Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fear The Walking Dead, Season One, Episode One: Pilot

Nick wakes up in a crack house in search of his girlfriend.  When he finally finds her, she has already turned into a walker and is busy eating a human (being The Walking Dead, naturally the first victim is a black man) Nick is horrified and rushes out of the building and into the middle of the street where he is promptly hit by a car.  Emergency services arrive as the driver tells anyone who will listen that he didn't see Nick.

Madison rushes around the house picking up dirty laundry and she pauses to get her daughter Alicia to hurry up. Travis is under the sink trying to fix the plumbing.  Travis manages to fix the problem and he and Madison share a kiss which is interrupted by the phone.  Travis answers and at it's the hospital calling to say that their son is in the hospital. 

When they arrive at the hospital, Madison immediately asks what Nick was on and is informed that because Nick is over 18, they cannot release this information.  The doctor informs Madison that Nick presented as delusional ( no wonder after seeing his girlfriend chomping down on someone.)

Nick is being interviewed by the police and claims that he went for a walk.  They bring up Nick mentioning the blood and gore but he's still pretty out of it.  The cops change tactics and question where Nick scored.  The interview is cut short when Madison arrives and kicks the cops out of the room since Nick is not being charged.  Nick snarks to his mother that L.A. is not a pedestrian friendly city adding that what happened was an accident.  Madison wants to put Nick back in treatment and Nick is adamant that no one can help him. A fight quickly breaks out and Alicia walks off disgusted.

Travis heads outside when he gets a call from his ex wife Eliza. It seems that this weekend it's Travis's turn to keep his son Chris but Chris is not at all enthused about the possibility of spending time with his father.  Travis asks to speak to his son and Eliza and Chris start to bicker.  Travis finally gets to talk to Chris and says that he is doing the best he can and that they are all building a family. Travis suggests that coming to support Nick is not a bad thing but Chris argues back that Nick is not his friend and most certainly not his brother.  Nick goes as far as to point out that Chris wouldn't have to be there for him like that. Chris gives the phone back to his mother and Travis tells Eliza to keep their  child.

Travis heads back into the hospital and meets Madison coming out of Nick's room.  Madison is concerned about finding a facility where Nick isn't already blacklisted.  Travis promises to stay with Chris and Madison is concerned that Travis didn't sign up for this.  Travis is quick to reassure her.

Madison and Alicia drive away from the hospital and Madison assures her daughter that Nick is going to be okay.  Alicia points out that Nick is an adult and that Madison cannot just ship him away to rehab.  Alicia suggests cutting Nick off but Madison won't hear of it even when Alicia points out that Nick is worse.  Madison is certain that Nick just needs to get the junk out of his system. 

Madison arrives at work and reports that Nick has been found and is Temple hospital to Arnie.  Arnie is surprised to see her and mentions that a lot of students have called in sick. Tobias walks through the metal detectors setting it off. Tobias tries to rush away but Madison calls for out him to wait.  After a quick search they find 77 cents in Tobias' pocket. Madison walks off with Tobias saying that they haven't spoken in a while. Madison asks Tobias to hand over what he is holding in his right pocket and it turns out to be a slim knife.  Madison questions what is going on and a surly Tobias says nothing. Madison wonders if Dominic has been bothering him and Tobias says that he has been tutoring him now.  Madison again asks about the knife threatening to expel him.  Tobias however is certain that no one is going to do anything they think they are.  Madison asks for more information but Tobias is not forthcoming.  Tobias says that thought the government is saying that the recent deaths are not connected he doesn't believe it.  Madison however suggests that Tobias needs to spend less time online because if there's a problem the authorities would tell the population.  Tobias is not convinced but tells Madison that she's right before asking to go. 

Alicia makes her way to the bleachers where kids a doing graffiti for their senior project.

Travis is sitting by Nick's bedside when Nick sits up suddenly.  Travis asks if what Nick saw was a hallucination and Nick answers that nothing like that has ever happened to him before.  Nick wonders if he is losing his shit. Travis simply says that a psych exam will decide that.  Nick asks to get out of his restraints but Travis refuses pointing out that Nick ran into traffic.  Nick argues that he ran away from what he saw.  Travis explains that he was in a junkie community and that his friend was with him when he scored.  When he went to find her after the nod, everyone was dead and his friend had blood all over her mouth.  Nick adds that his friend came at him.  Nick finally reveals that his friend was eating the dead bodies.  Travis is convinced that this is about the drugs.  Nick is concerned that if this is not about the drugs then it came out of his mind, thus making him insane. Nick is adamant that he doesn't want to be insane.

Much alter, Travis pulls up to the church where Nick scored and did his drugs. Once Travis gets inside he sees the graffiti all over the walls.

Madison has returned to the hospital and she checks on a sleeping Nick.

