Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead! Proceed with caution, survivors. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched the latest episode, “Pablo & Jessica”, we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
The best thing about this week’s Fear the Walking Dead is that Chris is nowhere to be seen. Because after last week’s episode–in which he shot and killed an innocent man after trespassing on his property–I’m not sure I’m physically capable of watching another episode about the teen sociopath. At least one that doesn’t open with him being shot in the face. Preferably by his father, Travis. It would go a long way towards restoring my faith in his usefulness to this show. Thankfully, “Pablo & Jessica” divides its time between Nick’s storyline and that of Madison, Strand, and Alicia.
Ofelia, we’re told, has left the group, since she’s now convinced they’re not going to survive. Which might just make her the smartest character on Fear the Walking Dead. Though I appreciate the show’s continuing efforts to rehabilitate Alicia. In a mere handful episodes, she’s gone from whimpering annoyance to coolly efficient zombie killer. There’s not much of a reason given as to how she’s matured this quickly, beyond the fight or flight impulse, but it does make her much more watchable. Which should delight the fans of Alycia Debnam-Carey who’ve been following since her run on The 100. God knows they deserve this after putting up with the way she was written for a season and a half of Fear. She not only holds her own now in scenes with Kim Dickens, she convinces us that Alicia is Madison’s equal several times this week.
Which is good, because in “Pablo & Jessica” we learn that Madison has no intention of leaving Hotel Hell anytime soon, since she’s as sick of running as Travis admitted he was last week. Strand, on the other hand, isn’t quite ready to call their newfound refuge home, though he takes some tentative steps in that direction after they manage to clear it of the infected this week. Madison and Strand continue to have much better chemistry and to balance each others strengths and weaknesses far better than she and Travis ever did. So much so that I can’t help but wonder if Travis will be the next regular to go; emotionally, he’s a bit redundant at this point. Of course if he does go, he needs to take his brat Chris with him.
Meanwhile, over at the Colonia, Nick’s elationship with cult leader/father figure/pharmacist Alejandro and his top lieutenant Lucy continues to blossom. He further proves his worth to them this week when he prepares a substitute drug for use in bartering, and he hooks up with Lucy after a laughably brief amount of flirtation. Seriously, does giving her a shoulder to cry on when she tells him the tragic story of her late brother Pedro and participating in a soccer game with the Colonia’s kids really make up for his almost getting her entire village wiped out? Because I was pretty sure she would have left him for dead in a heartbeat. But hey, sex sells.
As usual, Strand shines brightest this episode. In the final scene, he approaches the husband of last week’s zombie-devoured bride, Jessica, and bonds with him over their mutual losses. Then he takes on the burden of offing his infected wife. Colman Domingo can not only cry on cue, but he makes Strand believably care for a man he’s just met, when several episodes ago we weren’t even sure if he cared about Madison and her family. Methinks, however, that all is not over between the bride’s mother and the hotel’s manager, whom the former still accuses of murdering her daughter. My money’s on one or both of them biting it soon. Until then, I hope we can hang out in Hotel Hell for a little while. It’s a different setting than anything we’ve seen so far in this universe, and the franchise has reached a point where locations play as great a role as the survivors themselves.
— After last week’s answer to Game of Thrones‘ Red Wedding, this week’s teaser is a huge letdown. I’m all in favor of Fear the Walking Dead opening each episode with a new group of characters responding to the apocalypse, regardless of whether or not they connect to the rest of the show, even if we never see them again. It would be like getting a bonus horror film short every week.
— “Surviving feels like eating shit.”
— Was it just me or did Lucy arriving at Nick’s apartment to help him “learn Spanish” remind anyone else of the start of a porn film? At least she didn’t announce she was there to fix the plumbing.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).