Time for another flashback to try and explain how we all ended up where we did at the end of season 1
We have Alicia, Nick, Victor and Luciana - but they’re not alone. Madison is there too with several others (47), having founded a community in a baseball stadium. Complete with growing crops, running water, tools - it’s a really nice set up.
Madison is clearly in charge but equally seems to have a more consultation form of leadership. I get the idea that people follow her less because she’s In Charge and more because everyone really respects her.
Victor even touches on this reflecting that she was willing to save him and take him in despite all the shit he’s pulled. We also have Cole who may actually be flirting with Victor (zomg, Fear the Walking Dead has remembered that Victor is gay!) so expect Cole to die in the very very near future
Nick seems to have some level of trauma preventing him from leaving the compound - and even has flashbacks and blackouts when he tries to leave. Lucinda is trying to coax him out but Madison suggests she back off because she didn’t see what he was like. Nick is not in a good place and seems to be taking a page out of Rick’s book and playing farmer. I say again, it’s still noteworthy which characters get to check out. It’s not all good though since they have an insect infestation in their crops
They have a new entry to the camp - Charlie, a child. Madison has taken her in and is trying to coax her story out of her while making it clear she’s welcome to stay. Nick also steps into a definite caretaker role (which is unusual but nice to see in a male character), offering comfort and support
When Madison gets an idea of where she came from she insists that they go check it out to rescue the rest of her family. Madison definitely has a hero complex and she goes out even though it’s outside their range
At the camp (which seem to involve some kind of oil storage thingies) they find evidence of a fire and awfulness (and one of those numbered signs) and a survivor. Said survivor tries to hold them all at gun point in an utter panic but Madison and co are all very kind and gentle and reassuring. And when the woman falls into a large vat full of oil and Walkers, Madison even jumps in in an almost suicidal manner to help save her.
Madison has definitely got a saviour complex going on here. And she’s positively radiating goodness, compassion and kindness. Even when they take her back to camp other people are mildly irritated with the woman, Naomi, but Madison is kind, patient and inviting her to join their community (which is a good plan since she’s a nurse)
I’m beginning to see why Madison isn’t around later. This is The Walking Deadverse and all people with a shining moral compass die horribly to remind us that this is a Dark and Terrible world.
To all this happy shininess time for badness to happen: a convoy of trucks and vans arrives. They expertly round up all the Walkers, using music, to shuffle them all into a lorry and attach one of those number signs to it. It’s easy to see the comparison to how the walkers were rounded into the oil drums.
They then get out of the trucks and sit on deck chairs and wait until Madison goes out to introduce herself. She’s not happy with them but the boss man, Mel, claims they didn’t cause the damage to the camp at the oil tanks - it was an accident caused by a leak
And this is their MO. At least as far as Mel claims. He doesn’t attack or kill camps, and he’s not threatening Madison, he’s going to wait until their camp falls apart. He knows a lot about them - their failing crops and how many weapons they have - because Charlie is in the camp feeding them information. She runs out to rejoin their group and Lo we have Dark Lesson of the Apocalypse: you can’t even trust children.
But it is interesting to talk about this group’s methods - they call themselves The Vultures. Ultimately, unlike The Walking Dead I think this is somewhat earlier after the apocalypse (I’m not even sure how the timelines mesh here) and we have people trying to settle down and failing. Maybe because of violent groups but also simply because they don’t know how to survive without modern technology. Or even because without modern technology settlements just die. Pre modern technology, farms, villages, communities could be wiped out by a crop failure, an insect infestation, a plague, a bad winter, a dry summer. Ultimately a significant number of these early settlements are going to fail: which will leave things for people like the Vultures to claim even if they don’t actively destroy those communities themselves (or maybe just need a push. Like here, just stopping the group leaving to supplement their supplies is going to push them closer to the edge)
Even in The Walking Dead we saw a number of failed settlements: The Hospital, Hershel’s Farm, The Prison, Woodbury - so many others. Albeit largely from violence
Of course I’m not sure the Vultures are going to happily wait for them to die. They do suggest Madison join them which is not happening.
Madison also claims she used to live like the Vultures but Mel pointedly hits back that just because they now live behind walls doesn’t mean they don’t also have to do terribad things -they just haven’t been tested yet
For a reminder of this go check out Rick and the Alexandrians
The Vultures set up camp in the car park around the stadium and Luciana tries a guilt trip on Charlie by giving her a book she went looking for for her at Nick’s request which… I’m not sure what this achieves? Guilting the kid
As to how it works out - well flip to the present and we see Victor, Alicia, Nick and Luciana all alone attacking Morgan, John and Althea’s van because it has a Vultures flag on it. Nope, this does not end well at all.