Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Aye Chihuahua (Wait, Is That Racist?)

Episode 9, Season 2: “Los Muertos

What should we call this latest episode? How about “The Dead”? Too fucking obvious? Right…How about “Los Muertos”? That’s Spanish, for the same thing folks. Again, AMC, please try a little harder when you are struggling to come up with episode titles. Take a lesson from The Walking Dead and make them so obscure that we have to Google them to glean a minimal understanding.

Nick, again. He’s in the “hospital,” a.k.a. the back of a taqueria, next to a lady coughing up blood. After he leaves, the town isn’t looking quite as nice as it did before. Its crappier aspects have come into view. He meets a little girl looking tearfully into the distance. In this town, they feed the dead with human sacrifices, just like the good old days! We’re talking Aztecs and Mayans. Aren’t there any errant Chihuahuas available, God Dammit! The living even have a nifty religious sounding chant to repeat while some poor sod gets ripped apart by useless dead people. That sod is the little girl’s daddy.

"Yo quiero...to leeve another day."
Finally, we return to Madison (a.k.a. Mad Mom), black Strand, and Alycia (or is it Felicia?). But so fleeting! Nick, again. The pharmacist who helped him earlier is tending to the old and sick. Lady Gang Leader hovers nearby. Strand et al. discover that The Abigail is gone, taken by the military. Mad Mom suggests waiting around for Nick, who always finds his way home like a stray dog. Alycia’s not so romantic about his prospects. The gang minus Nick and Travis pile up in a decent pickup truck to check in to a luxury high-rise hotel, located right on the beach. It was barricaded with chairs. Strand dings the bell for service.

 Lady Gang Leader recruits Nick for a special job. It involves smearing himself with zombie guts and keeping his mouth shut; one out of these two things he can do very well.

In the hotel, Ofelia, Strand, and MM find a grody uneaten wedding cake. Alycia wants to check the minibars for canned nuts. Strand and MM hit the bar.

How does she do it? The perfect coif without water, conditioner, or keratin.
Nick and his new lady boss chat. The pharmacist, she reveals, was bitten, but he has not turned. Sounds like voodoo to me. Drug dealers have taken over, and you know what? It’s not so bad. Lady Boss exchanges medicine for water, but the deal has changed. The old bait and switch! She grabs a shopping cart, and they enter one of the ugliest Costcos ever. At the Mexican Costco, armed clerks patrol the aisles to make sure you aren’t stealing anything. With a full cart, the duo try to leave, but turns out Nick was smuggling snacks. Oh, no, Nick. As they prepare to chop off Nick’s hand, Nick notes that the chopper’s sister needs Oxy or else she’ll die from withdrawal. Somehow, he gets the guy to stop and listen. They have drugs for her, if they get to take more water. Nick’s insatiable craving for Mexican Cheetos has proved to be his potential undoing!

While Strand and MM get wasted on tequila, Ofelia and Alycia go room to room to get stuff. Do Not Disturb sign means “pissed off zombie inside. Please replace towels later.” They do find peanuts, though. A zombie who tried to hang himself from the showerhead is still there, and is waving his arms desperately. They leave and flip the sign on the knob to DND. Later, Alycia finds some booze. She ponders why the dude in the shower gave up so quickly. Ofelia is less sanguine about their future. What’s the point of hope? Alycia tries some gurl bonding with her to make it better. Strand and MM meanwhile, continue to drink. He assures her that Nick is fine. MM reveals that Nick is just like his dad; a drug addict with a death wish. He died in a car crash, when he was probably high. Travis can only fix so much. MM regrets having kids. Strand tickles the ivories a little, but the piano is horribly out of tune and cacophonous. Guess what zombies like to listen to?

Alycia takes a shower and offers Ofelia to do the same, but the older woman is nowhere to be seen. Alycia ventures out on the balcony, where she can see all the other balconies, from which suicidal zombies are throwing themselves. But they get up afterwards! Ofelia has ventured too far in the hotel and has gotten herself into a pickle of a jam.

Back in town, Nick and the pharmacist discuss fate and faith in the context of a diminishing water supply and no medicines. As the man leans over, Nick sees his shoulder bite.

A lot of zombies want a drink, too, so Strand plays sober guy and tries to herd Mad Mom out of there in a hurry. Images of a religious service for the dead and the zombie bar room brawl duke it out. Nick gets into the chanting too. Strand and MM are the world’s most inept bartenders, and they are surrounded by really angry alcohol-dependent patrons who aren’t leaving until they get their speecy Bloody Marys.

Monday, September 5, 2016

FWD Returns with Dirty Dogs, Dirty Nick, and Fish Tacos (Finally)

Episode 8, Season 2: “Grotesque

Father, it’s been waaaay too long since my last confession. I cannot provide you with an adequate recap of the last episode because my mind was consumed with other pressing issues that arose during the summer hiatus, among them a head lice infestation and Blue Apron. I will say that calling this episode “Grotesque” is like calling an episode of Cupcake Wars “Delicious.” It’s like, ADOY, how lazy can you be, AMC?

