Saturday, April 23, 2016

Buh-bye, Felicia: It’s Not the Rapture

Episode 2, Season 2: “We All Fall Down” ”

Tonight I got a much-needed break from my two children. Boy, did I accomplish a LOT:

·      Smoked two clove cigarettes on the deck
·      Had coffee and donut holes for lunch
·      Ate my body weight in Thai takeout (“make it SPICY, please”)
·      Went to the dog park with the JRT to check out the broken-coated bitches
·      Binge watched a few choice shows on Hulu and Netflix
·      Drank one pale ale; became slightly inebriated; sadly realized I am a lightweight

I also had time to ponder a few of life’s more pressing questions. What is Fred Armisen’s ethnic background? Why is my bra suddenly so tight? How did Prince die? Nobody knows the answer to these puzzles, wrapped in a conundrum, folded into an enigma, and tucked inside a soft taco shell. But I can tell you that another episode of FTWD awaits your viewing ( and reading) pleasure. I’m behind a week, of course, so most of you have already seen it, but what the heck.

Wet walkers emerge from the waves on a beach. OK, maybe those fuckers can indeed swim; terrific. Two children are toting around small colorful buckets in which to collect seashells??? Where are helicopter parents when you need them!? A fence separates the kids from the gnawing walkers. After leaving an offering of shells to the frustrated zombies, the kids run away.

Mad Mom is totes angry with Nick the Reckless Heroin Addict for his impromptu dive off the boat. According to the ship’s log that Nick retrieved, San Diego is toast. Strand, however, has bigger fish to fry (seafaring pun totally intended). Who sank that boat, and are they headed this way? He studies a map and decides, with Travis’s help, on Catrina Island, a place they presumably made up for the show.

Night. The yacht docks at a pier. Strand stays aboard and Travis and Co. go on land. They approach a darkened house. Travis calls out.  A kid runs out the front door. An older bearded man with glasses emerges. Not a friendly sort, but you can’t blame him. Travis says he just needs to get his shizz together for a while, and then they’ll get out of his hair.

Travis tours the man’s house. He peruses his book collection. The man mentions that the government has bombed the coastlines with napalm, and he confirms that San Diego is gone. He tracks how states are doing via ranger stations. All the western states are pretty much…gone.

George's motto: Be prepared. Be very prepared.

 Mad Mom chats with the man’s wife in the kitchen as they do wifely activities. In addition to the two little beachcombing bucket kids, moody teenager in da house. Tells his mom he’s going “out.” Like there’s somewhere to go “out.” Half the country does not exist, but teenagers remain the same. Duly noted.

Chris sulks. Nick plays with the kids’ handheld video game. Chris looks like he wants to set the living room on fire. Henry  the little boy shows Nick his action figures. Apparently, the little boy has used his dolls to re-enact his neighbors and family being shot in the head after being infected with the virus. The future mental health of the country seems bleak.

Travis is nursing a beer and is feeling mellow. He’ll need to be, because Bearded Glasses Man is sharing his survivalist views with him whether he likes it or not. He guesses that Travis is Maori. Nature is correcting itself, he claims. He and his wife are a little creepy, in a hippie-dippie, sorta ominous way.

Travis and Mad Mom share intel on the beach. Felicia (I am so bad with these names!) wraps herself in a blanket and joins Nick on the deck of the yacht, where he’s enjoying a sky full of stars.

Daybreak. Chris is skulking around outside near the beach. He spies the teen of the house, the one who went “out,” as he performs his morning “chores.” He carries a pic axe down to the fence on the beach to brain walkers throught the fence who have washed in with the tides. He offers Chris a go. He’s quite handy with the axe. In a different life, they might have shared a beer. Now it’s just two bros on a beach.
Chris gets his groove back helping with "chores."

 Travis finds them. He can’t be too happy about Chris’ newly embraced skill. There’s just one more walker and Chris makes quick work of him. It doesn’t count if they’re not people, Travis. Travis complains to Survivalist Dead about the pic axe. What kind of chore is that? Bearded Dude comforts him: this is the way it is.

