Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep11 – Pablo & Jessica

This week’s Fear the Walking Dead alternated between two story lines, leaving the fates of Chris and Travis unknown for the moment, as we caught up with Madison, Strand, Alicia, and the inhabitants of the rundown hotel as well as with Nick and his new community. There’s something disorienting about the abrupt shifts from one group to another while leaving the previous one in a cliffhanger. While this creates tension, it also makes the show feel a bit hard to follow and the characters a bit harder to invest in.

Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep11 - Pablo & JessicaNevertheless, there were some interesting, quiet moments in this episode, amidst the zombie horde set pieces. There were the conversations between Nick and Alejandro, with the latter revealing a story about how he was “spared” from the deadly infection making zombies out of mankind. Whether Nick or the audience buys any of this is another story, but it really does seem like the former junkie is thriving in this new community (he and Luciana even make out). He’s always been a resourceful survivor, but he actually looks truly happy for the first time in the short run of Fear the Walking Dead. Which is, of course, a sign that things are about to go badly.

There were some mother-daughter bonding moments between Madison and Alicia as they found each other in the hotel. The episode dealt with how Madison and Strand managed to escape the walker horde, which proved a little underwhelming. And it seems like Fear the Walking Dead is employing the whole “smear yourself in walker guts” strategy a little too often. The main show doesn’t use this so much and finds more interesting ways to tell a story.

Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep11 - Pablo & JessicaAnd there was the moment towards the end when Strand talks to one of the hotel guests and shares the experience of having to let go of a loved one after they’ve been infected. We haven’t seen much of Strand in the past few episodes, and a serious conversation like this gave him an opportunity to shine, reminding us of his very recent loss. He refuses to make a home out of the hotel, as Madison is determined to do, but he still tries to help someone who is in a similar predicament to what he suffered not long ago.

Fear the Walking Dead, S2 Ep11 - Pablo & JessicaThere was the impressive set piece of the hotel being emptied of all its walker guests as the horde was led by Madison and the others to the pier, where they all plunged into the ocean, hopefully to be washed as far away from the hotel as possible. An effective plan to get rid of all the walkers at once, though a little sad for anyone who happens to be out at sea. Fear the Walking Dead has established that walkers can survive underwater so good luck to anyone on a boat out there. And there’s no certainty that the tide won’t wash them back ashore, so the effectiveness of this particular plan still remains to be seen. At least, the group had the luxury of a quiet night and a sumptuous dinner. Given the way these shows go, the characters had better make the most of it.

So what’s up next for Fear the Walking Dead? We’ll probably catch up with the terrible Chris and the long-suffering Travis in the next episode, and whichever group the show wants to focus on along with them. The pacing of the show continues to drag and the addition of several new characters doesn’t really do much to develop the main cast. And Ofelia is still nowhere to be seen. There’s merit in leaving a character’s fate a bit of a mystery, but it’s becoming tiresome on this show and I wish they would just get on with it. If they’re going to kill anyone off or miraculously save another, the show had better do it while it still holds the viewers’ interest.