Monday, April 11, 2016

Fear the Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode One: Monster

Season two pretty much starts where Season one ended.  Our ragged group of survivors make their way to Stand's boat the Abigail.  It very much looks like the end of the world as the land is engulfed in flames.  They are safe for now but they simply cannot make sense of their world. Has civilization come to an end?

It seems as though Travis and Madison have changed places somewhat.  During season one, it was Madison who wanted to kill her neighbour and Travis who moralized that these people were sick and not in fact dead and therefore in need of sympathy.  When they come across a group of people begging for help on what appears to be a raft of some sort, it's Madison who wants to stop and help them. It's Madison who actively argues with Strand that they have the responsibility to help.  Travis however is fine to simply sail right past deciding that now is the time that they put themselves first.

The Abigail can only take them 3,000 miles and while that seems like a lot, if you're looking for a safe place, that's not really that far.  Strand makes it clear to the survivors that he's saved seven lives and that's the end of his mercy quota.  Strand reminds them all that he saved them and that this is his boat.  Clearly Strand is very authoritarian in nature. Strand is determined to head to San Diego but doesn't tell anyone why this is the destination of choice.  This makes both Salazar and Madison suspicious.  Strand is so determined to reach his destination, he doesn't even sleep.

Travis and Chris are not in a good place.  Chris very much blames his father for the death of Lisa. Chris spends time alone in a room simply staring at his mother's body.  Even though Lisa was bitten, Chris cannot for a moment understand that killing Lisa was an act of mercy because she would have turned into a zombie.  This is to some degree understandable because at this point, the survivors don't really know a lot about the dead.  They haven't even really figured out that it is necessary to take out the brain to stop them.  This culminates with Chris actually hitting Travis.

Someone should have told Alicia not to give out information about where they are and the resources they have at hand.  Like everyone else, Alicia is lost and she deals with this by chatting with someone via ham radio.  Alicia quickly tells Jack everything he needs to be able to track them down, along with why it will be worth his while, like the fact that The Abigail has desalination for water.  When Strand finds out, to say that he's less than impressed is an understatement.

Alone with Nick, Strand is very clear that everyone has to pull their weight or at the very least, not endanger them.  Nick wonders how he fulfills this requirement and Strand suggests that since Nick has faced death so many times, he is unafraid to die and this makes him an asset.  Nick explains that this is called being a junkie.  Speaking of addiction, how is it that Nick is going through detox without shaking, sweating and throwing up?  He seems to be doing remarkably well for someone who is not only under a great amount of stress, but has no access to his drugs.  Is this a story line that Fear The Walking Dead is just going to drop like it didn't happen?  Is drug addiction cured by dealing with zombies?

Everyone sits down to have a meal and Chris uses the opportunity to go for a little swim.  When they hear the splash, everyone rushes onto the deck.  It's Nick who jumps into the water.  Chris explains that he just felt like going for a swim.  At this point, all I think is what an asshole. This is when they discover that zombies can swim.  Chris quickly rushes back to the boat and Nick swims towards wreckage because he thinks someone is calling out for help.

It's time for chickens to come home to roost.  Strand announces that they have got to go because a boat is headed towards them moving at 25 knots.  Unfortunately, The Abigail can only go 20 knots at a time.  This means they are eventually going to have to deal with Jack and whatever forces he can bring to bear.

Fear the Walking Dead  seems to be moving very quickly to deal with humans as a threat rather than zombies.  This is a shift that The Walking Dead didn't actually do until quite some time into the show. The shift makes sense to me given that they are floating on water and the mass of zombies is actually on land.  It will be interesting to see how this is going to play out and how they get out of this first real threat.

At this point, Salazar and Strand are very much enigmas.  What the hell is in San Diego? There must be some reason that Strand is convinced that things will get better when they get there. We know very little about him and what his potential motives may be.  Two things are certain: Strand doesn't trust anyone and  altruism is not something he believes in.

As for Salazar, he's clearly world wise and doesn't suffer fools.  We know very little about him as well.  I think that at least part of the reason he is so suspicious of Strand is because he recognizes a kindred spirit.  A showdown is clearly becoming between these two and I think that it will be epic.

So far, we really haven't established who is going to be a leader of this group.  Thus far it seems to be between Salazar, Strand, and possibly Travis.  At this point, even though a man of colour in charge in a dystopian world would really constitute a change, I cannot help but root for Madison. I am sick to death of the thumping testosterone that constantly permeates dystopian style stories.