Sunday, May 29, 2016

Zombie on a Spit Makes for a Tasty if Unfair Exchange

Episode 5, Season 2: “Captive

Today’s episode opens with a cooking demonstration, hearkening back to TWD. Carol, as you recall, can do wonders with revolting ingredients that she forages from nearby wooded areas. This demo, however, appears a tad more upscale.  Too much garlic, in my opinion. A steak sizzles in a pan. Mounds of cilantro are chopped on a cutting board. We see Alicia’s horrified face in the foreground: “Oh my God, I’m VEGAN! What AM I going to eat??”

Alicia, as you may recall, is a captive. The mysterious Millennial whom she chatted so loquaciously with via ham radio found the Abigail. His companions are the charming Bieber, who may still be on Strand’s yacht, and a pregnant psychopath who sparred with Mad Mom during the last installment of the show. Alicia’s hair is looking especially lustrous for someone who probably hasn’t seen a bottle of conditioner since they left Los Angeles.

Alicia asks her bearded captor about Travis and the rest of her family. He’s not “Jack” but he does cook a mean steak. He dashes off and Alicia tries the steak. Pregnant bitch takes the plate of food away for herself; eating for two, you know! Then, she locks Alicia in the kitchen. She vainly tries a few other doors before finding herself on top of the boat in the fresh air. The boat is not on the water at all, but rather dry-docked at a seedy looking pier.

A young guy (Jack?) herds her back to below the boat. Conor this, Conor that…Alicia wants answers about her family. Meanwhile, Ruben attends a bleeding Bieber as he sits and sweats, tied to a chair. A pointy sharp object is sticking out of his belly. He taunts a glaring Chris. Turns out, Conor is Bieber’s brother. Ruben cleans his wound with antiseptic, which stings just a leeeeeetle bit. Bieber threatens Ofelia. Ruben points out that genuinely threatening men don’t proclaim how tough they are. Bieber shuts up. Ruben appoints Chris to stand guard outside Bieber’s door. Mad Mom steers the boat to reach her family. Strand’s Mexican henchman objects; they’re dead, and we need to get to Mexico! He starts speaking with Strand in Spanish. Strand is still weakened from his ocean jaunt.

Jack shows Alicia a radar screen. Basically, they’re post-apocalyptic pirates. Her new job is to lure the boats on the radar to get closer, so Conor et al. can hijack them and take what they want. Travis is locked up deep in the bowels of the boat. He apparently is not as cute or useful as Alicia. A woman pops up! Who is she? Another captive? And why, again, does her hair look better than MINE???

She’s not a prisoner. It’s the attractive young Asian woman from the dinghy that Strand “liberated.” She describes having to kill her dinghy mate right before he turned, and also that she told Conor about the Abigail’s whereabouts when he found her on the ocean. She further is convinced that she specifically requested Travis as a prisoner; what WHAT? Wasn’t it Strand who did the bad deed? Confused.

Mad Mom chides Strand for using Nick as his errand boy. Strand retorts that Nick is a very talented young man who has a lot of potential. Alicia has potential, too! She’s learning how to be a total asshole from Jack. There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding about the Abigail that I did not quite catch. Jack has been hiding something. Alicia wants to find her family. Jack says he wants to accompany her?

Nick, who now resembles the love child of Johnny Depp and Betelgeuse, is assembling and disassembling a gun. He’s good at it. His hair is just as it should be, greasy and unkempt.

Attractive Asian woman resents being putting in the raft by Travis in the first place. What the heck, lady, your friend was headed for Zombieville. She would have done the same thing in his place. Also, your hair, upon closer examination, is a frizzy mess. I guess the salt and humidity has NOT been so kind. Now I can return to feeling smug. Travis ruminates aloud as the lady looks on. Hey, I’m no better than Strand. He shares that he killed his ex-wife for the same reason and he apologizes. She sounds less angry.

"Does anyone have any leave-in conditioner?"

Chris listens to Bieber coughing. Bieber is going to try and goad him again; will Chris be a hothead and act foolishly? Survey says yes. Bieber asks about Chris’ “real” mom. Nick sees the convo going down. Chris tells Nick that it’s his fault for letting the terrorists on the boat. Nick reassures him. Nick’s hair has been tamed with bacon grease. Either that, or he’s actually taken a shower.

Alicia is reunited with Travis. She tells him that Jack has turned on Conor…or has he? Travis reveals that Alex, the bitter dinghy frizzy-haired woman, is totes angry. Alicia wants to rectify the mess that she helped to create, but Travis knows that she is fairly inept and too trusting. What can he do, though, he’s still locked up.

Strand has perked up. A message comes over. Mad Mom responds, you’ll get Bieber back when I get my family back. The caller wants to talk to Bieber (Reid). Mad Mom is pissed that the Abigail was not given safe passage. A muffled gunshot goes off. Mad Mom finds Chris in the hallway. Bieber has been shot; Chris says he was going to turn. So much for an exchange! Mexican henchman has had enough drama. Let’s go, already, he says!

