As Black Summer sprints into the next episode of Season 2, we’re treated to a bit of backstory courtesy of a prequel episode. In Prelude, Black Summer backtracks to fill in some of the gaps between The Stadium and our current snowy landscape. Given that we’re only two episodes into the season, Black Summer doesn’t answer all our questions. Not surprisingly, Prelude has about as much story and character development as the rest of the series. But there’s no shortage of tension and action. Also, pay close attention to planes.
Prelude Says Hello to Officer Ray Nazeri
In Prelude’s opening segment, Black Summer takes us to the beginning. Sirens sounding take us right back to the first episode. Except this time we’re introduced to Ray Nazeri in a household garage – the militia leader from The Cold – as he desperately scrambles to pack a bag with guns and supplies. Now armed with a baseball bat Ray make his way into the house. Blood spatter on walls and a family photo hanging crooked on the way tell us something bad has happened. When Ray startles several zombies feeding on someone he scrambles to an upstairs bedroom. After grabbing a few more items, Ray glances down at a wedding ring, removing it before climbing out a window.
Next, The Decision catches up to a scene that must occur shortly after The Stadium. Inside a convenience store, two men are quickly stashing items from shelves when a girl screams at the door – it’s Anna. When she tells the men her parents are dead they let her in. But Anna immediately goes around to the back of the store and lets her mom, Rose, Spears, and Sun into the store. They tell the men to leave the store. After kicking the Good Samaritans out of the store, Rose and company don’t fare much better. Outside they find their car siphoned of gas.
Apparently, Rose has adapted quickly to their harsh reality.
And then a truck of militant men shows up on the street sending the foursome scattering in separate directions for cover. Following a tense hunt through shadowy buildings, Sun, Rose, and Anna reunite and find a badly injured Spears. Apparently, Rose has adapted quickly to their harsh reality. Deciding that Spears will slow them down, Rose and Anna leave him behind while Sun helps him to his feet. But when the militia return, Sun pushes Spears down a small hill to protect him. The militia – led by Officer Ray – capture Rose leaving an unnoticed Spears at the bottom of the hill – putting him exactly where we found him in The Cold.
Three Point Turn and Friends
As our next segment, Three Point Turn, starts, two men show up at a dead end in what looks like a junkyard of sorts. Immediately, they sense something is wrong, but it’s too late. Someone smashes the window and drags the two men out of the pickup. What follows is what appears to be competing factions taking turns raiding the truck. Before the segment ends a woman with a gun arrives – one of the ‘good guys’ from The Cold’s firefight – to take her turn picking supplies.
What follows is what appears to be competing factions taking turns raiding the truck.
This segment gives way to another brief one entitled Friends. Here, Prelude takes us closer timewise to the events of The Cold. We’re introduced to an unnamed man scouring an abandoned vehicle in the midst of a snowstorm. Finding a few scant supplies, he returns to a seriously injured friend in another vehicle. In spite of his best efforts, the man passes away and quickly re-animates. The only other point of interest in this segment – the man mentions getting to a plane.
In Prelude Spears Has a Shadow
Still alive but clearly injured, Spears makes his way across a snowy landscape. As an aside, for the third time in Prelude, we see (or are told about) about a plane begging the same question – is this the same plane dropping supplies at the start of The Cold? Off in the distance, Spears see a figure approach but rather than waiting, Spears picks himself up and keeps walking. When he reaches a snowy peak, the ground below him gives way, sending him tumbling down a hill. At the bottom of the hill, Spears finds several frozen zombies. Braving the odds, he pulls the gloves off of one of the zomb-sicles. To be clear, the zombie is just frozen solid – it’s still very much re-animated. As the segment comes to a close, Spears looks to the top of the hill and sees the same figure from earlier.
Rose and Anna Find Shelter from The Cold
In Prelude’s final segment, Black Summer re-introduces us to Rose and Anna in the snowy sort-of-present landscape. As they happen upon the same large house they’re found in at the start of The Cold, a lone zombie blocks their path. Not quite as good with her sniper rifle at this point, Rose misses her shot forcing her and Anna to make a run for it. Fortunately, the house’s occupants are a little more generous than Rose, and let them in. At the episode’s conclusion, we immediately recognize one of the occupants as Freddy from The Cold.
Prelude Continues Black Summer’s Focus on Action Over Story
At this point, Black Summer clearly will not be using standard storytelling. You’re either on board for it or frustrated with the lack of overarching narrative. Ironically, Episode 2, Prelude, dangles several story bit that are just waiting to be assembled. Whether Black Summer ever puts them together in a way that resembles a satisfying narrative remains to be seen. But Prelude continues to be nail-biting television that rarely relents.