So, the descent is accelerating. Things are beginning to fall apart; not in earnest, yet, but they’re headed in that direction.
Initially, I was disappointed. Based on what Madison and Nick were saying in the first few minutes, it appeared they were going to run right home to get Alicia and then head straight for the hills. That annoyed me because it felt like a pretty big jump for them to have made so quickly. The word ‘zombie’ isn’t being used. There’s no mass panic at that point. All they have is a police shooting (and, honestly, how is that unusual in modern times), and then the incident with Nick’s dealer-turned-zombie. If they’d run right for the cops, that would make sense. But to have the characters instantly leap to “and now we should run” strikes me as too prescient to be good writing. I had the same problem with their reaction to Matt, Alicia’s boyfriend. They went right to “sick people are dangerous.”
It’s a delicate balance. I know. If things spin out too far, the audience loses patience with the stupidity of the characters. Too short, and it’s hitting at my main complaint. So I know it’s tough. But it just felt like they were moving far too quick. Plus, for those of you who are less enamored with the storycraft side of things, if they leave so fast, you miss out on juicy zombie action.
But when mom and step-dad get home, they have delays that hold them in town. I’m still annoyed by how fast they’ve reached for the oh-shit button, but they’re not leaving just yet. Nick is now trapped by a police-citizen riot (which, we all know, will turn into a zombie horde within the day); and Madison goes to retrieve drugs from the school to help her son deal with withdrawal. Now, I’m in Atlanta. I’ve visited LA. Maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention out there; but is it just me or does it strike anyone else as a bit unbelievable there would be drugs at the school. I get that they were postulating them as seized from students or whatever, but still; wouldn’t they have been turned over to police as evidence, or else flushed? Keeping them around is just asking for students to break in and retrieve them. Remember, high school; that’s basically immature adults. Not kids; people who’ve grown enough to be as tall and strong as adults, but without the restraints of maturity and experience. If there was a room at a high school with drugs . . . forget the lock; the door wouldn’t even work properly from being broken and kicked open so often.
We got a little “shit is hitting the fan” setup from Tobias, the kid at the school. He’s sorta more or less the Casandra of the piece. Only he was only dismissed for about ten minutes of the first episode; and now Madison is going to be listening to anything he says.
Let’s move past all this though. Now we’ve got the core group split up. Madison is at home with her kids, and Nick may not be able to move reliably (even by car); while Nick is now separated and trapped elsewhere in LA. We’ve got some obvious drama staged here for an eventual will we/won’t we decision for either or both of them (Madison/Nick) to decide whether or not they split or look for the other. For example, Madison’s got her kids. Does she linger in LA as things get obviously apocalyptic, or do the smart Mom thing and bail out to save her kids? Sure she loves this new guy, wants to marry him; does she love him more than her kids? It’s the kind of decision only philosophy students and writers relish. And, of course, audiences eat up when done right.
As for Nick, I have a feeling he’s – other than a source of loving anguish for Madison – being positioned to have to probably end up choosing whether or not to save one or more of the people who’ve saved him and his ex-wife / kid. For example, if zombies break into the store/house, do they linger to help save the hosts who’ve sheltered them or just split to save themselves and leave the good people who took them in to be eaten? Something like that. Plus, however that bit plays out, we’ll then get Nick + ex + son (or maybe just two of them if someone gets eaten first, like the ex probably) on foot in the middle of a zombie infested area.
Good times ahead. Even allowing for some shallow setups and rushed writing, I think we can expect some fun stuff in the remaining four episodes.
Right now, the big problem is AMC is taking next week off. I can’t wait for the Netflix model to take over. Scheduling TV is so 20th Century. Dragging this out, making us wait, and now we have to wait even more because they feel the holiday weekend will impact their ‘regular’ viewing audience.
There’s a reason people keep cutting cords guys.
Oh well. Until next time, eat more brains!