Screens: AMC

Smooth Operators

The zombie crisis is worsening, but some are pressing their advantage with nefarious life skills against the tide.

  • Previously

    The military set up a "Safe" zone in Maddy's neighborhood. Ofelia traded smooches with a soldier in order to try to get medicine for her ailing mother, Griselda. Griselda was taken away for surgery, but her husband Daniel was forced to stay behind. Liza, who'd been training to be a medical professional, was recruited to help out at the hospital. Junkie Nick was also taken away, but not because he's infected. Christopher spotted a light out in the distance where nobody's supposed to be alive; Travis later saw gunfire at night in that building.

  • Character Study
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    You Got Stranded

    Name: Strand.
    Age: Mid-40s.
    Occupation: Salesman of sorts.
    Goal: To be part of a New World Order where ruthless, pitiless people rule and it can't get here soon enough. And to do it with an air of mystery. Even after brutalizing the emotions of poor Doug and earning the right to keep Nick by his side by trading some jewelry later on, we still never hear his name. If it wasn't for post-apocalyptic IMDb, we still wouldn't know it.
    Sample Dialogue: "I can sell anything, everything, ask anyone. Except, uh, insurance."
  • Alert!
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    Adams's Extract

    Alert Type: Unruly Civilian Alert.

    Issue: The young Ofelia is making a ruckus at the fence, throwing bottles and demanding that family members (particularly her mother) be returned from wherever it was they were taken. It's getting to the point that someone is going to be sent in to silence her, perhaps permanently.

    Complicating Factors: Ofelia has been exchanging saliva with one of the soldiers, Adams, and because the apocalypse has just started, he chooses to stick up for her rather than see her get taken away or worse.

    Resolution: The other soldiers, many of whom are shell-shocked by the stuff they're seeing happen to regular people, let Adams through and he takes her home.

    Spoiler: Adams, it's a trap!

  • Family Matters
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    Maybe It's Time To Let The Boy Emancipate Himself

    Who's causing a family crisis? Christopher, who else?

    How? While Maddy and Travis try to figure out how to get Nick and Ofelia back (and, sure, Mrs. Salazar, why not?), Christopher butts in and demands to be part of the conversation, and oh yeah, Maddy should butt out of the conversation. The conversation, humorously for my purposes, is referred to specifically as a "family matter."

    Which relatives have a problem with it? Travis, but only because he's trying to keep the peace while also showing concern for his son, who breaks down talking about his mother, Liza. Despite rational explanations from Travis, Christopher still storms off because grown-up are the worst!

    Who's an unlikely ally? Sensing that Christopher is all pent up with sadness, rage, and teenage emo inside, Alicia will come to his aid.

    Spoiler: None of it will help bring Liza back.

  • Classifieds

    Help Wanted

    Ready to take on the worst job in the world? Just kidding! Fast-paced, newly operational medical facility seeks a fast learner who's had at least two years of intense medical training, or has read up on intense medical training, or has seen intense medical training on any surgical reality-TV program. Position is 100-hour-a-week with no benefits, extremely dangerous working conditions, and no 401k whatsoever. Sound challenging? You don't know the half of it, sister! Why would anyone take this thankless job? If you have a whiny teenage son who's cramping your style, this would be an excellent way to get an excused absence from being his parent for a while, if you catch our drift. Serious inquiries only; contact Dr. Exner at the mysterious guarded building two miles from your fenced-off town.

  • Bad Habits
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    We Don't Have To Live Like Bedless Animals...Yet

    You can tell Maddy still believes things might go back to normal because she's still making the beds. Not even just her bed, but the beds of Nick and Alicia, where she finds the note Susan wrote before her death. This leads Maddy to Susan's house to look for Alicia, so it's a bit of a plot flag, but also says a lot about Maddy's state of mind. Can there be anyone more dangerous in a post-apocalyptic world than someone who still makes a bed when the rest of the damn world has completely given up on that shit?

  • Awkward
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    Someone's Still Bitter They Never Got Cast On 24

    Situation: While looking for Alicia at Susan's house, Maddy hears noises and heads to the basement. After like 15 minutes of pseudo-scary flashlight prowling, Maddie finds something much scarier than a zombie down there: she finds a full-on interrogation of an American soldier.

    What makes it awkward? For one thing, it's not super-patriotic to hold a soldier hostage in your basement. And on top of that, it's Daniel and Ofelia who are holding Adams prisoner and those people happen to live with Maddy. She's not thrilled.

    How is order restored? Daniel wins Maddy over to his side by insisting this is the only way to get her son and the others back and to get information about how bad their situation might be. Daniel also promises Ofelia that he won't hurt Adams, a promise he assures Maddy he doesn't intend to keep. And the final blow to Maddy's opposition is Daniel telling her he's seen this before and that the people who are taken away on trucks never come back. Maddie gives in without getting too emotional about it.

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  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    Moyers Has A Lot On His Plate Right Now, Travis

    Somehow Travis hasn't lost his boundless optimism despite it being the end of the world and all. He still believes that this whole situation with the military taking away loved ones can be resolved with a simple conversation with the commanding officer, Moyers, who still calls Travis "The Mayor" and not in a nice way. Moyers uses the opportunity of a one-man civilian audience to talk about the challenges he faces, including keeping a bunch of very young soldiers challenged and motivated, as if none of them has seen combat overseas. (If the show takes place around 2010, wouldn't that be highly unusual for any group of soldiers?) Travis convinces Moyers to let him catch a ride to the hospital two miles away to check on his people. Moyers does so, despite the fact that it might put his sleep-deprived soldiers in danger and despite the fact that Travis all but threatened to cause an uprising if his request was not met. It's not easy being Moyers and this once-lovely bromance appears to be falling apart.

