*SPOILERS AHEAD … AND THE WORST WEDDING RECEPTION EVER*
There’s nothing quite like a wedding is there?
Love is in the air, happiness reigns, there’s laughter, drinking, heartfelt speeches and a wedding cake with enough calories to feed a small winter through a particularly harsh winter.
Time’s are good and the future is bright.
Alas, as all too often happens, the bride’s father has a heart attack on the dancefloor, dies and turns into a zombie – or more appropriately “The Wasted”, this episode’s newly-minted and hilariously-apt term for the undead – and eats the face of the bride.
Happens all the time right?
Well, at least it does in the flashback that begins “Do Not Disturb” that goes behind the scenes of the eerie Marie Celeste-like deserted wedding reception room at the Rosario Beach Hotel, which Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Clark) walked through last week.
Turns out there is quite a history to this wedding reception, one bloodily-soaked in sudden and much-regretted decision-making by a still-surviving and much-traumatised hotel manager Elena (Karen Bethzabe), who became Alicia’s reluctant ally this week as she tried to save mum Madison (Kim Dickens) and Victor (Colman Domingo) from the balcony-falling zombie hordes.
Tasked with keeping the hotel safe, a now impossible mission given the sheer prevalence of the dead and the all-encompassing state of the apocalypse, Elena locked the doors of the reception, trapping the entire wedding party, flower girls and all, in with the newly-undead.
That didn’t leave her feeling too good about herself – she breaks down when she and Alicia have to make their make through the room, a journey which includes running into the bride’s still-living mum Ilene (Brenda Strong) and widower Oscar (Andres Londono) who naturally don’t like her all that much and want control of the hotel – one of a thousands of different survivors who look tough and capable on the outside but are five steps from blubbering humanity on the inside.
In an episode that contains way more action than a Fear the Walking Dead episode since season 1 – a zombie zooming straight up to a door peephole, scaring the bejesus out of Alicia (and possibly a viewer or two) anyone? No, didn’t think so but you got him – we were reminded time and again that who you are before the apocalypse has a great bearing on who you are during the apocalypse.
Elena, for instance, may have been tough-as-nails on the outside, and yes she was eminently-capable, a legacy of her days managing the hotel, but inside she’s a decent caring person who simply wants her nephew Hector (Ramses Jimenez) back who is in the none-too-tender care of what remains of the wedding party.
She’s a great ally for Alicia – well eventually; takes some fast talking to convince Elena that the marooned survivor (where the hell is Ofelia?!) isn’t an embittered person in their tattered Sunday best and wedding cake crumbs in their teeth – and helps her get through to a bathroom at the end of a hallway where Madison and Victor are sheltering.
Yep a bathroom – safe but not exactly the kind of place you want to spend the end times.
Speaking of the end times, and we and some of the characters were – there’s that religious and iconography again, something which distinguishes Fear the Walking Dead from its parent show which is far less religiously-inclined – Travis (Cliff Curtis) and sociopathic son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) found themselves teaming up, against Travis’s better judgement with a bunch of goons who believed they were “gods”.
Yup take away the police and speed limits, add in giant tins of baked beans and no consequences, and young idiots will think they are Zeus and Jesus among he zombies. Something to look forward to huh?
In fact what Travis really wanted to look forward to, and kept trying to convince Chris to look forward to was a peaceful life on an elevated farm somewhere, a chicken here, a crop there and maybe, you know, a few trips to find Madison, who, you know, it could be nice to find, possibly, don’t get upset son, dammit, there you go again.
Alas Travis lost out to Chris’s new bromance with the d**kheads of the undead, Derek (Kenny Wormald), Brandon (Kelly Blatz) and James (Israel Broussard), who were determined to get back to the good old US of A and San Diego specifically, despite Travis warning them it was a smoking ruin.
Ha! What’s a smoking ruin full of the singed undead when you’re a bro’ and life as a foolish god beckons?
While their pre-existing bravado had got them this far – not it must be pointed that “Do Not Disturb” said this was a good thing, simply again that the “before” informs the “now”; we don’t change all that much, apocalypse or no apocalypse – it came closing to dooming them when the farmer of the farm when they’re stop in to take supplies decides he’d rather keep his chickens and crops thank you very much.
A stand-off ensues, people die and Travis realises that another person rotten to the core, something pre-existing that he had no insight into as a father to his growing regret, is his son Chris who fires the bullet that kills the farmer before acting as if nothing at all happened.
Cold, Chris, COLD and freaking scary.
Yep, the apocalypse is upon us, a new and brutish beast that affords no one any slack or mercy but the people init, the ones still alive that is, they are who they always were and whether you get through the end of days depends wholly on how good a judge of character you are.
Pick wisely and you’ll live; pick unwisely and well, like Travis, you probably won’t get that quiet life on the farm, at least not anytime soon anyway.
- If you thought “Do Not Distrub” was, well, disturbing, take a look at the promo for “Pablo & Jessica” which belies the title, one which makes the episode sound like a lovely Mexican rom-com but is, most assuredly, NOT …