Fear the Walking Dead’s “Date of Death” picks up a short while after the final scene of the last episode, with Travis now at the gates of the hotel along with a small crowd of other trying to get in. On whole the rest of the episode is mainly a giant flashback that focuses on how Travis ended up there alone and why Chris is the worst.
Okay, I’m kind of joking about Chris…but he’s pretty terrible. Previously in the father-versus-son debate I was with him for the most part. Travis’s ways of doing things won’t work anymore. You can’t just settle down on a farm and wade out a zombie apocalypse; if the undead don’t kill you, the living certainly will. Killing the farmer was not okay, but I could almost have let it slide if Chris showed the least bit of remorse for what he’d done. Hell, I’d have settled for him showing shock at his own behavior. Yet Chris shows neither as he and Dude-Bros settle down for a night of drinking beers and eating chickens while Travis tries not to implode from shame and self-loathing at having such a callous son.
Things don’t improve when Travis smacks the beer from Chris’s hand and tries to lay down the moral law only to have his son #sorrynotsorry him. Chris further points out that his father told him to play along to fit in during middle school so that’s what he’s doing now and it’s Travis who’s no longer cool enough…and that fixing up Baby James’s leg and Chris vouching for him are basically the only things keeping his father safe.
Tensions rise as the Dude-Bros grow eager to continue their journey back to the States, but James’s injury keeps him too unstable to move. They try to go with him in the bed of the truck, but he quickly passes out and Travis insists they remain at the farm a bit longer. It’s then that Chris and Dude-Bros start whispering about what to do next…though it’s hardly a secret. Everyone, including an increasingly distraught Travis and terrified James, knows the plan. Like with their previously bitten bud, Troy, the Dude-Bros want to kill James and then move on. Travis is so horrified and against the idea that he threatens the young men (his son included) with a gun then locks himself up in the barn with James to ensure they can’t go through with it.
As morning comes Chris convinces his father to let him in for food and a heart-to-heart. He tells his father that he understands his concern, appreciates how fiercely Travis is fighting for him, and loves him. They start to hug it out…Then Chris tackles his father to the floor and calls for the Dude-Bros. They charge in and, as Chris and one Dude-Bro hold a gun on Travis, the other shoots Baby James in the head, killing him.
After that Chris placates his father with an “I know you’re trying to protect me and that’s sweet, but letting me go is protecting me” spiel before taking off with the surviving Dude-Bros and leaving Travis behind with the dead on the farm. Travis screams out “god damn you!” to his departing son before going to bury Baby James alongside the farmer and the rest of the farmer’s family.
Seemingly inspired by Travis’s tale of woe Madison goes to find Alicia and tell her the truth (that I called some episodes ago, yay me) about her father, which is that the man’s car accident was intentional. Madison goes on to explain that that’s one of the reasons she’s always fixated on helping Nick over Alicia; mood-wise Nick is similar to his father while Alicia forever appeared stable. While the truth pains Alicia greatly, it does seem to bring mother and daughter closer together in the end.
I’m with Travis on killing Baby James being totally unnecessary. He wasn’t bitten, they could’ve just left without him…something Travis actually offered, saying he’d stay behind to care for the young man. Did these boys just want to prove they could kill a living person, perhaps? James said that, when it came to Troy, he ultimately had to do it because the others lost their nerve. Was it all just macho head games deep down? God damn you, Dude-Bros!!
Also, why did they eat all the chickens? Again, Travis was right, you could’ve made food last way longer if you just ate the eggs instead. I get Chris and Dude-Bros aren’t about all that authority “nonsense”, but you’ll never survive an apocalypse if you eat the whole food supply in a week.
Madison’s decision to turn on the hotel lights came back to bite her and the rest with a mass of refugees at the gates…refugees they ultimately had to let in and now must triage for everyone’s safety. Honestly though, I thought there’d be WAY more than 40-something people at those gates. Not just of the living variety, but the undead too. Between the low numbers, that none were immediately aggressive, and finding Travis amongst them I think Madison got off pretty easy with those who followed her beacon. Perhaps things will change in the finale next week, but so far those at the hotel were very lucky.
Speaking of potential danger at the gates though, interesting that the Dude-Bros showed up at the end. More interesting that they’re without Chris and looking completely bewildered, bordering on frightened. Did they finally come up against people more dangerous than them? Also, where’s Chris? ….They better have answers for Travis; as we saw in the first season the man has a long fuse, but it’s attached to some major explosives.
Next week is the two-hour season finale and, so far all I can tell from the promo, all hell’s about to break loose. Ofelia’s fighting off a mass of Infected on her own, Nick wants to run with Luciana and might be backsliding into drugs, the hotel’s under siege (from with-out or with-in is hard to tell, could be both), and the cartel’s doing something dangerous and threatening somewhere. I’m guessing at least either the hotel or the Colonia will be lost to the survivors living there, but perhaps both given this is The Walking Dead universe. …All I’m certain of is that Strand said “we need to run” and I’d generally listen to him over most the others on the show.
(Additional Note: I will be away next week so a review is unlikely to occur until two weeks following the finale. Sorry in advance.)