FTWD Ep. 2, “So Close, Yet So Far”
(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” unless otherwise specified.)
(sound of wheezing, gasping from floor)
“Oh my god…”
(squeal of wheels)
(truck horn blares)
“Chris…it’s an emergency, man! Call me right back!”
“Baby, call me back…call me back right away.”
Travis: “Try the home phone.” (crackle of the radio as Nick fiddles with stations, listens)
“No one’s talking about this…no one’s saying anything.”
“We need to get away from this city…we need to get away from people…”
“…just grab Alicia, Eliza, Chris and just go, until we know what this thing is.”
“Yeah! We’ll be ok there…it’ll be safe.”
(Madison’s phone rings)
“Alicia! Where the hell are you?” “Mom…” ” “Listen, we got Nick, we’re coming to get you…I need you to pack some things for us, load up some groceries, ok?” “No, I can’t…”
“We’re going out of town.” “What? No, I can’t!” “Why? What’s wrong?”
“He’s sick…he’s really sick.” “Who? Who’s sick?”
“Matt…his fever’s like 103...I tried to get him in the bath, but it hurts when I touch him…”
“…don’t touch him! I need you to call 911.“
“I tried…it’s busy. His parents are in Vegas…they’re not picking up.“
“Ok, we’re coming to get you...just stay away from Matt until we get there, ok?“
(crackle of phone losing connection) “Mom?”
“Alicia…Alicia!” Travis: “We’re 10 minutes away.”
“Alicia…move away from him.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“People have been getting sick...it could be contagious.”
“If he has it, I have it.”
Travis: “Alicia, can I talk to him?”
“Is that a bite?“ Matt: “Yeah…” (nods weakly)
(to Travis) “Is that how it happens?”
“I don’t know…I mean, Calvin was shot…it wasn’t…it wasn’t like this…”
Alicia: “What are you talking about?”
Madison (walking towards Alicia and guiding her back away from the room): “I’m gonna call 911 from outside.” Alicia: “Fine, I’ll wait for them here…” Madison: “Get outside.” Alicia: “Mom…!”
Madison: “Don’t do this…don’t…don’t do this.“ Alicia: “What the hell are you doing? Are you psychotic? He’s sick!”
Alicia (softly): “Hey…you want some water?”
Matt winces, shakes his head, looks away, sadly.
He looks back at Alicia.
“Listen to me…”
“…my parents’ll be home soon, and I’ll be fine.” Matt keeps his voice casual, manages a smile at Alicia. “You know that.”
Alicia: “I’m not leaving you…”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too…”
“…that’s why you gotta go…”
“You gotta go.”
Matt looks at Alicia, says, more forcefully, “Go.”
Madison whispers, “Thank you,” to Matt before gently pulling Alicia away, and leading her out of the room.
As Matt watches Alicia leave, he seems to know that it will be the last time he will ever see her.
We will probably never know the details of Matt’s attack, how or where he was bitten, but actor Maestro Harrell plays this scene beautifully, as Matt seems to know that he is both gravely ill and potentially a real danger to Alicia if she stays with him.
Poor Matt coughs, gags, exhausted, lying back heavily on the pillow…
…and as Travis looks once more towards Matt, before following the others, we see that he is beginning to realize, on some level, that this poor, brave young man most likely will die an agonizing death in that bed, alone, before becoming…something else…some kind of monster. 😦 ❤
Meanwhile, on the bus…
“Cops shot some homeless dude…shot him like 20 times!”
And back at the homestead…
“Hey, Travis! Gladys is nine, can you believe it? So scary...”
“You should come by…we have a ton of food…we’re getting a bunch of cancels because of that bug that’s going around, so…“
“…we’ll see you.”
“Looks like Peter’s got the right idea.”
Looks like Peter’s got something else, too…
“Mom, are you going to tell her? Mrs. Cruz?” Tell her what?” “What’s happening.” “Nick, we don’t know what’s happening.”
“We know more than she does!” “Ok, I’ll talk to her…I’ll tell her what’s happening.”
“It’s like, no one is paying attention…it’s like. it’s not real.“
Madison: “It is…it’s real.”
“You saved us.”
“You had no other choice.”
Nick looks at his mom. “I’m about to step into a world of shit…“
“…you know that, right?“
“Travis, go…go get them, now…call me if you’re going to be longer.”
“If I’m longer, go without me…“
“…I’ll catch up.” Madison: “No.”
“Alicia…Alicia! I need the bucket! Alicia!“
“Dr. Han, hi, it’s Maddy Clark, again…listen, uh, Nick’s really hurting right now, and I just need you to call in the prescription, so I can pick it up, but I’m really worried about him, and I think he really, really needs it.”