Felicia wanders over to a campground. She has her ear buds in. Not the wisest move, but hey, sometimes you need a soundtrack for your life. Meanwhile, Nick raids the Survivalist medicine cabinets in search of the good stuff. He finds some brightly colored capsules hidden in a small globe. I suspect that they are poison that the survivalists have been saving in case life gets intolerable. First I thought that’s where they keep their choice buds, but no.

Strand and Ruben the Mad Barber (Daniel) are hanging out in the cockpit (is that what you’d call it?) of the yacht. Mad Mom helps Survivalist Mama harvest red hots from the garden, because the post-apocalyptic world is caliente. Mad Mom confronts SM about signaling them from her house the other night with a light. SM wants her little twins to have a better life. Maybe they can go with them? SM has MS (multiple sclerosis). Teen Son and Bearded Dad don’t want to leave and split their family up, soooooooo…Mad Mom begs Travis to comply with SM’s wishes, and of course the English teacher in Travis wants to “talk” to George (that’s bearded dad). This could get ugly.

Strand is on the phone with someone mysterious. They arrange a location at which to meet up. Mexico, according to Ruben Blades, who is rummaging through Strand’s boat papers in his absence.

Nick agrees with me that the capsules he found are not the good stuff. “I think he’s planning to Jonestown his whole family,” Nick confides in Mad Mom and Travis. This bolsters the argument to kidnap the twins, right, cause there’s nothing more convenient during a zombie apocalypse than BEING SADDLED WITH TWO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF SIX WHOM YOU FORCIBLY REMOVED FROM THEIR PARENTS AND THE ONLY HOME THEY HAVE EVER KNOWN.

Survivalist Mom is getting the kids ready to go. Perhaps she has an inkling, too, that her husband is a mite unstable. Oh crap, George is home. Henry the little boy comes down the stairs. He reports that something is wrong with his sister Willa, who “took her pill.” Willa died, is now a zombie, and attacks her mother as she cradles her daughter’s body. George freaks out and gets in the middle. In the melee, Travis and Co. scoop little Henry up and take him aboard the yacht.

Strand angrily intervenes and makes my argument: dead weight, leave him. Angry Teen Son boards the yacht armed with a rifle to take “Harry” (Jesus, I cannot get these names right) home. He threatens Travis, who assures the teen that his dad wanted them to save Harry. Ruben the Barber also pulled out a gun. Teen Son gets on the deck. His zombie mom staggers toward them at a maddeningly slow pace. What to do? Harry is confused. Teen Son shoots his mom and puts his arm lovingly around his little brother. The yacht speeds away.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cruisin off the Coast of Cali with My Ex-Wife's Rotting Corpse

Episode 1, Season 2: “Monster

Because Fear the Walking Dead has returned for a second season, I assume that people eventually cared about the main characters, which frankly are less appealing than those on the mother show, TWD. I may have trouble recalling the names of all the characters, so bear with me as I resort to referring to them as “Angry One-Armed Guy,” “Mad Mom,” or “Rich Rando Black Guy.” Actually, the rich black man in question is the enigmatic Strand. He has a small yacht named Abigail that the gang has been invited to stay on. The issue, however, is getting there. Strand’s goal is to get to San Diego. He mumbles something about “Coronado,” and I don’t think he’s referring to the luxury hotel but a military base.

Why is everything on fire when stuff goes down? L.A. is on fire, and zombies don’t have matches, so this doesn’t make much sense. The L.A Unified School District literally burns to the ground and nobody misses it. On the beach at what could be Malibu (seems highly exclusivo), Chris refuses to leave his mother’s corpse. Last season, Travis’ current wife shot his ex-wife to death, at her request. This will no doubt make for some interesting dinner convos when life returns to normal.

Travis & family in "happier" times. 

