Monday, May 9, 2016

Fear The Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode Five: Captive

With Strand back on the ship, it's time to figure out how to get Alicia and Travis back.  Fortunately, Reed survived the taking back of The Abigail, giving our not so merry crew of survivors a bargaining chip.  It falls to Salazaar to treat Reed's wound and deal with the metal spear jutting out from his abdomen.  Chris sits in the room, as Reed repeatedly taunts Salazaar and in the process gives up information on how many men his brother Conner has and where they are located.  Reed even goes as far at to threaten Ofelia but it doesn't get the response he desires. Salazaar responds that he has meet scary men in the past and they never need to tell anyone how bad they really are.  Chris, who is still caught up with guilt is shocked that Salazaar allowed Reed to say what he did without some kind of penalty, but Salazaar is convinced that Reed is simply acting out because of his fear.   A confidant Salazaar decides to leave a tied up Reed alone but that makes Chris nervous and so he volunteers to stay and guard him.  Salazaar advises Chris to stay out of the room and not to engage with Reed period. I think this is the first time I found myself actively doubting Salazaar's judgement. Why in the world would he believe it a good idea to leave Chris to guard Reed, given Chris's mental state?

On land, Alicia finds herself alone with Conner, who surprisingly makes her a steak.  Conner says that he wants the opportunity to get to know her a little bit better; however, Alicia is only interested in either seeing Travis, or finding out what has happened to her family.  Conner remains non committal and leaves to deal with some technical problems. The moment Alicia is left alone, she makes her way outside and learns that she is no longer at sea but in fact at a port.  Jack finds Alicia and tells her she needs to go back inside because being outside is against Conner's rules for new people.

Alicia decides to play Jack's game for now.  Jack shows Alicia the radar and how they pick out ships to stop.  It quickly becomes clear that other than the size of the ship, the choice at the end of the day is random.  Alicia notices one ship moving towards them and after checking the ID against the manifest, she realises that it's The Abigail.  This sets Alicia off because if Reed had dropped off her family as had been promised, The Abigail should be much further away. Alicia is able to attack Jack a few times with a clipboard but Jack quickly gets the upper hand. Seeing Alicia's desperation to get back to her family, Jack not only agrees to help her but to leave Conner and join her.  The big plan is to distract Conner by having him check out another boat while they slip away. Alicia assents to this but demands to see Travis first.

On The Abigail, Salazaar heads to see Madison to let her know what he learned from Reed. Madison immediately directs The Abigail at a cluster of ships.  Luis tries to help Strand who is still shivering from his time spent in the ocean. Luis is adamant that they need to leave now and head to Mexico. When Strand balks, Luis points out that he only has enough money to get safe passage for two people. Strand however is confidant that everything can be negotiated and manages to talk Luis into half a day delay to get Travis and Alicia. This is clearly a point of honour for Strand and he feels responsible for the people he has gathered.

Madison begins to formulate a plan and it certainly doesn't involve taking "the kids", despite Salazaar's advice on this matter.  Strand is convinced that Madison is underestimating Nick, claiming that he knew Nick's potential after knowing him for just five minutes, even though Nick was going through withdrawal.  Wait, so Nick's withdrawal period is over? Really, Fear the Walking Dead? I have said repeatedly that Fear the Walking Dead's treatment of addiction is horrible and this is just the icing on the cake.  An enraged Madison warns Strand not to get between her and her son and adds that Nick is not to be sent off on anymore missions.

Travis's accommodations are not nearly as welcoming as Alicia's. Travis wakes and finds himself in a cage and before he can acclimate himself, he gets a flash from the past. When Alex walked in alive and well, I expected fire works.  This is a woman who killed others to protect someone she cared about and now that Jake is dead, she should have an ax to grind at the very least. It turns out that when Alex met up with Conner, he asked what she had in exchange for being giveb safe harbour and so she told Conner about The Abigail but she asked for Travis in return. Yes, Travis is the one that came up with the compromise of the dingy but it was Strand's decision to cut the rope that left her and Jake stranded. We learn that after being cut loose from The Abigail, Alex and Jake quickly ran out of water and that Alex was forced to strangle Jake to death.  Instead of actually attacking Travis, Alex and Travis have a chat wherein Travis admits the guilt he feels for killing his ex wife and wonders whether or not he'll get back the piece of his soul that he lost.

