“Oh, it’s just a perfect day…” Or says the song opening this week’s new episode of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. This music plays as Nick relaxes, floating in the swimming pool like everything was normal. Of course, we know things are far from normal for his family. The zombie apocalypse is underfoot, and the military have moved into the neighbourhood.

It’s Day 9 of the new police state. The block is surrounded by a fence and under guard by the military. Madison’s family adjusts to their new roles. It looks like Travis is the new Mayor. The community helps each other, devoting their houses to treatment of the injured. The seriously ill have been removed and placed in a nearby base. Or so the authorities say.

There are also rolling blackouts and limited rations to help keep people pacified. This begs the question: How long will this neighbourhood be contained / quarantined?

This episode focuses on Travis’ ex-wife. She’s been helping neighbours by acting as a nurse. She’s saved 5 lives. When the real doctors arrive, her lie is exposed. Dr. Exner offers her a position at the nearby base.

By the end of the episode, she leaves with the barber’s injured wife, oblivious to any danger.

It seems like the barber is more suspicious than anyone. He delivers an excellent speech about his past. He talks of how his family said they’d be back, only to find their dead bodies. He suggests the same may be the case here. If he doesn’t return from the base, he wants Madison to watch out for his grown daughter.

This points our suspicions to the military, who could be gathering all sick or seriously injured people and killing them.

Travis’ son scans the horizon, checking the valley for signs of life. He sees someone shining a light at him, reflecting the sun back for a distress signal. It takes some convincing, but eventually Travis believes his son. He asks the military is they could pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top go check it out. He still thinks the best in people, and latches onto hope. Perhaps, this is why the military use him to pacify the community?

Travis makes a good counterpoint to his wife. While Madison seems to know what is right, he thinks about what is good. She will do bad, if it’s right. Last episode, Travis clung onto the hope of a cure, whereas Madison wanted to put their neighbour out of her misery. Interesting dynamics will surely grow more complex as the series progresses.

Meanwhile, Alicia’s storyline this week revolves around their neighbour. This was the first zombie she saw. It was her introduction to the apocalypse. She returns next door and finds a left behind suicide note. In a touching moment, she reads its contents, thinking about her boyfriend.

The highlight here was when she looked down at the fading drawing on her arm, the one he put there. She decides to tattoo it and make this memory permanent.

Back to Nick… who’s just been chilling out in the pool. He’s also been lying to his mom about kicking the drugs. When Madison brings him a pill he tells her that he doesn’t need it. That’s because he’s been stealing morphine from a sick neighbour in treatment.

Once Madison learns of the deceit she slaps some sense into Nick. She lets him have it. Her frustration boils over. It was a great performance from both.

We get another look at Nick’s relationship with his sister, as he lets Alicia into his room. She consoles him with a hug, in another touching moment. These characters are three dimensional. With the deliberate pacing, we get to know them a little better each episode.

This quality is what helps THE WALKING DEAD rise into the upper echelon of television shows. Sure, we’re watching a zombie show, but we actually care about these characters and what happens to them.

9 Days Later… Or 28?

Madison explores a nearby neighourhood, urged by the shining light Travis’ son saw in the distance. She doesn’t quite trust the authorities as much as Travis does. She needs to see, to believe. What she sees is fairly alarming. The streets are littered with dead bodies, some of which aren’t even infected zombies. There was also a rather ominous message scrawled in spraypaint, “This is our home.”

Is the military sectioning off each neighbourhood in order to kill them all? Is this foreshadowing what will happen to Madison’s neighbourhood? Are certain members of the public considered more valuable than others?

Is this base really rebuilding humanity’s efforts or is it a lie to protect the privileged and empowered?

The episode ends with the military taking Nick away. Dr. Exner examined him earlier, and could tell he’s an addict. Perhaps she is worried he could die from withdrawal and become a zombie?

Do the military know all about the virus and its effects, or are they just hedging their bets until they learn how someone turns into the walking dead?

Regardless, it was heartbreaking to watch Madison fight for her son. She’s helpless, for now.

What will happen next? Will Nick have to sneak away like he did with the hospital? And if Nick reunites with his family will they be chased while trying to make an escape? T

here are only two episodes left. Everything is ratcheting up to what should be a super intense finale.

What do you think?

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