Monday, May 16, 2016

Fear The Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode Six: Sicut Cervus

Parishioners are gathered in what appears to be a small Mexican church.  The boys choir sings and something about it all is dark and foreboding.  The Padre gives a small ministration about keeping faith and then offers holy communion.  The group heads outside only be met by Tom, who begs them not to fight because they are all out gunned.  It seems that the threat the congregation were intending to fight is not the dead but the living.  Suddenly, the parishioners and the priest begin to bleed from their eyes because they have been poisoned.

Aboard The Abigail, Travis and Chris sit to have a little chat about what happened to Reed.  Travis tries to be cautious as he mentions that the crew doesn't believe that Chris shot Reed because he was turning.  Chris doesn't mince words and quickly accuses Madison; however, Madison never once claimed that she believed his little story.  In fact, last week, Madison was so clearly trying to soothe Chris to keep him from going over the edge even further.

The conversation is cut short when two ships begin to approach The Abigail, forcing Strand to order everyone to head below deck.  This is the confrontation Luis feared, having not brought with him the appropriate fare to enter the supposed promised land.  A struggle ensues and Luis is shot in the stomach but together, he and Strand manage to kill the men who have boarded the ship.  Strand aims The Abigail towards land and Salazaar stabs the dead in the head.  When Salazaar gets to Luis, he's still alive and begs not to be stabbed.  It's Ofelia who stays her father's hand, as Luis calls out for his mother.  Luis holds up a coin, (which Salazaar clearly recognises though pretend he has no idea what it signifies) and asks for it to be given to his mother.  Luis coughs out his last breath, and Daniel tosses the coin in the ocean.

The Abigail is making it's way toward land and though it is being pursued, it's not being attacked. Hmmm could it be that the soldiers don't think the crew of The Abigail can survive what is on land? Naturally, they make their way to the church which opened up the episode and Strand begins to panic when he finds Tom's truck but no sign of Tom.  It's not long before the parishioners who are now zombies make their appearance.  Everyone grabs weapons and begins to fight.  When Madison slips and a zombie lands on top of her, Chris sees but he just stands and watches.  It's Alicia who has to come to her mother's rescue.  Daniel and Nick both have trouble taking out zombie children, with Daniel in particular flashing back to another child who he held by the throat.

By truck they make their way to the community that Tom set up and are welcomed in by Celia but immediately told that they must give up their weapons. Strand takes the time to inform Celia of Luis's death The only one to hesitate on giving up his weapon is Daniel, who rightfully feels that there's always a need for weapons. I don't know why this didn't raise Strand's suspicions, given that he isn't on the best of terms with Celia.

Strand is taken to see Thomas and discovers that Tom has been bitten and is dying.  The love and care between the two men is obvious.  Tears roll down Strand's face and this is absolutely the most human that we've seen him so far.  Strand picks up his lover and gently carries him to bed where the two men hold each other.

Alicia jumps on the first chance for normalcy she has had in quite some time by sitting on a couch, wrapped in a blanket and watching television.  Alicia doesn't get to enjoy it for long because she is joined by Chris, who wants to know if she is mad at him. Yes, Chris has gone super creepy.  Alicia quickly calls him out on watching as Madison struggled with a zombie but Chris claims that he simply froze and that Alicia didn't see what she thought she saw.  Chris then doubles down on the creepy and actually threatens to harm Alicia if she tells anyone of her suspicions, claiming that this would destroy the family.  Yes, Chris has officially turned into the Shane of Fear the Walking Dead.

Despite Chris's creepy claim of not wanting to hurt anyone, Alicia tells Madison about the incident. Madison then confronts Travis about his creepy ass son. Travis quickly changes the conversation to Madison not being there enough for him, reminding her of how many holes he crawled into to get Nick. Travis absolutely doesn't want to see how sick Chris is and instead hides behind this fact saying that Chris needs help. Umm, this is a zombie apocalypse, there's no therapist on standby. Madison refuses to be guilted and the two end up going their separate ways to spend time with their children.

