Episode 4 of Fear The Walking Dead picks up with Chris filming a video diary of what is going on in the neighborhood. The military has set up a safe zone in the neighborhood and has gone house to house clearing the homes. Now the residents are stuck behind walls with the military in charge enforcing curfews and trying to keep everyone calm. They repeatedly tell the residents that they are lucky to be living in the safe zone, which is one of 12 safe zones that have been established. The military tells the residents that an area of six miles around the zone has been cleared of contamination. But the residents, especially Madison, are not fully trusting the military.
A Light in the Distance
Chris, while filming his video diary, swings his camera around to get images of the military coming and going. When he is watching the playback of his video he sees a light flash from a window in the distance. It’s not a chance reflection. It is clearly a controlled flash done in a sequence. Chris shows the video to his dad, who dismisses it. Later he shows it to Madison who tells him it’s nothing but she is starting to wonder if there are people alive out there.
A New Routine
Chris says on camera that it has been nine days since the military took over the neighborhood. By this time the residents have established a sort of routine. Travis has become the go between relaying messages between the military and the residents. He is trusted by both groups so he is busy being a peacekeeper while Liza attends to the medical needs of the sick people. Madison is busy looking after the kids and the Salazars but she doesn’t trust the military. She wants information and the military is not telling them anything. Her relationship with Travis is tense because he seems to be willing to believe the military when they say that everything will be fine now that the safe zone has been established.
Meanwhile Ofelia Salazar and Alicia have become friends and go together to flirt with the military men. Ofelia has a darker agenda though as it becomes clear she is only using one of the soldiers to try and get medicine for her mother, who is still suffering from the wound she got trying to escape the riot.
Nick appears to be holding himself together but it’s clear he’s not when the audience sees him wedge himself under the gurney bed of a sick patient after hijacking the man’s morphine drip and inserting it into his toe to get high.
The Truth is Out There
By about halfway through the episode Madison has had enough of the Army’s stalling. She sneaks out of the safe zone through a hole in a fence. As she wanders through the abandoned streets she sees dozens of missing posters tacked to walls. The deeper she gets into other neighborhoods the more destruction she sees. And then she is practically knocked over by the smell of death. She sees bodies everywhere. Not walker, just dead bodies.
As she’s trying to figure out what is going on she sees a team of Army soldiers wearing masks and protective gear sweeping the streets with guns, ready to kill anything living to avoid spreading the contamination. She has to crawl under a car to avoid being noticed and she ends up lying next to a body that had been shot, presumably by the soldiers.
She makes her way back unnoticed but she is unnerved by what she saw. She knows that her instinct was right and that there is a lot more going on than they are being told. She talks to Daniel Salazar about it and he continues to be the wisest of them all when he says that when things end they will end fast.
While Madison was out exploring a new woman is seen in the safe zone. She tells Liza that she is a doctor and she calls Liza out for telling people she’s a nurse when really she is a student but then tells Liza she could use her help. She starts making lists of anyone in the neighborhood who is sick, including Nick after Liza tells her that Nick needs Methadone. One by one the sick are rounded up and put in trucks to be taken to a hospital, supposedly. But their families are not allowed to go with them.
Daniel Salazar tells the doctor that he is going with his wife, who is on the list because of her foot injury. He tells Madison to look after Ofelia and prepares to go with his wife but at the last second the Army won’t let him go with her. They also drag Nick away from Madison. After Nick and Grizelda Salazar are put on the truck the doctor tells Liza to come with them because they need her help. Liza hesitates, telling the doctor she has a son, but she goes on the truck to keep an eye on Grizelda and Nick.
Clearly a showdown is coming between the residents and the military. No one really knows what is happening and their faith in the authorities is fading fast. As Daniel Salazar said when things happen it will happen fast. There are only two episodes left in the first season of Fear The Walking Dead and they promise to deliver a lot of the action that has been missing until now.
But what the people in the safe zone are going through is what people go through in a disaster. There are periods of activity but there is mostly a lot of waiting and doing nothing. Time stands still and routines go out the window. It makes people edgy and restless and eventually they are going to revolt at being kept inside the thin walls of the safe zone.