 Walkers can’t swim, but they are avid beachcombers. As Travis begs Chris to leave with them, a few zombies overtake the older man. Damnable parasites! They haven’t paid the high taxes it costs to live in Malibu, and yet here they are, enjoying the pleasures that a midnight stroll on the beach has to offer. Come to think of it, Travis et al. didn’t either, so I suppose it all evens out in the end.

They finally clamber into a rubber dinghy, but a few walkers pop out of the shallower waves to grab a bite. An enterprising young man uses the boat’s propeller to shred the walker’s head—ingenious! I believe it was Nick, whose years of associating with seedy characters have finally paid off. As the group reflects on what used to be their home, we see L.A. all aglow with burning fires and hovering fighter planes.

The yacht, Abigail, is quite luxurious. Trouble looms as they spot a raft close by holding a number of people. Mad Mom insists that Strand save them, but he isn’t having it. They can return to land, he retorts. And, hello—he’s right! This is the same man who guided Nick through a burning military compound. Travis, who apparently has been reunited with his testicles (yay), agrees with Strand. Eventually the people drift further out to sea, and that is that.

Nick chides Strand. Nick is smoking. One great thing about an apocalypse is that you can smoke with abandon. It does not matter if you get cancer because treatment options no longer exist, and if someone dares to complain about the hazards of secondhand smoke, you can be all like, “Hashtag: First World Problems!” as you make the sign of an “L” on your forehead.

Nick models the latest in yacht wear for J. Crew's fall catalogue.

 The interior of the Abigail resembles the rooms of a W Hotel. Perfect place to wage a marital disagreement about epidemiology. Thanks, Mad Mom and Travis. In the meantime, Mad Mom’s Berkeley-educated daughter is tooling around with a ham radio. There are other people out there, and some of them are playing horrible acoustic guitar riffs that make my ears bleed. Just before I can takes it no more, the mellow voice of a male millennial reaches out to Alicia across the airwaves! She demurely responds. Blossoming romance? Potential problem?

Chris remains by his mother’s side, whose corpse is on the yacht. Teenagers! In life, she annoyed the heck out of him. Now that she’s dead, he can’t let go. The Mad Barber, ever the unflappable psychopath, is fishing off the side of the yacht. I’m sure that Strand has stocked the boat with enough Cheez-Its, juice boxes, and canned food to last for a while, but a fresh fish would do nicely. He snags…a large eel, which he promptly clubs to death.

Alicia continues to chat with the mysterious millennial. He’s on a boat too. She shares her story with him. Ruben Blades is swabbing the deck after his fishing venture. Travis comes by, and the Mad Barber reassures him that shooting his ex was a merciful act, whereas when Ruben’s wife died from her injuries, the Mad Barber simply felt like an inadequate husband. Travis says nothing but gazes meaningfully into the infinite ocean. Infinite until they get to San Diego, man! I hear La Jolla is lovely this time of year.

Mad Mom, ever suspicious, hears Strand’s mumbled voice in the yacht but cannot locate him. The yacht seems to be on autopilot. Sweet. Mad Mom tells him she hears music playing in the distance. Nah, Strand says, impossible. Mad Mom sounds like she’s eager to dump the corpse of Travis’ ex, because, ew, there’s a dead body on the boat. Plus, she’s taking up a really nice cabin. Plus, how long must a woman drag around the corpse of her ex-husband after she shoots her at her request to prevent the ex from turning into a zombie? Standard etiquette dictates no more than one week.

Travis’ ex, Eliza, is wrapped in a sheet as they prepare for a burial at sea. Travis offers a decidedly mixed eulogy (“She was fierce”= “What a bitch”). Chris unceremoniously dumps the body. Whatev; he just wants to get it over with.

