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Recap / Fear The Walking Dead S 02 E 08 Grotesque

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Season 2, Episode 08:

Grotesque

Nick wakes up, still covered in blood, in a small abode. As he rouses himself from sleep, he sees the bodies of a father and son near him, having been Driven to Suicide. One of the staff who survived the burning of the estate, Sofia, enters and laments how the two people seemed to be very happy just a few days earlier and she doesn't understand why it happened.

When Nick asks her where everyone is, she tells him that she doesn't know and the only suggestion she has is to head north because there are reports of people still living in communities. She urges him not to go out alone, and says that there are roving men on the highways who are looking to rob from and kill others. Despite her warning, Nick pledges to go off alone, while Sofia and a boy who was at the estate, Juan, head out to find the latter's father. Celia gives Nick some basic supplies before he leaves.

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Nick spends several hours traveling through backroads and under bridges, eventually passing a sign for Tijuana...

As he passes a pair of vehicles, he has a Flashback to a conversation he had with Gloria before the apocalypse. They talk about his recent experiences in rehab, and she urges him to go and reconnect with his family. He reveals that he never got along with his father, as the latter was never there for him when he was younger...

In the present, he discovers an empty abode and goes to sleep for the night. However, he's suddenly roused from his sleep when a woman strikes him with a baseball bat. Despite his attempts to calm her down, she strikes him several times and he's forced to flee without his supplies. The next morning, he salvages some water and supplies from other vehicles, along with a portable radio. Before he can turn it on, he notices a vehicle driving down the road and hides behind a vehicle.

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Several men get out and begin dispatching walkers just down the highway before searching the vehicles. They motion to their leader that they found someone still alive, and go to an older man who is still trapped in his vehicle. The leader nonchalantly executes the man, then are distracted when the radio suddenly activates. Nick is forced to make a break for it and flees into the woods.

He successfully escapes and begins to walk aimlessly, stubbing his foot on a cactus in the process. After getting the idea to break the cactus open and consume the meat inside, Nick is relieved... then promptly throws it back up again. Faced with few options, he's forced to drink his own urine. He eventually finds a abandoned truck and tries to sleep again.

In another flashback, Nick is sitting with Gloria as they wait to get discharged from rehab. While Gloria's parents arrive to sign her out, Nick is surprised when Madison shows up alone and asks to talk with him in private. She reveals that his father was in a car accident and died instantly. Madison breaks down upon hearing this, and Nick is shocked and distraught...

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He's jolted back to reality by a pair of angry dogs barking at him as he wakes up. Thinking fast, he grabs a rock as one of the dogs bites him on the leg. Upon fending it off, he scrambles up to the top of the truck then wonders what to do as the dogs keep barking at him. Suddenly, the dog's attention is distracted by a herd in the distance coming towards the farm. The dogs break off and run full speed at the herd, where they futilely attempt to take down walkers before being killed and consumed. Nick smiles upon seeing this.

Soon after, he panics when he sees the walkers notice him and begin to move towards the car, but they're drawn away by the sound of gunshots in the distance. Nick uses the opportunity to try and bandage up his leg, then smears blood on himself from the carcasses of the dogs and begins to walk with the herd.

As the herd continues down a highway, a lone vehicle approaches in the distance, and the same men who chased him at the highway earlier get out and mock the oncoming walkers. They shoot several of them for target practice, and take out walkers close to Nick. However, the leader is distracted by his gun running out and drops several bullets. As he tries to reload his gun, the herd attacks and kills one of the men, along with ripping the leader's throat out. The surviving attacker drives away in fear, while Nick watches smugly as the herd tears the man's chest open and eats him.

Nick continues to walk with the herd for several hours, but his injuries cause him to fall behind the herd. At that moment, a group of people in the distance watch him through binoculars. The leader, Luciana, wants to leave Nick behind, but another man, Francisco, reasons that Nick could be useful because he knows how to blend in with the undead. Despite Francisco's words, Luciana opts to leave Nick behind.