"Mom Not Mom, I just like to kill, mmmkay?"

Mad Mom sits with Chris. He used Bieber’s own gun to end it. She reassures him that they can still get Trav back. Chris insists that he had to kill him, but we know that lately he has begun to take pleasure from destruction. Ruben and Ofelia cleans up the backspatter from Bieber’s death. Then, Bieber DOES start to turn, because the head wound was more of a craniofacial wound. Quick-thinking Ruben impales Bieber into the wall using yet another pointy implement. So in a sense, he’s “alive,” and they can still do the trade. Perverse thinking, to be sure, but ingenious in its own right.

Bieber ends up in a chair with a hood over his head. Ruben and Ofelia drag the snarling captive out of the room. Nick tries to convince his mom that he’s the man to take Bieber to Conor, but his enthusiasm rankles her. She climbs into a dinghy with the hooded zombie. From the Abigail, Travis is seen being led to the deck, but not the fair Alicia, who unfortunately crosses paths with the pregnant bitch. Alicia tries to wrest a weapon from her hands and successfully locks her in “the cage.” Small potential problemo during the exchange of captives. Reid is totally hungry, and by the time Conor realizes his brother is a walker, he takes a sizable chunk of flesh from his big brother’s forearm. Totally tits!
"Craniofacial wound, bitches! You missed!"

Travis is safe with Mad Mom, for now, but as you can imagine the other terrorists are kinda pissed. A lot of punching and wrestling.  Alicia is free, for now. Jack stops her. Your family sucks, he says, stay with me. She slides down into the water. Travis pulls her into the dinghy. Jack looks stunned. The dinghy speeds away.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bieber's Got a Gun, the Whole World's Come Undone

Episode 4, Season 2: “Blood in the Streets

As you may recall, when we last left Strand’s yacht, Travis was up to his elbows in poopie; Nick shmeared himself in walker blood; and Mad Mom watched helplessly as Strand coldly severed the rope pulling the small dinghy carrying two survivors. Now, a naked Nick washes up on a beach at night. He makes his way through a sea of tents that are whipping violently in the wind. A military helicopter or plane briefly hovers overhead. Nick bangs around on a plastic jug to coax the walkers out. One dressed in a plaid button down shirt (perfect for camping!) follows him to the opening of a tent, where Nick stabs him. It’s unclear what his game plan is. Then, Nick disembowels the zombie, which kinda makes him gag a little. Once again shmeared for take-off, Nick emerges from the tent, ready for action.

Travis paces in his cozy cabin, fretting about Strand’s cutting off the dinghy. Mad Mom is just thinking about herself. She needs to “start over,” perhaps reinvent herself. Chris and Ofelia hang out on the deck. Chris wants to chat about their romantic pasts. Ofelia for one had a really interesting, psychopathic boyfriend in the military who shot her, but she doesn’t mention him.

Another dinghy carrying three people help themselves aboard Strand’s yacht. What the heck, man?! Strand grabs a large gun. Daniel trains a gun on the man, while Mad Mom helps the woman, who is apparently in premature labor. It’s “Jack,” from Alicia’s foray into ham radio! Jack overcomes Daniel and Travis, while injured woman ties up Mad Mom. Right before they came on board, Chris asked, “Should I shoot them?” Next time, I have a feeling he won’t bother asking. Jack and another male companion catch sight of the dinghy floating nearby. Someone remains in it, so Jack shoots it. Strand totally wants to scream, “I told you so, bitches!” but he is too mad.

Alicia discovers that she's not at Berkeley anymore.
Strand is in a bar. Jazz plays in the background. He’s talking to a fancy-pants man with an accent. TV news coverage of Hurricane Katrina drones in the background. Strand mentions that he’s out of money and needs to start over again. Jump to later: Strand helps support drunk fancy-pants man back to a hotel room. He starts to undress him. Drunk man falls back on the bed, whilst Strand sifts through his wallet. So, Strand is a thief? Credit cards don’t get you much. The backstory thickens!

Jack, whom I’ll refer to as Evil Justin Bieber (EJB), is lording over the crew. He wants the key to the boat. It is unclear as to where Strand is. Bieber is getting angrier, and he pushes the barrel of his gun against Chris’ head. It was Strand in the shot dinghy! Daniel thinks that he abandoned ship. Since it’s all her fault, Alicia goes with Bieber to the deck to “help.” Bieber says he has to talk to “Connor,” which sounds like his boss. He needs to radio him.

Anyhoo, Bloody Nick has reached a set of imposing gates and slips through them. He must be on a mission devised by Strand. He stumbles through a sweet gated community by the ocean, an address in hand.

