Yep, this is already shaping up to be the slowest TV season I’ve ever recapped. Welcome to the Club felt like a vintage episode of Fear the Walking Dead, which to some extent is not a good thing . Fortunately, some late developments turned the tide and left me interested in how this season will play out.
Virginia is making some prisoners/malcontents clean up a mess at one of the strongholds, specifically some walkers that have managed to get into a vat of molasses and are creating quite the deathtrap for everyone trying to deal with them.
Not that I’m one to question Ginny’s strategy here, but given the endless stream of walkers that are killing crews with little effort there might be more effective weapons than spears…like maybe guns?
Strand is not fitting in well under Ginny’s rules and has even less patience for her hench-rangers. While this doesn’t endear him to Ginny, it does help them make a new ally in Dakota (Zoe Margaret Colletti), Ginny’s sister. Getting called to Ginny’s office also gives them an update on Daniel, who’s apparently suffering from some trauma although his barber skills remain impeccable. After going through a real life pandemic, I now truly understand the value of having a good barber in your party.
Alicia learns Strand struck a minor deal with Ginny to play nicely so long as she allowed Strand and Alicia to be together. It’s more than just the Season One OGs sticking together as Alicia is helping Strand keep some semblance of a conscious and desire to want to be a better person. Unlike PTSD Daniel, an angelic Strand is not the most useful party member.
Let’s ask Sanjay, the last survivor of the most recent syrup walker massacre. Sanjay wants to be braver this time around instead of running and waiting for someone else to make the heroic play/sacrifice.
Strand and Alicia give him the opportunity as they’ve got a plan to funnel the molasses walkers and snatch the guns from Ginny’s goons. It’s a decent plan, so decent that it’s shocking no one else considered it before, but it all is reliant on cutting off the flow of the syrup walkers. Suddenly, I’m in the mood for pancakes…
And this is where Sanjay’s courage fails once again. This one was a lot less excusable as all he had to do was close the door. Holding the door? That’s a lot different, especially when trying to repel zombies, but c’mon Sanjay.
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It’s up to Strand to be the hero then and he’s got a wonderful idea for a distraction to divert the walkers from Alicia and Charlie — a bleeding out Sanjay. But how to make Sanjay bloody? Ah, yes the shiv Strand has will do nicely. It’s hard to drum up much sympathy for such a cowardly character who was around for all of one episode.
Still, it was nice to see Strand fall back on his standard the greater/Strand good to survive mindset. Yes, that makes Strand incredibly shady, but he’s a survivor by any means necessary making him one of the most sensible characters in this series.
For his efforts in staving off the syrup walkers, Ginny gives Strand a ranger badge since she really needed someone who could rally the troops and be a leader like Strand. His first order of business? Moving Alicia away so she won’t see his latest philosophical setback. If he wanted to ensure she’d say alive, keeping her close by seems like the smarter strategy since we know Strand will do whatever it takes to survive. Although I’m pretty…fairly (?) sure he wouldn’t go so far as to sacrifice Alicia. I think.
It’s wild when an episode’s best moment comes within the last minute. Daniel forgot his blades and has one of the rangers retrieves them while he wanders off into the woods. Before a walker can munch on him, Morgan saves him. After a moment of assessing his surroundings, Daniel reveals he is still in complete control of his facilities and has been playing the long game with Virginia to figure out who she was after.
Strand reverting to his every Strand for himself mentality made sense and Daniel going into full Salazar mode to go undercover to get intel on Virginia is very much in keeping with the series’ strongest personalities. And the fact that he didn’t trust Strand enough to let him in on his plan is very much on brand.
I’m real big on character consistency and I appreciate Salazar and Strand falling back on their old tricks. And with Morgan tapping into Django Unchained mode, this season has three characters fully playing to their strengths. That is a good thing and bodes very well for the rest of the season.
Welcome to the Club is a slow burn, but ultimately rewarding as three main players fall back to their core personalities in dealing with Virginia and her crew.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: AMC