Alicia Clark's arc has been jettisoned into motion, and aren't we all glad for it.
Cliff Curtis was excellent as the tortured Travis, but Alycia Debnam-Carey stole the show, hands-down.
Ruben Blades is consistently brilliant as the softly-spoken war-veteran who can scare you with mere, wise words.
Alex and Reed turning--at the right moment--were two brilliant twists.
The pendulum of action and drama still teeters on Fear the Walking Dead; this episode finished rather anti-climatically.
Not nearly enough is seen of Daniel and Ofelia.
It does create friction but when will we get a final destination for this group?
Again, we're leaving Michelle Ang's Alex out in the cold--will she come back?
In a tense hostage square-up between two boats, there’s no stalemating when Alicia Clark conquers with intelligence, courage and sheer manipulation.
This could’ve been a disaster. In this week’s Fear the Walking Dead, both Connor’s (Mark Kelly) boat and the Abigail held hostages: Connor’s boat held Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) to “use”, and Travis (Cliff Curtis) in a cage. The Abigail held a still-staked Reed (Jesse McCartney), whom Salazar (Ruben Blades) identified as “leverage” as he cleaned Reed’s wounds.
I put us in this mess and I’m gonna get us out of it. – Alicia
It was clear what this entire situation was about, for Alicia: get Travis, and get out. Jack (Daniel Zovatto) stood as an especially difficult obstacle—but this just wasn’t Alicia Clark from season one. At the first given opportunity, she swiped the keys to Travis’ cage from the back of his pocket and played Jack at his own game, unbeknownst to him. On-board, they immediately discover The Abigail’s heading right for them—as ‘MY44’. Meanwhile, Travis was having a very different time downstairs. We’d been waiting anxiously for news, but Michelle Ang graced back onto our screens as a vengeful Alex, who confessed to Travis she’d told Connor everything about the Abigail after Strand cut her raft loose. In telling her story, Travis empathised with her, sincerely—when she admitted she had to kill her boy:
What you did to that boy…I did the same. To my son’s mother. So I know what it costs…it cost a part of me. And how do we get that part back? – Travis
You don’t. – Alex
It’s in the last fifteen to twenty minutes where Fear the Walking Dead hit full-throttle. Chaos erupted on The Abigail as Chris (Lorenzo Henrie), a bubbling volcano of anger from the start, shot Reed—who Madison (Kim Dickens) had already arranged to be traded for Alicia and Travis after some squabbling on the motives driving each Strand (Colman Domingo) and Madison. On Connor’s boat, Alicia gave a good old middle finger to her “use” and freed Travis to meet Madison. It eventually left Alicia up with her own fight—the pregnant, sheer nasty lady with no mercy—and if she wasn’t going to show mercy, neither was Alicia. Impressively, she bettered her quickly and locked her in the cage, sprinting away from the mess and back to her family, who were already scrambling in a messy fight with an officially ‘turned’ Reed, who was wildly, fatally biting Connor and his associates. Briefly accosted by Jack, who pled for Alicia to stay, Alicia remained true to her heart. Not love. Not good-looking boys with a charm on the radio. Her family. In one swift move, she slides off the edge of the boat and into the water, immediately rescued by Madison and Travis on the raft as they speed off—reunited again.
The girl everyone slated as pointless stomped those fires out and saved the day
Alycia Debnam-Carey, and Alicia Clark, was without a doubt the outstanding star of ‘Captive’. From the moment she boarded Connor’s boat, she was stubbornly refusing to eat his food in front of him, she found out about Connor’s methods of targeting boats, and she constantly and unapologetically manipulated Jack’s obvious feelings for her in this hot game of cat-and-mouse. Connor’s “use” for Alicia was rather sick: he wanted her to ‘catfish’ other nearby boats with the same method Jack used.
We ask all the same things. We say: “this is the world now.” [Points at screen] This one lives. That one dies. – Jack
Maybe it was always like that. Maybe we spent a lot of time convincing ourselves the loss of nature didn’t apply. – Alicia
Her steadfast stance with her family shot to the surface as an angry Alicia, after spotting The Abigail on the radar heading back towards Connor’s boat two hours too early—yelled at Jack “where is my family?” She advanced (“did you know?”) and lividly smacked at his head with the clipboard, violent and struggling until Jack pinned her down. She finally got her truth, about what would happen on the boat. It wouldn’t be Connor…it’d be Reed.
My family came back for me. – Alicia
So? What—you were just gonna leave? You’re going back to those people? Alex told us what they did…is that what you really wanna be with? The people who abandoned her will abandon you. Alicia. Please. – Jack
I’m sorry. – Alicia
It was unclear from the very start what Alicia or Jack’s motives were—whether they really did feel something for each other, or whether there was something romantic beginning to bloom. Certainly for Alicia, she put her family first in every single situation. For Jack, the lines became blurrier—but his last-ditch attempt to convince Alicia to stay reeked of emotional manipulation, too. This was the man who swindled her, when she just wanted someone to talk to. It couldn’t go unforgotten. And after being held captive on Connor’s boat, emotionally twisting and turning her way out of trouble, bettering at physical fisticuffs and eventually returning to her family safe and sound, Alicia undoubtedly killed it.
