‘Fear the Walking Dead’: Tower of terror

Fear the Walking Dead
“Pillar of Salt”
September 18, 2016

Let’s start with Señorita: turns out she did steal the truck and left her amigos back at the hotel with no means to leave. Thanks, pal!

When she stops at a restaurant (which I originally read as “POLLO CIELO” only to be disappointed to realize it was actually boringly named, “POCO CIELO”), Señorita has flashbacks to when her gringo boyfriend proposed to her and she accepted, only to change her mind after her madre went on a long monologue about how much she and her padre sacrificed for her. Dios mio.

Back in the present, Señorita siphons some gas and starts driving norte. Who knows, maybe Novio is still alive and well somewhere. (But probably not.)

Back at La Colonia, some dumbass decides to sneak his wife and little girl out of the safety of the well-fortified village. For some reason. And they are literally barely down the street when Los Thuglitos and Boss Thug find them, demand the Oxy they’re pretty sure they have on them (which they do not), before loading the familia up in their truck and driving away. ¿Well, what did you think was going to happen, Tonto?

the girl you really wish you hand't started a conversation with at a party snl

When Boss Mujer learns about Tonto and his familia left La Colonia, she and the other scouts decide that it was because he saw what happened to her hermano and became scared. Which doesn’t make any sense? Because whatever happened to her hermano happened outside the safety of La Colonia? BUT WHATEVER. MUSTN’T LET LOGIC GET IN THE WAY OF PLOT.

After Boss Mujer and Nick inform El Doctor of these developments, El Doctor addresses La Colonia, asking them to keep the faith and explaining that what lies beyond the walls is death. They are strong as long as they stay together.

live-together-die-alone-lost-jack
~cough~

Privately, El Doctor yells at Boss Mujer, questioning her loyalty because cult leaders tend to be insecure. Nick reminds everyone that they have a trade to make with Los Thuglitos, and offers to take Tonto’s place. But even after Nick points out that they need water and Los Thuglitos will become agitated if the trade doesn’t happen, El Doctor is like, “NOPE. EVERYONE STAYS PUT.”

In his trailer, Nick suggests to Boss Mujer that they make the trade anyway, but she’s all, “NOPE. EVERYONE STAYS PUT.” So Nick sneaks out and approaches another scout to go with him in secret that evening.

But before they can go, Nick does a quick surveillance of the outlying area only to see that Boss Thug is watching him through a pair of binoculars. ¡Gran trabajo again, Tonto! ¡Muchas gracias, pendejo!

phil-modern-family-thumbs-up

At the hotel, order is being restored: the fences are up, the gardens are planted, people are fishing, the bar is cleaned up, they’ve turned on the generators, made ice, and Alicia is taking surfing lessons from Hector. Fun times for all!

Inside, Madison, Elena, Strand and Alicia have a meeting where they decide to run the generator only a few hours a week to as to make ice and boil water as needed. And that’s when Mom of the Bride interrupts the meeting to stab Strand in the gut. “THAT’S FOR KILLING ZOMBIE BRIDE,” she explains before running off.

Fortunately, the Oscar’s brother has a few years of medical school under his belt, and he’s able to determine that Strand can be saved, but he needs a suture kit, antibiotics and erythropoietin (which is used to increase the production of red blood cells). Fortunately, Elena knows a place!

As it turns out, Hector’s brother is un Thuglito. So after Madison orders Mom of the Bride locked up indefinitely, she, Elena and Oscar head to the grocery store to make their own trade.

Once at the grocery store, the women are allowed inside with their cooler where they show the Thuglitos the fish and ice they would like to trade for medical supplies. However, when Madison overhears Boss Thug questioning Tonto and Señora Tonto about the location of La Colonia, and mentions a “ratty-haired” gringo (ain’t that the damn truth), Madison bursts into the interrogation to demand her own answers, mostly if Ratty-Haired Gringo’s name might be “Nick.” But no one is talking and Elena drags Madison out of the room before Boss Thug can kill them all.

Back at the hotel, Strand and Alicia have a heart-to-heart. It’s so boring.

bored now

Madison, Elena and Oscar return to the hotel with the supplies for Strand, but instead of checking on her friend, Madison goes to the roof to turn on the hotel lights to serve as a beacon for Nick … and everyone else in the neighboring area. Alicia is like, “HEY, DUMMY, WHY ARE YOU PUTTING IN DANGER THE ONE CHILD WHO CHOSE TO STAY WITH YOU FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILD WHO LEFT YOU AND IS NOT COMING BACK? GAH! NOT COOL!”

Meanwhile, on a nearby hillside someone does see the hotel lights: Travis, and he’s apparently alone.

Before I end this post, I just wanted to point out a couple of things about this episode. First, it takes its title from the biblical story of Lot’s wife in Genesis. As the story goes, Lot and his family were warned of Sodom’s impending destruction by a pair of visiting angels whom they hosted and treated with kindness. The angels warned, “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away.” But as they were fleeing, Lot’s wife broke the rules, took one look back and was turned into a pillar of salt.

At first blush, the reference to Lot’s wife seems to be applied to the family who is fleeing La Colonia before its destruction. But in terms of this idea of looking backwards and towards one’s own destruction, the actual character who is most Lot’s wife-esque is Madison in her refusal to let go of Nick and to let go of the past. The question is, will her turning on the lights to the hotel serve to essentially turn the hotel into a pillar of salt.

Finally, I wanted to talk very briefly about the symbolism of those hotel towers. It would seem like a tower would symbolize strength, power, might. Or, as in this instance, a beacon, a lighthouse, hope. However, traditionally, towers have represented restriction, limitation, self-destruction. Towers limit movement, they inhibit freedom, they represent an impending fall. Think Rapunzel’s tower, or the Tower of Babel. And so I found it interesting from the moment they arrived at the hotel, the characters discussed its “towers” specifically. This towered hotel they regard as their refuge, where they have locked themselves away to stay safe may be the very thing that destroys them.

 

Fear the Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sundays at 8/9 p.m.

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3 thoughts on “‘Fear the Walking Dead’: Tower of terror

    1. Hey! That’s so nice of you to say! I love unpacking symbolism, and while the reality shows are fun to blog, I think I am going to add Westworld so that I can dig my teeth into something more substantial. Anyway, thanks for your comment!

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      1. I’m doing more streaming than anything these days. I’d like to see you take on some of the original programming by Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu…

        Like

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