Episode Title: Date of Death
Original Airdate: 9-25-16
We have our first reunion after the mid-season split, as Travis finds his way to the Hotel, having seen the sign at night, thanks to Madison’s stupidity. But he’s not the only; a small mob of desperate survivors beg Madison and Co. to let them in, which at first they refuse, but eventually allow. After reuniting, Travis tells Madison his tale of sorrow, and losing Chris.
After the altercation with the farmer whom Chris shot, after said farmer shot one of the dude-bros (James), a shaken Travis steps in to help. The other guys are impressed, but eventually grow restless and bored, wanting to set off for San Diego. After a week, James hasn’t healed enough to travel, so Brandon, Derek and Chris decide to kill him. Travis begs them to reconsider, saying he’ll stay with James, but it’s all for naught, and James soon has a bullet through the brain. The other guys load up the truck and head for the US, with Travis screaming at Chris the entire time. Travis’s pleas are once again ignored, as he sees his only son drive away with two other sociopaths. Soon after, he sees the Hotel’s sign and reconnects with Madison. But not long after that Brandon and Derek also show up outside the Hotel’s gates, and without Chris.
I enjoyed this episode. As a parent, it has to be the worst to lose a child to death (or un-death, in this world), but I can’t imagine losing them the way Travis has lost Chris (or Madison has lost Nick, for that matter). His son is still alive, but he has lost all sense of humanity. It would be terrifying and so easy to blame yourself. Even after everything Chris has done, Travis is still angry that the last thing he did was curse Chris as the truck drove away, despite Chris’s detachment. And now on top of dealing with the fact that his 16-year-old son might just be a sociopath, Travis has the extra burden of wondering and worrying what may become of Chris. The unknown is certainly far worse.
It was good to see Travis and Madison reunited. Now they both have a shared tragedy of not knowing the fate of their sons. I am a little confused how everyone at the Hotel was dead set on letting anyone in and mad at Madison for turning on the sign, but then while Madison was talking to Travis they decided “aww heck, we can’t leave them out there.” I feel this very important detail was just left as an afterthought, and smoothed over with zero discussion or explanation. Once again, lazy writing, much like this statement.
With this episode, one thing that has come to my attention, though I was probably supposed to have picked up on it long ago, is the relationship angle between parents and their children. The show does separate itself from The Walking Dead by focusing so much on these relationships. TWD does have Rick and Carl, but otherwise tends to explore relationships of many variations. Fear the Walking Dead is steeped in parent/child issues and how the issues they struggle with under normal circumstances are amplified in the most dire of situations, like the end of civilization. It’s an approach I’ve come to appreciate more than anything else on the show.