Episode 5 of Black Summer Season 2 is easily the best episode of the season, boasting a standalone bottle episode for Spears. He’s still alive and scrambling for resources. Eventually he finds himself face to face with the hooded man we saw several episodes back.
He rolls over a bottle of water as his true identity is revealed. His name is Braithwaite and he claims to know Spears from the hood.
Spears is understandably sceptical but agrees to go with him nonetheless. As they keep walking, they find a zombie snarling and growling while wedged on a tree. Unlike the car incident, Spears actually kills this one with a stone.
Together, Braithwaite and Spears light a fire out in the wilderness and hang around for comfort. As they both drink alcohol and lower their inhibitions, you can’t help but sense something is going to happen.
Anyway, as they talk about the past it seems like their link is actually Spears’ brother, Big James, whom they joke about. The pair reflect fondly on their past, and the importance of remembering where one comes from. It’s a chat that turns from lighthearted banter to something a little more uneasy as the pair begin wrestling.
When it starts raining however, the pair soon snap out of their mood and remain vigilant. It seems Spears’ wound may actually be infected, and despite the bullet not piercing any internal organs, it could still cause a big problem for him going forward.
Well, as they continue on a whole swarm of zombies arrive. The pair scramble inside a house, being sure to lock up the door behind them. However, the house they’ve entered is an eerie abode, one sporting writing all over the walls that seems to be some form of scripture.
As they head upstairs, they find bodies lining the floor like a sick, mutilated mosaic. A single man sits and breathes heavily, telling them “You made it.”
Holding a gun he’s in shock. He’s been waiting for Braithwaite and Spears to arrive so they can end his misery. These cultists have clearly had enough, and this house is not exactly the ideal place to shack up.
Thankfully, Braithwaite and Spears survive the night and head out in the morning. Home truths are shared here, as they talk about their past transgressions. The main motif though is bygones; these two have decided to let bygones be bygones as they head out to face what the world may throw at them next.
Well, in echoes of Game of Thrones season 8, a random horse just rocks up as the pair find their route out of this hell. Spears thinks about shooting Braithwaite…but eventually changes his mind as he watches his fellow survivalist walk up toward the horse.
The Episode Review
Black Summer returns with its strongest episode. The bottle episode with Spears and Braithwaite flies through a myriad of different emotions, including uneasiness, anxiety and some lighthearted beats too.
In a way, this chapter felt like the flashback sequence in The Walking Dead featuring Morgan, where he’s taught to let go of his anger and move forward. (For those unaware, HERE‘s a link to that synopsis)
Away from the horrors of the frozen tundra, Spears’ journey with this fellow guy from the hood is much more methodical, a slow-paced journey that allows both characters to be fleshed out a bit more and actually allow you to care about these players.
Much like the card game featuring Rose, these tranquil moments do help to grow these characters.
With three chapters left, Black Summer sets everything up nicely for the final, climactic chapter to come as everything looks set to converge on the airstrip. For now though, this was a very solid episode and a promising sign of things to come.