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Sunday, June 10, 2018

[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 7 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Wrong Side of Where You Are Now"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

Based off of last week's episode, "Just in Case", we were left hanging on the fate of John Dorie, after being shot by Alicia.  Unfortunately, this episode, "Wrong Side of Where You are Now" didn't do much in terms of resolving that story line but rather, we again revisited the past to get closer to the ultimate question: What the hell happened to Madison?

When we start off the episode, we are greeted by flashbacks, specifically of moments between John Dorie and Naomi: John and Naomi in the row boat, John and Naomi eating dinner, John and Naomi fishing, John and Naomi playing scrabble.  We then harshly cut to the present, with Naomi trying to keep John alive by applying pressure to his wound, in the midst of this firefight between The Vultures and Strand, Alicia and Luciana.  Naomi says that she's going to get medical supplies and she makes a mad dash attempt to get onto Mel's truck, which apparently is holding some medical supplies.  Before Naomi can manage to get on, Mel starts to driving away to get away from the gun battle but his truck is promptly blown up, care of Alicia's space age gun. Alicia then takes aim at Naomi who is able to physically fend her off and run off.  We then see Luciana come across a crouching Charlie who simply and sadly says, "Sorry".  A conflicted Luciana then struggles with the decision on whether or not to kill Charlie then and there...but ultimately has to shoot and kill another vulture, giving Charlie the opportunity to escape.

In the midst of all this, Morgan manages to make his way to Althea, who is the process of filming the battle between these two groups.  Morgan pleads with her to take them all in her SWAT vehicle to the stadium, where Naomi assures them the necessary medical supplies are located.  At first Althea resists, not wanting to play a role in all of this, but inevitabily her conscious wins out, especially since John Dorie desperately needs immediate medical attention.  They all get in the truck, even Charlie who listens to Morgan and joins them, despite the fact that she wanted to stay and ensure Mel's okay (there definitely seems to be affection between these two, in a brother/sister way).  As they start to depart, Alicia realizes that a firefight with Althea's armored vehicle is not a battle she's going to win.  In light of this realization, she stands down and the SWAT vehicle rides off, with Alicia, Luciana and Strand shooting at the car (to no avail).  Mel eventually crawls out the blown up van, only to be savagely killed by Alicia with her makeshift weapon.   DAMN.  Well, wasn't expecting all THAT to happen so soon, with Mel and Ennis BOTH no longer in the picture.  But anyway, RIP Mel...we hardly knew ye.

We then move into the past again, and we see how the entire community came together to work on planting all the seeds and/or crops that was salvaged from the FEMA Center.  Madison and the group hear that someone is at the gates and it turns out to be Charlie, asking for her help.  Apparently Mel and Ennis got into a fight and then Mel and Charlie drove off, only to crash with another abandoned vehicle.  Charlie wouldn't come unless she urgently needed the help and expresses that.  Nick is wary of trusting Charlie but Madison sites her evolved relationship with Naomi and as example that foes can become friends.  And with that, they follow Charlie to the crash site.  Naomi examines him in the vehicle and determines that he has a bruised lung and cracked ribs and would likely not survive being out here on this own.  They finally decide to take them back with them, rather than leaving him to certain death.

Once back at the stadium, specifically the infirmary, Naomi tends to Mel's wounds, while keeping him handcuffed to the bed to be safe.  Madison is present as well and Mel insists that this place is not safe and he wants to be released, before Ennis arrives.  He warns them that Ennis is determined to MAKE the stadium fall and no longer just wait for it to happen.  Madison is confident that they can handle any threat that would be directed their way but Mel insists that she has no idea of what's heading their way.  Even after Madison leaves, he continues to try to convince Naomi that he is being perfectly reasonable and that she knows as well as anyone that his place will likely fall.  Naomi ignores him but we find out later that secretly, she agrees with Mel.  Once she has a moment to herself to speak to Madison privately, she tries to convince her to abandon her current plan of reinforcing the stadium and instead, fold up shop and keep moving to a new location.  Madison insists that she built this environment to give her children some semblance of stability in this post-apocalyptic world and she's not going to abandon it all now.  Naomi understands where she's coming from, but is hopeful that she will change her mind.

This conversation seems to stay with Madison, though, and she decides that Mel is essentially a cancer that could spread internally and kill the hopes of all in her community.  Because of this, she drags him out of the infirmary, still not fully healed, insisting that if he wants to leave so badly, he can leave right now.  In reversal from their earlier sentiments, Nick and Strand are not agreement with Madison's decision, however, they do not push her to change her mind.  Mel insists that the walls will not hold against the threat headed their way so he will go, but all he wants is Charlie and he'll be on his way.  Madison refuses to let him take Charlie with him and after some back and forth, he eventually drives off, much to everyone's disapproval.

Later Madison and the group start to realize the scale of the threat heading their way.  Strand and Cole share that the Vultures would capture and lock up walkers in trailers, silos, etc and then mark the container with a flag stating the number of walkers contained within.  They tell Madison that these containers are currently empty and if one adds up the individual totals from the flags they collected, they are looking at potentially being attacked by thousands of walkers.  Madison instructs them to continued to reinforcing all the walls in the stadium, in anticipation of this threat.

During all of this, Charlie is incredibly concerned over Mel's whereabouts, since he was injured when he left.  Luckily (or not luckily, depending on how you look at it), there was a walkie-talkie in the Range Rover and Charlies attempts to connect with him.  Unfortunately, she can't make a connection which leaves Charlie incredibly worried for him.  Alicia and Nick decide for themselves that the right thing to do is to go and retrieve Mel and bring him back so they convince Strand to open the gate and off they go.  They eventually find the Range Rover on the side of the road and they immediately get in the car, ready to drive back...when they see headlights.  They turn off the car and hide and see Ennis' caravan of tracker trailers heading to the stadium, presumably carrying the thousands of walkers speculated.  They use the walkie-talkie to radio back to the stadium and warn them about what's heading their way.