  • Brain­teaser
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    Q What percent chance is there that Daniel won't cause Adams extreme pain in order to get information about his wife and whether they're all in danger?
    A Zero.
  • Plot Lightning Round
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    On the way to the hospital, the military convoy stops to take out a zombie spotted in a nearby building. Travis is goaded into being the one to take the shot despite his reservations and lack of skills.

    2015-09-28-fwd-10

    Travis can't do it, especially when he sees on a nametag that it was a woman named Kimberly.

    2015-09-28-fwd-headshot

    One of the soldiers takes the shot instead. Successfully.

    2015-09-28-fwd-11

    At the hospital, Liza is learning how to diagnose problems like collapsed lungs and zombie bites. Zombie bites get quarantined and Dr. Exner makes her aware of what a big deal that is.

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    Another detour on the way to the hospital: the squad with Travis runs into a building to help another team of soldiers and quickly gets overwhelmed.

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    Travis is told to stay in the car, so he can only sit and listen helplessly to the scanner as he hears what sounds like a lot of the soldiers inside getting killed.

  • Hell No!
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    Stars And Stripes, But Mostly A Stripe Down Your Arm

    Daniel reveals that he partook in torture back in El Salvador when he was a very young man. It's terrible, he says, for both the torturer and the tortured. That doesn't stop Daniel from cutting into the arm of Adams in an effort to get information about "Cobalt," a word he keeps hearing in radio transmissions that must be important. Do you like seeing American soldiers tortured for not much more than not being able to pronounce the name of their Latina girlfriends? This show may be for you!

  • Money Matters

    Let's Make a Quarantine Deal!

    In a check of prisoner temperatures in the holding pen at the hospital, Strand is at 98.6, but unfortunately Nick has a fever. As Nick gets dragged away, Strand makes a deal with one of the soldiers to give up one of his very expensive-looking, engraved cufflinks in exchange for the right to take care of Nick himself. This seems like a losing proposition for the soldier if Nick should suddenly die and come back to life, but he accepts it anyway, only on the condition he get both cufflinks -- to keep, not as collateral. Strand reluctantly agrees.

    Nick's life = a pair of flashy cufflinks

  • Travel
    2015-09-28-fwd-15

    Sorry, No Hospital Stop After All, Travis

    Things go very badly for the military guys, and the ones who survive come back out to inform Travis that not only are they not taking him to the hospital, but that Moyers apparently didn't survive. They offer to take him within walking distance of his home (isn't it less than two miles?), but the soldier is about to go on "Operation Get My Ass Back To San Diego" to be with his family.

  • That Happened
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    Daniel Is Having A Moment Or Three

    Ofelia comes in and discovers her dad broke his promise not to hurt Adams (way to watch her, Maddy). Daniel tells Maddy that when Ofelia was nine, he told her about all the bad things that happened in El Salvador but neglected to mention whether he participated in the torture himself. (He did.) He breaks down asking if she thinks Ofelia would understand that it was necessary then to survive, and that it's necessary now. Somewhere out there, Jack Bauer is smiling.

  • Health
    From the desk of

    Doctor Exner

    Patient

    Griselda Salazar

    Diagnosis

    Post foot amputation, it's a case of septic shock. Game over.

    Prescription

    Try not to die in a way that causes you to come back to life. Please keep bodily fluids to self.

    Refill      times
    Get affairs in order
    Don't return after death

  • Party!
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    All Teens Want To Do Is Come Into Your House And Break Your Shit

    What's the occasion? Christopher is bummed out, so Alicia decides to cheer him up by showing him the house of a rich family that has long since left town.

    What are the refreshments? Champagne, chaos, whatever people wearing fancy clothes feed on.

    Whose big public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? What starts out as a fancy dress-up party for two people turns dour as they ponder the people who used to live there. But just as quickly it turns into an occasion to break all the stuff in the house gleefully, which all grownups secretly suspect is the hidden agenda of every teenager.

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  • Meeting Time
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    Cobalt: Not A Good Thing

    Who called the meeting? Travis.

    What's it about? Travis comes home from his little walk to find Ofelia upset and, hold on, an American soldier held prisoner next door? As you'd imagine, Travis won't stand for this. He demands to interrupt Daniel's questioning.

    How'd it go? You'd think Daniel would put Travis flat on his ass, but instead he just wants Travis and Maddy to hear the information he found. According to Adams, the word "Cobalt" refers to an operation to evacuate the area. With just the soldiers. The people left behind would be "humanely terminated" and the plan is to do it at nine the next morning. So that was a pretty productive meeting.

  • Wrap It Up
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    Strand reveals to his new ward Nick that he's going to need the help of a heroin addict like him when he makes his move. His move involves having a key, presumably to escape.

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    Back from their stupid party, Alicia and Christopher notice that the military is moving past and they're not patrolling. Could they already be abandoning the post?

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    Griselda dies after a lengthy, creepy monologue in Spanish witnessed by Liza and Dr. Exner in which she says she knows the face of the devil after all those nights with her husband as they feared that the disappeared would come and tear them apart. She's ready for them now. She knows their faces and they know hers.

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    After Griselda's death, Dr. Exner tells Liza that she has to use a bolt pistol to put the woman down before she turns and comes back. Liza does it.

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    Perhaps unwisely, Daniel goes to check out the arena where Adams said they had to lock up 2,000 people, infected an uninfected, when they could no longer tell them apart and had to evacuate. The locked doors shake and Daniel is terrified.

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    Yup, that's an arena full of the undead, all right!

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