Nick wakes up in kind of a nice house, zombie apocalypse nice, that is. A lady with a deep voice is getting ready to drive south with a little boy who waits outside. Nick discusses zombie refuges where weirdos like Cecelia can “embrace the dead.” I understand the logic of avoiding walkers rather than actively hunting them down, but sustaining them with live chihuahuas doesn’t seem like a sound policy either. The lady and kid drive off leaving slimy guts-covered Nick to trek across the arid landscape to a singer-songwritery soundtrack.

Only 100 miles to Tijuana! Is Nick on his way to see slutty bitches shooting ping-pong balls out of their vaginas? Or watching donkeys engage in unspeakable acts with—oh, back to the show. Nick has come across a car accident. Then, he has a flashback to pre-zombie days. He thumb wrestles with a pretty thin blonde. No shampoo to be had back then either, because Nick’s hair is as greasy and limp as it is now.

They do some kind of play-acting therapy session wherein she pretends to be Nick’s shitty dad. Embrace. Back to an even dirtier Nick making his way to Tijuana, renowned for its “raucous bars and souvenir shops,” according to Google. He enters an empty house. Good place to camp out. Builds a fire. Swigs some water. So far, I’m missing the zombies. Zero action.

A woman armed with a metal baseball bat takes several swings at Nick and banishes him from said hacienda as her child cowers in a dimly lit corner. Guess that’s HER abandoned house. He’s on the road again. Abandoned cars with a few walkers in them. Nick snatches one zombie’s water bottle. It’s not like she’ll be needing it anymore. Then he snatches her transistor radio from the dash. Naaah, naaah! Give that baaaack! Water, maybe, but electronics a zombie will not part with. A car filled with tough-looking Mexicans pulls up in the distance. They’re scavenging, too. Nick crouches down as they spear skulls, but the static from his new radio goes off at the wrong time. Nick heads for zee hills with the mad Mexes in tow.

He reaches a clearing, all out of breath. Is he safe for now? Nick is hot. He steps on a cactus and hurts his foot. Channeling his American Indian smarts, he busts open a piece of cactus and drinks. A few drops come out. Nick eats said cactus and has a good purge. After puking up a few pounds, bulimic Nick pees and drinks his urine. Does the fun ever start?

It’s cold at night in the desert, so Nick comforts himself with another flashback. Mad Mom is picking him up from an institutional hallway. Mad Mom reports that his dad was in a car accident and died. This is clearly before MM met her Maori warrior Travis.

Back to reality. A vicious cur attacks Nick as if he were a walking piece of filet mignon, or at least a very tough flank steak. Two dogs, to be exact. He saves himself by climbing up onto the rusted pickup he was sleeping against. A horde of zombies come loping across the plains, and the mean dogs think, alright! Smorgasboard. The feral dogs, however, are no match for ravenous walkers, and Nick watches with some satisfaction as they are devoured by the dead. After the canine appetizers, Nick tries to make himself invisible to the dead on the unfortunately creaky old truck. His leg is badly bitten, and on top of that he’s been spotted. Luckily, car honking sounds in the distance, plus the firing of bullets, music by which they love to groove.

"Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts..."
Nick is free to hobble over to the dead dog for a quick snack himself. He blends in with the walkers as he limps his way across the desert. He’s also hallucinating, which is not ideal when you are trying to blend in. The horde hits the highway. Why do these guys travel in packs? A jeep with armed men stops in front of them to pick off some zombies. Why not, there’s no Facebook. Nick kind of stands out, being alive, and all. One stops to reload so he can get some shots in at Nick. The two gunmen are overtaken and eaten.

The remaining gunmen can’t figure Nick out, who in the meantime has collapsed in the middle of the road because man cannot live on emetic cacti and rabid dog flesh alone! Flashback to better days, when Nick was doing drugs with his druggie blonde girlfriend. Looks like heroin, his fave. To add insult to injury back in the present day, a pounding thunderstorm commences as Nick lies in the road. Good news: he’s not thirsty anymore! Bad news: His camo blood and guts are washing off.

Nick…again, and he’s still dirty, and still limping. He’s reached a medium-sized town. Nobody around, of course, but a welcome change of scenery. He drags himself into a pharmacia. Ugh, nothing useful! He ends up in a barber shop, where the female gang leader and her henchies confront him. They chat a bit, and leave. Nick goes to a shitty medical clinic to get his rancid leg looked at. If you think Obama Care is bad, try post-apocalyptic medicine in Mexico! LOL, a little political humor. A “doctor” cleans his wound as Nick winces. “Death is not meant to be feared,” he warns, “But it doesn’t mean it should be pursued.” EXACTLY.

"Welcome to MexCare! I'm not a real doctor, and I am not actually treating you."
This town Nick found is a nice place…for a shithole. Taco stands, open-air market, happy barking dogs that aren’t trying to tear you limb from limb. He actually smiles. Did I mention the hipster soundtrack as well?

Nick is soooo happy to have tacos again. Diarrhea be damned!