AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 2: “Another Day in the Diamond”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian B. Goldberg
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “What’s Your Story?” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Good Out Here’ – click here
Life moves on for Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Nick (Frank Dillane), Strand (Colman Domingo), Luciana (Danay Garcia), and Madison (Kim Dickens) after the events of Season 3. Things have certainly changed. Perfectly opening with “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, a reference to Madison’s efforts in keeping the family together, alive, and on a constant trajectory of survival. She’s become a kind of beacon, a saviour to all those around her. Now, she’s busy trying to assure people, specifically young Charlie (Alex Nisenson), a newcomer, that things will be okay. Yet the post-zombie apocalypse world is ruthless.
It’s been 365 “days in the Diamond.” Everyone’s celebrating how well things have been going. Meanwhile, Madison doesn’t seem to do much sleeping, continuously working and always alert. People are concerned about her, though she mostly appears determined not to go back to some other way of life, a harder way; a deadlier one.
Life isn’t so bad. It could definitely be worse. There are crops – even if right now they aren’t doing so hot – and people are pitching in, making a community for themselves. They’ve been there a year living like this since the events of Season 3. So this puts us up closer to where The Walking Dead has gotten, further towards the events we already saw in the premiere. For the time being, things for these folk are happy. I assume it won’t last all too long.
Nick’s changed a lot, as well. He doesn’t care about adventure or being alone anymore, he’d rather stick at home being bored to tears than contending with the horrors of the world beyond their community’s gates. Meanwhile, Luciana, Madison, Strand, and Alicia don’t mind heading for a road trip. Madison knows Nick needs to “feel safe” after what he’s been through.
The crew are headed to look for signs of Charlie’s family. They start searching on the streets of the nearby town, splitting into two groups: Strand and Luciana, Madison and Alicia. There’s not much left to scavenge. They also see more of these markers we’ve seen already from “What’s Your Story?” – numbered flags; this one’s marked 57. What could they mean? It’s also a bit curious there are no walkers around. The streets are completely bare. Madison and Alicia find a burned out vehicle, though signs show there’s a survivor. Soon, Madison’s at the end of a gun, a woman named Naomi (Jenna Elfman) asking for her keys. The others turn up, they try to gain Naomi’s trust. But Naomi ends up falling into an old oil tank, which is not surprisingly filled with soggy zombies. Saviour Madison won’t let the woman die like that, so she hops in as the others try opening the tank from outside. The tank spills out everywhere, pouring walkers, and thankfully the two women are safe.
There’s an interesting find afterwards when Luciana discovers a book in the car’s rubble – The Little Prince. It’s interesting because the book is a children’s book, but it does have to do with morality and ethics. So in a show about the fall of society, the death of humanity both physically and morally, among other themes, the inclusion of the book is compelling.
Back at the camp, Nick hears music coming from the distance: “The Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss. Nobody else is worried, whereas he wants to find out where it came from, and if it has anything to do with why Madison and the others haven’t come back yet. He decides on heading out on his own to see, forcibly going back into the wilderness beyond the walls. It’s obvious Nick has been traumatised over the course of his time struggling to survive. He’s got a form of PTSD after the blast at the dam, and this has him crashing the truck he tried driving. At least it’s not too bad. Still, it sends him out in the open. Right about the time mom and the rest arrive.
Naomi was in medicine previously, which is a fantastic addition to the community, and once she finds out there’s hot water in Madison’s baseball stadium she is more than game to stick around, at least a while. And everyone made it home from the road trip alive. However, there are bigger problems at hand.
A bunch of trucks show up outside the stadium, like an army. They’re the ones playing the Strauss. A guy rides around on a bike, corralling walkers with the music. He leads a bunch of them into the back of a truck, boxing them inside. A number 12 is spray painted on the side. A few of the men setup lawn chairs, drinking beers. So eventually Madison heads out for a talk. She meets Mel (Kevin Zegers), who’s pretty nonchalant about the whole event.
Mel claims to be cleaning the place up, such as what they did back at the tanks stuffing all those zombies in there. He says Madison has a “mess” on her hands, too. He seems to know the names of people in the community, such as Nick. And that’s because Charlie was a little spy on their behalf. We get more terminology for zombies here: Mel’s people call them “the fallen.” There’s also a further realisation about Madison’s process. She’s beginning to see it isn’t so foolproof to just welcome anybody into their community with open arms. Mel is like a Negan character, the type who goes around muscling and threatening people into submission. Yet Madison refuses to let go of what she’s built up.
“You saying you’re better than us?”
“I’m saying we found a better way”
Everyone still follows Madison’s lead, standing behind her. Just no telling how far that’s going to get anybody in the face of someone like Mel. Luciana’s taken The Little Prince out to leave it for young Charlie, as if to reminder her of the moral lesson within the book’s pages. Nevertheless, the baseball stadium’s community pushes onward, and they’re ready to face whatever comes next.
Skip forward to NOW.
Morgan (Lennie James), John (Garret Dillahunt), and Althea (Maggie Grace) are being held on the road next to the SWAT vehicle by Nick, Alicia, Strand, and Luciana. When Luciana finds a flag marked 51, she believes they belong with the other “vultures.” Obviously the situation with Mel and his men took a seriously bad turn between NOW and THEN. A case of mistaken identity, putting our characters in all sorts of strange predicaments. Now we’re finally going to see Morgan around lots of other people, too. Gonna get interesting.
“Good Out Here” is next time.