Prius commercial. Bank robbers use a Prius to make their getaway, which is utterly ridiculous, because every single Prius I’ve encountered on the road has been manned by the most annoyingly cautious, overly accommodating drivers. Instead of gingerly threading their way through pedestrians on turns on green they wait until every single person has crossed the street—wrong! They come to a complete stop at intersections right BEFORE the light turns yellow, and often they slow down when the light is green. And don’t even get me started on their “CO-EXIST” bumper stickers, which shockingly have contributed little to the advancement of world peace because ISIS prefers the decals that depict Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes peeing or those realistic-looking metal testicles that hang down from the backs of pickup trucks.

Chris and Travis have a scuffle. Apparently, he’s a bit upset that Travis (I thought it was Mad Mom) shot his mom. Alicia tunes into her ham radio. His boat is taking on water near Santa Monica. Alicia of course wants to save the three people on the boat, including the millennial named Jack. Strand finds out and he is pissed. She could have revealed info that could endanger all of them. He reiterates that HE is the captain and they need to listen to him. Captain Stubing he ain’t, but he does know what he is talking about.

Nick still hasn’t washed or combed his hair. He sits with Strand for a convo. Strand notes that as an addict Nick was “fearless.” Nick replies that it’s just part of addiction, no big whoop.

Mad Mom reaches out to Chris. I foresee that this will not. Go. Well. Chris has a shiner from his tussle with Travis. She tells him that if Travis had not shot her, she would have, because it’s the right thing to do. The crew sits down for dinner, complete with wine. Chris skips dinner and goes to the deck by himself. Everyone hears a splash. Chris has jumped in the water and takes off swimming. Nick follows him. Chris says he just wanted a swim. Mmmmmmkay. Sharks, anyone? You’re in the middle of the ocean. Alicia, in the meantime, speaks with Jack, who assures her that he’s in the vicinity. Nick is floating around in the ocean and looks up to see…a swimming zombie. Now you know: They CAN swim! Sort of. No Michael Phelps action here.

Nick swims away in a hurry because he wisely is not interested in water ballet with zombies. There is a whole bunch of them doing the zombie paddle in the ocean. It looks as if a boat capsized. Nick swims under the capsized boat, which is riddled with bullet holes. He thought he heard a person crying out. No one there except a wet, very mad zombie Nick has to fend off. He grabs a plastic bag containing a “Yacht log” that he holds up triumphantly.

An alarm in Strand’s yacht sounds off. Strand scolds Alicia for inviting trouble; they could have been the ones who sunk the capsized boat. Alicia’s “friend” could be headed straight for them. The moral of the story is, deebags on land remain deebags on sea.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Negan is...Burt Reynolds? And Other Random Stuff That Pisses off the Internets

“Last Day on Earth”: Episode the 15th

To recap: Carol has left. Maggie may be having a miscarriage. And Daryl could be dead. The season finale opens with Morgan trudging through a field at dusk. He finds a horse, all saddled up. Then we see Carol’s living victim walking though a field, clutching her rosary and intent on revenge. Enid and Karl are arguing. Someone is running away from a bunch of humans armed with weapons. Rick and Co. prepare to head out in the Winnebago. Enid insists that Maggie needs a doctor as she tries to dissuade Karl from pursuing his own mini revenge plot. The bloodied “someone” is being kicked around and lectured by other humans. Again, totally unclear who any of these people are! Karl locks Enid in the closet because they’re not on the same page. Proper OB-GYN care is clearly not high on his list of priorities! Father Gabe updates Rick about weapon caches, defense strategies, etc. Even Spencer the no-goodnik pipes up, and Eugene confirms he’s up to the task of defending the complex.

The ONLY bright spot in this episode. Bask in all its cuteness.

 Morgan is riding the horse he found. He finds Carol napping against a building. He seems happy to see her. Carol may be in shock from her injuries. Meanwhile, unidentified mad humans have dragged bloodied man to the middle of a road to “make an example of him to the others.” So far, a most inauspicious and vague beginning to this final episode!

