I’ll be perfectly blunt, if the Clarks and Manawas were eaten by zombies, it would not be a gigantic loss for this show. Matter of fact, I’m almost hoping they are killed or infected just so the show’s focus will swing back where it belongs—on the public’s reaction to the threat posed by the nearly discovered undead and how the virus spreads.
Whether it’s through bad calls from the government, medical professionals, and police forces or if the mass panic in large cities like Los Angeles is the perfect breeding ground for new zombies. More often than not, I find myself watching the background action in every scene. Why continue to shove poorly written characters in our faces when the best part of the show happens without them? Numerous fans have told me they’d much rather the show follow Tobias. He seems to be the only one fully aware of the ramifications of these attacks and what it means for mankind’s future. But he’s only on screen for a few minutes total halfway through the season. It’s like the writers want to hide his intelligence after realizing how moronic the lead characters are when it comes to common sense.
Head’s up! There’s episode spoilers in the rest of this review.
Some of you surely think I’m overreacting, that there’s no way the same people who gave us Rick Grimes and company can produce such wholly flawed characters. I’m not talking flawed like Carol’s sociopathy or Daryl’s antisocial nature. We’re talking characters so poorly written, if they were actual people, they’d find it impossible to function in normal society without ending up injuring themselves or others. Madison in particular cannot operate under basic logic. In the beginning of this episode, not much time has passed since we left off in episode 2. So she should still feel the adrenaline rush—or at least the let-down from it—after bashing in Artie’s head with a fire extinguisher. You know, her friend and coworker. The man she risked her life to help despite Tobias’ warnings. At no point does reason say Madison should force her children to wait at the house for Travis and his family when she knows these infected people can and will hurt others. Not to mention, she watched an infected neighbor chow down on the birthday party crew, so she knows danger is at their door.
Does she make Captain Addict and Princess Stubborn climb into the car? No. Madison sits them down to play Monopoly. Her dingbattiness must be inherited by the kids.
When they hear a noise at the door, Nick just wanders over to open it, letting in a stray German shepherd. Hold that thought for a second. I have a bone to pick with the writers about that dog. It’s always been a big mystery on TWD: where are the animals? We’ve seen a few, either eaten later on or too feral to re-domesticate. It only makes sense that this show would attempt to show what happened to them. It doesn’t make sense to introduce a gorgeous dog, only to kill it off-screen minutes later. There’s no point in forcing fans to listen to a dog’s whimpering and yelping as its attacked. Matter of fact, that is flat out cruel. Yes, people react when animals die. It’s a lazy way to garner emotions from the audience when they aren’t connecting to the humans in the story. Make us care when people die. Quit using animals to make up for two-dimensional characters.
When the infected neighbor breaks into their house and kills the dog, Madison and the kids return the favor and break into the house next door. Nick steals their shotgun. Madison snags the shotgun shells. Alicia wanders around, wondering what’s going on because he mother refuses to tell her that zombies exist.
Across town, Travis, his family, and the Salazars are forced out of the barber shop by a fire in the strip mall. Griselda’s foot is broken when a police water cannon topples a scaffold. Luckily they just happen to be right next to Travis’ truck. Going to the hospital isn’t an option—duh. Hospitals are ground zero for all infections and viruses. We’ve always said the first institutions to fall would be anything medical. That’s one thing the writers for the show got right.
Unable to find help for the injured woman, Travis opts to bring them with him to the house. They arrive seconds after the dog dies. Madison attempts to cut them off before they find the infected neighbor inside the house. Despite hearing the munching noises, Travis strolls up to his undead buddy and almost gets the same treatment as the birthday party crew. Daniel saves Travis, despite Travis demanding no one shoot the shotgun. The makeup effects for the infected in this scene are amazing and detailed.
Back at the neighbor’s house, Alicia backtracks by herself to grab the shotgun shells Madison dropped. She’s attacked by their neighbor, Susan. Chris comes to her rescue and gets punched in the nose as thanks. With everyone together, they should be ready to head to the desert, right? Wrong. Travis demands they wait until daylight. The Salazars argue whether or not they should go with the others, considering Liza is going to school to be a nurse and may be the only medically-inclined person they can find given the scene at the hospital they passed on the way to the Clark house. Ofelia thinks that since the others are kind, it’ll mean they survive. “Good people are the first ones to die,” Daniel tells her. They’re still arguing when Travis and Madison finally get in the car and drive away in the morning. For a heart-stopping minute, I wanted them to just drive off and never be seen again. It doesn’t happen. Susan’s husband returns home. Madison rushes back to warn him. Too late. He reaches out to embrace Susan . . . splat! A soldier puts a round through Susan’s skull.
Half the National Guard suddenly appears in their little suburb, locking it down. They catalogue every living person in the neighborhood. The corpses are taken away in body bags. Now they’re stuck huddling in the middle of a crowded city where the infection rate is climbing.
They should’ve left the minute Madison got home with Artie’s brains on her jacket.