Fear The Walking Dead S02E10 “Do Not Disturb” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- We open on the wedding that Team Hotel found last week. It’s pre-outbreak and the event is sweet and untidy and human. Watched over by hotel manageress Elena, the guests enjoy themselves until…
- The parents of the bride hear that the border is about to be shut and decide to close early.
- The father of the bride has a heart attack.
- The father of the bride dies.
- And the father of the bride gets back up.
- In the ensuing hysteria, Elena rushes to the doors and locks the guests in…
- Back in the present… it’s Chris and Travis… hurraaaayyyy!!!
- The Bad Choice Twins hotwire a car while Chris scavenges for supplies at a nearby gas station. He finds those supplies, as well as some Walkers (not crisps) and the very alive humans who the supplies belong to.
- Chris kills a couple of Walkers, grabs the food and runs back to the car.
- Chris and Travis drive off, bond over teaching Chris to drive and camp when they run out of fuel.
- Because that’s how Travis plans now.
- The two discuss whether things will ever get back to normal and are interrupted when the men Chris stole from arrive. Chris chooses that moment to tell his dad what he did and an uneasy truce ensues. Brandon, Derek and James are Americans who were trapped behind the border when it was closed. They just want to get back to San Diego and take the news their city is dead surprisingly well.
- Almost too well…
- Chris, of course, loves the three little nuggets of Bronium but Travis is less psyched. If he knew what Chris did – that the owners of that gas station had been very alive until they were very shot – he’d be even more worried…
- Back at the hotel Alicia is gearing up and doing remarkably sensible stuff; arming herself, counting Walkers and so on.
- Nonetheless she gets cornered between a group of them and an open lift shaft and jumps onto the cables. Elena, one floor up, rescues her and immediately puts her against a wall and demands to know where “he” is.
- Elena, it turns out, was the one luring Walkers into rooms and tagging the doors (hence the episode title). She’s missing her nephew, Hector, who the surviving guests took to try and get the hotel keys from her. Whoever has the keys controls the hotel.
- The two women forge an uneasy truce and use a neat bait-and-switch tactic to clear the corridor. Then, they head downstairs.
- Back at Team Bro, Travis and Chris accept a lift from the three newbies. Chris is completely at home with his fellow entitled sociopathic buddies but Travis is very much not. They stop when Chris spots a farm and Travis wants to stay. His plan, expressed earlier, was to find this exact spot: defensible, good food and its own water. Chris wants none of it, and runs off to help the Bros catch chickens.
- Travis finds gravestones.
- Chris catches a chicken.
- That’s pretty much as good as it gets for him.
- Back at the hotel, Elena comes clean about what she did and Alicia forgives her. They find the bar full of Walkers and Alicia almost tears the doors open before the guests arrive with their hostage, Hector. There’s an odd, fumbled handover of Hector and the bar doors being thrown open.
- Then there’s a fake-out involving a Walker that just happens to look exactly like Maddy that’s just awful. Let’s move on.
- Elena, Hector and Alicia are pursued through the passages under the hotel by the Walkers and saved at the last minute by Maddy and Strand.
- The farm owner shows up and shoots a Bro in the leg. Chris responds by shooting the farmer in the heart. He then offers his father his hand, Travis doesn’t take it and the episode sort of stumbles to a halt.
Well, that happened.
The good news is the hotel plot continues to be interesting. The better news is that Alicia is now officially sick of her family’s nonsense and handling business herself. The best news is she’s still learning. This is a show that only seems capable of having one character other than Strand be competent at any given time. We’re quite happy with Alicia being the designated Non-Strand Adult and long may it continue.
The guest faction is also a really good idea and it’s nice to see the flashback showing the awful thing Elena did. Nicer still that Alicia basically accepts it. Where Chris and Nick are being all macho about adapting to the new world, Alicia just is. She’s rapidly becoming one of the most interesting characters on the show and we’re really looking forward to seeing where this goes.
And then there’s Travis and Chris.
Chris is awful. Worse still, Chris makes Travis awful. Travis is supposed to be the pragmatic, good-hearted core of the show. Here he’s a man who thinks the best time to camp is when he’s run out of gas not when he’s somewhere safe. That may be intended to show why Chris is so morally adrift but Good Lord it’s hard work to sit through. The addition of the Bros doesn’t help matters either as we discuss in detail below.
But the big problem here is that Travis and Chris have, literally, been left behind. They’re still in the situation they were in a few episodes ago, albeit with Chris somehow being even more awful than before. Compared to the hotel plot and Nick at Colonia their scenes should crackle with emotional energy. Instead, they’re flat, paceless and increasingly irritating. With the addition of Elena, Luciana, Ilene, Alejandro and Hector the show’s cast is already getting very big. Something’s going to have to give and while we don’t think it’s going to be Chris and Travis it’s looking increasingly like it needs to be.
Oh well, back to Nick and Team Hotel next week.
- Chris not running the Walker over is a nice touch.
- The opening’s great. Likewise the surviving guests look to be an interesting new faction.
- Alicia being the single Manuwa/Clark kid to actually keep it together is great. More power to her butterfly-knife-wielding elbow please.
- Episodes since Chris was Awful: Zero.
- Travis apparently left his ability to plan at home with his shoes.
- The “Maddy’s a Walker, psyche!” moment is just NONSENSE. A Walker with the same hair, same basic build and identical wardrobe just happens to be in the hotel? Oh Sod off.
- None of the action works this episode. The “Will Elena leave Alicia to die?” thing feels forced and flat; the stand-off with the farmer much the same. Worst of all is the clash with the guests which ends with muddled nonsense: Alicia opens the door to the Walkers and… they… just sort of amble away?
- Where the Hell is Ofelia?
- The slut/fat shaming combo that the Littlest Brobo came out with really bothers us. Given the fact this episode’s screenwriter is female it’s basically certain she wasn’t doing this to intentionally go, “Ha! Women who are overweight are both sexually voracious and unattractive!” which is a good thing because that’s an awful thing to say.
- But the lines are still in the show (“Fat bottomed girls.” “More cushion for the pushin’”) so why are they there? Presumably to highlight the dreadful toxic masculinity of the entitled manbabies who are well on the way to challenging for Chris’ Worst Human Left Alive title. Looked at in those lights it’s meant to be a comment on that sort of bro culture, a culture that’s entirely too prevalent in entirely too many places. But the lines are still said. They’re still couched as a joke, still placed and delivered in a way that’s going to make some of the audience laugh along with them instead of take a step back. That’s unacceptable for us. So, while we can see what Signorino was aiming for, she doesn’t just miss but the scene strikes a nasty, unpleasant note the episode never recovers from. Viewed in context with Chris’ first real human murder that’s probably the point. But it doesn’t mean we have to like it and we don’t.
And The Random:
- Karen Bethzabe who plays Elena is an actress and producer has previously appeared on CSI and Switched At Birth. She’ll next be seen in Listen.
- Brenda Strong who plays Ilene Stowe, the bride’s mom, is a regular face on US TV drama. She played Nia on The 100, Ann Ewing on the Dallas reboot, Mary Alice Young on Desperate Housewives and Julia Brown on Everwood.
Review by Alasdair Stuart