Episode Title: The Dog
Original Airdate: 9/13/15
This episode picks up right where we left everyone two weeks ago. Madison and her kids are waiting at their house for Travis to return, attempting to distract themselves with the sounds of horror heard throughout the neighborhood. Travis, Chris and Liza are trapped in a barber shop with the Salazar family of Daniel, Griselda and Ofelia, as the riots become more dangerous outside. They finally escape when the store next door is set on fire. While running away, rioters force scaffolding to topple and Griselda’s foot is crushed. Though they agreed to go their separate ways, Travis returns to carry her to his truck so both families can escape together.
Back at the house, neighbors and friends who have turned begin attacking, but with no casualties, except the family dog. Travis and Madison plan to leave the next morning for the desert, with their blended brood, allowing the Salazars to stay for the sake of Griselda’s injury, but are stopped when the military move in and begin to collect the bodies of the infected. Travis and Madison believe the terror is over, but Daniel (somehow) knows that it’s too late.
Though not a lot happened in this week’s episode, I really enjoyed it. Travis & Co. escaping the mayhem of the riots (and some Walkers) was some nice edge-of-your-seat action. It’s intriguing to go back to the beginning and see how moments like these (giant angry crowds, violence, looting, etc.) could really fuel the spark that sets a zombie apocalypse ablaze.
There are many great elements filling out the environment nicely. When at first they planned to take Griselda to the hospital, it made sense that it’s already been overrun by the undead, since anyone who had died there would have risen. Travis talking Madison out of killing their turned neighbor because they don’t yet know what they’re dealing with makes sense. I certainly wouldn’t want to be responsible for the death of someone if there was a chance they could be cured, and this early on it’s very plausible to believe they might be. Now with the military moving in, everyone feels safe and like life might return to normal, but it’s only a matter of time, of course. The show is doing a great job of world building, so that all these steps could have easily led to the world I’ve been watching for the last five years in The Walking Dead.
However, if I have a complaint at the mid-point of this first season, it’s that I’m just not as invested in these characters as I should be. Rick Grimes had me at hello. So did Morgan, Shane, Glenn, et al. I like Travis and Madison and I’m interested in their blended family dynamic, but it hasn’t grabbed me. If any of these people die, I wouldn’t be terribly heartbroken…yet. And with the addition of the Salazars, I feel like the show might be trying to add too many too soon. I understand the need to get across the “helping strangers” angle, but just not yet. Let me get to a point where I can handle Alicia’s moodiness, Chris’s defiance and Nick’s twitchy detoxing first.