Eventually they all return to the stadium and they all remain frozen, unsure of what is about to happen with these trailers.  Very methodically, the vultures set up a stream of gasoline in front of the stadium as a sort of Phase I of their attack.  Phase II is when ramps are attached to each of the trailers right before they lift up each of the latches and release the full force and magnitude of all the captured walkers.  Many of them begin to swarm Nick and Alicia's car and they essentially radio back to the stadium to say their goodbyes, not anticipating surviving this. That is all that Madison needs to hear and she states that she needs to get out there and get her kids.  Strand and Luciana insist that they'll join her and the gates open to a fiery scene that I suppose we'll see more of next week.  Flaming walkers, I'm guessing?

We then head to the present day and see the SWAT vehicle pass by the original ice cream truck that released the gasoline at the stadium.  It is almost completely torched.  They see the stadium up ahead and upon Naomi's insistence that there are indeed medical supplies still inside, they hold on tight as Althea drives the truck through one of the wooden barriers that had been erected.  Once inside, the smoke eventually clears and the dust settles...and they realize that they are completely surrounded by thousands of charred walkers.  Not a good situation.

The episode ends here and with the midseason finale coming up next week, we have to anticipate that we will finally get an answer to Madison's whereabouts and the fate of John Dorie.  At least we hope so.


[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 6 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Just in Case"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

This episode of Fear the Walking Dead entitled "Just in Case" again, plays around with time, which is the only way that we get further visibility to Madison and her potential role within this scenario.  Unfortunately, we still do not have answers as to where in the world is Madison or if she is even alive at this rate.  But this episode will likely serve as another piece of the puzzle that will eventually fall into place (we hope).

We start off the episode by John Dorie and Morgan still walking down the road and coming across a man who we eventually uncover to be a vulture.  Prior to his run in with them, we see the man enter a building and completely strip it of any and all useful parts and components.  This includes goods, of course, but also light bulbs and even the metal hinges off of a door frame (very odd).  As he exits said building, John Dorie and Morgan creep up on him for behind with a weapon, causing him to raise his arms.  This is an interesting moment of tension considering that we only see this scene from the point of view of the vulture, but we don't actually SEE John Dorie and Morgan here, but rather, only hear John's voice, describing to the vulture what his options are.

Inevitably, things take a turn for the worse and, much like he had to do in his past, he fires a "warning" shot at the vulture, shooting off a finger.  He becomes incensed and holds him against a car, demanding information on where he is going and on Laura's whereabouts.  They finally uncover a hand scratched map from him that they decide to follow to see what they can uncover.

We then move into the past where we are exposed to more of Naomi and Madison at the stadium.  Naomi is proving herself useful by using her nursing skills to remove shrapnel from Alicia's arm.  It's at this point that Madison shares that they are running dangerously low on food and she's going to have to go out and venture out to see what can be found.  In the meantime, we see that the Vultures are still hanging out outside the stadium...waiting.  Talk about ominous and persistent.  Madison and Strand take this all in while talking and taking swings from the same bottle of alcohol.  Eventually they hear some commotion and when they run down, they see that Naomi was attempting to leave.  She insists that she knows of a place where they could get seeds and other items they need so they let her proceed...but accompanied by Madison and Strand.  

Nightfall hits and their vehicle stops at what appears to be an abandoned motel for the night.  It's during this time in the motel that Naomi reveals that her original intention for this trip had nothing to do with getting supplies back to the stadium, but rather to return to the FEMA outpost she came from.  Strand is livid over Naomi's wishy-washiness and demands her car keys from her, for safe keeping.  Little did Strand know that Naomi is an expert at hot wiring cars which is exactly what she did as they slept.  True to her word, she drives until she backs it back to the FEMA outpost she mentioned.  She eventually enters and finds a trunk full of various useful items (maps, instructions on gardening, landscaping etc), but as she continues to explore the space, she begins to notice the random dead bodies on the ground and the finally children's artwork hung up on a fridge.  It's the sight of this artwork that brings Naomi to her knees and creates a noise disturbance attracting the heard of walkers already inside.  She runs and climbs an interior scaffolding that allows her to sit perched above it all, tearfully apologizing to the walkers below.   

Luckily for her, eventually Madison and Strand burst into the building and, after a tense makeshift zip line, Naomi is rescued and they all leave the building.  Once outside, Naomi finally shares her story: She and her daughter once lived at this FEMA Center with many others that became their friends.  Sadly, her daughter inevitably became very sick, forcing Naomi to go out and score the area for antibiotics.  She eventually was able to get antibiotics but by the time she returned with them, her daughter had taken a turn for the worst and she died.  She couldn't bring herself to kill her before she turned and that decision allowed for the FEMA center to fall apart from the inside.  It's for this reason that Naomi carries this immense burden of guilt and remorse, primarily because she feels largely responsible for the death of all these people.  Ironically, it's Strand that reassures her that if he was not beyond salvation, surely she is still redeemable, at least in their eyes.  

They then load up a Range Rover and a truck with all the supplies found at the FEMA Center including goods, seeds, and various other agricultural supplies that are critically needed at the stadium.  They then all return to the stadium triumphantly with their newly found goods, much to Mel's surprise.  Madison and him have an exchange and while he and the vultures collect themselves up and leave, it is not before Mel gives Madison an ominous warning that things could easily go bad very quickly.  This seems to stick with Madison since while everyone is in a celebratory mood, prepping the land for all the seeds that will need to be propagated, she stands at a post looking around at the landscape.  When Alicia comes to her to see what she is doing, she instructs Alicia to take some of the goods and supplies and pack them in the Range Rover.  Just in case.

