When we were told that there was going to be a spin-off for our favorite zombie-centric television program, we had high hopes. When it was promised that this would be a chance for us to fill in the missing pages of what happened while Rick was stuck in his coma, our hopes skyrocketed. Then the show finally debuted, and we were given fairly insufferable leads, and the show jumped ahead in time. Oh, sure, we got to watch the first couple of walkers make their appearance, and then we flashed forward to the military taking over, but what about everything in between? And why are so many of the main characters just so darned unlikable?
All of this makes the opening of this week’s episode a little harder to swallow. Mainly, the wedding scene was actually a pretty phenomenal one, and being able to see how Elena handled a situation with really no good out reminded us what we had been promised before the first episode ever aired. It was also the Nick-less episode that we thought we’d be getting the week prior, even if that did mean that we had to suffer through Travis and Chris, instead. Overall, the goal of the show seems to be heavily focused into a Do Not Disturb mode, as they’re following an already-documented path forward, without really doing much to change the game.
Spring Break, dudes! Oh, wait, I meant “spring break dudes”, as Brandon and his group make it clear that they’re in Mexico because they were vacationing before the apocalypse hit. The problem? Brandon seems to firmly believe that the rise of zombies is actually pretty darned awesome, and that he’s clearly going to see the end because he’s been turned into some sort of a god simply by surviving this long. Man, they just don’t make gods like they used to, if some punk kid can steal a can of beans from them.
Chris ends up finding like-minded souls in Brandon, Baby James, and Derek. Before that, of course, he stole some beans and water from them, also inadvertently bringing walkers down upon them. He did kill one, saving Brandon’s life, but what does Chris do when they catch up to him and Travis? He proceeds to hold it over Brandon’s head. Now, it turned out that Brandon actually kind of respected that moment, but almost any other interaction we’ve seen in the apocalypse would have ended with Chris and Travis missing at the very least all of their supplies, if not something more vital, like a pulse.
Trapped in the hotel, and separated from Ofelia, Alicia seems like she’s going to run out of hope. That is, until she stumbles upon Elena, which leads to a merry chase through the floors of the hotel, herding walkers until Alicia could climb the side of the building to get to the next room. She made the mistake of looking down while perched precariously, but a lot of us would have done the same thing. And she made a seeming mistake by removing the barricade from the bar doors, but that ended up working in her and Elena’s favor, as well. However, all of this stems from Alicia using her own dumb luck once again to her advantage, as her foray to Elena was all terribly planned, and should never have worked. Not that Alicia necessarily would have had much hope of escaping had she remained in the room, but her path blindly through the hallways, calling out to Ofelia, and practically summoning the dead to her only succeeded because Elena heard her and ended up rescuing her off of the elevator cables at the last possible instant. And what if that elevator had instead been on her floor, and also full of the reanimated dead? It might have served Alicia better to tap into cartoon knowledge, and spend time making a comically long rope out of sheets, towels, blankets, and maybe a bathrobe or two.
2. Baby James
Let’s face it. None of the three guys in Brandon’s crew really seem like they’ve truly grasped the seriousness of the situation. Brandon has been the most vocal, but there’s an awfully big “we’re freaking awesome at surviving, and killing zombies is fun, brah” type of attitude coming off of them. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that when the group (now five, thanks to the addition of Travis and Chris) find the farmhouse, the boys go off and create some havoc, finding the barn full of chickens. They were truly excited by the prospect of protein, but they had to be a little disappointed that it wasn’t a bunch of the dead hiding out. Things eventually take a turn for the worse when the farmer who owns the barn comes out, rifle held at the ready. It’s a tense moment, and there’s a stand-off happening at this Mexican farm. It almost seems like Travis might be able to talk everyone down from their desire to let bullets fly, but Baby James will have none of that. A quick snap, and a chicken is killed, followed immediately by James getting shot in the leg, and the farmer meeting his maker. Poor chicken wasn’t even armed.
Really, everything that’s been happening to Travis recently is because he has allowed himself to be blinded to the truth of who Chris has become, and this episode is no different. Travis refused to believe Madison or Alicia, and hasn’t really been that good at reading the signs off of Chris since he had to kill Liza. He chased after his son, which was somewhat understandable, but did it completely barefoot (a moment he’s still paying for). In this episode, after the experience in town near the gas station, he even decides to teach Chris how to drive, and seems lost in the father/son moment. While it’s admittedly difficult to accept that someone close to you has traversed a darker path, there have definitely been plenty of indications of where Chris is headed, and Travis has done seemingly everything in his power to make sure that he doesn’t have to really comprehend any of it. Now that he watched Chris gun down a man, maybe his tune will change, but given that Travis is responsible for Chris ending up aligning with Brandon and his crew in the first place, the odds seem unlikely.
That does it for this week. There’s more coming up next week, but it’s really just a matter of biding time before the parent show returns to the airwaves, and drops a baseball bat worth of quality on us all. At least we probably won’t have too many more bait-and-switch moments like we did this week with the blonde zombie. And that’s something we can all look forward to.