am surprised at how quickly everything started to really fall apart this week, but in a city as big as L.A., things could believably escalate at this pace and still feel natural. Other than the teenagers, who I’m sure I’ll eventually tolerate, I’m really enjoying the characterization of the adults, especially the dynamic of their relationships. One thing that really hasn’t been present in The Walking Dead is the idea of a modern day blended family, as most characters are either the remainder of a single family or just loners who have joined the Group. But in today’s society there would very likely be many families like the one Travis and Madison have created. Also, it could be indicative of large city life versus a small Southern town. Whatever the reasoning, I appreciate the change in this spin-off.