After the set up last week, Fear the Walking Dead decides to show us what everyone’s doing to deal with the hurricane that’s hit Texas. And first up is…
Shelter From the Storm:
In another great cold opening Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) finds an abandoned house–which are pretty much in abundance–and discovers the family is still there. The bad news is they’re all zombies, so she sets about killing the four of them before dragging their dead asses outside. It’s only after she goes back inside that she discovers a family photo that looks just like how she laid them out in the rain, so she sets about gathering up all the photos and dumping them outside as well.
RT: This was a brilliant way to set up the episode. It was also a great reminder for Alicia that all her family is dead.
CF: I thought about that as well. The only thing missing from those photos would be here, and that’s probably a visual she didn’t want.
She’s got the main door nailed shut and is getting ready to start a fire in the fireplace when she hears something upstairs. Switching into Terminator Mode Alicia head there ready to deal with the problem. And she finds it in a closet–
It’s Charlie (Alexa Nisenson). And is Alicia happy to see her. She goes into a rage, throws her back into the closet, goes downstairs, packs some shit, and tries to get the family car started so she can drive off. But the driver’s door isn’t cooperating and faster than you can say “Rock me like a hurricane”, Alicia falls, hits her head on a rock, and knocks herself out–
Only to wake up back inside the house.
Alicia realizes the bodies outside are covered and the photos she put there are gone. Of course they’re gone, because Charlie’s upstairs pulling them out of their frames and drying them. Alicia’s losing her shit hard and wants answers. Did Charlie cover the bodies? Why is she drying the pictures? And most of all, why did you save me? Charlie’s hiding in a bedroom and Alicia is at the door promising she’s gonna kill Charlie because of what she did to her brother and mother. It’s at this point we see Charlie pull out a pistol and we know shit could get real at any moment.
RT: So, we discover in this episode that Alicia should never take psychology as a subject, if school were still a thing, because she knows how to emotionally mess people up already and doesn’t need an extra advantage there.
CF: I was sitting in my chair riveted and cringing at the same time. We’ve heard people on TWD say they were gonna kill another person–yeah, you Rick–but Alicia sounded like she really hated Charlie and was going to KILL HER, no bullshit about it. There was real malice in her voice.
Alicia gets back to starting a fire, but the shutters are banging in the wind like a bitch and she discovers she can’t nail them shut without help, so she gets Charlie, who’s continuing to dry out the pictures. Alicia wants to know why: Charlie finally speaks and says it’s for the people who come looking for the family. Alicia’s like, no one’s coming for them, come help me, kid, and Charlie does, holding the shutters while Alicia hammers. Of course the hammering draws zombies so they go back inside and cover up the one window best as they can. Back inside Alicia wants Charlie’s jacket so she can dry it out once the fire gets going. She has to finally demand the jacket and once she gets it she finds the pistol–
And if you think Alicia was in a shitty mood before, you ain’t seen nothing. That’s when Crazy Alicia comes out to play as she goes on about how Charlie killed her brother and got her mother killed with all the Mel and The Vultures bullshit and she can’t walk away from that shit, she should really fucking die–all the while pointing the gun at Charlie’s face, leaving us to believe we’re seconds away from Look At the Flowers Time.
RT: I really thought we would get a “Look at the flowers” scene at some point. Especially since Alicia was toeing the crazy line so well.
CF: I didn’t think she’d do it at this moment, but after it was over I seriously believed only one person was leaving that house alive, and it wasn’t going to be Charlie.
But she doesn’t kill Charlie. You know it’s coming, but not yet. Charlie heads upstairs to dry out her pictures while Alicia keeps working on the fire. She finally gets it going and goes up to get Charlie–who is out on the upper deck approaching a zombie hanging off the upper stories, run through with a tree limb. Alicia grabs the kid and brings her downstairs ’cause she’s gonna make dinner now that they have fire. As it cooks Alicia has the revelation of the night:
The gun wasn’t meant for her.
It’s meant for Charlie.
Discussions In the Dark:
Alicia lightens up a bit realizing she’s dealing with a suicidal twelve-year-old, but she’s still pissed, reminding Charlie that she’ll never put the shit she’s done behind her, just as Alicia knows she’ll never put this shit she’s done behind her. Alicia lets slip she’s from California and Charlie wants to know if she lived near the beach. It’s a big fucking state, kid, of course I didn’t live near the beach, but I’ve been to one. Charlie mentions that’s she’s never been to a beach, never seen the ocean. Her parents were going to go to Galveston and she would have seen a beach, seen the Gulf of Mexico, and even rode the Ferris wheel at the end of that pier (Note: she was describing the Galveston Island Pleasure Pier.), but it never happened ’cause that was right around the time everything changed, and we all know what that means. After they eat it’s time to get some sleep–
RT: And, this is the point when I suddenly realized I was empathizing with Charlie rather than hating on her. Nice job AMC.
CF: Same here. I was like, “Oh man, this kid is really fucked up” and started realizing that at the time of the ZA she was like TEN. At least Enid was like a teenager when evil shit befell her and her parents were alive a while before the world went to hell. Nope: Charlie was still a tweener when it happened.
RT: Yeah, no wonder the kid doesn’t talk much.