“The longer we leave him, the worse it’ll get…he won’t be able to travel. Mom, what are you going to do?” “I don’t know…Dr. Han’s not calling me back, and now I can’t even reach Travis.”
“Do you have anything stashed? Vicodin? From my wisdom teeth?” “No, I flushed it.” “It’s dangerous for him to go cold turkey like this.” “I know…”
(Madison thinks, has idea): “Watch him! Don’t leave the house!”
“Alicia! Promise me!” “I’ll look after him!”
Not a good sign…
Madison hears someone behind her, whirls around with a cry of surprise…and fear…
…and sees Tobias standing there.
“Can I have my knife back?”
“Yo, this is wrong, man…”
“…wrong, wrong, WRONG.” “Back away, sir, get on with your business.”
“This is his business!”
“That man never hurt a fly! That man was unarmed!”
“L.A.P.D.’s out of control!”
Officer: “Hey, kid, put the camera down.“
“Naw, naw naw naw naw, homie, keep that camera up, I’m gonna give Officer Jackpool here a civics lesson.” “You wanna go to jail, son?”
“What for? He ain’t breakin’ any laws!” (Cop turns and calls for backup, to renewed taunts from the crowd of spectators.)
Back at the school, Madison hands Tobias his knife, tells him, “Be careful.”
And back at the Clark’s home, Nick is kicking, hard…Alicia brings him soup, which he refuses, offers water… “Water’s not what I need!” Nick laments.
“We know what you need, Nick…Mom’s working on it.”
(Outside, the sound of little Gladys crying over her ruined birthday party.) “It’s her party, and she’ll cry if she wants to,” Alicia quips, gazing out the window at the sad spectacle across the street.
As Nick continues to hurl into the bucket…
Alicia seems to come to a decision.
Nick sees Alicia grab her backpack and a thermos of soup and head towards the door.
“No, Alicia! You can’t go back there! You promised Mom!” Alicia whirls on her brother, “You make promises all the time! Nick, LIE DOWN!”
Nick puts a hand up to placate his sister’s fury as he backs down towards the floor. “I’m an asshole, I’m an asshole,” he agrees hurriedly. “But, listen, Alicia, please, if you leave…”
“…you won’t come back.”
“Matt…Matt’s not safe. You don’t know what it makes people do, you don’t know what I had to do, Alicia, you don’t know!“
As Alicia walks out and away from the house, she can hear Nick yelling at her from inside, “Matt will hurt you, he will kill you, Alicia!”and then, she hears the crash of Nick collapsing inside the house.
“No, no, no, not now, not now! Don’t you do this…don’t you do this to me, you stupid son of a bitch!“
(At the protest, Chris hears his phone inside his pocket, looks, answers it.) “Mom? Mom?!” “Where the hell are you?” “Dad? What are you doing with Mom’s phone?”
“I’m with your mother; we’re coming to get you. Tell us where you are.” “I’m at a protest…the cops, they shot this homeless man, Dad…he wasn’t even doing anything. The people, they are taking action…this is important, Dad! I gotta go. I’m part of it, ok? I gotta go, Dad.” (Click) “Chris!”
“I know where he is!”
Meanwhile, back at the high school, Tobias is talking apocalypse…and as he and Madison push through the doors of the school cafeteria, Tobias throws out what my friend Mona said, later, as we talked over the fence of the dog park in our neighborhood, what seems like a possible theory of the walker apocalypse…watch it again if you didn’t catch it, and listen carefully…Tobias talks fast, so even after repeated playbacks, I still can’t quite get it…something like about “virus/ survive a nuclear attack” and it “expires in like the year 3,000.”
And then, after dropping what may be a major Easter Egg compliments of Kirkman & Erickson, Esq., Tobias asks Madison, “What did you come back for?” and the conversation then turns to Nick, and away from what Tobias just said…
I don’t know if if means anything, dear readers, but wouldn’t it be so So Classic Kirkman to casually throw the real cause of the zombie apocalypse in a rushed, hushed exchange between a geeky teen and a guidance counselor in a high school cafeteria as they hurry to stock up on canned goods?
Watch it, listen, and write to me, people! I still have no earthly idea what Tobias said…all I know is it may expire in the year 3,000…and that’s hopeful, right?
A mere millennium away.
As they hoist themselves over the cafeteria counters, Tobias schools Madison on the way of the new order: “The looters hit the pharmacies first, then the gun shops, then the liquor stores…the less you go out, the less chance you get exposed.”
