The Kids Are
All Right Covered in Blood
This week, our plucky band of survivors finds the Island from LOST and rifles through their luggage till they’re attacked by the Others and forced to flee for their lives. Also, Strand enforces a strict “no running on the deck and no hitchhiking” policy! All this and more happened in…
Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 3 – “Ouroboros”
While Travis works to get the stalled Abigail running again (by clearing its motor and filtration system of errant body parts, like most boating enthusiasts have occasion to do now and then), Salazar and the kids zodiac over to the Island of Misfit Plane Crash Survivors to scavenge for tiny vodka bottles and ill-fitting wardrobe choices. It is there that they encounter the wreckage and remaining castaways (some alive, others not so much) of Flight 462, the imperiled, infection carrying plane (from FTWD’s online-only companion show) that crashed off the California coast around the same time as Travis and Maddie and company were hightailing it out of L.A. That encounter goes about as well as you’d guess (if you happen to guess that it goes horribly, frighteningly wrong).
After Nick proves his worth as a scavenger (he rules), Salazar proves his worth as a chaperone (he so does not rule), and Chris finds a way to relate to dear old Dad by mercy killing some dude with Hurley’s face and John Locke’s body, the group is besieged by a whole horde of angry walkers demanding a refund for their plane tickets to Phoenix. Once again, the fun of seeing our new apocalypse partners learning the ropes of outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting the undead is a goosey thrill, and this time they’re joined by the handy-in-a-fight-for-your-life Alex (the central heroic figure from the Flight 462 storyline), who immediately makes a great asset to the team. Also, Nick figures out the trick of drenching yourself with blood and entrails and the like as a way to hide in plain sight among the stumblers (that’s what I’d totally be pushing my group to call the walkers, by the way). Let’s just hope he doesn’t start crying out for his mommy in the middle of that flesh-eating crowd.
Back at the Abigail, Strand (who Madison has confronted over his apparently secret not-so-secret plan to boat down to Baja) doesn’t recognize the value that Alex could add and refuses to let her come aboard. Instead, he compromises by allowing her (and the seemingly mortally injured Jake, her co-protag in the web series) to be tethered (in their lifeboat) to the yacht’s stern area. Then, five minutes later, he uncompromises by cutting the tether to leave Alex and Jake drifting, super-pissed no doubt, in the dangerous ocean. Blam. You been Strannn’d.
In an episode rife with parental strife and the slight rebellion of end-of-the-world teens (even in zombiepocalypse a mom is inclined to tell her kids to be sure and look for jackets in that gory plane wreckage–it gets chilly on the ocean after dark!–and kids still gotta be all “Ugh! You don’t understand! Things are so different now than when you were a kid! God!”), “Ouroboros” continues the show’s theme of exploring the strength and weaknesses inherent in the modern American family and exposing the degrees to which both bonds and bitterness hold up under stress. And even though she had less screen time this week (but still more than Ofelia!), Madison (for me) really took center stage. The episode pondered the role of wife and mother, of standing with your man vs. following your instinctive sense of protecting your children, of holding your kids close vs. letting them stand on their own two feet, and of fighting for what’s right for your family’s moral code vs. keeping out or cutting loose anyone who isn’t already insulated in your familiar circle of trust. So, you know, just the stuff Moms in every world (zombie infested or not) deal with every day.
The great American do-over
Nick’s chance at a new beginning and his quickness to adapt to the changed world continues to be a highlight of the series. It was also nice this week to see more of his ongoing and rather macabre flirtation with Ofelia (who got to be in a total of two-and-a-half scenes this time around!) and the increasing strength of the prodigal brother’s reemerging sibling bond with Alicia. As in many families, the screw-ups get the lion’s share of attention while the good kids are left to their own sense of staying on the straight and narrow, and (as mentioned by Alicia) the good kids miss the support of their brother or sister as well as that of their parents’. Having her brother back in her life is clearly an emotional boon for the good sister, and hey, it only took the end of the world to make it happen.
Where’s a coconut when you need one?
I love that Travis has taken on a role somewhere between The Fonz and The Professor from Gilligan’s Island. He can fix just about anything apparently and doesn’t need some goddam coconut to do it.
Travis and Maddie get cock-blocked by those pesky zombies in the propellers, proving once again that there’s simply no good time for a roll in the hay in the horror genre. People still gonna try, though.
The Norman Reedus happy fun time show
So, Ride with Norman Reedus, that’s apparently, like, an hour of him each week just going around, being charming, and taking selfies with people? Okay, I’d watch that.
One thing that Fear has done consistently well this season has been continually upping the quality each week of its thrilling cold opens, and the “Ouroboros” teaser sequence was the best one yet. Focused on a small group of survivors from 462 (including Alex and Jake), the scene was creepy, unsettling, and genuinely shocking. It was also a great introduction of Alex to the show, and I hope we get to see more of her in the future.
In the web series, she arrives on the flight clearly with some foreknowledge of what the infection is and how it works, but of course, no one believes her. After her efforts to save the plane (obviously) fail, she confesses to Jake (as they fall from the sky) that it was she who got the ticket that was supposed to go to his mother and feels responsible for keeping the two of them apart. It is now her mission to protect the kid and to keep him alive until she can get him back safely to his parents in Phoenix. This is why she’s dragging his crispy half-dead carcass around in their life raft.
It’s not too likely that such a mother and child reunion is only a motion away, but at this point it’s what’s keeping Alex going, and as we know from this show and its parent series, in the zombiepocalypse, any reason to hold on, futile as it may truly be, is all you have till the world comes back around or you find a better reason to survive.