FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Review: “Wrath” / “North”

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Well, the two hour season finale of ’s second season was not short on surprises. The final two episodes, “Wrath” and “North,” felt very much like one cohesive episode and did not disappoint.

The first episode, episode 20, “Wrath” began with Ofelia, whose car had finally broken down. After a brief skirmish with some zombies, Ofelia decides she’s giving up on the vehicle and walking… to where we don’t know. In fact her entire motivation for this whole back half season has been unclear (and frankly uninteresting). But we can assume she’s headed somewhere States side, as she’s walking along the fence on the U.S./Mexican border. Later in the episode she finds a hole in the chain link fence she slinks through and is very quickly caught by an American man with a gun–can it be that even in the zombie apocalypse some patriots are still concerned about illegal immigrants? Anyway, this is where Ofelia’s story ends for the season, and it’s just as well… There are much meatier storylines to get on to.

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The meatiest of all, for me at least, being that of Travis. While tending to some of their new admits brought on by Madison stupidly lighting up the hotel sign, she learns that none other than the douche brothers Brandon and Derek are amongst the newbies. These are of course the two loser Americans Travis was forced to watch his son Chris ride off into the sunset with, powerless to do anything. Derek has a dislocated shoulder and explains it’s from a car accident they were in–and the third guy, didn’t make it. A sixteen year old kid, from L.A, and who doesn’t have their license in L.A? Madison makes the connection quickly and is now faced with the dilemma of whether she is obligated to tell Travis the fate of his son, which she knows will destroy him.

She concocts a plan to get them out before Travis can see them. Madison offers to take Derek up to a room in the hotel to deal with his injury. Of course the other survivors, many of whom were there before Derek, essentially riot against this unfairness, putting Derek and Brandon in an angry mob’s warpath, and essentially forcing them out of the hotel. Right?

Wrong. Travis spots them from his suite’s window and is down in seconds, much to Madison’s dismay. When he takes the boys in to ask them what has happened to Chris, he realizes inconsistencies in their story–was Chris thrown from the truck, or did they pull him out of the wreckage? The boys insist Chris was already dead, but off the bat we know this can’t be true. In flashbacks we see that Chris was in fact driving the truck, nodded off, then flipped it (although how the two laying in the truck bed sleeping only walked away with one dislocated shoulder between the two of them is about as science fictional as zombies in the first place). We see that Chris was still alive, crawling desperately to get away from Brandon and Derek, but alas they blow his brains out in the middle of the road. They finally admit this and Travis is… not happy.

In one of the most brutal scenes I can remember from this series or its sister series The Walking Dead, Travis beats the two younger guys to death, while Madison and co. are locked outside the room, watching.  The fight was so well shot, choreographed, and executed. It was perversely satisfying to watch those two little twerps get the wrath of Travis after all they’d done.

Of course the problem is that in the midst of it all, Travis accidentally took out one of the hotel’s own. And by Madison’s own decree, any perpetrator of violence in the hotel must be banished, no one is exempt. Madison and Alicia agree that they’ll both leave with him when he is banished. Strand on the other hand refuses to go, even after Alicia ends up murdering her former friends to protect Travis; they had come seeking revenge for the accidental death of their friend. Everyone’s revealing the killer inside them all of a sudden, and it’s making things a hell of a lot more interesting!

So Travis, Madison, and Alicia leave. Of course Madison takes them back to the hold abandoned warehouse that was serving as Narcos headquarters. She wanted more clues on if Nick is alive and close. Of course it’s completely empty when they get there. The Narcos have moved on to Colónia.

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Speaking of Colónia, Nick is having a hard time getting his new love Luciana to leave with him and avoid complete decimation by the invading Narcos. She wants to stay and fight for her home. She, and the rest of the community, are inspired by Alejandro’s, particularly his “immunity” to being bitten. Well, if you called that being BS, you win… After getting bit by a patient that passed away unknowingly, Alejandro reveals what Nick already knew: he is not immune, nor has he ever been. Nick assists him with his pain and leaves the doomed Alejandro behind to single-handedly deal with the Narcos after he takes the community elsewhere to avoid the attack; he saw a helicopter in the not far distance, which leads him to believe there’s a refugee camp they can walk to just on the other side of the border.

When the Narcos do show up to take the town, it’s all too easy. Until dying Alejandro moves the bus in the fence that’s serving as a blockade, allowing the Colónia to be overrun with zombies. Later, when Madison arrives, we see Marco, the head Narco, dead and walking around looking for blood. And Alicia caught Alejandro just in time for him to confirm for Madison her son is alive and heading North.

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North doesn’t seem to be the answer. Much like Ofelia, as soon as Nick, Luciana, and their group of innocents cross the border, they are met with bullets–in fact Luciana catches one somewhere in the upper torso and we don’t know if she is going to be okay. We leave Nick for the season with him on the ground with a gun pointed at his head. Who are these people and what do they want? And will he meet up with Ofelia in this way? Will Madison, Travis, and Alicia have to stage a daring rescue? And how will Strand ever connect with the group again? We’ll have to wait for Season 3.

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 2, Episode 20-21 (S02E20-21)
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9PM on AMC

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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).
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