As he helps Madison across, Tobias asks her, “Hey Miss C, have you seen any of them yet? I…I’ve only seen them online.”
Madison regards the boy for a brief moment before lying, “No. Let’s hurry this up.”
They open the doors to the cafeteria’s pantry, to reveal a stocked larder of canned goods. “Motherload,” smiles Tobias.
As Tobias stocks up, Madison remarks, “Wow, you’re stocking up for a while.” “It’s gonna be a while,” replies Tobias as he loads up the cans. “You should stock up too, Miss C.”
Madison looks away, peers around the cafeteria. “No, we have food,” she replies.
Nick awakes to the sound of his sister scrubbing his vomit off the floor. “I’m sorry,” he says softly.
“She should have been back by now,” Alicia replies, not looking at Nick. “Somebody should have called…by now.”
Nick looks up at his sister, says humbly, “Thank you.”
“I hate you.”
“I know.” And as Nick settles back into the couch to sleep some more, the lights flicker out, leaving Alicia kneeling on the floor, in the darkness, with the wail of nearby sirens screaming in the background.
As they wind through the empty hallways of the school school, Madison and Tobias’s conversation is not much more uplifting. As he pushes a cart stocked with his haul of canned goods, Tobias continues his grim tutorial of the new world order they are facing:
“The desert will be safer, because things fall apart now. No satellites, no internet, no cell phones. Communications will fail, because no one’s there to manage the servers…the electrical grid will collapse, for the same reason…it’s all gonna go to hell…
And that’s what they don’t get…when civilization ends, it ends fast.“
Madison looks up at Tobias. “They are going to contain it,” she asserts quietly.
Tobias regards Madison. “The same “they” that’s supposed to warn us?”
Madison gives the young man a mock “smart-aleck” face and touches his shoulder gently as she strides by him, to lead him out of the office. “Come on,” she says softly, and then…
…then, there’s a noise. An unholy, inhuman noise, like the vocalization of a wild animal…
…coming through on Artie’s schoolwide audio surveillance monitor.
Madison and Tobias stand a moment, listening to the savage noise. “It’s one of them,” Tobias realizes aloud. Then they hear the alert of the door alarm, the metal scanner that the students must pass through into school each day.
Madison looks with alarm towards the sound, knowing whoever, or whatever tripped the scanner is close. She urges Tobias out of the office and they begin to run, pushing the cart through the hallways…
Tobias runs back for a lost can, and Madison urges him, “Leave it! Tobias! Leave it!“
As they push through the set of double doors leading to the school entrance/exit, Madison sees…
No answer from what looks like Artie’s back walking slowly through the doors, so Madison steps closer, calls again, “Artie?”
This time, she gets a response…
Upon seeing this, Tobias begins to back away, “We-we-we gotta go, we gotta go!” He grabs the cart and wheels it around to flee, frantically trying the knob of a locked door, then turning towards the double doors behind him, which are also locked.
…as something that was once her dear friend, and colleague, lurches through the doors, towards her.
“Artie? Can you hear me?” “He can’t hear you, you know he can’t!“ Tobias cries to Madison as he frantically tries all the doors, to no avail.
As Artie Walker menaces towards her, Madison tries one more time to hold onto hope, “Artie? We’ll get you help, Artie.”
The monster that was once a fine man, and a dedicated principal, continues to lurch towards Madison…
…and begins to bare its teeth.
Tobias grabs for his knife.
“…we’ll get you help, ok? We’ll get you…help,” and with that, Artie Walker lunges towards Madison with a snarl.
Madison, really terrified now, cries, “Now, stop!”
With a cry, Tobias rushes forward and plunges his knife into Artie Walker’s chest.
But, of course, the walker keeps coming.
Tobias goes for the head, next…
But Artie keeps coming for him.
Tobias and the walker tumble down the stairs…
The walker presses forward, pinning Tobias down, in its undead singular purpose…
…to eat the flesh of the living.
Tobias screams for help as Madison quickly looks around, then opens the fire extinguisher cabinet, pulls out the fire extinguisher, and brains Artie Walker across the head as hard as she can…
…the walker, however, keeps getting up and going back for Tobias, still on the floor…it is relentless, savage, and Madison must keep hitting it, finally bringing the canister down hard and heavy on Artie Walker’s head, with all her might.
It’s Madison’s first walker kill.
As Madison and Tobias walk away from the school, dazed, towards her car…
…we see Madison stop a moment, take one last look at the empty school, the buses. Madison knows now that everything will be different, from now on…
…nothing will ever be the same as it was.
Meanwhile, downtown, the protest continues to escalate as Travis and Liza search for Chris, winding through the angry mob, calling for him.
