Monday, October 3, 2016

Fear the Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode Fifteen: North

There you have it folks, the season finale of a senseless season.  More than anything Fear the Walking Dead just seemed to plod along without direction or connection for much of this second season and the season finale didn't help things along at all. One of the biggest problems with this show is that I'm having trouble overly investing in these characters.  The Walking Dead universe has never really been about the zombies despite their ubiquitous presence, it's always been about humanity: our relationships, ability to keep going and what we're willing to do to survive.  Without a connection to the humans, the show is nothing.

As we saw in the last episode, Travis flipped out and killed the two dudebros but in the process Oscar was badly hurt.  With his violence spent, Travis collapses to the floor as the rest of the hotel residents break the windows to get in the room.  Oscar is given some quick medical care and Travis is dragged off as Madison protests.  Strand is quick to try to silence Madison pointing out that advocating for Travis isn't going to get her anywhere and will in fact inflame the situation.  If you recall, the no violence rule was Madison's and she made it clear at the time that anyone who harms another would be subject to immediate expulsion from the hotel.

Strand being the only one not really emotionally involved can see clearly what is going on here. When Madison and Alisha both realise that Travis is going to get the boot, it's Alisha who suggests that they should just leave with Travis.  Strand is absolutely not down with this idea, pointing out that he wanted to die at one point and didn't do so for the man he loved. Travis reminds Madison that Travis is the one who left her and makes it clear that he isn't willing to die for Madison, Alisha or Travis and storms. I gotta say that it may sound cold but I am team Strand on this one.  The hotel offers safety, shelter, food, water and even power. It's a virtual zombie apocalypse paradise.

So Madison goes off to negotiate Travis's release promising that they will all leave in the morning since he broke the rules and killed someone.  Madison then heads in to talk to Travis about what happened.  She makes it clear that they are all leaving together and tells him that he can stay and sulk or spend the night with his family.

At the colonia, Nick is packing his shit to go.  Despite repeated attempts to get through to Luciana she is determined to stay behind and fight.  Nick however realises that finding shelter and leaving it is the way of the world now.  I'd like to know how it is that of all the people, other than Strand, Nick has consistently been the most sensible character and best adapted to this new world. Yeah, don't give me this shit about how addiction is the answer because he should be a freaking mess, not holding it together, making decisions and actually acting in a leadership role. Nick makes his way outside, and while calmly strolling (yes, this fucker strolled in a zombie apocalypse), he sees a helicopter by the border and decides to return to the colonia.

Things don't look good for Oscar and Andreas is desperately trying to relieve the swelling on his brain.  Andreas does this best he can but ultimately has to put Oscar out of his misery.

In a room, Travis and Madison talk about who they are now that the world has changed.  Travis wants Madison to know that he's not the same man anymore.  Madison however confesses to her own little murder. It seems if I am reading that her confession correctly that the murder she committed was pre apocalypse.  Madison has a dark side. They both agree that what they did was justified because they did it for their children.

The conversation is broken up when the residents charge in determined to get vengeance for Oscar. Alisha and Madison are pushed to the side as Travis begs not to be killed in front of the women.  So, a struggle breaks out and Strand ends up with a gun and Andreas gets stabbed. It's worth noting that this is the first time that Alisha has killed a living person.   It's time to get moving Strand follows them out to a vehicle.  With an SUV loaded and ready. Wow isn't it lucky to have a car gassed up and ready? Madison, Alisha Travis make their escape. Strand chooses to stay behind certain that he will be safe.

I really hope that this isn't the end of Strand.  I really like the way that Madison and Strand had started to work together and confide in each other.  If Strand is indeed permanently gone from the show, this means that there are not more GLBT characters on Fear the Walking Dead. Given that Ofelia showed up again and surprised me, I'm not ready to count out Victor.

Nick heads back to the Colonia and meets with Alejandro who is trying to get a fix to take off the edge off his change.  Nick is more than happy to help Alejandro shoot up as he encourages Alejandro to let the people of the colonia go. Nick argues that Alejandro is already dead and by letting his people go, Alejandro has a chance to be a real hero.  Nick shoots up Alejandro with drugs and when Alejandro goes into the nod, Nick sits back as though he is partaking vicariously.

Alisha, Travis and Madison make their way to the factory where Madison last heard word of Nick. The factory of course is now abandoned because the people have gone to claim the colonia. Madison, Travis and Alisha come across the dead bodies of Francisco and his family and search their pockets for clues.  They find Francisco's drivers license and decide to go there in the hope that it will lead to Nick.  Dear writers of Fear the Walking Dead, there's such a thing as too much convenience.

The dealers show up at the colonia and working together they kill a few zombies before entering the school bus.  They walk around and find the colonia abandoned and celebrate their easy victory. What they don't know is that Alejandro is hiding in the shadows.  As soon as it's clear, Alejandro makes his way to the bus and moves it, allowing the zombies into the colonia.  The dealers are soon over run by zombies and though they try to shoot their way out, it doesn't end well.

Sure enough, Alisha, Travis and Madison arrive after the big showdown.  Travis and Madison make their way into the colonia and tell Alisha to wait outside.  As Madison and Travis walk along, they pick up weapons the dealers dropped in their fight with the zombies.  It's not long before they realise that everyone is dead.  Alisha makes her way to the bus where she finds Alejandro and does her best to make him comfortable.  Madison and Travis join Alisha on the bus and Madison asks Alejandro about Nick. Alejandro regains consciousness long enough to say that Nick is headed to the border before promptly dying.  Madison gives him mercy by turning his head and putting a knife in Alejandro's brain.

Nick is high on his leadership as he leads the people of the colonia to the border.  They pause and Nick uses the binoculars when he sees the helicopter again. From the distance, they figure that they are only two hours away from a refugee camp.  They don't get to celebrate long because the same people who trapped Ofelia in the last episode, show up and start shooting.  Nick moves to cover Luciana but that doesn't stop them from being captured. In the final scenes, Nick and Luciana are thrown to the ground and Nick is in the process of getting his face stomped.

So there you have it folks.  At this point, it's clear that Nick, Luciana and Ofelia are all going to meet up together and that Madison, Alisha and Travis are going to save them.  It's textbook Walking Dead and doesn't really add much excitement to the season finale as far as I am concerned.  From the moment that Nick started heading from the border, it became clear that this could only end in disaster.  I think it's time for this universe to come up with some new tricks so that they don't constantly telegraph what's going on.

Even though I know at least some of the playbook for season three, I'm happy that Nick playing Moses blew up in his face.  This is the first time that Fear the Walking Dead has actually allowed this character to fail.  I just wish that the failure was a personal failure rather than a simple failure of judgment. Nick is not the expert that he believes himself to be and still yet it's not nearly enough.

So, the colonia is gone.  Did anyone even believe for a moment that this sanctuary would still be functioning by the end of the season? We've seen time and time again that every time the characters feel secure in their location that it's the calm before the storm.  I very much like that Alejandro redeemed himself in the end by moving the bus but am irritated by the fact that he lived long enough to give Madison information about Nick.  I understand that Madison needed this information but really, did it have to be so obvious?

Speaking of Madison, she has a dark side. The fact that she was a murderer before the apocalypse and that she did so to supposedly protect Nick is telling.  No wonder she's so ready to leave with Travis and give up her safety.  I wonder if this is going to be explored in the next season?  Is Madison going to be the next one to become unhinged?  Is she going to devolve into a Carol, justifying each murder as it happens for the sake of the good?  Now that we've seen Alisha kill and her desperation to be close to her mother, it makes me wonder if the apple didn't fall far from the tree in her case?  What will Alisha become?