Monday, September 26, 2016

Fear The Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode Thirteen: Date of Death

Just as the ending scene from last week promised, this week's Fear the Walking Dead told us the story of Travis and Chris after leaving Madison and Alicia. With the two hour season finale coming next week, it's clear that the writers are putting the characters into position to finish off the season.  I highly suspect that we will see the end of the Colonia and have everyone reunited at last.

Madison turned on the hotel light hoping to attract her ne'er-do-well son and just as Alicia pointed out, anyone could see the the sign lit up.  We saw Travis see the sign and start to head in the direction but so did many other people.  They all end up upside the hotel gates begging to get in while the hotel residents deny them entry and offer apologies.  It's only when Madison spies Travis that they open the gate long enough for him to enter.

Travis has clearly been affected by his time with Chris and bluntly rejects Madison's offer for food and a hot shower.   On one hand, Travis is thankful to be reunited with his wife but on the other, this means now he must relate what he believes to be his biggest failure - losing his douchebag son.

When we last saw Chris and Travis, James had been shot by the farmer as a result of the dudebros thinking that they could just come along and take the farmer's chickens.  Having been taught some first aid, Travis gets to work sewing up James's bullet wound as James screams in pain.  Chris takes a moment with Travis to talk about what happened and it's quickly clear that father and son are not on the same page.  Chris is still certain that they need the dudebros and points out that with Travis's quick thinking in helping James, this has moved Travis up a notch in the estimation of the dudebros. Travis however is not the least bit interested in playing hero to the group of douches.

Travis keeps checking in on James's pain level and James lies claiming to be fine when he clearly is not.  After eating all of the chickens, though Travis warned that should have only eaten the eggs, the dudebros decide that it's time to move on.  Even though Travis has warned them that there's nothing in the U.S., they are determined to see it for themselves.  Travis tries to call in Chris for backup to agree with what he has said; however, Chris claims that they didn't see it all.  Travis then brings up James, whom he believes in not ready to travel but James, acting in fear claims that he will be just fine.

Travis looks through the house and finds the driver's licence of the man that Creepy Chris killed. Travis carves a date of birth and death on a marker for his grave, much to the irritation of Chris who just wants to get going with the dudebros.  Chris makes it clear that his father doesn't fit in (ya think) and suggests that Travis start playing the game.  Travis however still isn't having it.

They manage to get James in the back of the truck and Chris and Travis ride back with him.  The moment the truck starts moving, James begins to show signs of pain.  James begs Travis not to stop the truck but when James passes out after only driving a few feet away from the farm, Travis is forced to get a very unimpressed Brandon to stop the truck.

Back at the farm that night, Travis is nursing James when he happens to overhear the dudebros talking about the fact that they believe James is dead weight.  Travis marches outside and tries to argue for James' life saying that James needs more time for his blood to clot and that they only gave him a week.  Brandon however is not convinced, thus forcing Travis to grab a gun and shoot at Brandon's feet.

Travis barricades himself in the barn with James who explains that they had a friend who was bitten. Apparently the friend made them all promise that they wouldn't allow him to turn and when the inevitable happened, their friend started begging for his life.  Brandon was the one who was supposed to take out the bitten dudebro but lost his nerve, forcing James to act. James explains that it doesn't matter whether he is dying or not, what matters is that they believe he is. In this way, James almost explains the actions of the dudebros as caring.

The next morning, Chris knocks on the barn door calling out that he has brought food for Travis and James.  Travis does let Chris in but pats him down for a gun.  Travis explains that he would like to trust Chris but simply cannot at this time. Chris points out that they dudebros are willing to deal with James and they've known him since he was six and claims to be scared of what they will do to him. For his part, Travis promises to protect Chris, claiming that they will figure it out.  Chris makes nice, pretending that he gets the lesson his father is trying to teach him but when the two hug, Chris grabs Travis in a bear hug and the dudebros kick in the barn door.
Travis quickly finds a gun pointed to his head as he begs for James to be left with him. James starts to beg for mercy but Brandon shoots him in the head.

