Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 13 “Date of Death”
Directed by Christoph Schrewe
Written by Brian Buckner
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Mercedes Mason, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia AMC
Air Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016, 9pm
Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead…
Last week on Fear The Walking Dead, Madison foolishly turned on the huge, red sign atop the hotel tower hoping to signal to her son, Nick, who had decided not to travel on with his family. But as expected, the lit sign instead was a beacon for every survivor in the area that a refuge was available. So, that’s why it’s not surprising that this week’s episode, 2.13 “Date of Death,” began by showing a large group of survivors banging at the chained-up hotel gates, desperate to get in. But the hotel group is too scared to let anyone else in, even though the people are pleading with them. Madison does feel remorse for having to turn everyone away after inadvertently luring them there. In the crowd, though, is Madison’s fiance Travis, who was separated from her at the end of the mid-Season 2 finale when he left to be with his disturbed son, Chris. Travis makes his way up to the front, and they manage to squeeze him in without anyone else getting in, and he is reunited with Madison! But, where’s Chris?, Madison and her daughter Alicia ask.
When we last saw Travis and Chris, they were in Mexico and had met up with some American Frat “Bros” – real douchebags. While Travis was repulsed by them, Chris wanted to be like them. They found a barn with chickens and then Chris shot the farmer, who shot one of the Bros, James, before he died. It was clear then that Chris had truly changed; he no longer valued life. It is all about his own survival. Travis, on the other hand, retained his humanity, as well as his common sense.
At the hotel, Madison and Travis gather in one of the rooms, and she tries to see if he needs anything. But he’s abrupt with her. He asks about Nick, and she says he didn’t come with them, and she thinks he went north to Tijuana. She then asks about Chris. “I had no choice,” Travis responds.
In flashback, we learn what happened with Chris and Travis after the farmer was killed. Travis tended to James’s gunshot wound, and then buried the farmer in the yard next to the rest of his family members. He later makes it a point to look around the house to find out the farmer’s name and birth date, and then carve it on the cross it put on the grave. The Bros didn’t seem to care too much about their friend in pain; instead, they made a campfire and roasted some chickens and drank some beer callously. Travis was not happy about any of this, and tries to warn them that they shouldn’t be indulging, but rather eating the eggs. He didn’t like James, but he doesn’t want him to die, and he’s upset that his own son killed a person that day and isn’t showing any remorse. Chris says he had to shoot the farmer because the man shot his “friend.” Travis says these guys are not Chris’s friends, but his son disagrees. Chris is one of the Bros now, and doesn’t want his father to mess things up for him. He says that like in middle school, he’s going to blend in to fit in, but Travis says the lesson is to blend in with them, not become them, which is what is happening to Chris.
A week later, James is doing better, but he still needs a lot more time to heal. Since his Bros feasted on all the chicken and other rations, so they feel like it’s time to hit the road back to San Diego – even though Travis already warned them that the city was burned to the ground. Chris, of course, wants to go with the Bros, so they pack up their pick-up truck with James in the back and the five men head off. But it becomes clear right away that the ride is too much for James, so Travis makes them stop and return to the barn. That night, the Bros discuss putting James down because he’s “dead weight.” That’s so nice. Apparently, the rationale is that when their other friend Troy got bit, they made a pact to put him down before he turned. And when the time came, Troy ended up begging not to be killed. Bro Brandon was supposed to kill their infected friend, but couldn’t do it, so James stepped in for the kill. That’s why James knows he has to fall in with the group or be killed. Travis tries to explain how this situation is different: James is injured and just needs time to heal, while their other friend was infected and didn’t have a chance. Fearing for James’s life, Travis takes one of their guns and watches over the injuried man, guarding him from his own friends.
The next day, Chris comes to the barn to tell his father that he was right, and that he has seen the light. It’s so clearly obvious that Chris is fooling his old man, but poor Travis just wants to believe that his son is still good. As soon as his father drops his guard, Chris calls the two Bros in for an ambush. Travis begs them to just leave James behind with him, and James begs for mercy, but Brandon shoots his friend in the head anyway. Later, the two Bros and Chris pack up the truck to leave, and they make it clear that Travis can’t come with them. Travis pleads with his son not to go, that if Chris leaves, he’ll never be able to find him again and that he needs to protect his son. But Chris says that by letting him go, he is protecting him. He tells his father that there’s nothing wrong with his own behavior and that he’s not “broken”; he’s just adapting to the new world. As the truck pulls away, Travis calls to his son, begging him not to leave. When he realizes his son is really leaving, he yells “God damn you, Chris!” Left behind at the barn, we see that Travis buried James in the farmer’s makeshift graveyard with his name and death date on a cross on his grave. We then see Travis walked off away from the farm.
In the present, we see Travis and Madison still in the hotel room. Travis reveals that he was walking for two days when he saw the hotel sign go on, and he’s amazed at the odds of finding Madison, who tells him that he has to believe that his son is still out there and that he’ll eventually see him again. But Travis is distraught that he let his son go and that his last words to the boy were damning. He feels that he failed his son, and wishes he had remembered to tell the boy that he loved him. Madison tries to console him — there’s was nothing Travis could have done. Travis then brings up the incident at the vineyard (from the mid-Season 2 finale). Chris had threatened Alicia and he knows now that Madison had to be with her daughter, and that he had to be with his son. He stresses that before his divorce from Eliza, Chris’s mother, his son had been a sweet, caring boy, but the resolution of his family made him angry. The two kiss and hug, but it’s unclear whether they can ever get their relationship back after everything that’s happened with their children.
After her talk with Travis, Madison is compelled to go find Alicia. It turns out that they did let all of the refugees at the gate into the hotel and were treating them for injuries and illnesses. We see Alicia speaking to them in Spanish and being compassionate. This is when Madison tells her daughter about how her father really died. Madison had told her children that their father had fallen asleep while driving and died in a car accident. The truth is, he crashed his car on purpose. He even left a brief note behind: “I love you all, but enough’s enough.” She had been afraid for Nick to know the truth because he had the same darkness in him as his father. But Madison knows that her efforts to protect Nick led to Alicia being neglected. “You deserved better,” Madison tells Alicia, “you deserve better,” stressing that she never loved her daughter any less. She just figured Alicia was “Ok.” “I had to be,” Alicia responds. Madison is sorry, and thankfully, her daughter forgives her and loves her. They hug.
Back at the hotel room, Travis finally takes a shower, but he’s clearly devastated by losing his son to this new brutal world. Meanwhile, outside in the dark, a group of men walk up to the locked hotel gates — and who’s with them? The two Bros!!! But, there’s no Chris in sight.
So, Travis and Madison are, against all odds, reunited, and it should be great, but both are still living in the shadow of their fears for their respective sons. Alicia proves yet again that she can take care of herself and others, while Chris shows just how fucked up he is. His betrayal and abandonment of his father was cruel, and so sad for us in the viewing audience who sympathize with a good man like Travis. Obviously, it looks like there will be a showdown at the hotel, as well as one with Nick and Marco’s men, in the next episode, which is the two-hour Season 2 finale.
Fear the Walking Dead: Next on: ‘Date of Death’ Episode 213
Next on Fear The Walking Dead on AMC.
[Photo Credit: Richard Foreman Jr/AMC. Used with permission.]