Travis continues to make his way through the church room by room.  Travis comes across a junkie who flips out and takes off running. Travis tries to ask what happened but the junkie was too quick for him.  Travis stops to examine the blood splatter on the walls and continues his search of the church.  Travis calls out asking if anyone is there but gets not response.  Travis slips and falls on the blood and is horrified at the amount of it. 

The next morning Travis and Alicia show up at the hospital to find that Madison has fallen asleep next to Nick in his hospital bed.  Travis hands Madison a change of clothing and the two leave the room, leaving Alicia with her brother.  Nick brings up the differences between them and Alicia snarks that she doesn't compare herself with crazy.  Nick vows that it won't be like this anymore but Alicia is certain that things will get worse.  Nick again asserts that he is choosing to end things now.

Outside the hospital, Travis tells Madison about finding the church and his belief that something really bad happened there.  Travis points out that Nick needs to know if what he saw was real or not but Madison believes that what Travis is doing is enabling Nick, pointing out that it's a crack house where bad things happen. Travis explains that he jut wants to help and Madison replies that Travis cannot use Nick to repair things with Chris. Madison suggests that they can help both kids.  The two kiss before she takes off. 

Travis returns to Nick's bedside and informs him that the psychiatrist will see him today.  Travis offers his apologies but Nick says that this is nothing new.  Nick's plan is to get his head shrunk and get clean, causing Travis to question if Nick really means it. 

Alicia is now cuddled up with her boyfriend talking about her plans for college.  Alicia simply wants to get away. She is told that her brother's sobriety is not her responsibility.  Alicia goes back to her chant about having one more year until she can get away.  Alicia makes plans to meet her boyfriend at the beach and then head back to his place because his parents are away.

Madison arrives at the school.  Travis is teaching class and the students aren't very engaged.  Russell has fallen asleep.  Madison appears in the doorway of Travis's class and listens as he talks to the now awake Russell.  Madison moves away from Travis's classroom and heads to see Artie who is slumped over in his chair.  Artie it seems was listening to the teachers in their classrooms through intercom.

Nick lies in his hospital bed staring at the ceiling.  He hears the man next to him struggle to breathe.  The nurse enters and offers Nick a bedpan and he asks her to untie one hand so that it will be easier on him.  The nurse not happy, complies waning Nick that he only has a moment.  Nick quickly unties his other hand and in the process the bedpan falls on the ground.  The man in the other hospital bed starts to code and Nick watches as they shock him repeatedly.  The doctor and nurses decide to move the man out of Nick's room to work on him and Nick uses the opportunity to free himself.  He quickly gets dressed and leaves his room.  Nick makes his way outside and walks down the street. 

Later, Madison is freaking out that Nick is missing. Travis points out that Nick is over 18.  The two then approach the nurse and she explains that Nick left when his roommate coded.  Madison is adamant that Nick must be found and is informed that she needs to call the police.  Madison then asks Travis to take her to the church saying that Nick wants to understand what he saw.  Travis tries to talk her out of going to the church but Madison is adamant that she has to see it. When they arrive at the church Travis tries to talk Madison to wait in the truck but she is not having it.  The two walk through the church and Travis says that there are no bodies.  Madison sees the large bloodstain and remarks that something bad happen here.  They make their way upstairs and Travis tries to assure Madison that this is not her fault.  Travis tries to convince Madison to leave but Madison is only interested in the area where Nick slept.  Madison pulls apart the bedding and finds Nick's book which has a needle and foil as a bookmark.  Travis begs Madison to leave and she cries in his arms. 

Later, the two make their way outside.  Madison wants to try Calvin's before they head home.  Calvin is vacuuming out a mini van when they arrive. They ask about Nick and Calvin reports that he hasn't seen Nick in awhile, adding that Nick wouldn't hang where he used to.  Calvin invites them inside and offers to make some calls.  Travis takes the time to call Chris and gets voicemail.

Nick has managed to acquire a phone and leaves a message for someone.

Alicia waits at the beach for her boyfriend and after being stood up, texts that she is leaving. 

Later Travis and Madison drive home.  Travis assures Madison that they are going to find Nick but Madison is certain that Nick doesn't want to be found because he would rather sleep in the crack house than his own bed.  Madison is no longer certain if she wants  Nick to come home and wonders what that makes her.  Travis assures her that this makes her human and says that not only will they find Nick, they will take him to rehab.  The traffic stops as police cars race by and a helicopter flies above. Travis and Nick step outside to try and see what is going on and hear the cops fire their weapons.  Travis decides after the gunfire that he and Madison need to leave.

The next day at school, the teachers look at the footage from last night.  They watch as a walker starts to feed on an EMT.  The cops pulls the guy off and start hitting him with their baton and being a walker he just keeps going.  The cops fire shots center mass and the walker keeps going. The teachers wonder if this is the virus they have started to hear about.  Travis and Madison walk away from the television and Travis points out that what they saw on the screen is pretty much what Nick described.  Madison is now positive that they need to find NIck.

