HOLLYWOOD—Season two, episode six of “Fear the Walking Dead” aired Sunday presenting the gang with new threats and exploring an unfamiliar setting: Baja – while dually recycling a plot line from season two of its parent series, “The Walking Dead.”
The episode opens with what appears to be a flashback – parishioners are gathered in a small Mexican church, and a boy’s choir sings. The priest delivers a fiery sermon, urging the parishioners to take up arms and “fight this evil” – the churchgoers grab weapons: guns, axes, bats, knives, and embark – unveiling that this was not a flashback, but a post-apocalyptic tirade and the aforementioned “evil,” is the undead.
The time line and immediate setting is unclear until Thomas Abigail makes an appearance and ceases the mob outside of the church, begging they not continue forth – it’s then that the parishioners synchronously keel over as blood pours from their eyes – in his dying words, the priest tells Thomas, “Celia – this was her.” It’s confusing – and while this week’s episode rendered some insight into this, it’s still entirely inconclusive how this scene ties into the role Celia will come to play this season. “Fear” fans do know one thing however – she can’t be trusted.
Aboard the Abigail, the gang sets off toward Mexico. Travis has a father-son conversation with Chris regarding the “Reed incident” from last week’s episode, ‘Captive.’ In the midst of their conversation, Travis insinuates that Madison was worried about Chris after he shot and killed Reed (realistically, everyone was worried about Chris – his justification for killing Reed was that “he was going to turn,” while Reed was alive and well in the moments preceding his death) – Chris was furious, arguing that “Madison said she believed me.”
In the wheelhouse, Luis and Strand prep to meet with Luis’ military contact on the flotilla, where he plans to exchange payment for their passage into Mexico – Strand notes that there’s another officer accompanying Louis’ contact and rushes the others below deck – Luis only secured passage for two.
From the engine room, the crew eavesdrops on the interaction between Luis, Strand, and the two military officers – the officers insist on searching the vessel to assure that there are no infected aboard – gun fire erupts and the gang storms upstairs to find the two officers dead and Luis mortally wounded. Luis pleads with Salazar not to stab him in the head to prevent him from turning – Salazar is apathetic but Ofelia and Nick persuade him to leave Luis be.
The Abigail steams off toward the Mexico coastline – Strand leads them into the town center where they come face-to-face with the mob of parishioners from the beginning of the episode – except now they’re zombies.
Amongst fighting off the swarm, Madison is taken down by one of the infected and comes within inches of her life – Chris is the only one to see, and watches the struggle from just a few steps away without intervening. Alicia turns to witness Chris’s inaction – she jumps to Madison’s aid. The group scrambles, piles into Thomas’s abandoned truck, and flees.
The group arrives in Baja, where Strand leads them to a beautiful and gated estate where the above-mentioned “Celia” (who is also Luis’s mother), played by Marlene Forte, who greets them. Strand informs Celia of Luis’s passing, stating, “he’s one of them now” – she replies, “then he’ll find his way back.”
Strand rushes to Thomas’s bedroom where he finds him with a blood-soaked bandage covering his bite wound – Strand helps him into bed.
Elsewhere in the estate, Chris finds Alicia on the couch watching television – he asks if she’s mad at him and Alicia accuses him of standing by while Madison was attacked. Chris insists he “froze” and pleads with Alicia not to tell anyone “what you think you saw.” Alicia is unconvinced and persists that Chris consciously didn’t act –he corners her aggressively, in frustration.
At a shrine outdoors of the estate, Celia hangs a picture of Luis and Salazar offers his condolences. Celia replies, “He wasn’t shot in the head was he?” Salazar says “no” – Celia adds, “then there’s nothing to be sorry about.” This not only offers background into why Luis begged Salazar not to stab him in the head, but also foreshadows Celia’s delusion, and suggests her denial will pose problems in the future.
Madison finds Alicia watching television and is able to infer that something is upsetting her. Alicia discloses on her unnerving interaction with Chris. Madison consequently storms into her and Travis’s room, alleging that Chris threatened Alicia – this summons a blowout between the couple, which ultimately results in Madison staying with Alicia for the night while Travis accompanies Chris.
The setting reverts to Strand and Thomas’s bedroom – Thomas is dying and Strand suggests he could “go with him.” Thomas refuses, saying he could never let him do that – Strand persists that there’s nothing left for him here and the two make plans for a Shakespearean-style suicide.
Outside of the estate, Salazar sees a boy throw a dog down what appears to be a chute – he investigates to find that the boy is feeding a hoard of walkers that are being held captive by Celia (not very original, being that this plot line practically emulates that of season two of “The Walking Dead,” where Rick Grimes and the gang discover that Herschel was keeping walkers locked in the barn) – Salazar locates Celia and reprimands her, insisting that she’s putting them all in danger. Celia tells Salazar that the infected she has locked up “are family” – she scoffs, and rather eerily asks Salazar, “what are you so afraid of?”
The scene swaps to Thomas and Strand’s bedroom – Thomas dies and Strand walks toward the gun.
The scene swaps again and Chris is pictured getting up and leaving bed – he looks into a neighboring room to find Alicia and Madison sleeping. The camera pans to a knife on the nightstand and Chris walks towards it, picking it up.
A gun shot echoes throughout the estate and Madison and Alicia wake up frantically to find Chris bedside with a knife in his hand – they scream and he bolts out the door.
Episode seven, ‘Shiva,’ will air Sunday night at 9 p.m. on AMC.