Friday, February 23, 2018

Fear the Walking Dead Recap S2E8: Grotesque

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead returns for the second half of the season; “Grotesque” focusing on what happened to Nick after being separated from everyone

Nick wakes up in his grungy, blood-soaked clothing. There is a cross above his head and two bodies beside him. A woman is in the doorway and she says that the people had been ok before, but things change so quickly. The woman says she needs to head out with her son to reunite with the boy’s father. Nick wonders if staying together is a good idea, and wonders if Celia’s people were right. The woman says that it’s too dangerous to follow those thoughts, but she has to focus on Juan and the other orphans. She gives Nick food and water and sends him on his way, warning him that it won’t be an easy trip. He wishes her luck on her quest to find Juan’s father.

Alone, Nick goes back inside the house and looks at the bodies again before setting out with their blood painted on his face. He’s heading North, which would put him on a path toward Tijuana. He walks on and one, still covered in blood. His backpack is the only thing that distinguishes him from a Walker at this point. He hits the main road and walks confidently toward Tijuana, which, according to the sign is 100 miles away.

Nick comes upon a car crash in the middle of nowhere, and he pauses to scout the cars. That leads him to a flashback where he’s at a court mandated rehab meeting room with a girl trying to convince him to talk to his family. He’s been there for three weeks and she wants to role play as his parents to get him out early. Nick wants to skip his dad and focus on his mom, because he clearly loves his dad, but his dad has been tired lately and has been shutting him out. It’s an emotional moment that really explains the depth of Nick’s pain.

At dusk Nick reaches a house that is completely empty save for the evidence of people sleeping in the front room. He makes a fire inside and sips his water, making sure not to drink what precious little he has. He eats an apple as he surveys his surroundings. In the middle of the night a figure with a bat approaches and Nick barely avoids getting hit as he wakes up and rolls away. A woman is swinging at him, yelling in Spanish for him to leave. A little girl is in the corner, and clearly there is some kind of misunderstanding. Nick gets hit a few times trying to reach his bag, but eventually he has to leave it behind in order to escape.

The next day, Nick rubs his head as he walks. There is another crash site full of Walkers, and he teases one before reaching inside the car for a partially empty water bottle.  He spots a radio on the dashboard and grabs it before she can grab him. Two more Walkers approach, but then so does a Jeep full of men with big guns. The men kill the Walkers and start searching the cars. They find a man who is still alive in one of the cars, and they quickly kill him, too. Then they start laughing at what they’ve done. That’s when Nick’s radio squeals, and the men start shooting at him. He takes off running into some chaparral, and as soon as he has gotten away he finds himself in a barren field away from the road, with no water in sight. His parched lips are evidence of his thirst.

Nick finds some cacti and tests that their needles are, in fact, sharp. He uses his shirt to break a piece off and is rewarded with a broken piece of cactus and no water coming out, so clearly it’s time to drink urine. Then he’s attacked by wild dogs, bitten, and chased to the top of a van. Fortunately, a herd of Walkers approach and eat the dogs, and Nick watches this, fascinated. It’s like he considers himself one with the Walkers.

Once the Walkers have dispatched the dogs, they hear Nick on top of the van and move toward him. He clasps his hands together and seems to pray. That’s when the sound of a car horn blares in the distance, and gunshots ring out. The Walkers move in that direction, so Nick goes to the dog carcasses and has a few bites of dog meat. A badly deformed Walker scoots toward him, so Nick nonchalantly straddles it and borrows its belt to tie off his injured leg. Then he gets into formation with the rest of the herd and moves along, but the thirst is really getting to him and he starts to hear voices. And he sees familiar faces in the Walkers that freak him out.

When reality returns, he’s 40 miles from Tijuana and he comes upon the Jeep again. The men get out and start shooting, but Nick keeps walking toward them. He glares at the leader, who recognizes Nick and reloads his gun in a panic as the herd surrounds him and eats him. It’s an unnecessarily sloppy death from someone who would know better. Nick looks at the man as he dies, and then his herd keeps going.

By now, the thirst is really taking its toll. A group of people on the hill see Nick and recognize that he is human. Luciana doesn’t want to help him, but Francisco and the other man want to help because they know he’s dying. Nick collapses on the street and his herd leaves him.

Nick wakes up in a flashback with his rehab girlfriend. They’re at the church where the story all began. He’s reading a book that his father gave him, and she offers him some heroin. When he awakens, it’s nighttime and it’s raining. He opens his mouth and drinks, having once again cheated death.

Upon arriving in Tijuana (presumably), Nick is limping and cleaner, thanks to the rain, but he’s still struggling. He goes into a pharmacy and looks for antibiotics but finds none. Everything has been picked over already.

Luciana and her group find Nick in a barbershop and Nick remembers the Spanish word for “dog” before they think he’s infected. Luci says she knows someone who can help him and they lead him to a doctor’s office. It’s not yet clear who they are or why they’re helping him.

The doctor says Nick shouldn’t put weight on his leg, and he gets to work treating the wound. The doctor notes Nick’s reaction to the sting and says that Luciana mentioned how brave he was. Walking with the dead, Nick says, is safer than being with the men with guns. The doctor opens his door and shows Nick the group living all around them. It would seem that Nick has found a safe place where he can be himself. A child kicks a soccer ball in Nick’s direction and he returns it.

The camera pans away and we see a hilltop sanctuary. This is Nick’s new home.

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About The Author

Sarabeth Pollock is a contributor for Dark Media. She covers The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Gotham and American Horror Story, as well as whatever movies, comics and books happen to catch her fancy. She’s an avid writer, reader, and pop culture fan and regular attendee at San Diego Comic Con. Follow her on Twitter at @SarabethPollock and check out her blog at