We finally return to the present day where we see that Morgan and John Dorie have arrived a track of some sort.  They are surprised to find our crew in Althea's SWAT car ALSO arrive at he same spot, apparently all following the maps drafted by the vultures.  Alicia holds John Dorie and Morgan at bay with her space age looking gun (though for reasons not completely clear to me since she knows who they are).  It's at this point then, that we see a caravan of cars and trucks arrive and we realize the vultures have arrived at their apparent meeting spot.  Mel immediately exits and we get a sense of anguish and emotional pain on his face.  Everyone has a gun raised at each other and Mel manages to tell Alicia that he's sorry about her brother (Nick).  Unfortunately, Alicia says she's not sorry about his.   SAVAGE. 

This moment of high tension however, is broken by the sound of a woman's voice on the walkie talkie, asking Mel what's the hold up.  The owner of this voice then arrives.  In a Range Rover.  And out of said Range Rover exits Naomi, looking more powerful in a leather jacket and hair done in plaits.  John Dorie immediately says her name, Naomi says his and he goes to her, Alicia (for reasons again, I'm not entirely clear on) shoots John Dorie on the side.  He immediately goes down and we are left with the image of Naomi and Morgan tending to him, as his life hangs in the balance.

So what happened between these two groups to cause this level of emotion?  At this point, it seems to go far beyond one group simply wanting the other group's "stuff".  And again, where is Madison?


[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 5 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Laura"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

We have had our share of hook ups and fleeting romantic relationships within the Walking Dead universe, most notably the relationship between Glenn and Maggie comes to mind.  But it is incredibly rare to see the development of a sincere, budding romance in these kind of dismal conditions.  This dynamic of sincerity, cynicism, and love found, conquered and lost is the basis for the fifth episode of the season, entitled after John Dorie's enigmatic love interest.  The story in essence is so simple and pure...and that's largely why it's such a satisfying episode.

The episode begins with an glimpse into John Dorie's life after the Apocalypse, but before we initially met him in his interaction with Morgan.  We see that he wasn't always this sort of caricature-like gunslinger.  He was just a man, that essentially created himself an island (both emotionally and literally), in order to survive in these dire conditions.  We see that he had that trout alarm clock (did anyone else get really excited when they saw that or *gasp* possibly OWN that??) that wakes him up in the morning so that I suppose, he does not oversleep.

FUN FACT: The song being played by the trout alarm clock is "Take me to the River" by Al Green.  Fitting, no?

In any case, it appears that John Dorie likes to maintain his routine and waking up at a set time every morning is part of that.  Along with that, we see that he has other day-to-day activities that he follows: Contributing to his compost machine/generator, renting out movies from the local Bait & Tackle Shop, killing the occasional walkers that attempt to cross his moat, and meticulously cleaning his (2) showpiece guns that he never actually uses (he uses an ax instead to do his dirty work).  His nights seem to be spent typically watching the rental movies he's gotten and even playing scrabble against himself (not a bad way to keep your mind active right?)...but then lying in bed, trying unsuccessfully to get himself to fall asleep. 

It's during one of those sleepless nights that he hears some commotion outside his home.  Upon rushing out, he sees an injured woman passed out in a boat, docked at his shore.  WE, as the viewing audience, are well aware that this is Naomi, the same woman that Madison and crew encountered in episode 2, "Another Day in the Diamond".  It seems that this incident has taken place before that encounter and John Dorie, good man that he is, immediately lifts her and carries her into his home and bed to tend to her wounds.  Upon inspection, it seems that Naomi has a large slice on her side, but always one to look on the bright side, John Dorie states that it at least is not a walker bite and therefore can be mended.  That said, he bandages her up and lets her sleep.

When he wakes up the next day, he wakes to see that his home has been ransacked, cabinet doors left wide open as evidence.  John Dorie then runs outside and sees that Naomi is in his truck, feverishly looking for the car keys to no avail.  Rather than run and stop her however, he accepts the fact that she wants to leave and tells her WHERE the keys are in the car....Only the car battery doesn't work.  Naomi tries to start the car but after sputtering lifelessly, she resigns herself that her plan has failed.  John Dorie then tells her that if she INSISTS on leaving, to at least allow him to help her get her strength back so that she's better equipped to go back out there on her own.  She begrudgingly accepts his offer...with the understanding that she WILL be leaving at some point soon.

Once inside, he begins the process of helping her recover which includes (yikes) sewing up that nasty gash on her abdomen.  He does this based on her instruction and guidance, which gives us clues that Naomi perhaps might've had a past in medicine/nursing and we that John Dorie picks up on this detail as well.  Later on, he goes as far as to prepare fish soup for her and give her some clothes, as he's showing her the bed that will now be her's for as long as she wants it.  Ever the considerate man, he's even created a sort of curtain rod privacy screen for when she sleeps for some semblance of privacy as he sleeps on the couch.  He assures her that it's not a big deal since he's had issues sleeping as of late.  He is able to accurately infer based on her earlier guidance that she was in fact a nurse, prior to the apocalypse.  It's also at this point at the end of the night that he tries to ask her what in the world her name is but all he receives in response to that question is a Thank You for all his help.  He finally dubs her LAURA, because he states that she looks like a Laura.  And therefore moving forward, Naomi will now be referred to as Laura (got it?).

