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Sunday, June 10, 2018

[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.


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