Nick is cleaning a gun and watching him do this clearly makes Madison uncomfortable.  Madison is adamant that Nick is to stay on The Abigail, though he is insistent that he can be of use. To be fair to Madison, she has checked Nick into rehab countless times and dealt with his inability to cope.  It's only the unrealistic writing in terms of Nick and addiction that makes it seem as though Madison is just playing momma bear with a legitimate reason.  No addict, should ever be as competent as Nick, so soon after kicking the habit, particularly in the situation that he is living through.

Reed is still in full troll mode and given how fragile Chris is, this isn't exactly wise.  Chris feels guilt for not shooting Reed the moment he boarded the ship and believes that had he done so, they wouldn't be in this situation now.  Nick does step in to stop the situation but that turns out to only be a temporary reprieve because Chris ends up shooting Reed, putting in jeopardy, Madison's arrangement to trade Reed for Alicia and Travis.

A gunshot his heard through the ship and when they race down they find Reed dead.  Chris explains that Reed was about to turn because he was so sick and that he had no choice.  Clearly, no one believes him but Madison does do her best to comfort the boy.

Nick and Ofelia start cleaning up the mess from Reed's murder. Ofelia fears that this is what is normal for them now - cleaning up after dead bodies. She doesn't get to do much more because Reed has now officially turned. It seems that though he was shot in the head by Chris, Chris somehow missed the brain.  Nick and Ofelia begin to panic a little bit but Salazaar charges in and pins zombie Reed to the wall using the spear poking out of his abdomen.

Alone with zombie Reed, Salazaar hears a voice and starts to raise the hood covering zombie Reed's head but Ofelia pops in saying that it's time to go.  Zombie Reed is bundled into a boat with Madison and she takes off for the rendezvous with Conner and his men. Conner readies himself by ordering someone to go and fetch Travis, having lost Alicia for the moment.

Madison approaches the dock and Conner claims that he will release Alicia after he knows that his brother is unharmed.  Madison quickly pushes zombie Reed at Conner and at the same time, Conner's men push Travis in Madison's direction.  Madison quickly begins to undo Travis's restraints, just as Conner pulls off Reed's hood and discovers that his brother has turned.  Reed takes a chunk out of Conner's arm and another from one of his brother's men.  Another of Conner's men attacks and Travis is able to take him out.

High up on the roof of the ship, Alicia notices the scuffle and realises that her family has come for her. Jack pleads with Alicia to stay him, arguing that the crew of The Abigail will get rid of her, the way they got rid of Alex, the moment she gets inconvenient.  Alicia apologises and slides down the ship into the water.  Madison and Travis then pilot the boat close to wear Alicia landed.

I thought that the story arc with Reed and Conner would certainly last longer, particularly given the big build up that it got.  They were easily defeated and now the crew is sailing off to new problems. I do however think that we haven't seen the last of Jack or Alex for that matter because that woman is a survivor.

I really liked seeing the development with Alicia, Ofelia and Madison (my undeclared leader). Alicia mostly keeps her calm in what is absolutely a trying circumstance.  She plays Jack like a fiddle, smart enough to realise that if she has any hope of getting out of this alive, she needs to keep him on side. When Alicia finally meets up with Travis, Alicia refuses to leave without him though Travis encourages her to flea.  Sure, some of her actions are in part because she blames herself for her family being in this situation; however, the important thing is that Alicia didn't get bogged down and kept her eye on the prize.

Ofelia has been very much affected by her parents, Daniel in particular. Ofelia is immediately suspicious when she sees Daniel with bloody cloths, believing that he had tortured Reed.  At this point, I am glad to even see a little bit of characterisation for Ofelia because she has largely been cast as the dutiful daughter.  With Daniel hearing voices, I suspect that this might well be the catalyst for more development for Ofelia.

Captive, affirms my belief that Madison would be a great leader of Fear the Walking Dead.  At this point, she's still trying to keep the young safe and that is absolutely going to have to stop.  You'd think that with the ship being invaded that this would be enough for her to realise that no one gets to sit out of apocalypse.  I think the issue is that Madison still has hopes that somewhere there is some vestige of civilization left.   That being said, she had no problem standing up to Strand and going off alone to save both Travis and Alicia. It's clear that she's made of some stern stuff and I want to see more moments of Madison in complete control.