Things get even more intense in the second episode of ‘Fear The Walking Dead,’ especially when Madison is forced to kill someone she knows after they become a part of the living dead.
On the Aug. 30 episode of Fear The Walking Dead, the breakout causing the dead to come back to life continues to spread. While Madison (Kim Dickens) desperately tries to keep her children — Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Nick (Frank Dillane) — safe, Travis (Cliff Curtis) is forced to head deep into the city to find his son, Chris ().
The overall vibe of the opening scene of Fear The Walking Dead‘s second episode is sadness. The camera takes you through the halls and classrooms of the empty high school Madison and Travis work in, which is also where Alicia goes to school. When we finally zone in on one character, it’s Alicia, and she’s walking down an empty street in a residential area. You can hear helicopters flying nearby, and although no cars pass her there are a few kids on skateboards that appear to be on their way home from school.
Alicia finally stops in front of a house, and you can see from where she’s standing that the front door is open. There is no one around, and considering that in the Aug. 23 episode her boyfriend (Maestro Harrell) suddenly went missing and stopped responding to text messages about 30 minutes in, it’s safe to assume that this is his house. It’s also safe to assume that Alicia probably shouldn’t be there, and that her boyfriend, Matt, is likely in there eating his parents. Gross.
The house is silent and dark as Alicia steps inside, and although she hesitates at the door she still ends up walking up the first few steps to a hallway. She calls for him, but there’s no response. Shocker. She continues her search for Matt by going through the living room, and in there she finds a vase of flowers and a floor lamp has been knocked over. The glaring red flag of disaster doesn’t stop her from her mission, and she continues through the room into the kitchen. Something catches her eye, and you can hear the faint sound of gurgled breathing getting louder and louder. When she finds whoever — or whatever — is making the awful noise, horror is written all over her face. Unfortunately, we can’t see what it is she is because the show cuts to credits. Damn it!
Madison & Travis Plan To Leave Los Angeles
After credits we learn that Alicia’s search for her boyfriend is happening at the same time Madison, Travis, and Nick are making their great escape after walker Calvin (Keith Powers) attacked them in the tunnel. Travis peels out of the tunnel so quickly he nearly gets hit by an oncoming tractor trailer, but that isn’t the scariest thing they’ve seen all day so it’s not as big of a deal as you might think. As they continue driving, Madison is calling Alicia to find out where she is, and Travis is calling his son, Chris, demanding he call back immediately because it’s an emergency. Uh, yeah, that’s an understatement. It’s worth noting that not one of them calls the police to report that Calvin is still, somehow, walking the earth after being shot in the chest and then hit by a car twice.
However, Nick seems unconcerned with finding his little sister and other loved ones. Instead, he’s become obsessed with the radio and is trying to listen to the reports by switching between channels. One report reveals there has been a massive spike in police related shootings in the “past 48 hours,” and another features someone claiming “a disaster of biblical proportions” — but it’s then revealed he’s talking about football. For whatever reason, Travis doesn’t want to hear any of this, so he continues yelling at Nick to stop. Nick listens, but when he sits back he’s confused by what he heard. “No one’s talking about this, no one’s saying anything,” Nick says, baffled. And he’s right. It’s like the dead coming back to life is a dirty little secret that no one wants to address, but you just know that someone somewhere knows what’s going on and is desperately trying to keep it a secret. Why?
Travis tells Madison and Nick that it’s time for them to “get away” from the city, people, and whatever it is that’s happening. He tells her they have to get the rest of the kids and get out of town, and Madison agrees. At that moment, Madison’s phone rings and it’s Alicia — finally. Madison immediately starts rambling about how she needs to start packing so they can leave as soon as they pick her up, but something’s wrong. Alicia isn’t interested in any of that, and when she finally gets a chance she tells her mom that she’s with Matt and that’s really sick. That’s when we finally see her sitting next to Matt’s body, and even though he’s alive he’s covered in sweat and clearly dying. Madison tells Alicia not to touch Matt and to call 911, but Alicia says “it’s busy.” Not a good sign.
As Travis and Madison rush to find Alicia, we see Chris getting on a city bus filled with other people. He ignores a call from Travis and takes a seat in the back, listening to music and ignoring the rest of the world. Also not a good sign.
Alicia’s Boyfriend Reveals He’s Been Bitten
When Madison finds Alicia, she’s laying in bed with Matt. Madison immediately asks her to get away from him, but Alicia refuses and reminds her mom that if Matt has something, then she already has it, too. Travis intervenes and asks if he can talk to Matt, and that’s when Alicia finally gets up. Travis sits on the bed next to him and asks about Matt’s parents, who are apparently “driving home” from Las Vegas — though it’s worth noting that Alicia mentioned earlier that she tried calling them and they were not answering. Suspicious.