Strand is in flashback land, wearing a white terry robe in a swanky hotel room. Formerly drunk fancy-pants man shows up with a henchman. He introduces himself as Thomas Abigail (the name of Strand’s yacht). He’s racked up $36,000 on Abigail’s credit cards. Thomas wants to be paid back, but his henchman is puzzled. They leave…Back in the present day, Strand struggles in the water as he clings to the dinghy. His walkie-talkie falls to the bottom of the ocean.

Travis attempts to wire the yacht, because Strand has the key. Bieber watches him work, glaring. Trav says it’s all computerized, so he’ll have to go down to the engine room to tinker with it. As Bieber leads him there helpfully with the snub of his gun, the tied-up gang plots an escape. Mad Mom tries to engage the pregnant terrorist in a friendly convo: When are you due? Boy, labor hurts a lot. Meanwhile, Daniel wriggles around with his wrist ties.

In the engine room, Travis the mechanic pretends to tool around as Bieber stands over him with the gun. Alicia and guy who isn’t Bieber talk. The guy claims that Connor saved his life, and now he owes him. Not sure if this is Jack, or if Jack is Bieber. Alicia warms up to him, or at least she pretends to. She asks if she could join Connor’s group, as long as her family stays safe. Guy cuts her wrist ties. She embraces him. Smart.

Bloody Nick plays basketball in the abandoned housing complex. It seems unfinished. Abigail’s henchman appears and trains a gun on Nick. Nick cries out that Strand sent him. Henchman has a car. A nice one, with leather interiors. He orders Nick to shower before they leave the housing complex that Abigail built.

Back on the yacht, Daniel and Mad Mom plot quietly as pregnant terrorist nurses a drink. Mad Mom tries the soft approach again. They rile her up with talk of a zombie fetus, which gets her goat. She strikes Mad Mom across the face. As he returns to the engine room, Travis slips what could be a sharp tool behind a sofa cushion.

Mustachioed henchman and Nick head toward the edge of the ocean. Mustache unveils a large black dinghy. Flashback to Strand and Abigail sunning themselves by a pool. Strand wants to talk business, whereas Abigail just wants to enjoy his brandy and soak it all in. They’re talking a land buy for development. Abigail extends a hand to Strand, who takes it; is Strand gay?

Bieber is growing impatient in the engine room. Travis fiddles with the wires—blue, red, whatever. Just mess ‘em up, Travis. Connor shows up. Felicia and Travis are leaving with them, and the others are staying behind on the boat. Now a 60s blonde chick and scraggly guy are keeping watch over the gang, both armed, of course. Looks like Nick and Mustache are headed towards the yacht in their sturdy black dinghy. Mustache instructs Nick to control the boat while he takes down 60s and scraggles with a high-powered scope rifle.

In the ensuing kerfuffle, Chris—or is it Mad Mom?—stabs Bieber with that sharp object Travis had stashed. Nick and Mustache board the yacht. Strand is the missing key, Mustache points out: without him, nobody is getting into Mexico. Flashback time! Strand and Abigail are in yet another hotel room. Strand is packing to go to L.A. Abigail warns him about the rioting. They kiss. Smooooch! I think this means that Strand is gay. Strand promises to return in two days, and well, we know how that goes.

Back on the sea, Mad Mom finds Strand, hypothermic and shaking, floating in the waves. She pulls him into the black dinghy. I am NOT feeling the funny with this episode. Let's close this one out with a Cartman meme, an oldie but goodie.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sandy Walkers Rock Out at Coachella, Get Crabs

Episode 3, Season 2: “Ouroboros”

“Ouroboros” refers to an ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail. I looked it up on the Internets, so it must be true. My husband claims that at one point he knew what the word actually meant, which I find difficult to believe. Also, I thought that my TV screen read “Quroboros” because I’m old and need glasses.

People swimming in the ocean. Apparently, they are survivors of a plane crash. One of them has been bitten, so he’s the one to get whacked out of the life raft. Another person is clinging to life. If he dies, he’ll turn and kill them. A pretty Asian young woman is protecting the badly injured boy. Another man on the life raft who I'll call Will Farrell tells her to end it for the boy now. Will this group cross oceanic paths with Strand?

Strand is on his walkie-talkie. He’s on his way, he promises. Travis lies awake next to Mad Mom. He hasn’t had any sustained cardio since they left L.A., and Strand has no gluten-free pasta on board. Waaaah! Travis starts kissing Mad Mom, and some sexy times begin, but an ominous, mechanical groan interrupts their carnal pursuits.

Travis, Mad Mom, Strand, and Daniel huddle to solve the issue. Something to do with the engine and needing to go under the boat. It’s still dark, however, so Travis will have to fix whatever the problem is a bit blind. He scubas under there and bumps into dead Will Farrell zombie, who is highly recognizable because he is still wearing his nerdy, striped long sleeved polo. Ewwww, swim away, Travis, swim away!

