Oh, hello post subject quote and your accuracy regarding my feelings about this show now.
I don’t really know what to say about this one, other than maybe “no, I wanted the opposite of this”, or perhaps more succinctly, “fuck you , Kripke.” It feels like the air has gone out of this for me, and any hope that I was holding on to that the sucky parts of this show would improve is gone.
At first I was angry about this episode, and then I realized that it was Classic Kripke. I don’t mind deaths in shows; okay, that’s kind of a lie. I don’t mind deaths of actual characters, ones that we have known and felt things for and ones that have a real, significant (and lasting) impact on the characters and the world of the show.
The death in this episode, however, was blatant fridging, and it was bullshit; Kripke all but says it. And if there’s anything that will make me hate a show, it’s this kind of lazy treatment of its female characters.
So I apologize if this recap is lackluster, or if that extends beyond this episode. I just feel that if this show doesn’t feel like they need to bother with their female characters, I’m not all that interested in bothering with it. But I love you (and swordfights, but mostly you), and I am dedicated, so onward we go.
Recappy: Charlie’s running through the forest, being chased by a Militia dude, but it’s a ruse, as Nora and Miles get the drop on him. Miles scares the dude with his reputation and extracts the information that Neville and Danny passed by there a day ago on their way to Noblesville (where Monroe is, I think).
Charlie asks about Miles’ background horror stories; normally she wouldn’t care, but “every person that we meet wants to capture you, kill you, kill us for knowing you or they’re flat-out terrified out you.” Miles ‘I-throw-a-hissy-anytime-someone-asks-me-a-question’ Matheson gives great gif:
He threatens to leave if she doesn’t lay off.
Maggie and Aaron wait in Lowell, Indiana for Miles/Charlie(/Nora) and Maggie’s antsy because they’re a day late and her only character trait is just about kids and missing kids.
And she gets three whole flashbacks this episode to illustrate this to us with all the subtly of an anvil. At the time of the Blackout, Maggie was in Seattle for a medical conference (this isn’t explicitly stated in the show, because her actual profession doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t have to do with her kids; all we see is her getting ready to go out in a red cocktail dress). The being on vacation at least does sort of explain the “no hard copies of pictures of her kids” thing. She’s Skyping with her two kids, who beg her to read a chapter of “The Wizard of Oz”, but she says ‘no’ and of course the power goes out as she’s saying no to her kids. GUILT.
Aaron thinks they shouldn’t tell any of the others about the power pendant, “because the fewer people know about it, the better”. Except that if both Aaron and Maggie get killed, then none of the rest will know anything about it at all. Stupid.
Thankfully, Lowell is apparently the smallest town ever, so Charlie/Miles/Nora come strolling in right where Aaron and Maggie were waiting. Maggie the Mother latches on the Charlie, she’s just so happy to see her again.
Later that night they run into (what seem like rabid, wild) dogs chowing down on a deer (if this was Game of Thrones that would so be a metaphor). Miles throws his torch at them (I guess to get a better look?) and after some more staring and growling Miles tells them to run.
They go until they a fence, which everyone manages to scale successfully except Aaron, who gets a nasty chomp on his leg. Maggie has a moment of the awesomeness that we’ve seen from her in previous episodes before she became just A Mother and shoots her crossbow at the attacking dog, killing it. Aaron: “Ow, my leg.” Wow, show. Great writing.
Neville, Danny and the gang continue to march as a storm brews. Danny has some sort of magic storm-sensing powers and advises they take cover, which Neville agrees to, even though they could be in Noblesville by dawn if they keep going.
Monroe visits Rachel in her fancy house arrest. She was doodling some arc reactor/Dharma symbol stuff in a journal (it might be similar to the drawings Grace had, but I don’t care to check, because fuck this show).
She “hides” the book in a pile when he comes in, for some information extraction and what I think is veiled sexual harassment/threats. “What do I want? Rachel, as if you don’t know. As if you don’t know what I’ve always wanted.” “Do we really have to play this game?” Yes, because you’re a lady and that’s your purpose. He asks what Ben was working on; she says he was an algebra teacher. But if he was, why was he working for the Dept of Defense, with “full SAP clearance” and had knowledge enough of the Blackout to call Miles. She continues to demur.
He claims he’s been such a nice house arrester, out of respect for her and their friendship. And then he calls in Sergeant Strauss and his roll of Dexter knives (the guy who was torturing the Rebel in the camp), for some more hospitality, aka torture.
