We’re at the penultimate episode of the first half of the season of Fear the Walking Dead, and our merry band of sailors appear to be nearing the end of their voyage–
The Devil We Know—
Church. Choir boys singing. An old priest gets up to address the congregation. It’s time to be tested, he says, as parishioners take communion. Why is God testing us, he asks? The answer is simple: his god wouldn’t do such a thing. This is not god, it’s something else that wants people to turn away from their faith. Don’t give into the evil, he say, fight instead. People run out and get weapons: bats, machetes, axes. A pickup roars into view, horn blasting. It’s Abigail (Dougray Scott). He wants to stop them. But people are suddenly bleeding from their eyes. Lots of people. Abigail tries to comfort the flock . . .
The Abigail—the boat, not Thomas—is approaching shore slowly. There are boats in the water between them and that shore. Below Travis (Cliff Curtis) wants to know from Madison (Kim Dickens) what Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) did. He’s gathered Reed wasn’t sick and that’s why people are upset about Chris shooting the dude. The discussion isn’t going well: Madison is worried about Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Nick (Frank Dillane), and Travis wants to know what she’s going to do to help his son. Madison is all about protecting her kids, particularly Nick. Travis is like, fuck it, I’m off to talk to Chris. Any chance they’ll find a couples counselor where they’re going?
RT: I could actually see Travis’ point here. He has been extremely supportive of Nick in the past. However, I suspect it may be a tactic to cover up the fact Chris is a lot more unstable than we ever thought.
CF: He does have a point about being there for Nick, but I believe you’re also right: Travis probably suspects there’s stuff about Chris that hasn’t come to light, and he wants to hang on to the last element of his old life now that the ex is gone.
Madison, Strand (Colman Domingo), and Luis (Arturo Del Puerto) talk about the deal about to go down. It’s real simple: Luis goes over, pays, they go on. Luis leaves the bridge and Madison wants to know how to say asshole in Spanish. Then it’s freak-out time: two people are coming in a boat. One they know, one they don’t. Shit looks super shady. Madison gets everyone else down to the engine room.
“Remind me again what asshole is in Spanish?”
Everyone not doing the deal is down in the engine room and Daniel (Ruben Blades) is at the door listening to the discussion above. The guys are making the deal: two bars of gold per person. One of the new guys is making comments about the boat, about how it’s way too big for just two people. Strand tries blowing him up, but he wants to know there are no infected above. At that point someone must have said asshole, because there’s shooting. Lots of shooting. Everyone looks worried. As soon as there’s a lull they’re up and on deck. Luis is on the deck, dying. The Abigail is cutting out fast with the other boat trying to keep up firing shots hoping to hit something. Maddie wants to know what happen; Strand says someone said asshole in Spanish—see? Daniel is putting a knife through the foreheads of the dead guys to keep them from turning. He gets to Luis, who is still alive, but before he can put him down Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) stops him. Luis hands Ofelia a coin: he wants her to give it to his mother. Daniel takes it and chucks it overboard. Nick listens to Luis in his last moments.
RT: Daniel was such an arsehole here. Wait until the poor guy dies before tossing his obviously important trinket overboard.
CF: I think it has a link in some way to what feels like the PTSD that Daniel’s starting to feel, but yeah, total dick move here, dude. I guess he won’t mind if, when he’s dying, someone start making out with his daughter. Later, Dad!
Madison is on the bridge with Strand. The shooting is over. He says that the people who came out to greet them believes what’s on land will kill them.
Finally on land in Mexico, the Abigail crew is looking around town. Lots of dead bodies: they’re outside the church we saw at the beginning and it’s the bodies of the parishioners. Victor sees Thomas’ truck and runs inside looking for him. Outside, where everyone else is standing, there are lots of zombies, and just as the parishioners did they arms themselves and get to killing. This time everyone’s getting their hands dirty: Daniel takes out the priest before he starts having flashbacks on a zombie choir boy being choked before Ofelia takes out the zombie kid. Chris hesitates on a zombie taking down Madison, something that Alicia witnesses before she comes to her mother’s aid. Strand comes out of the church and says they gotta go. Most everyone’s stunned, and Nick is not happy about putting down the little girl.
They drive off in Thomas’ truck, Strand at the wheel, heading inland. They see where they’re headed: a walled compound. Once up to the gate it opens, and the inside looks like a vineyard. People working, semi-happy faces. Old Spanish looking villa in the middle of it all. They get out and head into the courtyard. Strand looks upset as a woman approaches: it’s Luis’ mom, Celia (Marlene Forte). She asks about her son: Strand says they fought the military and that he’s “one of them now”. She says he’ll find his way back. One of the staff tells the others they’ll give a tour of the house, but they have to hand over their weapons. Daniel doesn’t; the woman says he can keep his, but only when outside. House rules. He finally hands them over.
Strand goes in with Luis’ mom and they enter Thomas’ room. There’s a bandage on his arm: he’s been bit. Strand begins crying as they hold hands. He’s sorry; Abigail is like, it’s okay, I waited for you. Strand’s crying more, offering comforting words. You can see Thomas is making his peace, but Strand is losing his shit. He helps Thomas into bed, hugs him tight. You can feel the loss in the room.
RT: This scene was so sad. Although, to be honest, it was wonderful to see Strand being something other than shady.
CF: There were a few comments during Blood in the Streets as to whether or not Strand was playing Thomas. Obviously he wasn’t: this was killing Strand.
Alicia’s watching TV, an old movie. Chris comes in with “creepy asshole killer” etched all over his face.
She hands him the remote and makes to leave. He wants to know if she’s mad. She’s like, fuck, yes, I saw what you did with my mom, you were gonna let her die. He’s pissed at the accusation and tells her she can’t tell anyone. He says he froze, but she ain’t buying that shit. As she tries to go around he grabs her and tells her again not to say anything. Alicia asks,what if I do? Creepy Asshole Chris tells her he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, though the “But—” is left lingering at the end of this conversation.
RT: AMC seems to be fast tracking Chris into an instant arsehole (as opposed to emo teen). Perhaps they need to off someone in the midseason finale? Perhaps they need someone to off someone else? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
CF: Chris better not set himself up as the bad guy, there’s too many people present who’ll put him down without a second thought. Madison is probably right up there at the front, but I can see Nick getting close, trying to reason with him, and then just–BAM! One to the head. He’s getting like that.
RT: The comment on this image sums it up perfectly! So Chris is Shane and Madison is Rick. Right, I’ve got it sorted now. Thanks, AMC.
CF: (Madison standing over Chris’ body): “You made me do this, you son of a bitch!” Yeah, I can see it going down. Travis might want to start looking up a new girlfriend.
Celia’s making dinner when Nick wanders into the kitchen. They talk a little. He’s hungry, she offers a little food. He tells her of Luis’ last moments, tells her that he was asking for his mother, says, he wanted me to tell you that”. She says he has a heavy smile—why? He says he’s a bit sick of the killing. She nods, totally understanding. She says none of this is new, that the dead has always walked among us, only now we can see them. Madison strolls in right then and says it’s a big difference, and gets Nick off to the shower. Celia likes Nick: Madison says he’s fragile, but it seems like she’s the only one who sees that.
RT: At first I was pissy with Madison here. Seriously, overprotecting your child is the very reason he is an addict. Then, later on, when you realise just what Celia is capable of, I am totally thankful Madison is a better judge of character than I am.
CF: There were so many angles being played here, you didn’t really know until the last act who was doing what and what their plans may be. I’m starting to think that when Madison says Nick is “fragile,” what she means is that he’s hasn’t quite figured out how to say no to those who see his ability. Saying yes all the time is going to get his ass killed.
Daniel is looking about outside, finds a small shrine with pictures on the wall of the dead. Celia mom comes out and asks if he’s praying. She puts up a picture of Luis and wants to know if he was shot in the head. She figures out the answer was “No”, but she didn’t seem too upset.
Strand is with Thomas when Madison comes in with food. Strand tells Thomas that Madison is fierce, and that brings a little bit of a smile. Thomas apologizes for not being a good host: he’s not looking and sounding good at all. Maddie wants to leave, but Thomas ask her a question: “Will you look after Strand when I’m gone?” She says he won’t make it easy. Another chuckle: that’s why Thomas is asking her.
Ofelia looks for Daniel and finds him in the bedroom, staring off into space. He says your mother was an amazing cook. She looks worried. She wants to know if he’s okay; it seems like he’s just making small talk. She wants to know if he’s coming to dinner; he says he’s tired. Doesn’t look good for Daniel.
RT: *cough* PTSD *cough*
CF: I think the dude is working on his last nerve here. No one better be close when he snaps.
Madison runs off to find Travis ‘cause she wants to know what’s going on with Chris. She tells him that Chris threatened Alicia, and tells him about the incident at the church. Travis is like, we gonna help Chris—after all, he helped Nick, so we gotta help Chris. He said she needed him then, now he needs her. Maddie needs to be with Alicia; Travis is going to Chris. Yeah, this relationship doesn’t look good.
RT: As we discussed privately after viewing the episode, I really think Chris is more messed up than we first suspected. Travis seems to be artfully dodging the main issue here like he has done that sort of thing before.
CF: I wonder how it would be is Liza was still around. Travis and she would probably be arguing all the time about this.
Strand remains with Thomas. The later wants out from under the sheet: he’s nearly dead, just hanging on. Strand tells him to go to sleep; he’s begging him. The world was never good enough for you; let it go. Thomas doesn’t want to leave. There’s lots of tears. Strand says he could go with him: he can’t let him go. Strand says he has nothing, and if they go together Celia will watch over them. He kisses Thomas.
Daniel’s walking at night and sees a boy throw a dog in a bin. Hummm . . . where have we seen something like this before?
RT: Hmmm… I wonder… Another Season 2 on a show somewhat like this one?
CF: And right about the same time, too! The whole “Walkers in the Barn” shit started about two episodes before their mid-season finale. But I’m certain this is just a coincidence: not a chance in hell they’re following a similar plot line. None at all. Just keep on keeping, Scott Gimple.
Ofelia has Nick with her and they go to the shrine. She has to talk to her mom, she needs Nick there. She kneels, and wants Nick to do the same. She asks when was the last time he was in a church, but he can’t remember—probably because he was high, which we know is the real answer. She tells Mama that Papa has lost his way without her. She wants him back. He would know what to do then. Nick focuses on the owl carved in the tree, and flashes back to Gloria in the church, his first zombie encounter, the mad runaway. He’s frozen. He comes back to reality as Ofelia finishes. She thanks him for being there, though she doesn’t know he really wasn’t.
Daniel continues snooping around and hears a voice. It’s a kid talking to . . . someone. To his Mamma. In the barn—I mean, in the cellar. Could this be another exciting episode of Zombies in the Building? Yeeeeeep. All of them behind a barred door.
— CarlPopEye (@CarlPopEye) May 16, 2016
CF: I about lost my shit reading that tweet! Once more lets remember: Season 2 of TWD was Gimple’s first. Guess there’s only one thing to say:
Daniel comes back from the cellar. He wants to know if Hershel—I mean, Celia is responsible for that shit down below. Oh, yeah. She says they’re all people who were here for a long time, so she collected them. She puts out two communion wafers, just like we saw at the start of the episode. Daniel gives them a sniff and recognizes poison. And with that she’s off to add two more to the cellar. She tells Daniel the “old man,” to make peace with the Dead. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know this old fucker did just that years ago . . .
Celia is cleaning the nearly dead Thomas, singing as she does. Strand is sitting to the side quiet, pensive. She kisses Thomas’ forehead and says when he was little and couldn’t sleep, when he was afraid of the dark, she’d come and sing that song. She mentions that she thought Strand wasn’t good enough for him and feels proud about how brave he is to join Thomas. He wants to know how long it’ll take; she’s like, not long. She kisses him and tells him to sleep. She leaves the wafers for him.
RT: Can anyone say “Welcome to my death cult, please wash down your sacramental bread with the Kool-aid”?
CF: Yeah, there was a lot more going on there than some ex-servant looking after a grown up kid. You know she wanted to put Thomas down in the cellar with the others.
Nick’s wandering about looking for Celia and finds her drinking wine. He says that the dead aren’t really dead. She tells him they aren’t. He wants to know what they are—she says they are what comes next.
Strand with Thomas, who is wheezing out his last breaths. Strand is with him to the end, kisses him goodbye. Looks at the wafers and gets out of bed. And walks past them.
RT: I really thought he would eat them at this point.Even with him knowing what he knows about the undead. Even with what Thomas knew about the undead when he tried to kill them all at the church.
CF: I thought he was gonna do the same.
Travis is sleeping with Chris; the boy gets out of bed.
Strand looking for something in the room, looks at the wafers again.
Chris goes into Alicia’s room. Calls to her. Madison is there. He enters and stand behind Madison, grabs a knife—there’s a gunshot. Madison wakes up, tells him to get out.
RT: I can’t believe I actually feel sorry for Chris at this point.
CF: But only for a little while. It’s like he wants to be caught, though. It’s almost like he wants someone to put him down or something. He has to know he’s about worn out any welcome he has. Then again, maybe Chris just needs a soul mate—
Strand stands over Thomas with a gun in his hand. There’s a pillow over Abigail’s face and blood on the sheets. In the end, Strand kept his lover from turning.
One episode to go, and it looks like all hell is about to break loose on Fear the Walking Dead. Let us know what you thought by leaving your comments below!