And so goes the back and forth dance between John Dorie and Laura.  The next day, he and Laura paddle in his boat to a nearby Bait shop to get some supplies and they talk further.  John Dorie shares that he was a cop before all of this happened but he prefers to not use firearms unless there is no other option.  They come across some walkers in the water and realize that there's a fence that has been leveled on the overpass and that's where they're coming from.  Once they actually GET to the store, they start picking up items that they need: Laura gets a backpack and various medical supplies; John Dorie proceeds to check out tonight's Movie of the Night.

It's at this movie night back at the house that Laura opts to join John Dorie on the couch to watch, only to eventually release what she's been holding in by simply stating, "I lost my child".  And with that powerful sentence she gets up from the couch and goes to bed.

After this incident, Laura and John Dorie continue their day to day lives of healing, surviving and getting to know each other.  With the removal of Laura's stitches, she feels that her date of departure is imminently approaching, much to his sadness and disappointment.  In the meantime however, John Dorie teaches her how to fish, a skill that acknowledges will come in incredibly useful in this new world.  At night, they eat the fish that they capture and play scrabble with each other.  Not a bad way to exist, all things being considered.

The next day, they decide to go up to the overpass to try and patch up the broken fence where walkers are stumbling through into the watery depths below and subsequently washing ashore to John Dorie's property.  He notices that she has brought with her his guns, which infuriates him since he feels the use of guns only attracts more walkers.  Once they set up the car in the position needed, a walker rips through the paper covering the driver's side window, reaching for John Dorie...yet he still refuses to use his weapon, even with Laura screaming at him to shoot.  Instead he manages to get a hold of a knife and begins to mercilessly stab the walker in the head until both he and Laura are covered in blood.

On their way back, Laura attempts to find out why John is so adamant about refusing to use a firearm, because she can sense there's more to it than just attracting walkers.  He finally reveals HIS deep secret from his past, specifically during his days as a police officer.  He was in a situation where he was facing a would be robber at a gas station and since he did not heed his warning, he was forced to shoot him in the leg.  This was supposed to be just a flesh wound but the assailant instead bled out and died, as a result of his shot.  He was revered as a hero but he felt a huge weight of guilt for what he did which led him to live his life as a pacifistic recluse in this cabin on an island he created for himself.

That night, John once again hears a commotion and when he goes outside he sees that a herd of walkers have washed up on his shores.  He screams for Laura and she comes running and they both begin to immediately attack in unison.  At one point however, Laura is overwhelmed by a group of walkers and ends up tumbling into a trench along with other walkers.

Talk about INTENSE.

It's at this point that Laura screams for John's help and much to her surprise, John, with expert skill and ease executes perfect head shots on all the walkers around her with his two showpiece pistols.  He has saved her.

Once inside the house, John goes back to cleaning his guns and while Laura thanks him for everything he's done, assuring him that he is a just and honorable person, he offers to her one of his pistols.  He insists that if she's going to be out there on her own, he should have this to keep on her side for protection.  That night, during another movie night, Laura opts to sit closer to John rather than the far end of the couch.  She attempts to make conversation and she notices that he is distant and uncomfortable.  He finally gets up and walks away from the couch, asking her to just leave him be, as she questions why he is acting differently.  He finally admits that he loves her but he doesn't want her to know this because she's just going to leave and he'll be left alone.  He only wants her to stay alive because as long as she's alive, he feels alive again as well.

Wow, this was definitely one of those "You make me want to be a better man" moments...except in a zombie post apocalyptic environment.  A pretty rare moment.

In any case, they embrace but, in the harsh light of the morning, John wakes up and cannot find Laura anywhere.  Instead she has left a message in the scrabble tiles stating "I Love You, I'm Sorry".  OUCH.

We then rejoin the present and realize that John had been recounting this story to Morgan, in the wake of receiving the gun he originally gave to Laura from Luciana, along with the scrabble tiles (a memento he seems to carry with him).  He wonders if it was a big mistake to ever tell Laura that he loved her but Morgan emotionally tells him never to say such a thing since in this world, time is so limited that once never knows if that interaction will be the last one.  John agrees and together the two of them march down the road together....but to where exactly is still to be determined.


[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 4 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Buried"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

Coming off last week's highly emotional episode ending in the death of Nick, I honestly was not sure what exactly to expect from episode 4, "Buried".  What we get to see in this week's episode, however, is less of a focus on the aftermath of the death Nick, but rather more of an opportunity to learn more about the events leading up to...whatever happened at the stadium.

The episode continues from where we left off with the death of Nick.  We see the opening scenes from the vantage point of Althea's video camera, documenting Luciana stabbing him before he turns and Alicia taking out the Walker version of the vulture Nick killed inside.  Strand covers Nick's body with a dark cloak and next we see that they are all back in the SWAT vehicle, driving off somewhere, with the body of Nick in tow.  As John Dorie drives, Althea continues to document the individual stories of Strand, Alicia and Luciana, more specifically what transpired the day that each of them went out individual runs, a day when apparently decisions were made that brought them to where they are now.

Through flashbacks, we see that the rations at the stadium had run dangerously low with the survivors down to consuming cat food, the last scraps of what was available.  The vultures have been pillaging the area dry and what's worse, flaunting their newly found food and goods right outside their gates.  Since they are left with little options, we see that on that fateful day, three pairs went out on runs: Strand & a gentleman from the stadium; Alicia & Naomi; and finally Luciana and Nick (as suspected, we will continue to see Nick via flashbacks).

