Close Your Eyes finds Alicia at her worst possible state and hardly in a position to play life coach. This episode marked a Fear the Walking Dead staple of separating everyone before reuniting them late in the season. Considering everyone has been together for the season, branching them off isn’t the worst idea and allows for more character-focused episodes.
After … storming off from Morgan, Alicia needs shelter from the storm. She settles on an house that’s abandoned minus the four walkers that used to be the family that lived in it. Alicia seems to appreciate the irony of the parents and teen children residing there and drags their bodies on the front yard. And for good measure, Alicia gathers all the pictures and tosses them out front too.
It doesn’t take long until she notices some rattling around the house. Against all conceivable odds, it’s Charlie. OK, that’s probably way too coincidental. Out of all the houses along the way Charlie just happened to pick the same one as Alicia?
Alicia wants nothing to do with Charlie and tries to leave, but the wind literally knocks her out. Charlie probably regretted bringing Alicia back inside as Alicia delivers a freight train of guilt.
It’s hard not to be Team Alicia here as Charlie told Mel and Ennis about the stadium, which indirectly led to Madison getting killed. Then, Charlie was directly responsible for killing Nick. There’s no amount of doe eyes and vows of silence that can balance the scales.
One of the best aspects of this episode is Alicia realistically confronts her grief. She’s angry, hurt, stung from Charlie’s betrayal and lost. It’s a bad combination, but she’s forced to deal with it instead of finding something else to rage against.
Charlie seems just as lost. She covered up Alicia’s walker victims and brought their pictures inside. But she’s carrying a gun she intends to use on herself before she becomes a walker. Or maybe sooner? Carl seemed to mature overnight in a lot of ways so it’s nice to see a kid actually struggling to make sense of this world and not go off the deep end.
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Alicia is battling her instincts to kill the person who took Nick from her and the desire to be the person Madison remembered. It’s the latter Alicia that gives Charlie her gun back. Forgiveness isn’t on the menu and Charlie is going to have to learn with what she’s done. Close Your Eyes finds Alicia at a major in her journey.
Will it be a happy one? Probably not. Alicia is at her least encouraging as she tells Charlie the reality of this new world: everyone’s missed out on things and things don’t get better. In a way it’s sad that the naive young girl who chatted up strangers on a walky talky is now so jaded, but it’s how she’s stayed alive this long.
One enduring gripe I have with both Walking Dead shows is why characters don’t kill off the bottleneck/random walkers along the way. It just doesn’t seem like the best strategy. Naturally this episode showed why it’s OK not to kill ’em all. With the winds busting open the window, the walkers were ready to get dry and maybe munch on Charlie and Alicia.
Fleeing to the flooded basement, Alicia was running out of options. Charlie didn’t make matters better by pleading with Alicia to kill her so she wouldn’t turn. This was a great scene as we could see Alicia’s conflict. She recalled Nick and the last fleeting moments of his life. But she also remembered Madison’s last moments proudly lighting the way to save the others. It was a terrific contrast.
Alicia decides she’d rather honor Madison instead of Nick and refuses to kill Charlie. And at that moment, the walker Alicia had plenty of chances to kill crashed down from the tree freeing them from the basement. It was a clever analogy. Now we’ll see how Charlie saves Alicia.
We get an early glance as Alicia waited the storm out and buried the family. In the storm aftermath, Luciana and Strand aren’t at the mansion. And June and John aren’t at the bus. Oddly, Alicia immediately assumes they’re dead. Maybe she doesn’t want to give in to hope anymore, but that seemed way too presumptuous.
Close Your Eyes was a very strong episode featuring Alicia facing the source of so much misery and coming out stronger. This was an encouraging start to the segmented storytelling and sets the mark high for the Morgan, June/Althea and John/Strand episodes.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC