AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 10: “Close Your Eyes”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Shintaro Shimosawa
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “People Like Us” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Code” – click here
With a storm raging, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) looks for a place to take shelter. She finds an abandoned house. There are remnants of people having once lived there, but not recently. She calls out to see if there are any lurking zombies, banging on the wall. She finds one in the kitchen, letting it impale itself on her modified gun barrel sword. Another walker is in the bedroom. Another comes from the hallway. And another. They were a family, once upon a time, just like Alicia, Nick (Frank Dillane), and Madison (Kim Dickens). Those days are over.
Alicia removes all the happy family memories from the house. After that she tries securing the door, which has been kicked in or blown open at some point. The basement is already starting to flood, though she finds a bit of wood and a hammer to close up the door. She finds the expected preservatives for supper. That’s when she hears noises coming from upstairs, so she’s got to go check them out before eating. It’s actually from outside, where a zombie’s impaled on a tree near the window.
Or is it? She continues hearing noise. From a closet comes running little Charlie (Alexa Nisenson). Uh oh. Not a great house guest for Alicia, considering their recent history. She doesn’t want to stay there, rushing to the car. The door’s messed up, and when she hauls too hard it sends her flying to the ground, knocking her out.
When Alicia wakes up she’s inside again. This leaves her angry more than grateful. She rages at the little girl, who’s barricaded herself in the upstairs bedroom. She talks about her mother, Nick, all the bad past they’ve shared. She calls the girl “garbage” and “a waste of a person” for what she’s done to her family. She also warns she won’t send Charlie outdoors, but may kill her. Lucky for the girl – bad for Alicia – she’s got a gun— the one that killed Nick.
As Alicia goes around doing things that need to be done, Charlie gathers the family pictures that were put outside, reconstructing the memories of a once happy, safe, healthy family. This isn’t thrilling for Alicia, so she puts the kid to work with her out nailing the shutters closed. In turn, this draws walkers.
Inside, things go real bad. Alicia puts the gun in Charlie’s face, stopping short of shooting her. The situation’s deteriorating, and right now there’s nowhere to go, between the horde of zombies at the door and the heavy storm beating down from the sky. Except Charlie’s going out on the veranda, out to where the zombie’s impaled on the tree. She just about lets it chomp into her before Alicia brings her back in. Alicia’s figured out the girl has a death wish, and the gun was Charlie way to “get off the hook” for the bad she’s done. What we see, in this scene, is Alicia isn’t totally lost to her grief, she hasn’t yet let the humanity in her die.
That night, Alicia can’t find Charlie. She eventually finds the kid upstairs, desperately trying to collect the photographs believing someone could come back looking for them someday. She won’t let go, even when Alicia chastises her. Charlie’s searching for some way to right the wrongs in her mind, just wanting to alleviate the dead weight of morality.
Outside, the winds pick up, and the undead knock at the doors and the windows. When one of the windows busts, the pressure inside the house begins to shake, destroying more. The basement is completely flooded, as well. The pressure flings the basement door shut, punching a hole through the floor and trapping them down there. They’ve got limited options, and the water’s rising. The only way out is a storm door, but it’s padlocked from the outside. Upstairs zombies pile into the house.
Alicia and Charlie are fast losing hope. The little girl says she doesn’t “want to die” and come back like the walkers, like her own parents she watched turn. Charlie wants Alicia to kill her, so she won’t come back. She begs to be killed. Alicia tries to do it, and can’t bring herself to shoot. Right then, the storm busts the door’s lock by tossing a zombie into it, allowing Alicia and Charlie to escape from the flooding basement. Strange ironies.
The following morning, once the weather breaks, Alicia goes to work burying the family she previously dragged out, whose memories she tossed into the rain. This makes Charlie happy, if anything. Perhaps they’ve both turned a corner through their perilous, stormy night.
“Sometimes when you’re gone, you’re just gone.”
On the road, Alicia and Charlie drive together, back to searching for their group again. It’s similar to memories Alicia has of her and her mother driving, alone together. She gets Charlie to close her eyes, helping her imagine going “to the beach.” It’s a nice vacation away from their dreary, post-zombie apocalypse world. As melancholic as it is cathartic, in a way.
They get back to the mansion, where everything is demolished from the storm. They can’t find anybody, not a sign of them. At the bridge, the bus is overturned, and Alicia believes “they‘re gone.” She’s going down a road of pessimism, despite recent events, trying to instil a realistic perspective in the little girl. Hard to be positive when everything and everyone you know dies or gets lost. A perpetual cycle.
This season of Fear the Walking Dead has fired on all cylinders. Glad to see Alicia’s become even more prominent a character, I hope we don’t see her go any time soon because she’s commanding, she’s intense, and she’s tough as hell. A great episode for her, in a number of ways. “The Code” is next time.