Nick continues to stroll the street calling his friend to talk about what happened at the church. 

In class Alicia again texts her boyfriend and gets no response.  Alicia then watches the same video that her Madison and Travis watched.  The teacher confiscates Alicia's phone as Artie comes over the intercom to say that today will be a half day. On her way out, Alicia stops to ask Madison what is going on and Madison explains that people are worried about the shooting. 

Travis and Madison meet up with each other in the hallway and rush out of the school.  Students stream out of the doors and hop on their buses.  Madison makes eye contact with Tobias and waves goodbye to him.

Nick has made his way to a diner.  He meets up with Cal and apologises for putting him in this position.  Cal tells  Nick that he cannot have Madison showing up at his parents looking for him.  Nick is quick to assure Cal that Madison doesn't know what he does, assuring him that he isn't talking about him.  Nick adds that Madison is just really worried about him, promising that he would never tell anyone what Cal does.  Nick asks Cal what he gave him and Cal says that he doesn't give him anything.  Cal gets angry at the implication that the smack was laced.  Nick explains what he saw at the church crying that he needs to get it out of his head.  Nick stands to leave and Cal insists that he stay, wrapping an arm around the crying Nick.  Cal tells Nick that he understands that Nick thinks he saw some bad shit, as Nick cries in his arms.  Cal asks how long it's been since Nick got  high and learns that it has been a couple of days.  A crying Nick says that he is really trying, and Cal whispers in his ear that he has works. 

Later Cal is driving down the street with Nick in the passenger seat.  Cal talks to Nick about what he said to the police as he drives him to what appears to be a water reservoir.  Cal hops out of the car tell Nick to stay there and that he will be safe there.  Cal goes to the trunk  of his car and pulls out a gun before trying to entice Nick to leave the car.  Nick sees the gun however and attacks Cal.  The gun goes off and Cal dies.  Nick checks on Cal, panics and runs away.

Later, Nick is sitting by the side of the road when Madison and Travis pull up.  Nick is upset that Travis brought his mother.  Travis wraps his arms around Nick as Nick explains that he did a bad thing. Nick tells Madison and Travis about shooting Cal explaining that he had no choice.  Nick actually says repeatedly that he killed Calvin and so Madison asks where Calvin is.  Back in the truck, Madison is certain that this is her fault and that Calvin must have gone looking for Nick.  Nick again asserts that whatever happened he acted in self defense.  When they arrive at the location where Nick left Calvin's body, they find Calvin's car and Calvin however is nowhere to be found.  Nick starts to panic saying repeatedly that Calvin was there. Nick gets on the ground to look under the car as Madison and Travis say repeatedly that there's no one here. Travis tells Madison to call Calvin and see what's going on, even as Nick continues to break down.  Nick falls to the ground crying and is embraced by Madison.

Madison, Nick and Travis are back in the truck.  As Travis is backing out, someone appears directly behind the truck.  Travis and Madison leave the truck to check on Cal who has a huge blood stain center mass. Nicks starts to freak out, warning Travis and Madison that Calvin will kill them.  Calvin grabs Madison's arm and tries to bite her but Nick intervenes.  Nick hops into the drivers seat as Travis struggles with Calvin.  Nick drives the truck into Calvin and being a walker he only stands back up.  Nick hits Travis again and drives him off a bridge before stopping the truck.  Nick then hops out of the truck and is joined by Madison and Travis.  They find Travis splayed out on the ground.  They watch as Travis turns to look at them astonished that he is still able to move.  Madison wonders what the hell is happening. 

I get that the job of a pilot is to introduce us to the characters and world setting but could this episode have been anymore boring?  It all felt so staged blended family having trouble fitting to together who are going to come together because of the apocalypse.  I suppose the family had to have some sort of background but it all felt so clich√©.

I know the story with Nick is supposed to be compelling.  He is after all having a very very bad day but because I know that the apocalypse is coming, it made it really difficult for me to connect with the situation.  When the zombies come he will either fear enough for his life to get clean or die.  That's how this story ends and knowing that it all felt disconnected to me somehow. 

Fear The Walking Dead seems diverse at this point however given what happened in The Walking Dead, call me jaded.  I do however feel justified in my feelings because the first dead bodies we see on screen belongs to a Black man, and of course the death and turning of Calvin.  Even Alicia's boyfriend is suddenly missing.  Yes, there's Travis and the principal (who is probably dead man walking) but it's not enough to sell me.

At this point, all of the characters we have met are straight and cisgender.  Yep, not a big surprise given how long it took TWD to introduce a gay character.  Fear The Walking Dead is set in L.A. - not exactly a place where the LGBT community has a small population. I won't even bother to hope for more given the track record of the creators but I will say that it's not acceptable. 

Even for a pilot episode I found this to be extremely underwhelming.  Let's see what happens.