The dudebros are packing up to leave and Brandon makes it clear that Travis is not going with them. Travis asks for a word with his son but Chris won't even get out of the truck. Travis begs Chris to stay with him and points out that he promised Eliza to take care of him.  Chris however will not be swayed and says that Travis had him believing that there was something wrong with him, when the reality is that Travis isn't built for this world. Chris says that Travis will be taking care of him by letting him go because he will do better on his own.  Brandon hops in the truck and starts to drive away and Travis begs. Finally, in frustration, Travis yells out "God damn you Chris", as the truck drives away. Thus far, that's the most reasonable thing Travis has said to Chris.  I get not wanting to give up on your son but at what point do you acknowledge that your kid is a murderer?

Travis buries James on the farm right next to the man who Chris killed and makes his way towards the ocean.

Back in the present, Travis is filled with guilt for leaving Chris.  He argues that when he left Madison, he did the right thing because he was acting as a parent and that when Madison favoured Alicia, Madison did the right thing because she was acting as a parent.  Travis tells Madison that in this world you have to tell your children that you love them because it could be over at any moment.

Having heard Travis's story, Madison decides that she needs to talk to Alicia.  When Madison heads downstairs, she learns that just over forty of the people who showed up at the gate were allowed in. Madison pulled Alicia aside and finally tells her that her father committed suicide. Alicia is in shock and questions how Madison could possibly know and Madison reveals that her father left a note. Apparently the note said, "I love you, but enough's enough".

That night, Brandon and Derek show up at the gates of the hotel and Chris is nowhere to be seen.

I'm really glad that Travis and Madison are back together because I think they work as a team.  That being said, I'm also really glad that there were consequences for her selfishness of turning on the light. Now they have a hotel full of people who are going to want water, food, medical treatment and security.  They have no idea who these people are, or what they are capable of.  The fact that the dudebros are outside attests to the stupidity of her actions.

As much as this episode is about Chris and Travis, it's also yet another direct juxtaposition to the parenting of both Travis and Madison.  Chris is the center of Travis's world in a way that Alicia isn't for Madison, though there is clearly love in both situations. For all of this time, Madison very much took Alicia for granted and now that she's seen the loss of both Chris and Nick, Madison realises that the future is not promised to anyone and that anything can happen. It's this that finally makes her apologise for the way that she's treated Alicia over the years, as well as finally tell her about her father's suicide.

Chris has clearly become the new Shane.  In some ways, it's normal for a child to rebel against a parent and at least part of Chris's behaviour has to do with that. If you recall, back in season one, when Travis first tried to get to Chris, Chris was resistant to going with his father. That being said, Chris really is a douchebag.  He already feels no compunction about killing and tricking his father. He's only known the dudebros for two days and already they are more important to him than Travis. I think that says a lot about the person Chris really is.  Travis may be guilt ridden that his last words to Chris were not, "I love you", but Chris isn't the sweet little boy in diapers anymore. Chris is conscienceless asshole who has no sense of loyalty or morality.

With the dudebros showing up at the hotel, I kind of hope that Travis shuts them down permanently. Brandon and Derek thought they knew everything and now they are clearly in need of help. I want to see Travis shut them out completely so they can get a taste of their own medicine but given that the dudebros are the only ones who have any idea where Creepy Chris is, I'm sure it's not going to happen.

In the preview for next week, now that the dealers know exactly where the Colonia is, Nick is in danger.  He's going to have to make a choice about his survival versus that of the people.  Nick has been all about the community thus far so it will be interesting to see where he goes with this.  At the end of the day, I suspect that at the very least, Nick will end up with everyone else at the hotel with a threat facing them outside of the gate to start the suspense for season three.  As far as Chris is concerned, he can just keep wandering because I'm not interested in seeing this Shane 2.0 again. I am however interested in Ofelia but have a sneaking suspicion that if we see her character again, it won't be until next season.

What are your predictions for next week's two hour finale?