“Teotwawki” · Concern The Strolling Lifeless · TV Assessment Concern The Strolling Lifeless course corrects with twisted youngsters in a brand new setting · TV Membership · The A.V. Membership

Is that this the identical present as final week’s two-parter? “Teotwawki” is the whole lot Concern The Strolling Lifeless needs to be. There’s pressure. There’s stakes. There’s a zombie head in a cage. It’s the strongest outing this lackluster spin-off has aired since its early first-season episodes, and it achieves this relative excessive by returning Concern The Strolling Lifeless to The Strolling Lifeless fundamentals. The Otto household’s ranch/preppers’ paradise hews intently to the Greene’s farm, however as an alternative of homespun folksiness there’s a dysfunctional menace. The Otto household is the proper foil for the Clark household: Past the floor parallels of the Otto patriarch with two kids and the Clark matriarch with two kids, there’s the sense that these are two households with pure leaders at their helms who’ve very completely different concepts of tips on how to survive. Every could be ruthless.

It’s an excellent set-up that nearly forgives the extraordinarily clumsy path that took the Clarks to the ranch. With Madison turning into extra Rick-like every single day, and Alicia leaning into her newfound hardness, the Clarks are on observe to be the identical form of hard-but-fair protagonist we like to root for in Rick. The final clumsy word continues to be Nick, who the writers appear to wish to act as a wild-card nicely of prospects however who most of the time finally ends up pulling the present down together with his inanities and under-baked motivations.

Talking of motivations, we study extra about Troy’s psychology in “Teotwawki,” and whereas the entire “he’s a psychopath as a result of his mother was an alcoholic” reeks of the “robust childhood = unhealthy grownup” trope, the verbal sparring between Madison and Troy went a good distance towards bringing him to life. It’s additionally good to see Madison’s highschool steerage counselor roots coming by means of.

However the true spotlight this episode was assembly Alicia’s new associates. These youngsters’ model of Bible examine is smoking weed within the post-apocalyptic model of your mother and father’ basement, solely this group brings out a zombie head named Jeff as an alternative of taking part in video video games. It’s twisted, it’s memorable, and it’s one of many funnest concepts the zombie writers have had in a very long time. The kids have by no means been “on the market,” preventing the zombies, so that they nonetheless have loads of youthful angst to air. I hope we spend extra time with them in future episodes. I hope Jeff will get a backstory.

If Alicia and Jeff are the excessive level of “Teotwawki,” the low level goes, once more, to Victor. His story is so indifferent from the Clarks’ that it’s affordable to marvel why he’s nonetheless within the present in any respect. He’s distant from the ranch and appears to be caught together with his previous pal and new adversary. And the person who provides him water isn’t sufficient to compensate for the period of time his storyline takes away from the present’s actual focus.

Stray observations:

  • I adore it when a present chilly opens with one thing that makes you go “wait, am I on the best channel?”
  • I shudder to suppose what the Otto storyline will do to bolster preppers’ sense of smugness, however the Clinton-era video is such enjoyable.
  • Did Nick wash his hair this week? No.

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