Travis is safely back on board. He may be fixing the sewage system, because he and Strand are literally gagging. Can’t everyone just poo and pee right over the edge of the boat? Wherefore all the forced formality? Travis complains that he just doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves, going all Norma Rae on Strand. Captain is having none of it: “Just fix the damn boat.”

Daniel and Ofelia tend to her festering shoulder wound. Recall that her national guard boyfriend shot her in season one. Felicia spies washed-up suitcases on the not so far away shore. She would like to forage for badly needed supplies. Nick is eager as well, because travelers carry the good shit, as in “drugs.” Daniel bluntly informs Mad Mom that they are going to MEXICO! Aye caramba. She’s worried about traveler’s diarrhea, whereas Daniel seems pleased about the warmer clime.

Daniel leads the group that went ashore to scavenge. They quickly check out the partial remains of a downed plane as he admonishes them to get the goods and get ready to get out. Meanwhile, Travis is scuba diving under the boat again. Suitcases are strewn about the coastline. Chris wanders off beyond Daniel’s view, which he specifically warned against. Back to Travis, bubbling under the boat. A lot of blood churns to the surface, followed thereafter by Will Farrell. But it’s cool, because Trav is okay!

Nick and Felicia are awfully sanguine as they pick apart dead people’s possessions. He dons what looks like the pilot’s shirt, complete with epaulets and gold thread. Those wacky kids!

Chris and his death wish have found another large piece of wreckage, which he enters readily. Guess what? It’s very eerie in there. A few walkers are still strapped into their seats. One is even wearing his oxygen mask, the little one that falls from the ceiling when the cabin pressure drops too much. One passenger, however, is not dead. He is human, and he pleads with Chris for help.

Mad Mom confronts Strand. She asks him if they are going to MEXICO. Actually, he’s going to Baja, where an oasis awaits: Clean water, food, really tasty fish tacos.

Back to the suitcases. Daniel sifts through the abandoned belongings with considerably more sensitivity than Nick and Felicia. Nick gives Daniel a quick course in basic pharma right before Daniel notices that Chris is out of view. Chris is trying to help bearded injured man, whose spine is sticking out of his back. “Help me,” he whispers hoarsely. Does he want Chris to end his suffering? Yep. Not quite the same when your subject is human. After several whacks, the deed is done. Daniel searches for Chris fruitlessly as the winds whip across the dunes. Nick hits the mother lode in one suitcase; I don’t think he stumbled across a supply of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Nick advocates "Small Pharma" to Daniel.
Daniel sees a figure running toward him. It’s the young Asian woman yelling, “They’re coming! Run!” She keeps running, but Daniel gets his gun out. That’s an awful lot of walkers, though. Nick hears that unmistakable rasping sound. It’s a walker stuck in the sand up to his waist at the bottom of a sandy crevasse, being munched on by hungry crabs. How does it feel, buddy? Not so good when the shoe is on the other foot, eh? Naturally, Nick loses his footing and falls in said crevasse. Luckily, he pulls something sharp out of his pocket just in time to stab Ironic Walker in the head. Unfortunately, another walker approaches the edge of the hole and also loses his footing, falling on top of Nick.

Felicia finds Chris. Before they have a chance to speak further, they hear distant gunshots. Mad Mom hears the commotion and alerts Strand. On shore, the gang is being assailed by a horde of walkers who appear to have all turned during Coachella. Yes, they were all dressed by Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. Young, fit zombies, with toned limbs! And really nice hair.
When bad three-day music festivals get worse.
Travis’ strategy of handling everyone’s shit has paid off, but his peeps are struggling to stay alive on the beach. Whack, whack, whack. Snap snap. Going to extended outdoor music festivals whilst smoking a ton of pot makes you hangry. Nick is covered in zombie blood. He goes native, growling and getting up in the grill of a walker. Young Asian woman helps them pull the rowboat out to sea. Strand is totally bummed that “there’s more.”

He draws the line at picking up more people. Mad Mom spills the beans about Baja. The gang doubts, but Travis backs her up. The boy in the boat is dying. Travis suggests that the yacht tow the survivors rather than letting them aboard the boat. Strand seems to agree. The gang supplies the dinghy with food and water. This strategy doesn’t suit Felicia, cause at Berkeley every one is really nice to each other and stuff, mmmkay?

Nick, still bloodied but with a clean face, presents Ofelia with a pilfered rosary on deck. The two survivors in the dinghy press on. The young woman comforts her partner: “This is the worst it’s gonna be…every day will be a little better.” Strand swiftly rushes down from his perch to sever the thick rope tethering the dinghy to the yacht. Scratch that; from here on it's total shite. Mad Mom cries out, but it’s done. I can’t figure out the significance of the episode’s title. Too tired.