Strand and his companion drive on the search for supplies and during their ride they have some brief conversation involving Strand purposely avoiding him (for reasons Strand says are justified...feelings perhaps?) as well as a rock that Strand carries around and as a reminder of the man he once was.  Based on what occurred in Season 3, I suspect that this is a remnant piece of rock from the dam that was blown up in the season finale but that's obviously just speculation.  In any case, they eventually come across a greenhouse that they review for potential goods, but are attacked by cactus spiked walkers (pretty cool walker moment although not the coolest of the episode).  Strand manages to take them down and save his companion and before they leave, he shows him a car that apparently he had been stockpiling supplies.  He informs his companion that these goods wouldn't last a day at the stadium, but they could help two people survive for some time.  The man refuses to abandon Madison and everyone at the stadium and they decide to part ways, leaving Strand to drive off by himself with his goods to ponder his decision.

At the same time,  we see that Alicia and Naomi went on their own run that brought them to an abandoned water park.  Upon their arrival, the observe numerous cars and evidence that a community once existed here before being potentially overrun by walkers.  They notice that at the very top of one of the elaborate water slides, there appears to be some sort of make shift housing that could have some useful items so they decide to make their way up there.  Unfortunately, due to the stairs being blocked off, they end up having to tip toe around the perimeter of the pool, ultimately killing some pool walkers that come dangerously close to them, and finally making their way to the top via the slide.  Once up there, they see that it truly was a sort of fort with a high enough vantage point that a machine gun was set up.  Unfortunately, at this point they are confronted by two walkers that take them off guard and cause them to slide DOWN the water slide into a sort of drain/cesspool of walkers.  Luckily Alicia managed to grab the shaft of the machine gun on her way down the slide and uses this as a weapon to defeat the most threatening walker in the drain (we find out that she later sharpens this shaft into a much more potent weapon).  They return to the fort and find a nearby crate containing a vast amount of medical supplies that they begin to pack up to bring back to the stadium.  We see however that Naomi has also found a set of car keys and she takes the opportunity to distract Alicia and make her escape back to the cars in the parking lot (that was pretty slick right?).

Once downstairs, she manages to find the car that works with the set of keys she found (what a stroke of luck) and while she tries to escape, she manages to barely move a few feet due to a lack of gas.  Alicia then approaches her window and Naomi explains how she feels that the stadium is doomed to fall but eventually succumbs to Alicia's persuasion and returns with her.

Finally, we see that Nick and Luciana traveled to an old public library, looking for anything that could prove to be useful.  Luciana is doubtful that there's anything for them there and even back at the stadium, as she passionately tries to convince Nick to run away with her to a new place where they can start over again.    They eventually come across an atlas specifically for the South West area of the United States and they say that whatever page they open to is where they will go.  We never get to actually see what that page is or what area it is that they decide to go to.

What we DO find out is that all three of these runs ended up all the groups deciding to return to the stadium, despite their doubts and itchiness to flee.  All the individuals return with a renewed sense of hope: Strand thinking he is now a better man, returning with his goods, rather than just thinking of self preservation; Naomi and Alicia returning with the medical supplies and setting up an infirmary (with Naomi's ominous warning of what is likely to come); Luciana and Nick returning with the atlas and a plan on heading farther off to collect the proper key items needed to regrow crops at the stadium.  All of this hope is cut by the present day where all these individuals tearfully state that they should have never gone on those runs that day and that their actions indirectly led to Nick's death.

The SWAT car finally arrives at its destination where we find out it's less about Nick's burial site and more about another secret stockpile location of weapons and a note that leads to where the Vultures can apparently be found.  Althea feels deceived but they inform her that if she wants to know the whole story, she should drive them to their final destination and come see for herself.  She begrudgingly agrees and after burying Nick (because they do bury him under a tree at this site), they begin to load up this weapons arsenal in the SWAT vehicle.  It's at this point that John Dorie notices that one of the bags was very familiar and in this bag we end up seeing a distinctive revolver of his, with even his initials on it.  Through a flashback, we realize that his "Laura" was actually Naomi.  He urgently wants to know where she is but Alicia and Luciana inform him that she didn't make it out of the stadium.  He cannot quite come to terms with the idea that she is dead and refuses to continue on with them, instead asking him to leave him be.  Morgan opts to stay with John Dorie, providing him with companionship as he processes this new information.

And that's where we leave.  We do get to see a few flashbacks with Madison speaking to the Vultures, standing her ground and them continuing to just wait in the wings for the right opportunity as well as her speaking to all the individuals when they come back from their runs.  Again, the looming question is what happened to Madison and while we still don't know yet, it appears that we are inching closer to some answers.


[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 3 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Good Out Here"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

The third episode of this season entitled “All Good Here” continues to play with time and give us further insight into the motivation of our main characters in their current state of mind.  We focus primarily on Morgan & Nick (in the NOW) and Nick & Madison (in the BEFORE)…and we are also provided with a shocking twist by the end of the episode.

As has been the trend with the previous two episodes, episode three picks up exactly where episode two leaves off, following our characters in Althea’s SWAT car.  They are on their way to the town they just came from, in order to allow our main FTWD characters the opportunity to evaluate what occurred there and to see if it could, in any way, be connected to whatever occurred at the stadium (something we are still not fully clear on).  While in the car, Althea continues to push to understand what their “story” is; That is, how did they get to this point?  After some banter and swiftness, Althea manages to get the best of Nick and holds him at knife-point.  Nick instructs Luciana to keep driving and eventually they struggle, causing the car to swerve off the side of the road and finally crashing into a ditch.  All of members of the car survive, but with some injuries, including Nick who sustained yet ANOTHER head injury (what is it with the head injuries, right?).  Before he passes out from said injury, he sees that the door to the back of the truck has been blown open and walkers are starting to descend on their vehicle. 

