"When civilization ends, it ends fast." That's the story "Fear The Walking Dead" continued to tell on Sunday night, as it returned for its second episode – "So Close, Yet So Far."
Downtown, in this fictional version of Los Angeles, authorities kept the secrets that they'd learned about the walking dead, and as a result, a protest popped up and the tense situation spiraled into a full scale riot that left Travis, his son Chris and ex-wife Liza trapped in the middle of it. Meanwhile, at the school, Madison learned even more about the infected (walkers) and how society will unravel (thanks, Tobias), as she struggled to get home to try and keep her children, Alicia and a detoxing Nick, safe.
It's hours before the riot on a sunny day in Los Angeles, and Principal Art is walking through the halls of his empty high school. Class is most definitely out, and although he doesn't know it yet, it's out for good.
Madison's daughter Alicia has her headphones on as she walks down a street, oblivious to danger. It's clear something is wrong though when she arrives at a house and the front door is not just unlocked, it's open. "Matt?" she calls out, looking for her boyfriend (who we met briefly in last week's episode when she ditched class to watch him paint by the bleachers). Matt never made it to their meeting spot in Venice, so she's here to look for him. Walking inside, Alicia looks around -- slowly. A lamp has been knocked over. Flowers too. Around the corner though, she sees something that makes her stop. "Oh my God!" Alicia says.
Screeeeccchhh! After the opening titles, "Fear" quickly cuts to Travis, Nick and Madison speeding out of the tunnel by the river where they left walker Calvin. "We need to get away from this -- from people," Travis says, as the family decides the desert is their best option. Madison reaches Alicia on her cell, and begs her daughter to get ready, to get supplies. The teen can't. Matt's burning up. Madison advises her daughter to stay away from him as they rush over. Worried about Chris, his son with ex-wife Liza, Travis tries to get him on the phone, but the teenager, on a bus to downtown, hits ignore.
Pulling into the driveway, Madison, Travis and Nick head inside to find Alicia ignoring mom's advice. Cuddled up next to her sick boyfriend, Alicia wipes Matt's fevered brow. "If he has it, I have it," she explains. Having now seen a few things during the Calvin incident, Travis moves closer and offers to help Matt as he sends Alicia to get some water (meanwhile Nick is poking around the bathroom, clearly looking for meds). Worried girlfriend safely out of the room, Travis pulls Matt's shirt back. "Is that a bite?" Madison asks after spotting a nasty looking wound on Matt's shoulder. Knowing things are bad, Matt does the honorable thing and convinces Alicia to leave with her mom and Travis. He puts on a brave face as he lies to her, telling her his parents will no doubt be home soon.
A peaceful (but very wrong) picture greets the family as they get home. Across the street, the neighbor is having a party – with a bouncy castle -- for her daughter, who is turning 9. Next door, neighbor Pete is loading his car with supplies (but coughing all the while).
"It's real. You saved us. You had no other choice," Madison tells Nick when they get inside. It's a nice moment, but cut short as Nick lets his mom know that he's about to start withdrawal. She'll take care of him, while Travis heads out to get Chris. But, that is easier said than done. Liza, his ex-wife, isn't happy Travis is heading over. "Our settlement agreement was very clear," she tells Travis, before hanging up on him.
On the couch, Nick is cleary in pain. Withdrawal is setting in and Madison can't reach the doctor for a prescription, so she takes matters into her own hands, hopping into the car and heading to the high school. Behind Art's desk, she grabs some keys and walks down the hall to a cabinet filled with confiscated contraband. Prying open the doors, she pulls out a few bags of narcotics when someone comes up behind her – Tobias. "Can I have my knife back?" the teen asks.
While Tobias starts planning for the walker apocalypse by collecting industrial sized cans of food, downtown, Chris hops off a bus after he hears police have shot a homeless man. Breaking out his video camera, Travis' son starts filming the protest, something the police are not happy about. As one of the officers gets on his radio, there's an eerie feeling in the air. Something bad is about to happen.
Liza doesn't realize what's going on, or how much danger her son is in when Travis arrives at her apartment. In loose terms, he tries to explain what's going on. People get sick, and they get violent. A moment later, he grabs Liza's phone in an attempt to reach Chris. Downtown, Chris isn't happy his dad used his mom's phone to trick him into answering and he has no plans to stay on the call any longer. He's part of the protest, he tells his dad, refusing to give him a location. Luckily for Travis, Liza catches a news report about the protest on TV.
As Travis and Liza head out to find Chris, Madison escorts Tobias through the school. "The looters hit pharmacies first, then gun shops, liquor stores. The less you go out, the less chance you get exposed," he explains. Her plan of going to the desert is a good idea, he tells her as they chit chat, especially with communication about to fail. "They're going to contain it," Madison replies hopefully, as they wheel a cart full of food through the halls. An odd sound around the corner stops them in their tracks. Through the communication system Art used to listen in on Travis when he was teaching the other day (Jack London lessons), they hear a strange breathing. It's one of them, Tobias says! A worried Madison and Tobias run for it -- straight into Art. Only, it's not Art any more. He's a walker. Still not versed in walker behavior, Madison tries to reason with Art – they can get him help. Tobias lunges at walker Art with his knife. His fighting skills not at their best, walker Art gets the better of Tobias and Madison has to think fast. She grabs a fire extinguisher and smashes walker Art's head until he stops moving.
Although not (yet) fighting for their lives, it's an intense scene downtown too, as Travis and Liza find their son, who refuses to leave the protest. Just as they're dragging him away from the crowd, something happens. Stumbling from around a corner, a walker moves toward the police, who shoot her in the head. Riot police move in as Travis, Chris and Liza make a break for it. All exits out of the city are blocked as police move in and rioting escalates. Travis convinces a barber named Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades), his wife Griselda (Patricia Reyes Spíndola) and daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), to let them take shelter behind the shop's iron fence.
Safely behind the steel door, Liza turns to her ex-husband to ask him a question, the reality of their situation setting in. "What do you know? What have you seen?" she asks him. He struggles to explain something he can't quite make sense of.
Like Travis, Madison makes it behind a locked door too – her home (after dropping off Tobias, who declines to come with her family to the desert). She's got Oxy for detoxing Nick, who immediately starts crushing it up after asking her how much she has. "Enough," she says. Inside the bathroom, Madison breaks down as she washes off her jacket, which has Art's blood on it. Her tears are cut short when Travis calls. He can't get to her. Go to the desert, he advises her. They'll catch up. And then, just like Tobias predicted, their phones go dead.
As the night rolls on, Alicia worries about the phone service interruptions. Power's going in and out too. Looking out the window though, Alicia sees something truly terrifying. Their neighbor, the woman who had set up the bouncy castle for her daughter's birthday, is being attacked by Pete – walker Pete. Madison pulls Alicia inside and shuts the door. Downtown, inside the barbershop, Griselda continues praying.
"Fear The Walking Dead" continues in two weeks, on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 9/8c on AMC.
-- Jolie Lash