The people of Los Angeles are starting to panic. Principal Artie is patrolling the hallways of an empty high school. Some residents are hitting the roads to go somewhere else and some who aren’t as aware of the danger are carrying on as normal. Alicia decides to find out why Matt hasn’t been answering her calls and stops by his house. The front door is open and she finds him, sick and in bed. His parents are nowhere to be found. Travis, Nick and Maddy, fresh off their close encounter with the dead, not dead Calvin are racing around, trying to find Alicia. Their plan, once they locate the girl, is to pick up Travis’ ex-wife, Liza, and his son, Chris, and head out to the desert. They finally get Alicia on the phone and she tells them how sick Matt is.
Chris is on a school bus on his way home when a man jumps aboard and starts screaming how the cops shot a homeless guy. Everyone gets off the bus to see the scene of the incident, including Chris, who begins to film the mayhem. He’s under the impression that it’s a case of cops gone wild, and the crowd is shouting at the officers in anger and outrage. The chant from the crowd is “Hell no, we won’t go”, which would be more suitable for protesters if this was the Viet Nam War era. Not that it matters, because the mob has it all wrong, they just don’t know it yet. EMTs, dressed in hazmat suits, arrive to remove the body of the homeless man. Another dead, not dead woman staggers into the middle of the chaos and is shot in the head by an officer.
Maddy, Travis and Nick arrive at Matt’s house and Travis sees the bite mark on Matt’s shoulder. Matt keeps telling Alicia that he’s going to be fine, but the other three know differently. All four decide to leave Matt to whatever fate awaits him, against Alicia’s wishes, and head home. One of the neighbors is setting up their yard for their nine year old’s birthday party – bouncy castle and all – while another is packing to get the hell out of Dodge. Travis still hasn’t reached Liza or Chris, so he decides to go over to their house. He tells Maddy that if he’s not back soon, to leave without him. Leave for where? The desert? Where in the desert? At least give her a description of the cactus where you’ll all meet up. That’s the most basic part of an emergency plan, isn’t it? Rendezvous point 101. Nick is starting to feel the effects of going without drugs for the better part of a day and Maddy makes the decision to leave Alicia in charge and go out to find something to hold off his withdrawals. Before she leaves, she does walk across the street to tell the neighbors that a birthday party might not be the best idea under the circumstances.
Travis gets Liza on the phone, at last, and tells her about the plan to leave, but she thinks he’s nuts and tells him that she’ll see him on his court mandated weekend visit. As he continues on, Travis sees that traffic is tied up in just about every direction and even a cop is loading cases of water into the trunk of his car. He manages to get to Liza’s house, and fills her in, as best as he can, about the growing insanity that’s taking over the city. When they do talk to Chris on the phone, he’s determined to stay at the site of the shooting and join the rest of the clueless engaged in righteous indignation directed at the police. The two turn on the TV and figure out where he is, and, of course, head right for it.
Maddy is at the high school, on her mission to find something to tide Nick over for a while. After getting her key to the nurse’s office, she breaks into a locker where student’s prescriptions are kept and grabs a few bags of whatever she finds appropriate. She’s surprised by Tobias, who asks for his knife. He’s there for a little stockpiling of his own, by taking food from the school cafeteria. As he and Maddy make their way through the halls, he tells her all about how this unfolding disaster is going to go down. He knows in what order the utilities will be lost, what businesses will be looted. How does he know, you ask? He knows because he’s a teenage boy who plays video games, absorbs everything on the internet and can probably hack into the International Space Station. They hear noises on the intercom system and realize that somewhere in the building is one of the undead. Just like that, and they find that it’s Principal Artie. Maddy moves to help her friend but Tobias knows that that’s a horrible idea and lunges at the man with his knife. Apparently, Tobias hasn’t quite caught up with the idea that only a head shot stops these things, and he and the principal fight and fall down the stairs. Maddy grabs a fire extinguisher and begins to pummel the man, until she finally does enough damage to his skull to end it. They make their escape, and Maddy drives Tobias home. Realizing that his parents are also missing, she offers to take him home with her. He assures that he’ll be fine and also tells her that this thing that’s going on isn’t going to end. “They don’t die. They come back.” He’s right. They do. Go for the head.
Travis and Liza are at the scene of the shootings and searching for Chris. More police have arrived, in riot gear, and are trying to control the mob. Fires have been started and buildings are being vandalized and looted. After locating Chris, Travis and Liza run with him to a barber shop which is trying to close. The barber lets them in, reluctantly, and they, with the blessing of the barber’s wife are allowed to stay there until things quiet down. It could be a long wait.
Alicia is worried about Matt and tells Nick that she’s going to check on him. This is a great idea, don’t you think? I mean, what’s wrong with one more teenager on the loose when you’re in the middle of God knows what kind of mess? Before she can get out the door, Nick has a seizure, which really pisses his sister off. Now she has to stay and take care of him. Bummer. Maddy gets home and hands Nick some of the oxys she found at school, then takes the rest of her stash and her bloody jacket into the bathroom – and starts to cry. Travis calls to tell her that he, Liza and Chris are okay but that they’ll be held up a while. Something explodes outside the barber shop and angry voices can be heard. Travis tells Maddy to go on ahead to the desert and he’ll meet them there. The barber’s wife prays, then prays some more.
When Maddy and Travis hang up, Alicia and her mother hear screams and look out the window to see one of their neighbors being attacked by another, right in front of the bouncy castle. Alicia tries to go out to help, but Maddy stops her. This is how it starts, this thing that doesn’t end. It’s still early and there’s no sense of purpose yet, no feeling that maybe you should help that person under who’s under attack, because it could be you next. Rick Grimes is still in a coma and Atlanta isn’t faring much better at this point. Los Angeles should listen to Tobias.
The barber’s wife recites a rosary, beginning with a Hail Mary, stops praying and extinguishes her candles.
FTWD won’t be back until September 13th. See you then.