Though Alicia does wake up in the night with Charlie missing and the wind howling like a banshee. Alicia’s calling for her and she shows up about the time one window breaks and it seems like the storm’s about to tear shit up. They both head down into the basement just as part of the house caves in: of course it’s part that blocks the stairs out of the basement. Which is filling with water. And has only one other way out. That’s padlocked.
Which means they’re trapped as the water rises.
Alicia finds boxes for them to stand on so they can stay above water. She keeps telling Charlie they’ll get out, but you can see Charlie doesn’t believe it and even Alicia’s a bit sketchy on her own statement.
RT: Just a thought, AMC, they had a gun. Why didn’t they shoot out the windows? Bare minimum, it would allow the water to escape until the storm stopped.
CF: I could be mistaken, but I think those windows were like thick glass blocks and I’m not sure that pistol would have done the job–on top of which, the shot would have brought walkers and their exit would have been fucked. Also, water’s rising and Alicia’s not thinking straight. So keep your head above water.
RT: Ah, so true. Good points.
And with the water about chest high and still rising, Charlie loses her shit and begs to be killed. She doesn’t want to be a zombie: she doesn’t want to end up like her parents. Her parents turned and came after her and she can’t be like that. She closes her eyes and tells Alicia to kill her because she knows she wants to, just do it, PLEASE.
For the second time that night Alicia puts the gun in Charlie’s face. But even though she’s flashing back on all the reasons why she should kill her, she can’t. She won’t. She knows they’ll find a way out.
Right then something hits the outside entrance to the basement and breaks the door enough that Alicia is able to move it aside so they can escape. Turns out it was the Hanging Limb Zombie who fell from above and broke the door, which doesn’t keep Alicia from shooting the asshole in the head–
You Can’t Walk Away:
In the morning we find Alicia has buried the family. Charlie wants to know if she did that for her or for herself and Alicia says she did it for whomever comes looking for them. Alicia puts the dried out pictures in a jar, sets them at the head of the graves, and says she’s heard Charlie’s good at finding things ’cause she needs to find Morgan…
On the drive back to wherever they’re going Alicia tells Charlie to close your eyes (title shoutout!) and once Charlie does Alicia begins describing a beach and an ocean in detail so Charlie may be able to see what it’s like. Not only does Charlie see and feel it all, but for the first time since the end of the world, she sees her parents as they were. She finally remembers them.
RT: I was hoping we’d get a glimpse of Charlie’s parents at this point and it would somehow tie in somewhere along the line. But, alas…
CF: Maybe later. I gathered what they showed us was really Alicia remember, ’cause the first thing I picked up on when she said she was walking into the water was the girl in the memory had a pedicure. We never saw what Charlie was seeing.
They arrive at Casa Emo and the place is trashed, major damage from the storm. They locate the Magic School Bus–which must not have been that far from where Strand and Lucinda were staying–and discover it’s on its side and trashed out as well. No one is around: everyone’s gone.
Alicia gives Charlie the bad news: they may never find them. They may all be dead. And shit is probably never gonna get better. But it doesn’t matter ’cause we’re gonna get through this. Come on: we got shit to do.
And just like that, Alicia becomes the savior Madison was.
Personal Note: After the shitposting last week bitching about Free Range Kid shit, Fear the Walking Dead turned around and delivered a fantastic episode. They did this sort of episode earlier in the season with Laura and did it last season with the episode 100, and it seems to be one they do rather well. This was all about Alicia and Charlie being forced into a situation where they had to be close to each other, knowing that one of them held a murderous rage for the other, and you were left wondering at times if Alicia was going to blow Charlie away and call it a day. In the previous episode, however, she mentioned that her mother worked hard to save people and you could see that feeling struggling to come out, because we know Madison would have saved Charlie no matter what kind of shit she pulled. Because that’s how Madison was.
RT: Yeah, I kept thinking of Madison and Nick in this episode, both of which would have saved the shit outta Charlie. It was nicely played in that regard as the audience just knew that Alicia wanted to be like her mum and brother. but, also wanted to blow Charlie away.
CF: The lines about being like Madison were sorta throwaways, so you really had to pay attention to get that Alicia felt she should be like her mom, but wasn’t. Now she is.
Alycia Debnam-Carey was pulling out all her acting skills, so much so that I told Rachel she was working on getting her Emmy. And we finally got to see what sort of kid Charlie is and Alexa Nisenson played her to near perfection, showing us that the character really wanted to die but wasn’t brave enough to literally pull the trigger. And props have to be given to both actresses for what must have been a shitty shoot, as both Alycia and Alexa are soaking wet throughout nearly the whole episode and that couldn’t have been comfortable at all.
Also, the title page at the start of the episode was incredible, with the storm blowing away letters. So much good there, too.
RT: I look forward to those opening credits every week to see what happens. Finally, AMC has gotten Fear’s credits right. The first three seasons were crappola.
CF: I really dig what they do with the title page. It makes everything a lot more interesting as it’s sort of the lead to it all.
More of this, AMC. This is what really makes the show worth watching.
As always, leave us a comment and tell us what you think!
Alicia Clark — Alycia Debnam-Carey
Charlie — Alexa Nisenson
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday on AMC, 9 PM EDT.