Maggie wraps up Aaron’s bite wound, and tells him he probably didn’t get rabies. They’re all hanging out in the open, at night, which seem super smart. Charlie hears a rustling behind them but doesn’t mention anything or investigate further the lurking dude. Sigh.
Miles and Nora are a bit apart, and Nora admonishes him for being such a bitch to Charlie earlier. He’s reverted to Pilot!Miles, all “family means nothing to me because I don’t even know Charlie”. He pretends he’s making a sacrifice by leaving, since the whole Militia’s after him, but Nora’s a bullshit caller: “You’re the same selfish dick, with the same crap excuses, and whenever you get close to anyone you take off.” Of course he think she’s talking about them and their relationship, because that’s what it always is actually about for silly women.
Nora reminds him of FAMILY, and his PROMISE. Miles: “Doesn’t make her my responsibility! I have no idea why I signed on for this in the first place. It’s not my fault that he Dad’s dead, not my fault what happened to hear Mom. [mmmokay] I don’t even know Charlie. Family or not, I’m just not doing this anymore. I’m out.”
I feel you. Of course Charlie’s right behind him and overhears the whole thing and gets all Bambi-eyed.
Charlie flashes back to another time a family member left her. It’s definitely been a while post-Blackout, because they cast a new, older young-Charlie (who looks eerily similar to old Charlie). Mom Rachel is saying goodbye to her kids, with the excuse that she’s going to get supplies, and will only get gone for “a couple of months”. Tears, promise to listen to Dad and protect Charlie, I love yous, family group hug. Rachel walks away as Charlie begs her not to leave. Sucks for you, bb!Charlie.
As soon as Aaron’s alright, the dogs start up again. Convenient. They head out again as Charlie looks back at where she heard the noise. They break through a fence and enter an abandoned amusement park, which seems to be an motif they like (remember Charlie’s hangout ferris wheel from the Pilot?). I don’t blame them, because they make for great dystopian settings. The creepy lurking dude lurks creepily and pets his crazy dogs.
The Militia groups takes cover from the oncoming tornado in a barn, a solider unties Danny and tells him not to move, and Danny immediately looks for an escape.
The gang is walking around the park, and now Nate is lurking too. Miles notices and goes off to get him, and they fight. Miles is about to win when the rest of the group comes in and Charlie shoves Nate out of his grasp and holds him back. Charlie explains about how she thought she “handled it” in Pontiac with the handcuff to a pole (which did take him 2 days to get out of). Charlie gets Miles to keep him around so that he can be interrogated for information about Neville’s unit. And then: “Besides, what the hell do you care? You’re leaving.” Ooooh, snap.
Apparently, after the Blackout, Maggie walked from Seattle to Buffalo, New York in pursuit of a ship to take her back home. A grisled dock worker crushes her dreams, because “there are no more tall ship, no more steam boats. They were all destroyed in the wars, or ripped apart for lumber, or the Militia’s got ‘em. Hell, gettin’ to England is like trying to get to the moon… Maybe one day.” Hmm, what wars? Maggie walks off, dazed, but still tells the man that he’s been “very kind”.
Tornado. Danny escapes, but Neville falls on him right away. Okay, enough. That’s ridiculous. But the storm’s on top of them! They both run to a nearby cellar.
Miles and Maggie have a heart-to-heart. It’s Maggie’s best and most substantial scene in the series thus far, which pretty much sealed her fate, and made me even more pissed.
She asks if he really is leaving, and he claims again it’s for the best “because you don’t know who I am Maggie, what I’ve done”. But Charlie told Maggie about (what she knows about) Miles’ past, “that makes you a murderer, right? Maybe one of the great ones.” “That’s why she’s better off without me.” “That’s… probably true. But what makes you think you’re better off without her?”
“The hell is that supposed to mean?” (FAMILY, DUH) Maggie tells the rest of her story, after Buffalo:
“I spent years trying to get back to my boys. Years. I walked across the country, and then up and down the East Coast. You’d think I could find one damn ship to take me home, but I never did. Until… I gave up. Knew I’d never see my kids again, that they probably died. Scared, alone, crying for their mother. So, I wandered. Found myself in Wisconsin, picked myself a nice spot, poured myself a cup of poison. And then, of all people, your brother found me.”
He was there to get water, but then ends up inviting her to have dinner with him and the kids.