Alex returns with a vengeance—and it’s not looking pretty for Travis
Weathered by the sea, emotions, betrayal, fear and loss, Michelle Ang‘s Alex was simmering with quiet anger as she revealed herself to be of Connor’s alliance too after Strand cut their raft free. She gritted out to Travis:
When Connor found me just this side of death, the first thing he asked me was: “what do you have to offer?” I offered him your Abigail. But I asked for you. – Alex
Likely anyone in Alex’s position would’ve pulled the same card. Forced to kill your boy for fear of him turning, cut off the only life supply you had, washing up with absolutely nothing to your name except being victim to a cold betrayal—Alex’s stance surprised no-one, least of all Travis. It is perhaps here we remember that the moral centre of it all, Travis, is nowhere near the moral centre. Neither’s Alex; neither’s Alicia; neither’s Nick…and definitely not Strand. As the world falls, is there one? Is there time—or room—to be good? To do the right thing? Or just survive?
It was a question to ponder on The Abigail, too. With Salazar cleaning Reed’s wounds and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) understandably wary of his ways, in a neat nod back to season one, the ever-calm Salazar—who really has seen it all—imposes on a gobby, threatening Reed:
In my time, I know men who have inspired fear. You know what they have in common? They never say how frightening they are. – Daniel Salazar
Alex’s situation is reflected back on Travis and by extension back on Chris, too. Both Travis and Alex were forced to kill someone out of mercy—in a world that robbed them of such. Travis extended his hand of empathy, but Alex was having none of that. This slowly-building rage within Chris…will he react similarly to Alex? Or will Travis and Chris come to an understanding of Liza’s (Elizabeth Rodriguez) shooting? Will it cool down the clearly resentful blood pumping in Chris’ veins now?
‘Captive’ was the episode name, but as ever, the theme of family ran strong
There were two opposing boats, and two sets of hostages…and two sets of ‘families’. One—a rag-a-tag bunch of boat-hoarders, and two—the protagonists we’ve grown to love (or not love so much). After a very Strand-focused episode last week, it was surprisingly refreshing to get an episode focused on the “kids”—especially Alicia. The Abigail may be composed of a mismatch of families and people with mixed goals and emotions, but without a doubt, it’s a tight-knit unit. The brief Nick and Chris scene in the corridor, and the Nick and Ofelia scene gave us insight into the casual relationships swiftly built. We haven’t seen much interaction between the adults (aside from Madison and Travis) and the “kids”—which I wonder if it’ll be something we see soon. Most obvious was the avid promise Alicia made to Travis: that she wouldn’t leave him, under any circumstances.
Under Connor’s control, Reed’s cocksure attitude (masquerading his fear) of his brother coming back for him was somewhat settled as we caught a brief glimpse of life there. Connor’s boat is big, and himself: falsely over-friendly, quietly menacing. The fact that they used their radars to target boats in the first place was scary enough; the fact that the first thing he asked what must have been a distraught Alex when found was: “what do you have to offer?” suggested he wasn’t Mr. Nice Guy at all.
You have to stop treating them like children. – Daniel Salazar
But they are. – Madison
Not anymore. – Daniel Salazar
More interestingly was Madison’s take on events this episode. She frequently called out “the kids”, banning Strand from sending Nick out on more ‘missions’, the flat-out refusal of allowing any of them the chance to storm Connor’s boat, shutting down Nick volunteering to steer their captive, Reed, to Connor, Alicia and Travis. After what Alicia accomplished on Connor’s boat, and Nick’s blatant survival skills—how much more will it take to convince Madison that they aren’t her babies anymore? That they can fight? For as much steel as she is grit sometimes, Madison has to let go of this fear. The adults can’t do everything—and the “kids” most certainly won’t let them.
Final Verdict: An edgy episode that leaves us with more questions than answers; Fear the Walking Dead is endlessly beautiful, but it hasn’t quite slammed the gas pedal yet.
Though a tense and much more cohesive episode than the last, the expectation of a high-octane prison break thriller-chase was heavy on the mind. Fear the Walking Dead has proven itself capable of some true horror-inducing moments and this episode could potentially have been full of them. Closed-off, imprisoned, two plans on two boats going haywire at once—yet it didn’t quite ramp it up to full volume. Having said that, the episode was still enjoyable and gripping to watch. Not for one moment could we tear our eyes away from the screen, and what creators Dave Erickson and Robert Kirkman have achieved from splintering their already successful big-brother The Walking Dead has been admirable. This is truly a different show.
As ever, the show remains as cinematographic and beautiful as ever. Peter Zuccharini, the underwater director—must be commended for his stunning sequences throughout the series in which our protagonists have dove into the sea, most spectacularly in this episode with Alicia skidding off the side off the boat and plunging into the deep.
Something Fear the Walking Dead does well is amping up the tension. It’s a slow kick-start but once the wheels start spinning, there’s no stopping the episode picking up the pace as the storylines converge into a thriller of a final scene. Yet the end-scene is always quite anticlimactic, the questions from the episode often raised mid or late episode—never at the end are we wondering. The slow-burn pace remains as divisive as ever, but Kirkman and Erickson promised a family-centred drama, and boy did they deliver this episode. It’s with quivering anticipation as Kirkman and Erickson keep cranking it up, week by week.
Questions and comments:
- Will Alex stay with Connor’s crew (whatever’s left of that) or somehow join The Abigail?
- Does Strand have something else hidden up his sleeve with regards to Mexico?
- In terms of Mexico…are they ever going to go to Mexico? (Poor Luis).
- I can’t see any feasible way for Jack’s return, but if he does, whose side will he be playing for? And just how genuine were his feelings for Alicia?
- The brief Nick/Ofelia and Nick/Chris moments were enjoyable and an effective way of showing how this gang have bonded so quickly.
- Will this episode make Travis finally realise he can’t play nice all the time?
- Alicia Clark, surely the MVP of the episode, should get in more fights. That was a tussle-and-a-half.
FEAR THE WALKING DEAD airs on Sundays 9l8c on AMC.
Fear the Walking Dead Review [2×05]: “Captive”