They find him, and as Travis tries to talk his resistant son into leaving, now, and coming with them…
…Liza makes her way to the front of the crowd and crouches down to get a good look through the bars of the barricade.
We see the body of the homeless man who police shot, a bullet hole through one eye, and what looks like a gored-open wound in the front of the dead man’s neck…it is easy to surmise that the homeless man fell prey to a walker attack, reanimated, and was put down by police.
Liza sees the EMT’s file out of the ambulance with head-to-toe hazmat suits to collect the body.
We see a lone female officer standing at her post, with a figure emerging from behind, shuffling towards the officer…
…and as Travis, Chris, and Liza try to run in one direction, they stop at the sight of police officers, clad in full riot gear, marching towards the unruly crowd of protestors.
We see the pale figure shuffling towards the female officer is the reanimated corpse of a young woman…the officer raises her gun, calls to the young woman to stop…
…to no avail. of course. The officer raises her hand in the universal “halt” position, orders the shuffling figure to stop, then fires upon the walker.
The first shot pierces the body of the young woman in the chest, which of course does not stop the walker. The officer fires again…
…this time, nailing the walker in the eye. The reanimated young woman slumps to the ground amidst screams from onlookers.
To the protesting onlookers, it appears that yet another officer shot down an unarmed young woman, and this incites a fresh wave of fear and terror among the crowd. The protest begins to escalate into a full-fledged riot.
Liza, Chris, and Travis break into a full run for their safety as everything around them begins to unravel and devolve deeper into violence and chaos.
As the streets begin to erupt into violence, Travis, Liza and Chris have nowhere to run.
Travis sees a barber pulling down the metal door over his storefront, and quickly asks the man if they can take refuge inside his shop.
At first, the barber refuses, but then hears a voice behind him…
…as his wife commands him to let them inside, and close the door.
After a moment’s hesitation, and a stray rioter bowing up on Chris, the barber concedes to his wife’s wishes and lets Travis and his family inside the shop.
And not a moment too soon, for as soon as the barber pulls the metal door down and barricades his door, rioters launch themselves at the metal door, pushing and kicking at it as they run past.
Travis asks if there is a back exit they can use…
…and the barber replies, no, the front entrance is the only entrance. Travis begins to stride towards the back of the shop in search of a way up to the roof…at Liza’s admonishment at his lack of manners, Travis maintains that a vantage point from the roof would allow them to see what was happening more clearly.
The barber tells Travis that they will be plenty safe in the front room.
Just then, the barber and his wife’s young daughter, Ofelia, comes out from the back room, takes note of the situation, and politely asks Travis, “Who are you?”
Travis awkwardly introduces himself, Chris and Liza, and explains that he and his family needed a safe place to ride out the mayhem happening outside.
Travis turns and thanks the barber and his family for taking them in, and that they would not stay any longer than needed.
The barber, his wife, and his daughter hold a quiet family conference, check in with each other as Travis and his family go to the front room to wait out the riot outside.
“L.A. county health officials recommend that Angelinos stay inside…if you don’t need to travel, don’t. If you must leave your house, take precautions…local neighborhood watch programs are being established in many neighborhoods throughout the city.”
“You can stay with us, Tobias, until this is over.”
“This doesn’t end.”
“There’s room, it’s safe,” Madison offers. “You’ve got to take care of your son,” replies Tobias.
“I’ll be ok…you?“
Travis: “Thank you.”
“Thank my wife.”
Chris (looking through the spaces in the window barricade): “This is insane.” Travis: “Chris, get away from the window…you don’t want to see anything out there.”
Liza looks at Travis as he surveys the situation outside, asks softly, “What do you know? What have you seen?“
“I’ve seen what people do…and what they don’t do…”
“…it doesn’t make sense. They don’t die…they come back.“
“We’ve gotta get far away from what’s outside…”
“…all of us.”
Alicia: “What took you so long?” Madison: “Shut the door.”
Madison: “How’s your brother?” Nick (waking up): “Never better.” Alicia: “He went grand mal on me.” Madison (softly, to Alicia): “I’m sorry.”
“Did Travis call?” “No.”
Madison looks down and sees specks of blood on her coat sleeve, which she turns down to hide.
“We ration those.”
“Oxy? Oxy’s good…how much?” “Enough to get us to the desert.” “Then what?”
At Madison’s look, Nick whispers, pointing towards Alicia,“Hey, she tried to leave…I stopped her.” Madison walks out of the room as Nick begins to crush up the pills.
She walks by Alicia, who is leaving Matt a voicemail to call her, let her know how he’s doing…Alicia closes the door to her room as her mother walks by.
Madison goes into the bathroom, where she stashes the rest of the oxycontin and begins to try to wash Artie’s blood off her sleeve…she dissolves into tears with the water running. Her phone ringing startles her back, and she rushes to answer it.
“Maddy? Maddy…” “Baby, where are you?”
“We’re good…I found Chris, he’s safe. Are you ok?”
“Yeah, we’re ok…can you come home?”
“We’re stuck…we’re figuring it out…we’re waiting in a shop. How’s Nick? Is he ok? Did you find him the meds?” “I got him enough to wean him off, I mean, to take him to the desert and wean him off…”
(Loud explosion, flash of light from outside) “Travis? What was that? Tell me what that was!” “It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok…I’m fine. Look, Maddy, I want you to go…”
“Go to the desert. Now. Don’t wait.”
“No. I’m going to wait for you.”
(Phone losing connection) “Travis?” “Maddy?”
Madison emerges from her bathroom to find Alicia sitting there. Alicia takes one look at her mother’s tear-stained, striken face and asks, “What the hell happened?”
“Mom? Are you ok? Mom?“
We see the sad image of Artie, lying dead in the school he loved so well…
…and we see in the next shot the image of Matt’s parents’ car in the driveway, trunk and doors still open, luggage in the driveway…seems nobody got a chance to finish the job of unpacking the car before they found an unspeakable horror waiting for them inside the home…
Outside the little barber shop, in downtown L.A., anarchy and violence continue to seethe in the streets…
…as Chris watches from inside.
As Nick sleeps, sedated for now…
…Alicia watches as Mrs. Cruz deflates her poor daughter’s bounce house…worst birthday ever, and it’s about to get worse…
Madison tries Travis again, to no avail…phone service is down again, the power is cutting out…
A scream from across the street…Alicia rushes to the window as Madison tries to pull her away, “Don’t look!” “Mr. Dawson’s attacking them!” Alicia exclaims, and tries to rush out the door to help…
…only to be blocked by her mother, who stands with her back to the door, immovable.
As poor Mrs. Cruz’s screams fill the air, Alicia cries out, “Mom! Mom!” Madison leans her head back against the door, does not let her daughter pass.
Scary, right? In my opinion, FTWD is doing an incredible job thus far. I know some people thought that a disproportionate number of black characters have been killed off in the span of two episodes, and while I can see where people may perceive a racist bent to the storyline, after watching and rewatching, I truly believe that it was merely coincidental, an oversight.
In my opinion, the major black characters have been portrayed as good, strong, loving people…Matt is a caring and selfless young man, and a talented artist; Artie was a dedicated principal who cared about his students and colleagues enough to patrol the school halls when the students had been evacuated from the premises…even Calvin was shown detailing his parents’ car for them, being concerned when his junkie customers’ mom came by looking for her son at his parents’ home.
It is important that viewers keep a show’s creative minds and producers honest, and social media enables viewers to communicate their views directly. Keep speaking your mind, but also keep in mind that sometimes insensitivity, or lack of awareness, happens, and it’s not all intentional. Sometimes we have to cut peeps a little slack, and forgive them when they mess up without meaning to.
I dedicate this post to Aylan Kurdi, Galip Kurdi, and their mother, Rehen. Rehen Kurdi and her two young sons were Kurdish refugees who were trying to flee the horrors of their Syrian homeland. The mother and her boys drowned in their attempt to make the crossing from Turkey to Greece.
Thousands of Syrian refugees have died trying to make the journey to a safe haven, a better life for themselves and their families.
The image of Aylan’s lifeless body, washed up on the beach of a Turkish resort, has burned itself into the heart and soul of every person who has seen it. May this little boy’s life, and his tragic death, along with his mother’s, and brother’s, not be in vain…may it awaken global compassion and change, so other countries enact measures to help these refugees and welcome them onto their shores, to help innocent people get a chance for a new life, a new beginning, for themselves and their families.
Aylan Kurdi, left, and his brother, Galip. This photo was taken, and posted, by their aunt, Tima Kurdi, who petitioned for their safe passage to Canada. Abdullah Kurdi, husband and father, was waiting for his wife and sons’ safe arrival so he could be reunited with his family. Rest In Paradise, Aylan, Galip, and Rehen Kurdi. ❤ ❤ ❤
Bad Religion, “Infected”
Fear, “I Love Livin’ In The City”
Assholeparade, “Serve and Protect (Citizen’s Arrest)”
The Bags, “I Really Wanna Go”
Marine Girls, “Fever”
Leonard Cohen, “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”