‘Tales of The Walking Dead’ Recap: ‘Blair/Gina’ Goes Full ‘Groundhog Day’

Parker Posey in Tales of the Walking Dead
Spoiler Alert
Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Tales of The Walking Dead Season 1 episode 2, “Blair/Gina.”]

There’s an argument to be made that The Walking Dead is at its best when it’s straight-up weird. Certainly, those moments are among the show’s most interesting; remember Rick (Andrew Lincoln) talking to dead people on the prison phone or Madison’s (Kim Dickens) eerie Christmas dinner on Fear? And then, of course, there’s the whole character of Alpha (Samantha Morton)… who we’ll be seeing next week.

“Blair/Gina” isn’t afraid to get wacky, with a Groundhog-Day-esque storyline that kills its central characters and brings them back over and over again. Two co-workers—Blair (Parker Posey), a stereotypically out-of-touch, narcissistic boss, and Gina (Jillian Bell), her mousy receptionist — end up linked together in an unceasing cycle of repeating events. It’s strange. It’s unusual. It’s unlike anything TWD has done before, and it’s all the better for it. Here’s what happens.

tales of the walking dead, parker posey, jillian bell

Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

The episode opens with an insurance company, Circle of Trust, exploding with phone calls (given the “initial stages of the outbreak” setting, that’s really no surprise). As the office struggles to keep up, Blair orders her workers to take advantage of the fear going around and upsell the terrified callers—and makes time to insult Gina. Blair leaves for a “long weekend vacation” and leaves the receptionist in charge, but she’s stunned to find Gina at the gas station where she and her husband get stuck waiting to fill up their car. She and Gina argue, things escalate, a walker bites a woman’s face, a gun is shot and a tanker of gas explodes, killing Blair and Gina both. And then…

The loop starts over. And over. And over. Various iterations of Gina and Blair inevitably end up at that gas station, where things inevitably go sideways; Gina steals the tanker but Blair forces her to crash, exploding it; one time she succeeds in getting the tanker but gets bit in the process, and then it explodes. They both wind up at the gas station, and both die in an explosion. Over. And over. And over.

tales of the walking dead, parker posey

Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

The eternal stream of deaths doesn’t immediately bring them close. They fight at the office every time they return, and at the gas station—“Go to hell!” Blair screams at her, to which Gina responds, “We’re already there!” But after enough loops, and Blair having an in-earnest breakdown, they reach a kind of understanding. As they sit together on the office bathroom floor, Gina asks Blair just to let her take the tanker. She has to get to her nieces and get them out of the city. “That’s suicide,” Blair says. “They’re shutting down the city.” Nonetheless, Gina convinces her to let her go.

Gina gets the tanker, while Blair stays behind at the office. Changed, she lets all her employees go early, telling them things are much worse than they seem. She also breaks up with her fiancé, realizing that he doesn’t love her. That particular loop ends with Blair committing suicide via walker, and then she and Gina, who died before she got where she needed to go, wind up back in the office again. One more loop!

tales of the walking dead, jillian bell

Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

That time, they really do bond. Blair apologizes to Gina for the way she treated her, and Gina credits Blair for getting her to toughen up. They go to the gas station and work together to take the tanker. As they head in the direction of Gina’s family, they stop on a bridge and notice people fleeing from a horde below them. Determined to help, they drain the gas onto the road below and use Blair’s scarf to light it up, causing an explosion to (hopefully) decimate the horde and save the people.

This also explodes the tanker, leaving Blair and Gina no good way to get to where they need to be. At that point, they notice they made it to 5 o’clock—a feat they’d never accomplished before. Gina shares her theory on what happened to them. She diagnoses Blair with a personality disorder, which she says her boss passed to her. “Folie a deux,” she says, “madness of two.” Whether or not anything they’ve experienced is reality, they walk away together to try to find Gina’s nieces.

“Blair/Gina” is leaps and bounds better than last week’s “traditional-TWD” premiere. The chemistry between Posey and Bell is all kinds of fun, as is the “co-workers who hate each other” dynamic between the characters. The humor works, and both Blair and Gina have clear, concise arcs that conclude by the end. This episode is a great example of what many probably hoped Tales of the Walking Dead would be: the franchise exploring new storytelling horizons and taking risks that, on the main show, might not click. “Blair/Gina” embraced the weird, and we’re glad it did.

Rating: 4/5.

Tales of the Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC