Stop Using Hugs As A Weapon

Madison builds a wall to keep Mexicans out of her palatial paradise (and they pay for it!), Travis stitches up Baby James’ bullet wound with two shoelaces and a wad of Big League Chew, and Chris becomes the worst teenage son since Jayden Smith forced his father to let him “act” in movies. All this and s’mores happen in…

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Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 13: Date of Death

As predicted, Madison’s plan to leave a light on for Nick leads to uncomfortable racism for the rest of the group as they’re forced to stand behind a wobbly iron gate telling all manner of Hispanic folk to try the country next door “cuz we ain’t takin’ in no more foreign types!” And how awkward was that Travis let-in? Yeah, I forgot to mention that in the middle of all these angry French Revolutionaries eating cake in the streets (if an American leader in 2016 yelled “let ‘em eat cake,” by the way, they would be super popular), American super hunk Travis shows up and is let right in (through a Travis-sized opening in the gate) while the poor unwashed masses watch in dejected horror. He is curiously missing Chris.

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Thus begins another flashback (kind of) to the week Travis and Chris spent getting to know one another better as father and son. When we last saw Psycho Boy, he had just murdered a farmer (with a name, goddammit!) in cold blood for the sake of impressing his new Bro-Monster friends. Travis, in shock after witnessing what happened, quickly jumps to the aid of Baby James, the Bro who was shot in the leg by that jerk farmer. Although he’s no doctor, Travis can tell that the bullet went straight through James’ leg, which means that they don’t have to worry about digging out a slug. He has enough first aid training as a teacher to help stitch him up, but James needs time to heal.

Trav eventually pulls Chris aside and tries to talk about what happened, but having killed a man doesn’t even faze his son, who is busy cooking s’mores and bathing in beer and chicken grease. He tells his dad that he was helping his friends. However, that’s not a good enough excuse for Travis, who argues that Chris has only known the Americans for two days. But Chris thinks that he’s the king in this new world — it’s kill or be killed, he tells his dad. And it’s not that Chris is wrong, it’s just that he’s so douchey about it, it makes you want to believe he’s wrong. Although, dammit, he is totally right.

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A week passes and Travis wants them to stay a while longer to let James recover. James’ Bros don’t agree. They’re desperate to get back to San Diego for some hot Six Flags action, even though Travis keeps telling them that he watched the city burn. Travis tries to convince Chris to stay behind with him, but his son already has his mind made up. He thinks that they need the others to survive.

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The group lifts James into the back of a pickup truck, where Chris and Travis join him. They don’t get very far, though. Every bump in the road hurts James. Brandon refuses to stop until James finally passes out from the pain. They bring James back into the barn, but the others aren’t happy. As Travis tends to James inside, he overhears Brandon, Derek, and Chris discussing whether they should kill their friend. Travis tries to reason with them again, asking them to wait it out or leave him and James behind. It’s clear that the guys already have made a decision, and Travis is forced to steal a gun to protect himself and James.

Travis locks himself in the barn with James and lets him in on what happened. James isn’t surprised. Before they met Chris and Travis they had another friend in their group. The friend was bitten and made them promise to not let him turn. However, the guy had a change of heart when it came time for them to pull the trigger. Brandon couldn’t do it, so James stepped in to kill his friend. James knows that he’s the dead weight of the group and that it’s only a matter of time before they do the same to him.

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The two are interrupted by a knock on the barn door. It’s Chris, who claims that the others left to kill a wasted down the road. Travis is hesitant to let him in and pats him down for weapons when he finally does. Chris apologizes to his dad and tells him that he understands now what he was trying to teach him — that every life matters and no one is disposable. He even expresses fear of Brandon and Derek. However, Chris is the Lando Calrissian of the Walking Dead world, and it’s a trap! Chris tackles his dad, yelling for his friends to enter the barn. Brandon has a gun pointed at James, and Derek has one pointed at Travis. James begs for mercy, but Brandon shoots him in the head anyway. It’s bad enough to trick your dad into letting you murder his patient, but to use a hug as a weapon is unforgivable.

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The Americans pack up the truck once again. Travis is not invited to go with them, nor does he want to. He begs Chris to stay with him and start over, but the teen already has his mind made up. Travis pleads that he’s barely 16 years old and will never be able to find him again. But there is no swaying Chris. He’s “adapting” to this new world and doesn’t need to be fixed. “Goddamn you, Chris,” Travis yells, his final words to his son as the truck pulls away. Yeah, we were all yelling that.

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Travis tells Madison the whole (excruciatingly long) story, explaining that he spotted the hotel lit up two days after walking towards the ocean. Madison is thrilled to have her boyfriend back, but Travis can’t stop thinking about Chris.

Travis’ story gets Madison thinking about her own family. She leaves to find Alicia in the parking garage with the other hotel residents. They ended up letting all 43 survivors at the gate in but are checking them for bites and other illnesses. The plan is to figure out who is safe and who is not, and then move from that point.

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Madison pulls Alicia away from the action to finally tell her the truth about how her father’s death was a suicide and not an accident. She continues that she was afraid of Nick turning out like him, and thought Alicia could handle herself. Madison says that she never loved her any less, but felt like she was “alright.” Alicia tells her it’s because she had to be. The mom and daughter apologize and appear to start with a clean slate. However, someone at the gates could ruin everything. Brandon and Derek arrive in the middle of the night — but Chris doesn’t appear to be with them.

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