FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Review: “Sicut Cervus”

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Airtime: Sundays at 9PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 6 (S02E06)

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Tweetable Takeaway: #FTWD steps up its game with a familiar plotline but interesting character turns


 

Well The Abigail has finally reached shore. After almost a full half-season of what felt like floating aimlessly, the castaway characters of have cast anchor and reached Baja, Mexico, where Victor Strand and pal Luis have been taking them the entire time. As the characters reach a sort of safe zone, we get to see them process what they have been going through. The results are a mixed bag, but I’m happy to report some characters that were previously intolerable are starting to actually spark my curiosity.

The episode begins in a Mexican church, where a priest preaches from the pulpit about the evil they all must face. When they exit the church ready to do battle with the undead, Thomas Abigail pulls up in his truck trying to convince them they can’t win. Then, inexplicably, eyes start to bleed. Eyes of everyone who had been in the church listening to the priest, including the priest himself. Now… I kept waiting for this to be a dream. Thomas Abigail wakes up in a cold sweat, having fever dreams as a zombie bite slowly kills him. But this is not the case. Everyone’s eyes bleed, like something out of the Bible, and it is not mentioned again. An odd choice, seeing as this series, and its sister series ​The Walking Dead both, until now, have inhabited rather agnostic realities. Besides the raising of the dead itself, which is semi-explained by science in season one ​Walking Dead episode, miracles and acts of God or Satan do not happen in this world. Are the creators of Fear now taking the story into fantasy land?

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Anyway, the episode continues as if that never happened. Back on Strand’s yacht, the group is forced to hide when Strand and Luis are approached and questioned by what I presume was Mexican border authorities. Bullets ring out above deck while the rest of the cast hides out below. Strand has delt with the ships intruders, but unfortunately Luis, who I thought was an interesting addition to the cast, caught a bullet to the gut and bleeds out. Before Daniel goes to end his misery, Luis begs him to take a mysterious old coin to his mother. For absolutely no reason at all, Daniel is incredibly cruel to this dying man’s final request, tossing the coin overboard into the ocean. Why? So unnecessary.

Finally, our heroes reach the Mexican mainland and Strand leads them towards his safe zone. On the way they encounter the church that we saw in the opening of the episode, and with it the legion of dead church goers. In a quick skirmish, Madison is momentarily put in a bad position when she falls and a zombie gets on top of her. Instead of saving her life, Chris just stands there and watches. This is presumably because earlier in the episode, his father Travis told him that Madison was telling other people that Chris shot Reed in cold blood, not because he was turning.

Alicia catches Chris just standing there waiting for Madison to get killed off, and she is NOT happy. Later in the episode she calls him on it, and Chris basically threatens her into not telling anyone what she saw. Of course Alicia tells Madison, who takes it up with Travis, which causes another fight. But the big takeaway here is… Chris is actually turning into a little creepy sociopath, and I’m LIKING it. Before he was just mopey and boring. Now he’s mopey and POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS. It is just enough of a twist on his character to make him intriguing.

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So the group reaches the safety of Rosarita, far removed from the dangerous metropolises teeming with undead. It is run by Luis’ mother Celia. There Thomas Abigail and Strand, lovers, are reunited, but only to be separated again when Thomas succumbs to a zombie bite. Now that we’re off the boat and onto a new septic, there is a potential for a lot of interesting story turns. Nick has taken a liking to Celia, which Madison does not approve of. Daniel is already butting heads with other residents for not being able to take his weapon inside. He even discovers that Celia is keeping zombies locked up on the premises because they are family and not dangerous monsters.

Wait, what?! Isn’t this the EXACT plot we get in season two of ​The Walking Dead with Hershel on his farm? Hershel was keeping dead people, including his wife, locked up in the barn, refusing to kill them, then Glenn, Shane, and Rick discover this. Albeit, I think Celia has different religious motives than Hershel did. Who knows where this will lead.

The episode ends with Chris grabbing a knife in the dark bedroom where Madison and Alicia are sleeping. When Strand puts a bullet through Abigail’s head, it wakens them to find Chris standing over them with a knife. It was unclear what he was going to do. But of course after Alicia screams at him he hightails it. Not looking good for ol’ Chris.

Next week is the mid-season finale and I think going into it the series is in the best shape it’s even been. Now to just deliver a strong episode before the break. Stay tuned.

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Paul co-created and writes for SHOWoff, a game that lets players predict what happens next on their favorite 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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