At this point in the season, Fear the Walking Dead is built on dualities and parallels. This begins, of course, with Travis Manawa’s (Cliff Curtis) two families: his ex-wife, Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez), and son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie); his girlfriend Madison (Kim Dickens), and her two children, Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey). This episode begins, in fact, by emphasizing that duality, the two families separated: Travis and Chris are holed up downtown with the Salazar family, and Madison and her children are riding out the blackout at home.
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And there you have it. The F Society team has finally, once and for all, sprung several dogs from captivation and saved the world. Oh yeah, and the hack that has been discussed since episode one? That has finally been executed too.
We’ve seen numerous hacks in season one, usually with Elliot (Rami Malek) walking us through the technicalities as he ruins this life or that one, all in the name of the overall good. The ironic part of Mr. Robot’s finale is that we do not, in fact, see this hack carried out. Instead, we catch up with Elliot two days after the hack, as its effects are starting to truly sink in worldwide. This doesn’t mean that Elliot is basking in the glory of his success. In fact, he is just as lost as we are, as he remembers just as much about the operation as the viewer.
Once, at a dinner party, Simone de Beauvoir found herself seated next to a Jesuit priest in full regalia. His orthodoxy notwithstanding, the Jesuit had perused The Second Sex with considerable interest, professed an open mind about feminism, and greeted De Beauvoir in the spirit of honest discourse. “I look forward to sharing ideas with you this evening, Mdm. De Beauvoir,” he said. She turned to the Jesuit, scrutinized his vestments, and blankly replied, “What could I possibly have to talk about with you?” She then turned away, justified in the knowledge that, when existential principles confront absolutist dogma, dialectics become useless, and it is preferable to spare both parties the embarrassment of a futile, passive-aggressive exchange.
Following the season finalé of HBO’s True Detective, I can’t help but reflect on how this second season — set in southern and central California rather than the Louisiana bayous — used and treated its Latino/Latina characters.
In an episode halfway through the season (“Other Lives”), after a big shoot-out that marked a turning point in the labyrinthine murder mystery, Detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) looks around an overcrowded housing complex filled with undocumented Latino immigrants and their children — kids digging in patches of dirt, women patting tortilla dough outside — and mutters to himself “Jesus Christ” with a look of disgust and disbelief as he walks away.
American political life has reached an unenviable crossroads: we want government to be effective, but government has been ineffectual for so long that we can only fear what the shock of activity might bring. A line in G.K. Chesterton’s political treatise What’s Wrong with the World? aptly sums up this state of things: “We all agree that a lazy aristocracy is a bad thing, but we would not want an active aristocracy.”
Americans likewise face the interlaced problems of heartless inaction and imprudent action: we complain about partisan gridlock but forget the terrors wrought by eager consensus, from The Defense of Marriage Act, to the Patriot Act and the ceaseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If solid bipartisanship can wreak irreparable harm, we might prefer despairing paralysis.