Travis is not the only one guilty of some parenting fail.  I think if Madison could, she'd wrap Nick up in a protective bubble and never let him see the outside world.  Nick makes his way to the kitchen where Celia gives him some food. Celia reveals that she thinks that the dead have always walked among them and that this time they can see them. Yeah, Celia is creepy. Celia can see the pain behind Nicks' smile and he talks about how the killing is getting to him. Madison interrupts the conversation and sends Nick for a shower.  In Nick's absence, Madison makes it clear that Nick is young and impressionable and clearly warns Celia to keep her distance.

Salazaar has his own creepy thing going on and is keeping away from everyone.  He hears strange noises and is even slightly jumpy. Ofelia notices that something is wrong with her father and takes Nick with her to pray to her mother about what is going on with Daniel. Nick has a flashback to the last religious experience he had which was waking up in season one, in a church surrounded by the dead. Daniel stumbles across a young boy visiting his zombie mother.  Yes, it's shades of Herschel. Daniel confronts Celia, who simply claims that she wanted to give the dead shelter from the people who are hunting them.  Now we know why she believes that she will see Luis again and didn't freak out about his death because his brain was left intact.

Later that night, Celia explains to Nick that the zombies are what comes next and that not only does she keep the zombies safe, she makes them.  While Celia is with Nick, Daniel discovers her poisonous Eucharist wafers.

Madison brings Tom and Strand some food and is clearly shocked to see the intimacy between the two men but covers it up.  Tom takes the time to ask Madison to take care of Strand when he is gone. Madison points out that Strand will be difficult but does indeed make the promise.  With Madison gone, Strand begins to talk about dying alongside Tom but Tom wants Strand to go on.  When Strand reveals his plan to Celia, she finally says that she now believes that Strand is good enough for Tom. Celia makes it all too easy because she provides the poison wafer.

Tom is clearly coming towards his end and a sad Strand watches.  When Tom finally takes his last breathe, rather than joining him, Strand shoots him in the head.  The gunshot comes at a great time for Alicia and Madison, because it wakes them up to find none other than creepy Chris standing in their room with a knife.

I am very glad to see that there was a close relationship between Strand and Tom, particularly given that when they were first introduced as a couple, the relationship seemed rather one sided.  I had even wondered if Strand was simply using Tom. None of this however makes up for the fact that with Tom's death, 50% of the GLBT cast is gone. Fear the Walking Dead, only bothered to show that this relationship was heartfelt and mutual when they decided to kill off Tom.  This is what happens when television shows aren't really inclusive - one death is enough to be extremely problematic.  Given the spate of gay death on television recently, you'd think that this would be something that Fear the Walking Dead would want to avoid.

Celia's role on the compound makes very little sense to me at all. Yes, Tom was injured and bitten but given that Celia worked for Tom, why is it that she has so much power?  Why did Tom have to approach the padre and ask him to stand down? Shouldn't he have been confronting Celia instead? How has she managed to create this cult of people who are willing to follow her belief system?

The fact that Celia is keeping the dead alive really is nothing more than Fear the Walking Dead recycling a plot line from its originator. We know that this isn't going to end well and will probably lead to everyone booting it back to The Abigail as soon as possible.  Speaking of The Abigail, not one person worried about just leaving the boat unattended?

Travis has been a useless tool since season one but I found the way he tried to shift the conversation with Madison intolerable.  When has Madison not been there for him? Didn't she just risk her life to save him and Alicia when they were kidnapped? How is that not being there for him?  Travis's problem is that he is filled with guilt for killing Chris's mother and fears that he doesn't have a strong relationship with his kid.  I wonder if he is going to continue with the denial now that Chris has been caught red handed?  Clearly, Chris needs to be the first one to go.

Salazaar might well be on the verge of a breakdown but he's still very much has his wits about him, thus making him far less of a liability than Chris.  He was absolutely right to question why disarming would be necessary.  Like Travis, Daniel is a very haunted man, except that his nightmares are based on his real sins.  Of all of the storylines, it's Daniel's that interests me the most.  Where are they going with this?

I think it's interesting to see that they are all beginning to suffer from PTSD.  It took quite a bit longer to happen on The Walking Dead.  I very much sense that emotional stability is going to be something they are all really going to have to deal with and soon.  Hopefully, this will add the nuance that Fear the Walking Dead desperately needs.