On the last episode of Fear the Walking Dead we followed Nick on a personal journey through the three stages of death and to a new community. While Nick is given a dangerous assignment, Madison and the others search for him.
Fear the Walking Dead is still trying to find its footing with fans of The Walking Dead. The confusion or impatience with the series stems from the fact that fans of TWD have already gone through hell and back with Team Rick. They’ve seen it all. But in reality, they haven’t. When the apocalypse hits us – and it will – we can be assured that even with all the zombie movies and television shows we’ve watched, we will be totally clueless.
The walkers are still called “infected” in FTWD. People still hold onto hope that there is a cure and, in countries with a better understanding and acceptance of death than we have here in the States, the dead are viewed as a possible salvation or cleansing. I am actually impressed with the decision to film the show in Mexico. This is a country that celebrates their dead. They view their infected in a more loving way and they hold onto the hope that the infected will eventually heal or die a more permanent death. Because of their strong beliefs that GOD has a plan for the infected, Alejandro and the people of Colonia use the infected as a barrier against the real dangers of an apocalyptic world: other people.
When the series first began, I thought the show would revolve around Travis and Madison and that Nick would become an early causality, but this didn’t happen. Nick’s life as a drug addict has made him a survivor in a world where the dead are on top of the food chain. Frank Dillane plays his character as an innocent. Nick is fearless because he’s not afraid of death. Why should he fear the dead when he’s been on the precipice of death’s door so many times as a druggie? How many friends had Nick already lost to overdose before the infection began?
Nick is surprised to learn that in Colonia, the sick people of the town are given a chance to serve the living. They take a one way trip through the bus and become part of the living barrier. It’s a daily fact of life and no one thinks to shield the poor little girl from seeing her father attacked by the infected once he exits that bus. This is why I love Nick. He was the only one who cared. In the old world, Nick was considered a loser, but in the apocalypse he has true worth. His view of life is simplistic and because of this, he is the only one who identifies with that little girl’s pain.
Although Colonia is safe because of the wall of infected surrounding the compound, there are still threats. The town needs water and medical supplies and Luciana takes Nick with her to barter with the former members of the Drug Cartel.
After giving up hope of ever finding her son, Madison grudgingly agrees to head back to the Abigail. I forget why they left the ship in the first place, but it was a stupid move. Now, the ship is gone (hijacked by the military) and our foursome has to find shelter. After Madison, Alicia, Strand and Ofelia find a hotel to hide in, Alicia finally tells Madison how she feels. Because of Nick’s addiction, life as normal had been put on hold for Alicia. Up until Nick’s decision to leave the group, Alicia was the forgotten one. Everything revolved around Nick because addiction to drugs or alcohol not only destroys the user, but also the entire family. Alicia demands to be noticed. It’s about time.
We get a sense that someone else has been to that hotel because as Alicia and Ofelia search the premises, they notice the “Do Not Disturb” signs on doors that contain the infected. While Alicia is hopeful for the fate of mankind, Ofelia has given up all hope and if we are to look at this new world through Ofelia’s eyes, then what do we have to live for? Without Daniel, Ofelia feels lost, and to be truthful, the show has lost an important catalyst to keep the storyline moving. Is Daniel really dead? While Alicia takes a shower, Ofelia disappears.
Last week, we got an insider’s view of what makes Nick tick. The bigger question is, what past secrets have made Madison so apocalypse worthy? I’m betting it wasn’t her job as a school counselor. Madison and Strand had begun this journey as adversaries. She didn’t like Strand’s influence over her son and she didn’t trust his motives. Now, after her daughter has called her a failure as a mother and fearing for the fate of Nick and Travis, Madison allows herself to accept Strand as a friend. They get royally drunk and after Madison reveals her secret, Strand plays the piano.
The one blaring fact I’ve gathered from this episode is that the Madison’s kids are much more survival-oriented than the adults of the team. Why is Alicia the only one who thinks to raid the mini-fridges in the hotel rooms for food and water? Why hasn’t Madison told her children the truth about their father’s death? Steven’s accident wasn’t so accidental. It was more of a suicide by oncoming traffic. The apocalypse is no place for secrets. Get it all out there!
Colman Domingo’s Strand was much more honest in his motivations. He’s a seducer of people and we learn that in better times, he would have probably hit on our little Southern Belle, Madison. He might be hitting on her now. His piano recital in the main lobby of the hotel brought no applause for his act, but a few of the infected did “drop in” for a quick snack.
As always, Nick was the focal point of tonight’s episode. I love this kid. He’s fearless, and even though Luciana warns him not to steal from the bad guys, he does. Was the package of cookies worth his almost losing an arm? I think people will begin to enjoy the show more if they pay attention to Nick. He is a compilation of our heroes over at The Walking Dead: He’s Michonne when he’s covered in walker blood; he’s Rick when he observes what others don’t see; he’s fearless like Daryl and… he’s cunning like Carol. Nick knew how to talk his way out of trouble with a simple barter: oxy for cookies and more water.
To truly enjoy this show, we need to remind ourselves that our survivors are still learning the code book for the apocalypse: keep moving; look for food and water; sleep with your shoes on; every building is dangerous; the living are scarier than the dead.
Nick learns a secret about Alejandro and we are left to wonder if there are people in this new world who are immune to the disease. Luciana learns that Nick is not that much of a screw up and that the cookies were for a little girl who was forced to see her papa become part of the wall guard dogs. While Nick buys into Alejandro’s belief system of “The Great Cleansing,” Strand and Madison fight off the worst bar crawl ever.
See you next week to check up on Travis.