I’m beginning to sense a pattern: the family gets a little bit closer to Mexico, something happens that stalls their progress, and they explore a new area. After something happens, they beat it and travel onward. It seems to work, though — it’s different than The Walking Dead, which usually cements its characters in one location for seasons at a time.
This week’s reason for stalling the main subplot is that Abigail’s intake valve is blocked up with Walker remains. It’s going to take Travis all day to flush that junk out, so the rest of the crew will need something to do. And what do you know, they’ve stumbled upon the wreckage of Flight 462! You remember this plane, don’t you? You saw it in bits and pieces throughout TWD’s sixth season. Now it’s in literal bits and pieces.
They promised us a point to the shorts: one cast member that appeared in them would be joining the crew in the second season. Nobody really stood out except for the Asian woman who somehow instantly knew what to do (“Don’t let him bite you!”), so the good news is, that’s the one they picked. Her name is Alex, but in the shorts her name was Charlie. I suspect this was changed because “Charlie” is what they derogatorily called the Japanese enemy during WWII.
Half the crew (mostly the teenagers; this should end well) gets onto Abigail’s lifeboat and lands on shore, then they start picking around at random suitcases. Mr. Salazar is also there to keep an eye on everyone, which he immediately fails at. Everyone splits up and kind of does their own thing.
Chris is the one to find the main body of the plane. Having gotten a taste of how the apocalypse works, he doesn’t head into the dark chamber without a weapon, in this case a discarded bit of plane parts. Surprisingly, he finds someone who looks pretty much like a zombie yet isn’t infected at all. “Help me,” the guy pleads.
So Chris puts forth his best effort and yanks the man out of his seat. To his dismay he sees a nasty wound on the man’s back and realizes he won’t last long. “Help me,” the man pleads again, and Chris now realizes what he actually means.
In the previous episode it looked like Chris was developing a taste for bloodlust, and this scene was what naturally followed: poking the undead is one thing, poking the not-dead-yet takes a stronger stomach. It’s made worse when Chris’s first blow to the man’s head doesn’t quite kill him! Chris looks a bit ill when he finally exists the plane.
But in the end, who really cares what Chris did? You know who we’re all here to see, and now it’s time for….
THE ADVENTURES OF CRAZY NICK
On today’s episode, embarked on his endless search for drugs, Crazy Nick stumbles upon an open pit, where he finds a zombie with its torso covered in bad-CGI crabs. It took me a while to figure out what was going on here, but as far as I can tell, the zombie was eating the crabs, which would then fall out of its open belly, where he would eat them again. This could have gone on for months if Nick hadn’t intervened.
How did Nick intervene? By stupidly standing on the razor’s edge of that pit and leaning in closer and closer to see this zombie, until he tipped over and fell on top of him. Amazing. The zombie then tried to chomp Nick, but he should have stuck to crabs: Nick is able to finish him off with a rock. Well, that was a close one, Nick thinks….as the shadow of another zombie darkens his head, because they’re following him and falling in there. A wacky musical stinger out of Laugh-In would have worked well here.
Meanwhile, Mr. Salazar is handling his job of looking after the youngsters by wandering around the beach and yelling “WHERE’S CHRIS?” That’s when he spots a figure in the distance, running toward him. “Chris? Is that you?”
The figure gets closer. “Chris, why do you have breasts now?”
It’s not Chris, it’s our Special Guest Star, running for her life from….something. She yells to Salazar that he should follow her example and run as well. He’s too busy wondering what he should run FROM. Then about fifty Walkers start appearing over the hill.
The other kids (except for Nick) meet up in haste and race for the shore. Madison hollers that the crew has to move NOW. Travis clears the rest of the zombie meat out of the intake just in time, and Abigail’s motor fires up. But the gang on the shore is quickly being overtaken, despite the added help of Alex, who’s really adapted to this whole doomsday lifestyle. Just when things look completely hopeless, the show pulls the Remaining Cast Member Saves The Day Out Of Nowhere Bit. But it couldn’t possibly be Nick, could it?
It is Nick, but sort of by accident. When the zombies fell on him, he got their blood and guts all over him, and he’s discovered what it took Rick and company seasons……er, epi…..well, they figured it out sooner than these guys, actually. But better late than never. The question is, unlike Team Rick, is Team Madison going to actually USE this knowledge more than sparingly?
The more immediate question is how Alex is going to get onto Strand’s boat when Strand is also on it. If he wouldn’t bend for a SMALL CHILD, she doesn’t stand much of a chance, even if she should earn sympathy points for toting an injured man. Madison and Strand argue as much as they did last week, and Alex sassily says “Are you people actually debating this?” I love her already.
This time Maddie is able to break through and get Strand to agree to a compromise: Alex and her friend can follow along on a life raft. Madison still thinks this is ridiculous and embarrassing and, while handing Alex a jug of water, apologizes to her. The boat sets off again.
One hour later Strand stomps out to the back deck and WHACKS the rope line with a machete, sending Alex adrift. There was never a compromise — he planned to do that all along.
I can’t say I’m exactly happy about this. When they said Flight 462 would affect the main series, I was under the impression it would be for LONGER THAN ONE EPISODE. Alex made a better impression in these 42 minutes than characters like Chris have made all series. This brings up a real problem for the show: As long as Strand is on it, if the writers find any character that works, they can’t keep them. If the series is going to evolve in any way, he has to go.
Remember Tobias from Season One? Plenty of fans do. The writers are also aware the fans liked Tobias. But how is Tobias ever supposed to appear again, now that they’re hundreds of miles apart? Why would Team Madison ever go back to LA? I spoke in the opening paragraph that I liked the travel format, but the fact that they keep throwing away good characters gives it a major flaw.
If anyone can survive adrift on the raft, it would be the well-prepared Alex (besides, she did it already). It leaves a sour taste in my mouth that THIS could be all we see of her, yet we’re going to see people with 1/5 her charisma all the stinking time. Bah!