Rick’s Winnebago hurtles down the road at a disturbing speed. They are on their way to Hilltop to see Maggie’s OB-GYN. She is lying down, looking a bit sweaty. Not loving your new short haircut, Maggie. Morgan comes to Carol’s aid. She needs stitches and antibiotics. He shares his plan to get her back to Alexandria, but she turns him down.

The Ginge and Sasha are manning the Winnebago and are the first to see the human roadblocks (see above). Rick & Co. emerge from their spacious mobile quarters with their hands up. Rick proposes a deal. The lead mad human wants “all their stuff” and adds that he also wants to kill one of them. Nice. Another mad human sprays prone bloodied man with an aerosol can (?).  The bad guys refuse to budge. Then mad guy gets philosophical: What if it was your last day on earth? What if something untoward happened to one of your loved ones? Does not sound good. Ginge slowly backs up the Winnebago.

Unbeknownst to me, Karl is on the Winnebago. He’s having a convo with Aaron. Eugene is trying to figure out an alternate route to get Maggie to her doctor. Morgan and Carol are holed up in an office. She resents his assumption that she should return to the complex. Carol appears defeated. She says that she is tired of killing, and having people you love means having to kill for them. Morgan retorts that he doesn’t want to let Carol die, but Carol pulls out a gun and asks him to please leave. The man carries a broomstick, Carol. He is not afraid of a gun.

The Ginge spots a new danger whilst driving the camper. More angry humans! With cars. Rick’s “bring it on” attitude plays well with the others, in spite of the fact that they are shot at. The Winnebago turns the corner without issue to continue on its merry way.

Morgan leaves the safety of the office for the great outdoors. He hears walker snarling nearby. A poor soul who hung himself has turned and is now suspended. Morgan climbs up the scaffolding to put him out of his misery. He then looks for Carol, who has disappeared once more. Glad to see his horse is still well. Morgan takes off, leaving pissed off but oh so slowly moving walkers in his wake.

The Camper Crew ponders their next move. Unfortunately, they encounter yet another hindrance. Chained walkers. Clearly, bad humans devised this roadblock. Rick & Co. get out to survey the walkers. Is one Michonne? Is that Daryl?? Say it ain’t so. True, one of the zombies has dreadlocks a la Michonne, but surely this hairstyle is not THAT uncommon in the post-apocalyptic era?

Just as this sick realization is sinking in, the group is fired upon. They return fire as Rick goes to town killing the walkers. Then, the Winnebago takes off down the now-cleared road. I’ve just gone right off me Party Blend Chex Mix due to emotional turmoil.

Well, Rick looks like he wants to hurl. Back in the camper, new routes are explored. Maggie is running a high fever. The Ginge has more bad news from the wheel: Yet another human roadblock, this time lots and lots of mad humans. Morgan, meanwhile, trots along. He stops after spying Carol’s rosary on the asphalt next to a dead body. Carol, clad in her usual earth tones, is huffing her way through an industrial area. A walker is dumpster diving. She is overcome by a female walker and manages to fight her off with the usual ferocity. Before she can catch her breath, the older man she injured earlier pounces. He has a gun, but hers is beyond reach.

A charming fellow, he promises to kill her slowly so he can watch her die. He begins by shooting her in the arm. Um, Morgan, you and your tawny horse would be a most welcome sight right now! For all his pacifist shortcomings, Morgan is one of the most decent, compassionate human beings in TWD. If anyone can save the beleaguered Carol, it is he.

Maggie is gray. Rick is distraught, but still determined to get her to the Hilltop doctor. He comforts her. Somewhere else, Carol’s elderly tormentor continues to well, torment her. He fires off another shot, but Carol is in full repentant mode. She says that she probably deserves to die. He suddenly walks off. Carol heckles him, so he returns. Ah so! Morgan and his broomstick—er, actually he has a gun, which he proceeds to use (!) against said elderly attacker.

“It’s not your time,” he says to Carol soothingly. More humans arrive on the scene. Are they “bad”? The horse belonged to them. Yet, they are willing to help Carol, who has been shot twice.