When he finally comes to again, he awakens to see that the tide has shifted and now it’s HIS group that are all imprisoned and zip-tied by Althea and her crew.  Unfortunately for them, Althea’s SWAT car is stuck and spinning its wheels to no avail.  Luciana mentions how she noticed in a town further back that there was a truck with the equipment they could potentially utilize to help pull her car out.  With that information, Althea decides to show a sign of “good faith” and unties Luciana, Strand and Alicia.  BUT, Nick remains tied up and under Morgan’s supervision while they go and get the truck.  Morgan, already suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg, willingly offers to stay and play babysitter (what other option does he have really?).  It’s decided and the rest of them go.

It’s during this time that we get more insights into the events leading up to where Nick and his group currently find themselves.  All of this happens through flashbacks, as we cut back and forth between the present and the past, the past involving specifically Madison.  We see that after the Vultures came to the stadium, the situation there continued to deteriorate and became more and more dire, in regards to specifically supplies and food.  Madison decides that she needs to do a run and Nick insists on coming with her so she relents and lets him tag along.  Upon leaving the stadium, Mel comes up to their car and tells Madison that the area has very slim pickings, in case she wanted to know.  Madison thanks them for their information but still forges on, even when Mel throws back in their car the issue of “The Little Prince”, left for Charlie to review and read.  According to him, Charlie doesn’t like children’s book.  After this confrontation, Nick asks Madison, how she can come out here scavenging, with everything going on.  Madison calmly replies that every time she leaves the stadium, she tries to find something good; Something or anything that reminds her that the human race was once good.  It could be flowers, it could be a book, anything at all.

In the present day, Nick tells Morgan that he is hungry and, much to his surprise, Morgan does not hesitate to release him from his zip ties.  Nick is amazed that Morgan would do this and proceeds to test Morgan’s capabilities…and is quickly shut down.  Morgan swiftly gets him on his stomach, all with the fluid use of his trusty stick, injured leg be damned.  At this point, Morgan has earned Nick’s respect and goes as far as to formally introduce himself and share with him half of what appears to be a peanut butter protein bar.  For fans of the Walking Dead universe, this point was a little nod to the classic episode “Clear” where Rick, Carl & Michonne stumble upon a delirious Morgan, killing anything that crosses his path.  It’s in this episode that Michonne pockets one of Morgan’s protein bars so it’s nice to see this subtle callback to another time. 

In any case, Morgan advises Nick to not wander off, as he’s going to walk up to the road to investigate the conditions and apparently do some Aikido as well, testing his leg.  While he is doing this, we see that Nick has found Althea’s camera and tapes in the truck and begins to view some of her interviews, in particular the most recent ones of John Dorie and Morgan.  Eventually, Morgan runs back to Nick after seeing a mysterious vehicle zooming down the road.  He warns him to get down and hide but when Nick sees what vehicle Morgan is referring to, it lights a fire in him that has not been seen.  He practically claws Morgan’s eyes out, in order to make it past him and chase the car down.  He obviously does not catch up to this car and he finds himself in quite the predicament, surrounded by walkers.  Fortunately for him, Morgan went after him and saves him just in time.

Now in order to better understand Nick’s frame of mind, we have to go back to the BEFORE, when Nick was on a supply run with his mother Madison.  In this flashback, we see that they arrived at a little town but they arrived a tad too late and the Vultures are in the midst of finishing up their ransacking of the property.  This raid seems to be led by Mel’s brother Ennis, who blatantly flaunts all the goods that they were able to pull from this location.  Had they only arrived slightly sooner, all those bounties could have been there’s.  But alas, that is not the case and Ennis goes as far as to insinuate that Nick is not capable of providing for his family as HE is able to.  This pushes Nick over the edge and he lunges at Ennis and goes as far as putting a knife at his throat.  Madison finally breaks his trance and pulls him away, especially upon noticing that Charlie is present, observing everything.  Nick reluctantly relents and pulls away but, not before he draws first blood. 
Eventually, Nick and Madison are back on the road and as he’s commiserating on the missed opportunity back at that town, she stops the car abruptly.  They get out and Madison points out a field of Blue Bonnet flowers and they walk within it, taking in all its simple but beautiful splendor.  It’s a prolific moment that we inevitably circle back to.

When we rejoin the present however, we are back to the gray skies and doom and gloom of the current day.  Morgan and Nick have walked to some nearby town, with Morgan trying to school Nick on why he should control his temper and how revenge is essentially a hollow victory.  Nick is dismissive of Morgan’s words and Morgan leaves Nick be to handle his revenge mission on his own.  In an attempt to walk off however, Morgan runs right into Ennis, in midst of clearing (no pun intended) goods from inside one of the buildings.  Morgan tries to advise him to leave this area but again, Ennis is dismissive as well of Morgan’s words. 

It’s interesting that both of these men did not heed Morgan’s advice and their ultimate outcome might have been able to be avoided, had they done so.  But oh well.

Nick subtly approaches the confrontation in progress between Morgan and Ennis and while Morgan chooses to walk away, Nick is on a mission.  Ignoring all of Morgan’s warnings, Nick immediately confronts Ennis within the confines of the building he was pulling supplies from.  After a back and forth fist fight between the two men, Nick ultimately gets the better of Ennis plunging him into the antlers of an animal bust.  In a level of added cruelty and brutality, he even pushes him further into the antlers, while he is still alive.

