Season 4, Episode 10: Close Your Eyes
PLOT: Alicia Clark takes shelter from a storm only to find she’s sharing a house with Charlie, the little girl who killed her brother.
REVIEW: The severe weather event that was advertised as being a major selling point for the second half of Fear the Walking Dead‘s fourth season is now in full swing, and while it’s causing trouble for the show’s characters, the way it’s handled in this episode actually brought me relief. I had been worried that the storm would be used as a way to pack the second half of the season with action so the writers wouldn’t have to spend as much time dealing with the fact that they had just killed off the two characters who had been the most important people on the show up to this point, Madison Clark and her son Nick. But this episode was the opposite of what I had been fearing it would be, as the storm was used as a way to force two characters to deal with the issues they had with each other because of the deaths of Madison and Nick.
Those characters are Madison’s daughter / Nick’s sister Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), the little girl who shot and killed Nick and also helped set the events in motion that would lead to Madison’s death. Alicia feels driven to kill the kid for destroying her family, but at the same time doesn’t want to do it. Racked with guilt, Charlie has a death wish. While facing the possibility that the storm might just kill both of them, they have to come to terms with each other and with what they’ve done in the past, and figure out a way to move forward. They do this through some very well-written, emotional dramatic scenes.
I expected the storm to be handled much differently than this. For one thing, I thought a storm episode would be cutting back and forth between all of the remaining characters on the show, showing us how each of them deals with the weather. When Alicia came striding into a house and killed the zombie family occupying it so she could use the place as her weather shelter, I figured we’d be cutting away to someone else any second… Yet after Alicia made a display of just how much of a badass she has become, easily wiping out the zombies, even dealing with two of them at once, the episode didn’t cut away. It stayed with Alicia as she got her shelter set up. And the longer it went, the longer I wanted it to go – I wanted to stay with Alicia for the duration. And the episode did, giving her company after 9 minutes when she realizes she’s sharing the house with the last living person she would want to share a house with, little Charlie.
This dedication to the drama in the midst of an episode that also features a swiftly flooding basement and the amusing / awesome sight of zombies being swept away by the wind was commendable and appreciated, and Debnam-Carey and Nisenson did excellent work delivering their lines and getting across the emotions their characters were being tormented by.
I was especially impressed by Nisenson’s work in this episode. I’ve had three and a half seasons of Fear the Walking Dead to get to know what Debnam-Carey is capable of, at this point I know she can carry an episode, but Nisenson is new on the scene and is just getting started proving herself. Before Fear I only knew her for a comedic musical scene in the film FIST FIGHT, which showed me she could be funny while singing vulgar lyrics. Now I’m seeing that she can handle heavier subject matter as well.
I’m guessing episodes ahead will be showing what the other characters were doing during the storm. While I want to know how Strand, Luciana, Morgan, John Dorie, June, and Althea got through the wind and the rain, I’m not sure any of it will be as interesting as what Alicia and Charlie went through.
Close Your Eyes was a surprisingly good episode that showed me the storm could be used to do more for the show than just bring in some spectacle.
BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Somehow a zombie managed to fall through the railing of a balcony at the house Alicia and Charlie are staying in and got itself impaled on a tree branch that continues to hold it up in the air. It’s a cool visual to see a zombie stuck off the ground like that, and the situation got even cooler when Charlie was able to walk to the edge of the balcony and offer the zombie the chance to bite her.
GORY GLORY: Episode after episode I have to choose “Gory Glory” moments that aren’t all that gory, because Fear the Walking Dead just isn’t a very gory show this season. This time I have to go with the moment where Alicia spears the brain of one zombie with an object in her right hand while simultaneously spearing the brain of another zombie with an object in her left hand.
FAVORITE SCENE: As Alicia and Charlie run out of breathing space in a flooding basement (a scenario that reminded me of the 2000 film THE PERFECT STORM), they both have emotional breakdowns.