In another flashback, Nick and Gloria are sitting and talking in the abandoned church just before the apocalypse. They shoot up drugs together and talk about how his father used to give him a lot of books. After talking about how holding feelings inside for too long can corrupt a person, Nick and Gloria kiss.

Nick wakes up in the present during a rainstorm, and happily drinks up the water before continuing on. He eventually stumbles into town and attempts to treat his injuries, but is interrupted by Luciana, who reveals herself along with her group. They give him water and agree to get him treatment for the dog bite before bringing him to a doctor who begins to treat his injuries. The man treats Nick's injuries and tells him he was brave for getting that father, and says that Luciana and her group were surprised after discovering him.

Nick tells him that he wanted to go somewhere that doesn't treat the dead as monsters after the doctor asks him why he walked all that distance. Afterwards, the doctor stands up and opens the doors to the medical facility, revealing that there is a thriving and bustling community outside. Nick is shocked and hobbles outside, where he sees vendors selling clothing, people going about their day-to-day business and children playing soccer.

As he passes Luciana and her other helper, Nick is struck by just how big the community is and smiles, while the camera pulls back to reveal its size...

Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: With the exception of Frank Dillane and Kim Dickens, no other actor from the main cast appears in the episode proper.
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins and ends with a scene focusing on soccer — Juan playing with a soccer ball in the opening, and Nick kicking a soccer ball back to a child in the community at the end.
  • Call-Back: The episode begins with Nick waking up and looking upwards at the ceiling, just as he did in the pilot episode.
  • Continuity Nod: The flashbacks show Nick's life prior to the apocalypse with a fellow junkie, Gloria, who died and reanimated in the pilot episode.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: Just when the horde notices Nick on top of a car, they get distracted when they hear a car horn in the distance and head towards the source. Nick uses this opportunity to bandage himself and join the horde.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Two dogs try to attack the walker horde in one scene, and they are both killed with ease.
  • Devoured by the Horde:
    • When Nick is being attacked by two wild dogs, their barking attracts a horde of walkers. When the dogs tries to attack the walkers, the horde surrounds and devours them.
    • While roaming with the horde of walkers, Nick encounters same men who chased him at the highway earlier and they shoot several walkers. However, the leader is distracted by his gun running out, and drops several bullets. When he attempts to reload his gun, he and one of his comrades gets attacked and eaten by the walkers.
  • Driven to Suicide: The father and son Nick finds near him when he wakes up in the opening.
  • How We Got Here: Several flashbacks in the episode show the events leading up to Nick's encounter with the undead Gloria in the pilot episode, namely that he chose not to do drugs the night (and it being implied that Gloria overdosed and died, leading her to become a walker).
  • Impairment Shot: From Nick's perspective as he hallucinates people talking to him as he walks among the herd.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The gang that shoots at Nick when he flees from the highway fire several rounds in his direction, but they all miss him and he's able to flee through a dense wooded area into a field.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • The two wild dogs that try to attack Nick are immediately killed when they attempt to attack a herd. The same herd killed two of the men who executed a trapped old man inside the car and tried to shoot Nick earlier.
    • The gang leader who acts arrogantly around walkers is consumed by a horde a day after he executed a man trapped in his vehicle. The look on Nick's face as he watches the leader get his throat torn out is one of smug satisfaction.
  • No-Sell: The wild dogs attacking walkers in a hord. The walkers are only mildly slowed down, and finally pile on top of the dogs and eat them.
  • Put on a Bus: Sofia and Juan, the only other people known to have survived the burning of Celia's estate, go off on their own to try and find the latter's father.
  • Reality Ensues: Two wild dogs trying to take on a horde of walkers ends very predictably. And they weren't able to take down any walkers.
    • Nick in fact cannot survive on his own, and nearly dies from dehydration and infection from the dog bites.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The gang leader who previously chased Nick from the highway was so focused on trying to reload his gun that he didn't even bother to move away from the walkers, despite their slow movements.
  • Villainous Rescue: When two wild dogs try to attack Nick, a horde of walkers arrives to their location. The dogs turn their attention to the horde but the walkers end up devouring them.

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