Once Alicia steps out of the room, Travis notices that Matt has something on his shoulder and reaches to check it out. It looks as if he’s been bitten by someone, but wouldn’t he know if he had? His skin is red, tender, and a little bloody. Madison ask if it’s a bite, and Matt nods. “Is that how it happens?” she asks Travis, but he admits he doesn’t know. He also brings up that Calvin was shot, not bit, as far as they know. Alicia returns, and Madison stops her at the door and tries to convince her to go to the car. Alicia, of course, refuses, and that’s when Matt calls her over. He can barely speak, he’s covered in sweat and his eyes are bloodshot, but he’s trying to tell her to go. He mentions that his parents will be home soon and he’ll be fine, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Of course she finally caves, and Madison thanks Matt before pulling Alicia off of him and leaving with Travis.
While this was happening, Nick was ransacking the house in hopes of finding something, anything that would help calm him down. He’s still going through a heroin detox, remember.
Back to Chris on the bus, it seems as if traffic has prevented him from actually getting anywhere. When sirens start blaring he stands up to watch an ambulance pass by, and a moment later someone jumps on the bus yelling that a cop shot a “homeless” person at least “20” times. Everyone piles off of the bus, but Chris hesitates. It’s unclear whether or not he can hear what’s going on because he is playing his music so loudly, and it’s concerning to think he’s not paying attention during such a tense situation.
When Travis, Madison, Alicia, and Nick arrive home, their neighbor calls to them and invites them to a birthday party. Their daughter just turned nine, and the mother complains that they have a lot of food and people keep canceling because of the “bug” going around. As they head inside they notice another one of their neighbors is packing up the car. Unfortunately, the man is also coughing as he does so.
Nick is in full panic mode once he gets in the house, and he heads straight to the window to do some people watching. When Madison walks in the room he asks her why she isn’t telling their neighbors what they know, but she explains that she really doesn’t know anything. Nick continues to push though, and he tells her that it feels like it’s not real because no one else seems to be reacting to it. He’s right. There is something very bizarre about how most of the people they encounter seem completely and totally unaffected by the sirens, helicopters, shooting videos, and everything else going on.
Nick’s Withdrawal Kicks In At A Terrible Time
Since Travis can’t get in touch with his son, he decides to take a ride over to his ex-wife’s house to get them both. He wants to bring them when he and Madison hit the road, but unfortunately his wife refuses to listen to him when he gets her on the phone. While Travis is stuck in traffic, we see Chris wandering the street of Los Angeles as hundreds of other people pile into the street to see what’s going on. As he follows the crowd, Chris sees a police officer getting treated for a bite on his arm. Not good.
Back at the house, Nick’s withdrawal is now in full swing. He’s shivering, sweaty, and puking as Madison calls doctors to try and get him a prescription to get through it. Eventually Alicia convinces her she has to go to the doctor to get them, and even though Madison doesn’t want to leave them she has no choice.
Things in Los Angeles get awkward as people start to crowd a crime scene where officers have killed what we can only assume was a walker. Unfortunately, the general public seems clueless as to what’s going on, so instead of running in the other direction like they should be doing… they decide to riot. Chris has decided to film the confrontation, which in turn gets him noticed — and threatened — by the police.
Meanwhile, for some reason Madison skipped going to the doctor and instead went to the high school. The parking lot is completely empty when she arrives, as are the halls once she gets inside. Just when you think something terrible is going to happen, Madison nearly jumps out of her skin because her student, Tobias, startles her. What is he even doing there?
You might remember that during the first episode Madison confiscated a knife from Tobias because he brought it to school. He was the only one concerned about the “bug” going around at the time, and now it turns out he was right. He asks Madison for his knife back and she obliges, likely because she knows he needs to be able to defend himself now. This still doesn’t explain why he was lurking the halls of the school, but at least Madison wasn’t alone.
Something interesting happens when Madison locks up her office. She pauses outside the door and looks through the window longingly, as if she somehow knows she’ll probably never step foot in there again.
Madison & Tobias Save Each Other’s Lives
When we return to the house, Nick’s withdrawal seems to be getting worse. He’s laying on the floor when Alicia brings him soup, and once he takes a whiff of it he starts throwing up again. Gross. He doesn’t perk up until Alicia puts on her backpack to leave, and he begs her not to go. “You won’t come back,” he tells her, trying to explain that Matt is dangerous. Alicia is stubborn and doesn’t listen, and it makes you wonder why Madison and Travis didn’t tell her what happened with Calvin. Is she young? Yes, but she’s a teenager, and she should know the truth so she doesn’t put herself in danger. Like right now.
Alicia walks out of the house, and as soon as she does she hears Nick hit the floor again. She pauses on the walkway and then decides to go back in only to find her big brother having a seizure on the floor. Alicia runs to help him, but even as she’s helping him she’s screaming at him not to do “this” to her. Is it still okay to call her selfish even though she’s helping him?
