FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Review: “Pillar of Salt”

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For everything answered on this episode of , two more questions popped up.

Off the bat, we got an answer whether Ofelia was alive or dead. She’s alive (not a shocker). She’s out on her own, in the truck she took from Madison, Strand & Co., having flashbacks of first a man who proposed to her, and then of a conversation with her mother about love and sacrifice. It seems that this is what has inspired her to leave the group (although why she’d want to, after the Clarks and Strand essentially saved her life doesn’t really make sense to me). I have an inkling she is going to find what became of her long lost finance, and I have a feeling we’ll be getting more flashbacks of her before the season’s end. Either way, she’s the character I’m least invested in by far, and if we can keep her scenes to a minimum before she inevitably gets killed off, that’d be great, thanks.

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Things at the Rosarito Hotel are looking up though. They’ve got the power up and running again, some crops are growing, and Alicia is taking beginner surfing lessons from Hector, Eileen’s son. Strand is looking quite content behind the bar with a nice huge ice cube in his drink. Like in its sister series, The Walking Dead, this is how you know some shit is about to go down. Everyone’s happy. So of course, Victor opens a door and gets shanked by the mother of the bride he put down in the previous episode. We got to see Madison doing her best Rick Grimes, laying down the new law of the land for the survivors inhabiting the hotel: no violence. If anyone as much as raises a hand against another person, it’s enough to get them exiled, from here on (why do I have a feeling it’s gonna be Madison who raises her hand to someone?)

Now Madison and Eileen are forced to go get the necessary items to treat his stab wounds–guess where from? If you said El Pelicano, you are correct! It’s the same group of Oxy-addicted thugs that Nick’s colony has been doing trade with. The world just got a little smaller and we can all already see where this is going. Madison seems super concerned with having Eileen translate everything some far off thug interrogating somebody is saying. Why she would be so intent on this isn’t clear. But of course this leads to her overhearing about an “American” with “ratty hair” which is enough to convince her it’s her son Nick. She almost blows the deal in the process of trying to acquire more information. She and Eileen barely get out with what they need to save Strand’s life.

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Speaking of Nick, what is he up to? The episode’s cold open showed a family abandoning what once seemed like a relatively safe haven. But now we know that there is a water shortage, the elderly/sick are nearing a point where other survivors will have to make a critical choice about using resources on them, and the El Pelicano gang is most likely going to attack and tear the place to shreds anyway. On top of that, the pharmacist Alejandro is losing it, big time. He’s sweaty, twitching, (is that zombie bite getting to him after all?) and generally failing to lead in any meaningful way. Except for Luciana who for whatever reason has an undying faith and allegiance to him, while Nick is trying to get her to make some common sense, practical moves. He’s silenced by her kiss (who wouldn’t be? I mean damn), though, and we are left waiting until next week to see which of Colonia’s unfortunate predicaments will move into crises mode first.

The most frustrating part of the episode came when Madison returned to the Rosarito Hotel after learning Nick is possibly alive. She did something incredibly stupid and unforgivable. She turned on the hotels huge bright beacon of a sign at night, beckoning anyone for miles to head towards it. Is she really this dumb? I understand a mother will never give up on her child, but 1) she doesn’t have any real proof that this “ratty haired American” a drugged up cartel guy mentioned in another language IS her son and 2) she does have a child, one she knows 100% is alive and wants to stay that way, at the hotel she just made a target for bad guys and zombies alike. Are the writers TRYING to make her unlikeable? If not, they’re screwing up.

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BUT, what we do get out of Madison’s gaffe is a shot of Travis staring at the hotel sign from far away, and he’s apparently all alone. Where is Chris?! What happened? I’ve been wanting more of this storyline for basically the entire part of this season. Some are bored with it, but I actually like Travis (and the actor who plays him) and the budding psychopath Chris is at least interesting to watch. Next week seems to be a Travis/Chris centric episode, which I’m more than grateful for.

TB-TV-Grade-B
Season 2, Episode 12 (S02E12)
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9PM on AMC

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Paul produces and co-hosts SHOWoff Live
Twitter: @PaulGulyas

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