After the savage murder, Nick meets up again with Morgan, confirming that he did exactly what Morgan specifically wanted him to avoid.  Nick then takes a moment to sit and contemplate over what he did and the recent memory with this mother Madison in the field of flowers when we randomly hear a loud bang.  As Nick looks down at his hands, they are covered in blood and he realizes that he has been shot through the stomach.  He looks up stunned, to see Charlie with a handgun, visibly upset.  He utters her name and she runs off, at the same time that the others get back to them, now running feverishly toward a fallen Nick.  They do their best to aid Nick and be positive, but it becomes increasingly clear that his injury is far too grave for him to be able to overcome.  He finally passes away, as his sister Alicia weeps over his body and we are then transported to a surreal image of Nick in the field of flower, alive and in amazement, before the screen goes black.

As far as deaths go, even not being a diehard FTWD fan, this was by far one of the most impactful deaths in the Walking Dead universe, both in terms of shock and artistic depiction.  What still remains to be seen however, are the whereabouts of Madison.  Based on Nick’s reaction at the site of Ennis, it leads one to think that they were integrally involved in what occurred to her…but then, what DID happen to her?


[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 2 of Fear The Walking Dead, "Another Day in the Diamond"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

Last week’s season premiere of Fear the Walking Dead felt like a sort of introduction/transition of sorts, weaving in our new characters into the lives of our reoccurring characters.  As a result, it isn’t really until this episode, “Another day in the Diamond”, the second episode of the season, that we really get a chance to see our original characters.  This episode starts to lay the groundwork for what occurred to our characters that brought us to this point and while we don’t get the complete picture (yet), we start to get some vital pieces of the puzzle to start connecting.

The episode begins with where it left off with our new characters being held up by our original cast of characters including Luciana, Strand, Nick and Alicia (still no Madison to be found).  We then flash back to the “BEFORE” which takes it to another time (very nicely delineated by the change in color tone) where we see our original characters waking up at baseball stadium.  We hear an announcement that it’s been another 365 days in the diamond, which informs us that at least a full year has passed since the dam explosion (likely over a year, based on this information).  Life appears to be stable and, dare I say, good, based on a jovial conversation over a decent breakfast that includes luxuries such as maple syrup.  We also see that Nick is one of the community members responsible for the growing of the crops within the stadium and that Madison (FINALLY shown) has a sort of leadership position within the community.  She is seen creating more dormitory space within the dugout and also gently speaking with a young girl named Charlie.  Charlie does not speak much, even as Madison tries to inquire where Charlie came from or where her family could be. 

Regardless, Madison decides for their core team (with the exception of Nick) to go out on a run and see if they can perhaps find Charlie’s family.  Nick stays behind because we are told that based on the state in which he was found, he is not a mental place capable of leaving the confines of the stadium.  For now, we are not clear what that means but my guess is that we’ll get more tidbits of information on that in future episodes.  In any case, they come across a former community that appears to be have been obliterated and begin to explore their surroundings.  As they split up and Madison and Alicia pair up, they are inevitably confronted by a frazzled woman, who goes by the name Naomi.  She holds up Madison at gunpoint and demands access to her car, to which Madison tries to convince her that they can work together and they can bring her back to their community.  Secretly however, she is signaling to her counterparts and they quickly come as her subtle cavalry.  It’s at this point that Naomi scatters off, with Madison and Alicia still in hot pursuit. 

They find themselves on top of an oil silo that (of course) eventually gives in, bringing Naomi down into a pit of oil and walkers.  Madison follows suite and comes down to assist her in fighting off these oil slick walkers.  At the same time, Alicia and Strand work on opening up the hatch to the silo, in order to access where the women are.  The hatch is finally opened and a slew of oil and walkers pour out from the inside.  At the sight of this, Luciana immediately begins taking out the walkers that come out, while Alicia goes into the silo to find Madison.  It’s at this point that Alicia sees Madison from behind, slowly raising herself up until she turns around we realize that she’s fine and they both run out.

This moment feels like a sort of foreshadowing for what is to come, by showing Madison from behind and making us feel like we may or may not know if she has been killed and/or turned, etc.  We will obviously need to wait to see where the writers take this but it certainly feels like this is a planted image that will come back to haunt us in the future.

Back at the stadium, we see Nick try to continue to form a relationship with the young Charlie, but Charlie is very tight-lipped about her past.  Nick also expresses frustration on the current state of the crops.  It appears that the crop has weavels (Again with the weavels.  These things were an issues for King Ezekiel and the Kingdom as well).  These organisms are highly detrimental to the crops and unfortunately the crops are suffering because of these things.  Time is going by though and Madison and her crew have still not returned, making Nick increasingly anxious over their whereabouts.  Finally at a certain point, Nick decides to obtain a car and look for them himself, even with his intense fear of venturing outside the walls.  He does force himself to, however, until his PSTD catches up with him and blinds him to a point that he crashes into a wall, injuring his head.  Fortunately for him, Cole manages to snipe some threatening walkers and this all gives Madison enough time to drive in and scoop up Nick, just in time.  Talk about close calls.

Once inside, we discover that Naomi was once a nurse and she puts the skills to use as she tends to Nick’s head wound.  But the surprises are not over, once they are inside the stadium.  Soon thereafter, a caravan of cars arrives in the parking lot outside of the stadium, causing everyone in the community to arm up and watch over their gates with bated breath.  Eventually, all the cars come to a halt and a member of this group sets up a lawn chair to sit outside.   Another member begins to mount a bicycle that plays opera music (similar to “the fat lady” on The Walking Dead), leading some of the stray walkers in the parking lot into a trailer.  The trailer is then tagged with a flag stating “12” similar to the flags that Morgan and crew came across in the season premiere.  Madison finally ventures out on her own and confronts the gentleman in the lawn chair, who we learn is named Mel.  Mel informs Madison that they are not here to tailgate but rather to take what they have, once their luck runs out and they have perish.  Apparently Mel’s group are like vulture/scavengers (to steal a line from The Walking Dead) and this has been how they have been able to survive in this new world.  Mel then begins to share his knowledge on the weavels and the dwindling supplies at the stadium, much to Madison’s shock and surprise.  How does he know?  Well, apparently quiet little Charlie has been acting as a mole for the group and runs to them when beckoned.  Despite this disappointment and the threats, Madison shows no signs of weakness and informs Mel that they won’t be going anywhere and they are free to join their way of life (to which Mel refuses).  Mel ominously states that they have not been fully tested yet but they will be…and his group will be waiting outside to collect the scraps once that happens. 