The Ginge notes that Rick & Co. are totally, utterly screwed. Behind them a man is thrown from a bridge, wearing a noose fashioned from a thick chain. “The last day on earth” fellow has returned with a warning to leave. Everyone piles into the Winnebago and backs away from a conflagration in the middle of the road. This episode is about going nowhere. It reminds me of the mornings during my commute in which every frigging street I go down has either a garbage truck or a cherry picker blocking my way. Totally synonymous, folks: Crappy commute, post-apocalyptic terrorists.

Eugene points out that their foes EXPECT to see the camper. Perhaps they are considering another strategy? Eugene, in his characteristically oddball way, assures Rick that he has the situation under control. Another previously useless TWD character redeems himself. The Ginge acknowledges that Eugene was always a “survivor,” which prompts Eugene to give the ol’ redhead a great big hug. Sad violin music plays in a minor key, which leads one to believe that this may be Eugene’s last hurrah. Sniff. He assumes command of the Winnebago, but I think Rick & Co. have gone a different way. Eugene is the decoy.

A really grody walker stumbles through the darkness of the forest. Karl efficiently chops the top of his skull off, because teenagers dig this stuff. Rick & Co. hear that weird whistling echo through the woods. Is it Scraggles? More bad humans? They run as they carry Maggie on a stretcher. The whistling is from more than one person, a LOT of people, who encircle our intrepid but small group and shine floodlights on them. Neegan’s people exacting revenge, finally?

Meet Negan & Lucille (a bat). He likes: Rando violence. She likes: Long walks on the beach.

 A mustachioed fella wearing a green military style jacket who’d be perfectly at home in a 70s buddy comedy orders Rick to hand over his weapons. The group takes the weapons away. Mustachioed Man mocks Karl. He orders everyone down on their knees. A bloodied Eugene has already been captured. Even poor Maggie is forced off the stretcher. A commercial for AMC’s Better Call Saul cuts the unbearable tension. Followed by another Saul commercial.

Scraggles is here. He opens the back of a van. Daryl and Michonne emerge, messed up but alive. Glenn is there too, of course. Perhaps the mysterious Neegan will address everyone? An unshaven man wearing a tight black leather jacket steps out of one of the campers. He is Neegan, and he is mad. He confronts Rick calmly. Neegan outlines the “new world order” using his baseball bat. Basically, as we already knew, Neegan et al. are terrorists. “You have shit, you give it to me.” Simple as that. The Ginge’s hackles are visibly raised.

There’s no point in trying to oppose him, says Neegan. We own you and everything you acquire. Then, he mentions punishment. A good worker is not a dead one, so maybe that’s not in the picture, but Rick & Co. will not remain unscathed. Neegan promises to beat the crap out of one of them. All I can think about is how lucky young Enid is to be locked in a closet back in Alexandria.

Neegan threatens Maggie, which causes Glenn to lunge toward him, naturally. Rick’s eyes are about to pop out of his head. He has lost control of the situation and has no cards left to play. Neegan returns to Karl, whom he has picked on before. Neegan paces slowly as he considers whom to kill. He resorts to Eeny Miney Moe to select a victim. Pretty lame! He lands on…Karl? It’s unclear. He brings down his baseball bat (a.k.a. “Lucille”) wrapped in barbed wire again, and again, and again.  

Yep, pretty much sums it up.

 The internets are abuzz over this highly ambiguous ending. One man claims to have figured out that the victim is Glenn based on the configuration of the eeny miney moe game. Clearly, this individual has waaaaay too much free time on his hands, but his obsessive behavior has paid off for us. That about wraps it up for us until October. 

In the meantime, I will be documenting the misadventures of Ruben Blades the Mad Barber, crazed public school administrator mom, and Nick the unkempt heroin addict who has been forced on the wagon because his usual sources of heroin are now zombies. I’m talking about Fear the Walking Dead, which debuts tonight.