Sunday, September 13, 2015

Welcome Back, Beetches!


PILOT

Just a few words of intro to my few but faithful fans. The long hiatus has ended. Not only will I be blogging about Fear the Walking Dead (spin-off, anyone? We like, we like!), but also sharing my random thoughts about the new season of The Walking Dead, that favorite old chestnut, starting in mid-October. So, please enjoy. A lot has happened to me since November 2014, and I'll probably be sharing a post that condenses my not very exciting life since then. Now, on to the show.

The scene opens on a squalid setting, a young man awakening perhaps from a drug induced haze, an all-night debauched binge? But there is a church like quality to the lighting as well, and stained glass windows to boot. He calls out a woman’s name, entering a darkened room. We know we are in LA, because we have been eagerly reading all the press concerning this spinoff of our fave show.

The artist as a disheveled young man stumbles upon a bloodied corpse. Now amidst the pews, perhaps he finds Gloria, munching on yet another unfortunate African-American character. Young man flees the scene, his Seinfeld parody white poet shirt flapping in the breeze. He has an awfully nice physique for a drug addict. Aaaaand he is hit by a car. Oh don’t worry, he’s okay, you’re in LA, baby!

I don’t care for the opening theme, for what it is, just some discordant sounds and what sounds like static.

Life is as normal as it can be in La-La Land. Clearly no one has a clue yet that zombies are about to rule the earth, because they are eating their gluten-free bread and busily fixing sinks. Turns out also that the young drug addict is in the hospital, getting a psych counsel because he was ranting about “flesh, blood and viscera.” Hey, we’ve all been there. The cops are grilling him lightly about what drugs might be behind this delightful rant. Mom marches in all militant and tells the cops to scram, because after all, what do they know? Authority and lawful figures be damned; obviously mom is doing a bang up job with him—I’ve forgotten his name already—if he’s spending his nights stoned out of his gourd from heroin and hanging out with a zombie named Gloria.

Dad has issues of his own (this is a blended family). He gets a phone call from his angry ex-wife who is pressing him to spend time with his son. Whose kid is whose here? Totally confused already about the parental lineage and related progeny. There’s a pretty teenaged girl who appears to be Nick’s sister. I know, I know it’s not mom’s fault. The monkey on the back is mighty strong, etc. etc.

Militant mom greets black principal Artie. I mention his race for a specific reason that will become clear later. She works as a teacher, or guidance counselor, in a high school. Looks like kind of a typically crappy one, with bitter teachers who have seniority and pissed off students with lousy home lives. She stops Tobias, who was caught my MM with a “whittling” knife. Why? He is smart to carry around a knife. He’s on to the spreading virus, which has already affected five states, and he mentions people are killing. The unfortunately named “Miss C” (oops; perhaps a nickname?) locks his only protection in her drawer, which is probably filled with candy bars, stale chewing gum, and a confiscated sex toy covered in cat hair.

Nick bears an uncanny resemblance to any one of the messy looking young male actors that grace the TV and movie screens today. Somehow the bluish lighting of the hospital makes him look even greasier and dirtier than he is in real life. He recounts to his dad (?) how he found everyone dead and Gloria eating human flesh, you know, no big deal, just another night in Heroin City.
Stepdad goes to investigate the church of sin, blood, and yummy flesh to which Nick referred to. He’s very brave as he marches through the building. Mom returns home. Nick is sleeping peacefully in his hospital bed. A highly disturbed young guy wearing a hoodie pops out of a closet, which was actually not all that scary (picture the Muppet Animal busting out of a closet and you’ll have the idea), and surprises stepdad, who then calls out to see if anyone will come out. But no, all is quiet on this zombie front. He does find a lot of, and I mean a TON of guts and slippery blood on the floor of the church, which to me would be a big flashing neon sign spelling out “LEAVE NOW,” and I do believe that is just what he does!

It doesn’t look good for Nick’s boyfriend. He happens to be black, and black people do not fare well in FWD. In TWD we have several strong black characters that prove that they have lasting power, but I’ve heard in FWD that this so far has not been the case. Turns out step dad is an English teacher. Nick uses a Code Blue, elderly patient in distress, to make a break for it and look for some free drugs! I assume he will leave the hospital against medical advice?

MM convinces English teacher husband to take her to the bloody church, thinking that maybe Nick went back there. The bodies are all cleaned up, but there are some ominous looking stains on the floor. “It’s in the genes,” she says, referring to son Nick’s heroin addiction. She finds a book of his with drug paraphernalia folded up inside of it. Ewwww.

They stop by the house of one of Nick’s friends. Nick, meanwhile, is loping around skid row, resembling a zombie himself. His sister awaits her boyfriend in equally seedy Venice Beach, but he never shows. Militant Mom and Jack London-loving step dad drive on into the night, continuing their search, tooling around in their vintage pickup truck.

Something is amiss on the highway. Not your regular traffic jam, but shots fired, lots of cops, a helicopter’s searching lights. Step dad guns it and weaves his way out of there. Someone of course filmed the entire thing. A zombie getting beaten, pulled off a body, and shot, to no effect. Rumors of a virus, a toxin fill the air. Who will be the first in their circle to go?

Someone is STILL waiting for her boyfriend, and you know the shizz is hitting the fan when the Los Angeles Unified School District announces a half day for students. It’s not the “flu,” it’s an apocalypse of the undead, and Tobias is totally in the know.

Meanwhile, across town in Shadyville, Nick is meeting with his dealer, Cal. Turns out Cal’s helpful, friendly attitude when he was approached by Mad Mom and Jack London Lover was just an act. Nick really wants to know what was in the drugs that Cal gave him. Nick is rocking the Beetle Juice look today. Cal gives him a little ride in his car, down a remote, darkened tunnel tastefully tagged with gang insignia and the like. Okay, Cal is totally going to kill Nick. The cops have talked to him, his parents are looking for him, Cal has a double life going and does not want to be known as a sleazy drug dealer. Nick sees the gun. A brief struggle ensues, and with the brute strength of someone fighting for his survival, Nick resists hard. Cal is accidentally shot in the chest and apparently expires. Understandably freaked out, Nick lopes away wearing only his slouchy borrowed trousers and tan Members Only jacket. He sits, shaking and smoking in a somewhat squirrely fashion, until MM and step dad show up.

Calvin is gone, of course, having been infected with the virus before his death and been turned into a very hungry zombie. Nick runs him over a few times with his parents’ hip vehicle, to no avail. He lives! Cal almost chomped on MM and JLL, but Nick actually saved them with his attempted vehicular homicide.



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