We then see what we presume to be the next few days since the confrontation with the vultures: We see that the rations and supplies are dwindling, we see Nick struggling with the crops but we also see Madison staying the course and continuing to build housing within the dugout.  She is eventually joined by her crew as they all continue to build together.

It’s at this point that we flash back to the “NOW”, with our old crew and new characters together again.  Morgan, Althea and John Dorie have been tied up and questioned, especially once Luciana sees that they have one of the vultures’ flags.  Althea informs them that they know NOTHING on the vultures other than that they grabbed that flag from another town that they would gladly direct them to.  This is exactly what they want so they load them up in the SWAT car and direct them to take to them to wherever they found that flag.

Based on this episode, we can start seeing how this introduction of this groups likely contributed to the demise of the diamond.  But we still have a way to go until we understand fully what happened…including what happened to Madison.


[RECAP] Season 4, Episode 1 of Fear The Walking Dead, "What's Your Story?"

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By Carolina Gallardo (@carolgallardo)

With The Walking Dead season 8 now in the books, one might ask, what are we to do now?  Well, AMC's very own FEAR The Walking Dead has been increasingly gaining a following as well as positive critical reviews.  It appears that the redheaded stepchild of The Walking Dead has finally come into its own.  So much so, that this co-podcaster that had never seen ONE EPISODE of FEAR decided that with the Morgan crossover (and the prospect of a larger crossover down the line), it was time to jump on the bandwagon and assess the show for myself.

NOTE: Now please bear in mind that I did NOT do a blitz of seasons 1 through 3, but rather read a 50 page "Cliff Notes" online version of the previous seasons, in the interest of time (#momlife #corporatelife).  All in all, I think it did a pretty good job of getting me up to date so thanks IGN!

The first episode of the season was in every sense a transition episode.  This is made explicitly clear by the fact that our main characters do not even make an appearance until the last few minutes of the episode.  Instead, we start off the episode with what appears to be a cowboy sitting at a campfire.  Upon hearing some rustling in the woods, he starts talking to who may be there but, in essence, is really talking to himself.  Eventually Morgan emerges, after having killed the walker that was the lurking threat.  We then get a flashback that takes us to Morgan right after the war with the Saviors (pretty much where Season 8 of TWD ends).  He had settled into solitary living at the junkyard when he is approached by several members of TWD (Jesus, Carol and finally Rick), in an attempt to convince him to rejoin their community and society in general.  Rick even makes the plea that "You can hide, but you can't run".  A statement to express as much as Morgan may want to escape organized society and relationships, he cannot avoid it because whether he likes it or not, society will find HIM.

This seems to resonate with Morgan and he decides to try to run away as far as possible from Alexandria and Virginia in general.  After a mixture of walking, running and driving, he eventually arrives in Texas and crosses paths with John Dorie (the cowboy).  John wants to know Morgan's story but Morgan resists this at every turn.  They eventually both come across a camp with trailers with numbered flags (after Morgan tries to ditch a lovable John Dorie who's only trying to be his friend), where they are held up at gunpoint...and saved just in time by another stranger named Althea (or Al).

Side note, for those out there who may play Overwatch (DISCLAIMER: Not me, my husband), Althea bears a striking resemblance to the character Tracer.  Am I right??)

In any case, Althea helps John Dorie and Morgan just in the nick of time (with a pretty awesome SWAT car by the way that looks like a cross between a SWAT car and the Batmobile from The Dark Knight) and we find out that she used to be a journalist.  It seems however that once a journalist, always a journalist, though, because Althea is absolutely hell bent on getting the story of a survivor she comes across.  We learn through John Dorie's videotaped interview with Althea that he is looking for his love named Laura and he is certain that he will find her.  Morgan seems to resist and resist at every turn until he finally succumbs to Althea's persuasion and gives her his "story".  Or as much of his story that he's comfortable sharing.  He shares information about Atlanta, Virginia, The Kingdom and Shiva (of all things to bring up).  But the essence of his story and his mantra that he states before he leaves them to travel on his own (even though he sustained a bullet wound injury in his thigh) is the sad statement "I lose people and then I lose myself".

With this heartbreaking declaration, Morgan attempts to venture the road alone, trying to catch up to a walker, in an attempt to confirm if it was the same individual he saw injured in a car earlier, who insisted on being left alone (it was).  Before he can become eventually overcome by walkers, John Dorie appears in the background and literally has his back.  After burying the walker himself, Morgan finally agrees to travel with John Dorie and Althea, temporarily only, of course.

As they continue to drive, however, they see what appears to be an injured woman in the road.  They opt to stop and see what they can do to help her but the tables quickly turn as the injured woman ISN'T injured but is actually Alicia, acting as a decoy.  Once she has them where she needs them, we see Nick, Strand, and Luciana all emerge with weapons, holding Morgan, Althea and John Dorie capture.

We end with Althea asking them, what's THEIR story?

With Madison glaringly missing from the group, what's their story is very much the question of the hour.