‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Recap: “Grotesque”

When we last left off on Fear The Walking Dead, the core group has been split up.  In the midseason finale, Daniel sacrificed himself by setting the compound on fire taking out many zombies as well as many of its residents that had a more “open” mind about how to deal with them.  In the aftermath of the blaze, Madison, Alicia, Strand, and Ofelia escape driving away.  Meanwhile, Travis goes off to find his near-homicidal son Christopher and leaves everyone behind.  Nick, who is going through a unique change, and having the same open mind many in the compound had, decided to remain behind with the dead.  What would happen for the group now that they are all heading their own ways?

This episode “Grotesque” dealt strictly with Nick in the aftermath of the Mexican compound being set ablaze.  Much like Lost and some episodes of The Walking Dead, it looks like this show going forward will be dedicating entire episodes to specific people.  Everyone is getting too spread out to constantly show each of their storylines every episode.  Of course, everyone will probably meet up with each other and the stories will merge.  Today’s episode focused on Nick and how he is now dealing with the world as it is now.

The episode begins with Nick waking up in the house next to two corpses.  Sofia and her son seem to be the only people that remain, and they plan on getting out of dodge.  Nick decided that he wants to find a community that “embraces the dead,” and embarks on a pilgrimage to find more lie minded individuals.  Sofia tells him that people who now rule the land aren’t as nice as they were.  She and her son leave Nick with some supplies as they head to find her son’s father, so begins Nick’s journey.

Things don’t go well for Nick as the first night he stays in a shack, only to wake up to an agitated woman who attacks him.  One of his disadvantages of being in Mexico he does not know the language.  The woman hits him with a baseball bat and he is unable to even plead with her to take his backpack (with all his food and water) with him.  He’s now on his own in the desert 100 miles away from Tijuana with no means of keeping himself alive.  Because he has no means of sustenance, he has to get creative.  After first trying to drink water from a cactus, he tries to eat the inside of it.  Both offer him no nourishment and induce vomiting.  He finally has to do the unthinkable to stay hydrated as he drinks his own urine.  He runs into the men that Sofia warned him about which are killing not only the dead but the living as well.  After narrowly escaping them he finds a van to sleep near for the night, only to wake up to another terror.  A pack of wild dogs wakes him up and begin attacking him.  After taking a nasty bite by the dogs, he hides on the top of the van.  The commotion attracts a herd of zombies which quickly devour the dogs.  Before the herd of zombies can get to him, the same people who were shooting at him attract the herd and they head away.  Nick, needing to eat is forced to feed on the dogs' carcass the same way that the zombies do.

Nick patches himself up, smears more zombie blood and guts on himself and joins the heard since he is undetectable when all bloodied up.  However, the lack of food and water are beginning to affect him.  He starts having hallucinations.  He crosses path with the armed men who are shooting at the zombie herd as target practice.  When one of the men see Nick, it startled the man and distracts him long enough for the herd to eat him.  Nick looks onward as the heard eats the man.  

Finally, Nick is to the point of exhaustion and can no longer function.  Lucky for him, there have been three people from a different location that have been observing him.  After he passes out and the herd moves beyond him, they decide to help him.  When Nick awakens he is in Tijuana where he briefly meets his saviors before they take him to a doctor.  Lucky for Nick, the doctor is pharmacist Alejandro, who can speak English.  After patching Nick up, they go out into “town” where Nick has made it to some new community.  As he looks around, he feels at home and at peace.

Throughout the episode we are also treated to flashbacks to when Nick was at a rehab facility before the apocalypse.  Most of his time there is with his girlfriend before she became a zombie from the first episode of the show.  There we learn about his disdain for his father, who he resented for being too busy after work to spend time with him.  This helped fuel his need for drugs.  To make matters worse, his mother visits him to tell him that he father died in a car accident.  This is probably what caused him to relapse and become the junkie we see in the pilot episode.  The flashbacks were interesting, but only really served to let the audience know what happened to his father.

In many ways, the episode operated like Castaway, where there actually wasn’t much dialogue going on.  All the storytelling was done nonverbally.  The episode was pretty much a one-man show for actor Frank Dillane, as many of the scenes were all on him.  He did an exceptional job and once again displays why Nick is one of the best characters on the show. 

Another very cool feature from the episode was the location.  Like Breaking Bad, the desert is its own character based on the cinematography and filmmaking of this episode.  I’m not sure if they actually filmed the episode in Mexico, but you absolutely get the feeling that you were there, to the point that you felt hot and dry like Nick did.  Having the show in Mexico also gives the show some diversity as well.  It seems that most of the new characters we will be meeting will be Mexican.  We got to meet Luciana today as she rescued Nick.  It looks like she’ll be set up as a possible love interest for him.  Hopefully, she doesn’t have a drug problem like his last girlfriend.  

Overall, this was a great episode based on Nick’s performance.  Because we only see his new community for about a minute, that’s still an open question.  Who knows if all the people there are good guys or bad guys yet?  One thing’s for sure, they have a better set up than many of the communities in The Walking Dead’s early seasons.

Next week looks to show what going on with Madison, Strand, Alicia and Ofelia as well as more with the new community