Fear the Walking Dead: Date Of Death
“Date Of Death” is the penultimate episode of the second season of Fear the Walking Dead. You might expect the episode preceding the finale to set up some major conflict, but instead, this is a Chris and Travis story told largely in flashback. The outcome of the father-son struggle was apparent to us at the end of last week’s episode when we saw Travis all by himself. And yet, even as this episode ends, Chris’ ultimate fate is uncertain and we, the viewers, have learned nothing we didn’t already know.
If they gave out prizes for Stupidest Decision in a Zombie Apocalypse, Madison flipping on the hotel’s sign in “Pillar of Salt” would be nominated. This week, we see the immediate effects of that decision. Fortunately for Madison and the hotel crew, the sign has yet to attract the kind of people who would take their shelter from them by force. Instead, dozens of locals have gathered outside the gates begging for sanctuary.
Apparently, Madison as the group’s defacto leader has adopted the “poison Skittles” approach to governance. Rather than admit strangers to her newly formed community, Madison keeps the gates closed. She has a wall and someone in Mexico actually paid for it. I’m not trying to get overtly political, but intentionally or not the situation screams out for parallels to the immigration debate. Weirdly enough, we have an American excluding Mexicans from entering a Mexican hotel.
As if that wasn’t strange enough, Madison flip-flops her stance when her husband shows up. Travis cuts through the crowd and announces “I’m her husband”. Now, maybe I’m a bad guy for thinking this, but if the husband of the woman who was keeping me locked out of a safe spot during a zombie apocalypse was on the outside of the gate with me, I would interpret Travis’ statement to mean “I am the perfect hostage”. But no one prevents Travis from slipping through the gate when Madison cracks it for him. Despite superior numbers, they also refrain from pushing the gate open and storming the hotel. These people must be saints! Talk about your “extreme vetting”!
Travis is initially reluctant to talk about what happened to his son. Apparently, it is a tale that can only be told in flashback. But his story amounts to stuff the audience could have figured out for themselves. In a previous episode (“Do Not Disturb”) Travis and Chris met up with a few overgrown fratboy douchbages. The Bromigos sensed that Chris was as douchy as them, so they asked him to join their insane assclown posse. Chris, being the least likable character on a show full of unsympathetic characters, couldn’t sign up fast enough.
As an informal initiation, Chris ended the debate about what to do with the owner of the farm they were squatting on by shooting him in the head. Travis, who could relate to the farmer as a fellow family man who has lost most of his family, was devastated by the loss. He sets about digging a grave for the poor farmer and informs his son that he shared a birthday with the man he murdered. Chris, not surprisingly, could give a shit.
Chris’ new friends spend their screen-time demonstrating their awfulness in ways both big and small. When Travis recommends that rather than eating all the egg-laying chickens on the farm they should be eating the eggs, they tell him to stop being a drag. When they eat up all the chickens in a matter of days, these brotastic parasites are ready to move on. Only problem is, poor Baby James hasn’t recovered from his gunshot wound.
His “friends” don’t seem overly concerned with Baby James’ health. They want to pack him up in the back of a truck despite Travis’ warnings that James won’t survive the trip. When it becomes obvious that Travis is right, the boys reluctantly pull over. But they don’t have the patience to wait out James’ recovery. They want to put their bro out of his misery and Chris is totally cool with that. Only a complete dipshit like Chris would be eager to join a club that executes its members when they are injured. But, that’s Chris for ya.
Rather than leave James in Travis’ care, the guys insist on putting him down before they leave. Why? Reasons, I assume. Despite the fact that this is a major warnings sign that these guys are not good company, Chris hops into the back of the truck to take James’ place. Travis tries in vain to get him to change his mind as the truck pulls away.
Good bye, Chris. Have fun on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD!
When the episode ends, the Leader of the Pack is shown outside the gates of the hotel without Chris or his other minion. Did everyone in Mexico see that dang sign? Well, everyone but Nick anyway.