Well, that was nice. Maggie’s job is over now, having passed the parental figure torch to Miles. Having done that, the dogs are back, and there’s the weirdest fucking moment ever. Miles sees a diner right behind them and they cut to a shot of it and it’s literally like this grainy, super low-quality still picture of a diner. It’s like someone put it in as a placeholder until they got the rights to the actual picture and then just forgot to put in the real one. So strange. On Miles’ count of three they’re going to haul ass toward the grainy picture diner, but the dogs attack, so he skips one and two.
And then the worst starts. Even though Aaron’s got a bum leg (and really seems like a sprinter too), Maggie’s the one who doesn’t make it inside. She got snatched by the old creeper dude, who’s trying to stab her with a giant knife. She scream for help and manages not to get stabbed in the face, but the guy goes for her leg instead and gets her pretty good before he runs off.
Miles, to his credit, went back out after Maggie and his yelling is what scares the guy into running off, and he carries Maggie inside as she starts to bleed out. He asks her what the guy said to her. “He said I killed his dog.” That is way harsh.
Miles figures that the dogs aren’t strays, but the pets of the psycho, while Maggie flatly tells them that said stabby psycho severed an artery and that she’s bleeding out. Good thing she’s a doctor and can tell that! Too bad we don’t have an ex-Marines around who might be knowledgeable in combat medicine! Also, Maggie’s the only one applying pressure to her leg, with her tiny little hands, so great job helping guys. I hope you all get eaten by the plague dogs.
Tornado! Neville and Danny is the cellar. Neville figures they’re stuck there, so they might as well chat, but Danny’s still holding the murderering/choking/psycho-ness against him. Neville tells him that he has a son, and that he’s not so different from Ben ,or any father who wants a future for their child. Neville’s like “you know nothing, Danny boy.” Post-Blackout, with the world gone crazy, if Ben could hold on to mercy then he was a better man than Neville. Also it helped that Ben had a badass wife to take care of the killing crazies they came across.
Miles and Nora head out to hardcore parkour across some building to find the whackjob and force him to call of the dogs. Maggie’s been moved, and now at least Charlie is helping apply pressure, but with only her hands. Aaron is standing there doing nothing, and wearing two shirts, one of which would probably be useful for blood-flow staunching. Maggie wants them to leave, especially with Danny so close, but neither of them are down with that. Maggie could never forgive herself if they lost him because of her, but wouldn’t she definitely be dead if they all left, so she wouldn’t have to be guilty for long.
Charlie apologizes for the royal fucking brat she was to her, and Maggie is understanding. Maggie was always there for Charlie, “kind, protective, annoying”, she says with a laugh. “The least I can do is give you a taste of your own medicine.”
More tornadoing, and then it seems to die down. Neville shouts “Amen!” and then the roof caves in on him. Irony!
Aaron decided to get off his ass and help, and Maggie’s decided that the tourniquet isn’t enough and they’re going to have to do some surgery and sew that sucker up. Again, too bad it’s the doctor that got stabbed. Charlie goes to Miles’ bag to get his whiskey flask for sterilizing (I guess the drinking problem thing I theorized in the Pilot isn’t going to be the plot point I thought it would be). She’s standing in front of a huge window into the diner kitchen and gets snatched form behind, horror-movie style, by the dog psycho. Everyone (including zip-tied Nate) yells her name a bunch. It’s super effective.
Miles and Nora’s roof-trip was unsuccessful, because he was inside the whole time. They get back to the diner and are told about the Charlie snatching. Nate gives some solider-y details, and his crush is evident enough that Miles cuts his ties and brings him to go find her. Nora stays to help Aaron with Maggie’s surgery and Miles promises Maggie he’ll bring Charlie back safe. Wow, their relationship could have potentially been really interesting. Fuck you show, I repeat.
Neville’s trapped under a bunch of floorboards and there’s an oven hanging above him, about the drop. Neville claims that Danny leaving would be just like killing him, and how would his dead father feel if Danny murdered someone “in cold blood”. THESE WRITERS DO NOT FUCKING UNDERSTAND WHAT THE PHRASE MEANS. It’s the 2nd time they’re used it and the 2nd time it’s been incorrect. Of course this gets to Danny, and he helps his just before the range falls, and of course right away Neville grabs him and handcuffs him again. Danny calls him an SOB, like duh, but Danny’s just too important, more than he even knows.