Travis finally gets to his ex-wife’s house, and when he arrives he finds out she has no idea what’s going on. Why am I surprised? She didn’t see the video of the shooting that went viral earlier that day, and she doesn’t seem the slightest bit concerned about their son, Chris. Travis is smart enough to find her cell phone and call Chris, which is when he finally answers. Chris tells Travis about the shooting, the homeless man, and how he’s part of a protest against the cops. Travis desperately tries to get him to say where he is, but Chris more or less hangs up on him without a straight answer. Thankfully, his mom turned on the news while Travis was on the phone with Chris, and she knows where they are almost immediately.
Madison is now relying on Tobias and his conspiracy theories to get her through the school. He tells her that looters will go through the pharmacies first, then supermarkets, and he’s probably right. Together they find the school cafeteria’s stash of food, and Tobias starts to pull boxes and cans off of the shelves. He tells Madison to take food too, but she tells him they have plenty. Chances are that they definitely do not.
Tobias goes on with his theories, telling Madison that society will crash faster than she expects. For some reason she’s convinced that it, whatever “it” is, can be contained. Right as they are about to leave they hear something, and the noise leads them to the sound system in the main office where the principal, Artie, listens in on classrooms for evaluations. They can hear what sounds like a woman making that awful gargling noise, and Madison immediately tells Tobias they have to go. They take the cart full of food that Tobias took and push it into the hallway before taking off on foot to find an exit. Once they push through one set of double doors they see the principal, Artie, lurking down the hallway. You can see blood on his shirt — a lot of blood — but Madison calls out to him anyway. Ugh, why?
Despite the fact that Tobias tells her not to, Madison crosses the hallway to try and reach Artie. It’s clear she has a connection to him, he was definitely a friend as well as her boss, and she seems upset to see him as a walker. Although, to be fair, she doesn’t realize he’s a walker. Artie comes after Madison and she tries to resist, but he’s too strong for her. That’s one of the most interesting things of the show, seeing walkers who are so fresh and put together. They are stronger, faster, and even though they aren’t as gory looking as the ones on The Walking Dead, they are much scarier.
Surprisingly enough, Tobias comes to Madison’s rescue. He uses his knife to push Artie off of Madison, but the walker just keeps coming back. Artie finally grabs hold of Tobias and they tumble down a flight of stairs. It’s nothing short of a miracle that Tobias doesn’t end up bit, and he desperately tries fighting off Artie as Madison figures out how to help. The only thing she can think to do is rip the fire extinguisher off the wall, rush down the stairs, and clock Artie in the head to get him off of Tobias. It works, but not well enough. Artie comes back not once, but twice. When Madison finally goes in for the kill, she hits Artie in the head with the metal canister multiple times. Once it’s over, she stands there in shock, clearly horrified with her own actions even though they saved her student.
Once outside, Madison gives the high school the same longing look she gave her office. She definitely knows her time there is done. Poor Tobias lost all of the food he gathered from the school, but thankfully he gets a ride home from Madison. She offers for him to stay with her family, but he declines. Probably a bad decision.
Travis & His Family Get Trapped In Los Angeles
Travis and Liza finally find Chris in the middle of a large, angry crowd in Los Angeles. They force him out of the crowd, but just as the three of them are getting ready to leave another walker comes up. A police officer tries to get the walker to stop, but the only way to get it down is by shooting it. This sends the crowd into a frenzy, with people running everywhere to escape the gunshots. Travis, Liza, and Chris make a great escape but the riots have already begun. As they run down a sidewalk they see people knocking over mailboxes and shaking cars, which is terrifying.
As things progressively get worse, they find a man closing up his shop who lets them inside — but only after his wife tells him it’s okay. Travis acts a little crazy once they get in because he wants to see the other exits and the roof, but the man repeatedly tells him no. Once Travis realizes how he’s behaving he calms down and introduces himself, Liza, and Chris. He tells them they just need somewhere to “ride out” the initial chaos and then they’ll go home. Talk about getting lucky during the apocalypse!
Madison finally gets home safely, and Nick is thrilled to see her because she brings him painkillers to cut down on his withdrawal. Alicia is less than thrilled, but that changes after she overhears Madison crying on the phone with Travis. Throughout the conversation there were explosions and gunshots on Travis’ end, but they stopped once his call got cut off. When Madison walks out of the bathroom to find Alicia standing there listening, she ignores the teen’s questions and walks out of the room.
Later in the living room they hear the screams of their neighbors, and both Alicia and Madison run to the window. It’s the family that was having the birthday party earlier today, and possibly the man who had been coughing while packing up his car. Alicia tries to go help them but Madison forces her stop and ignores all of Alicia’s questions about what’s really going on.
Let me know, HollywoodLifers — What do YOU think about FTWD so far? Were you surprised Madison was able to kill Artie? Do you think the family will get out of Los Angeles? Comment below!
— Lauren Cox