Without sounding like a backhanded compliment, Do Not Disturb was easily Fear the Walking Dead’s best episode.
Although splitting up the crew made no sense for the characters, it’s done wonders for the show. The writers further explore the franchise’s most brilliant concept that the living are a far bigger threat than the dead.
The episode kicked off with the worst. wedding. reception. ever. Family and friends were gathered at a hotel banquet hall when the father of the bride bites it with a heart attack. And then proceeds to bite his daughter and completely ruin everything. The hotel manager, Elena (Karen Bethzabe), sensibly locks the room up. Yes, it’s cold and heartless, but it also saves the rest of the hotel guests. This was a strong opening act. We’ve seen a walker situation create chaos, but for both FTWD and The Walking Dead, we haven’t gotten a lot of glimpses of normal life interrupted by the walkers.
That explained why there’s so many walkers in the hotel when Madison, Alicia and company made their pit stop. Alicia’s search for Ofelia gets interrupted by Elena, who’s carrying an axe looking for her nephew Hector. Turns out not all the reception guests were killed and they’re royally steamed with Elena. This is a great dynamic as both parties have legitimate reasons for their actions. They managed to escape and want to trade the hotel keys, which provides full control of the castle, in exchange for Hector.
Alicia convinces Elena to go for the trade and then releases the walkers behind the bar doors. In addition to coming off like a superior bada$$, Alicia kinda looked like a jerk siccing walkers at this family that barely survived a walker crashing reception. Just before they become walker food, Alicia, Hector and Elena are rescued by Madison and Strand. Unless Strand is also a mutant with teleportation powers, we’re really going to need to see how they got out of their situation.
As fun as the hotel hi-jinks were, Travis and Chris’ subplot was even more engaging. Given their treatment last year it’s amazing they could carry a subplot. Travis is trying to give Chris some leeway and treat him like an adult. That almost immediately backfires as Chris stumbles onto a trio of guys at a restaurant and robs them as they fend off walkers.
The trio, led by Brandon (Kelly Blatz) quickly track Travis and Chris down. Instead of looking for payback, Brandon is forgiving and offers their food and to share camp with them. Travis has rightfully been accused of leaving his brains behind in various situations, but his apprehension here was justified. Clearly Travis had a right to be concerned given the guys appeared to execute the restaurant owners.
This subplot played out beautifully. Chris was happy to hang around guys his own age while Travis was on high alert. This was the most Rick-like we’ve seen Travis. The irony of course was Travis was worried about the wrong threat. After locating an isolated farm ripe for staying long-term, Travis realizes its not deserted. The property owner doesn’t speak any English, but his shotgun says more than enough. It’s a standoff, but the owner gets rattled and shoots James in the leg opening himself up to get shot and killed … by Chris.
Brandon and his pals may be trouble, but Chris is dangerous. Throughout the episode Travis seemed to keep deluding himself that Chris was fine. He could ignore the warning signs, run away from Madison and fix Chris. But with this action Travis finally seems to understand his son is truly lost.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Richard Foreman/AMC