Charlie and the Psycho, sitting in his cave/in the innards of a carnival ride. She’s tied and tries the old “getting to know you” trick to humanize herself, while he sets up a booby trap that will shoot and arrow at Charlie when the door handle is turned. Apparently psycho used to have a daughter who was just as naive about the world as Charlie is, but he failed as a father because he didn’t protect her and now she’s dead, hence: Psycho.
Apparently they did a decent job of post-blackout survival, stocking up on food and meds, but didn’t keep a gun, so when the looters came and took them all, so that when the daughter stepped on a nail a few weeks later and got tetanus, he didn’t have the meds anymore to help her and she died. Maybe you should have hidden your med stash in more than one place? Also, no regular tetanus shot for y’all? And even if you did have all the meds, including a vaccine, there’s no way to know if she would have survived either way. This villain is stupid.
Charlie’s like “people aren’t like that [looters] anymore.” Except for the ones we ran into and who tried to rape me in the Pilot. Or the Militia who took their crops and women. Yep, no one’s like that. He corrects her, “They’ve always been like that.” And then because thisfuckingshow, he’s like “you remind me of my daughter. Would you like to stay here with me and get raped?” And as he pets her hair, even she can’t keep up the sweet and innocent act and gets grossed out. Psycho gets pissed because she was just pretending, “you little bitch, acting all nice just cause you’re scared.” Yes, how terrible of her.
Miles and Nate are in the building, yelling for Charlie. She starts yelling back and gets her mouth taped shut. Miles opens a blue door and the close-up on the handle makes us think it’s the one that’s set up to the booby-trap, but nope. Psycho pops out and punches Nate some, then it’s Miles and Psycho until Nate grabs him from behind and stabs an arrow into his chest. Teamwork! Suspenseful music as Nate and Miles yell for Charlie and Charlie muffle yells while trying to free herself from getting shot by the arrow trap.
Charlie rocks her chair back and forth enough that the bolts are loosened, so when Miles and Nate open the door and the arrow is shot, she’s tilted enough that it misses her face by a few inches. Only this is stupid, because if the arrow was aimed that high, she could have just bent forward at the waist and it would have missed her. Ugh. Miles confirms she’s okay.
Back in the diner, Aaron the operating on Maggie’s leg and the barking dogs outside suddenly go quiet. Miles/Charlie/Nate come in; Miles was smart and grabbed Psycho’s dog whistle, so that’s taken care of. Maggie’s so happy that Charlie’s alive and they smile at each other.
Even though Aaron did exactly what she told him, Maggie’s lost too much blood. Aaron goes into her bag, also pulling out the copy of The Wizard of Oz Maggie was reading to her kids, and hands her the iPhone. She smiles happily at it, and flashes back to being with her kids, reading them stories of a girl who clapped her heels together and said “take me home”. She’s saying goodbye to her boys until it fades to white and she dies.
It’s beautiful and poignant and total bullshit because she only got three whole flashbacks and her whole purpose was to make Miles stay. I hate everything.
Thanks for that Maggie! But this is the second mom Charlie’s lost (even if she was a total and complete bitch to Maggie prior to this episode).
Speaking of! Monroe’s back to visit Rachel and be creepy some more. She’s looks surprisingly un-torturered. This time, Monroe’s just there to let her know that Danny’s there, and they’re going to torture him until she talks, and tell her she’s such a terrible mother for abandoning her kids back in the day. He wonders if she cared at all about leaving them, or if she’s “too cold of a bitch to feel anything.” Creepy hair touching!
But of course Rachel cares about her kids, because she’s a MOTHER. Back to her saying goodbye to the rest of her family, and as Charlie yells after her, this time we see Rachel’s face, and it is sad.
She arrives at a barn, and we see a Militia-branded wagon. she talks to some figures, bent over a table and in the shadows. One of them turns around and starts walking toward her, and we think it’s Monroe, but…
Miles doesn’t seem to look particularly thrilled to have to resort to these measures. Methinks he was in the job Neville’s in now. Whatever.
Which do you prefer: pirate Miles or uniform Miles?
Shall we start a drinking game for this show? Take a drink very time a female character does something stupid or irrational, someone is called a ‘bitch’, or someone mentions FAMILY. Chug is the stupidness has to do with their ~feelings~ because they are female. Finish your drink (and maybe another) if a female character with zero previously development dies purely to motivate the male lead.
Next week: they train to blow up a train, I guess.