FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Review: “Captive”

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Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 5 (S02E05)

TB-TV-Grade-B

Tweetable Takeaway: A slow build to a satisfying climax, this #FTWD episode was the season’s best so far


Last week’s episode ended with soft-spoken “bad guy” Connor taking Alicia and Travis from their family on The Abigail saying he could “use” them. When we find them again, Connor is not exactly using them. He has Travis locked up beneath the deck of a docked ship, and he’s making a pretty damn good looking New York Strip for Alicia. Says when he used to be out on his boat as a commercial fisher, the only thing that kept his crew going were his New York Strips. And I am not lying when I tell you that when Vida, the pregnant woman with an attitude, takes Alicia’s delicious piping hot steak away, it is the most I’ve ever felt for a character on this show.

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But anyway, now that Travis is locked up and Alicia is steak-less, it is clear these people need saving. Back on The Abigail, Jesse McCartney’s annoying Reed is tied to a chair with a rod through his abdomen. While taunting the already moody Chris, Reed also reveals to Daniel that Connor is his brother, and he’d stop at nothing to get him back. And, he says, Connor is the nice one. Once he’s out of there, he’s going to “take apart” Daniel’s daughter Ofelia. You know what, Reed? Maybe don’t threaten the child of an ex-torturer when you are already bleeding out in front of him.

However, Daniel smiles patiently, knowing that they now have leverage. While new character Luis insists that they keep heading to Baja, Madison, who is steering the ship, is determined to get her family back. Luis also reveals that the original plan was safe passage for two people in to Rosarita in Mexico. Strand doesn’t seem concerned about it, and for the man who was just arguing about it in the first place, neither does Luis. Sure, Strand is ill to the point of shaking, but why are these two strong-willed individuals taking a back seat, endangering their ship and only passage to their destination, because Madison refuses to step away from the wheel? This was a little flimsy in my opinion, and the characters could have used some other motivation for trying to get Travis and Alicia back.

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The bulk of the episode is a little dull, with Alicia and Jack sharing a lot of screen time. I do not care nor understand about the stakes in their relationship. Why is Jack loyal to her? I’m not sure how the writers want us to feel about this. Am I supposed to be invested in whether Alicia and Jack end up together or not just because they are both pretty teens? I’m getting a creepy Skeet Ulrich from Scream vibe from Jack, but I don’t know that that is intentional.

We also see the return of Alex, the Asian woman who Strand cut loose. Apparently her friend ended up dying and she somehow blames Travis for that. She did see Strand cut the rope, right? She did see that Travis was conflicted about having them tied to a raft? Luckily I do like this character and hope she sticks around, but again, motivations are unclear, and not in a good way.

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The episode finally gets interesting when Madison finally proposes the trade with Connor for his brother. It seems like it’s a done deal, but then: shots ring out below deck. They rush down to see that Chris has shot Reed in the face, saying he thought he was about to turn into a zombie. It’s not clear if he’s lying or if he really believed that. The plan seems like it’s a no-go… but then Reed does turn. This is their opportunity. Bag over his head, Reed appears to be alive, walking on his own. When they meet Connor for the trade, they push Reed on him, and you can figure out what happens from there: Connor gets a chunk of his arm bitten off. Alicia sees the skirmish and jumps ship, literally. Everyone makes it back safe to The Abigail, with  most of the enemies vanquished. However, Pregnant Vida and Angry Alex are still out there. Will they be following the group to Mexico? It doesn’t make sense, at least right now, why they would, but if this season is supposed to be building towards something they can’t keep introducing characters and leaving them behind.

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Paul co-created and writes for SHOWoff, a game that lets players predict what happens next on their favorite TV shows, earn points for what they get right, and see where they stack up against friends and the world (free in the iOS App store).  Check out the SHOWoff app at playSHOWoff.com
Twitter: @PaulGulyas

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