I’ll be the first to admit that when season one of Fear The Walking Dead ended and I realized that the group was taking to the ocean to board a boat, I was a bit skeptical. How in the world would they be able to get a story from that? There is only so much that can happen on a boat, but the show does more than just deliver. It provides an escape from the normal wear and tear of The Walking Dead; it offers a refreshing new take on the zombie apocalypse and how these characters will traverse this new world that they’ve been thrust into.
“Monster” begins on the beach with perhaps the most ambitious and action-packed scene of the episode. The house that the group had been brought to in the season one finale is now on fire, in fact, most of L.A. is on fire. Bombs are being dropped (possible napalm bombs like in The Walking Dead?) in an attempt to rid the city of any of the infected, and this forces the group to flee to the water. Nick is in charge of taking a smaller boat to and from the Abigail and getting everyone onboard. As the walkers make their way to the beach, drawn by the fire, Chris is adamant that he won’t leave his dead mother’s side, unmoving until Travis finally picks up her body and they all make it to the small boat. As the Abigail begins moving and the group stands near the back of the boat watching as the bombs are dropped on Los Angeles, they are watching their lives crumbling. The dawning realization that their lives will never be the same hits them in that moment, and they are suddenly surrounded by the unknown.
Once everyone is safely aboard the Abigail, the pace slows, and “Monster” provides a deeper insight into these characters and the possible obstacles that they will encounter. The episode is not focused on the threat of walkers; while it is something that is present in the episode, it is the individual characters that really take center stage.
First, you have the Salazars. They are both learning to deal with the loss of Griselda and adapting to this new world, something that Daniel is perhaps most well adapted for than anyone else aboard the Abigail. He has experienced dire circumstances before, and his guard is up. He is unwilling to trust Strand. As he notes, Strand was packed and ready to go before the outbreak even went into full effect. He was ready to flee for a reason, and Daniel is wondering what the reason is. Then there’s Ofelia, who is still healing from the gunshot wound that she received in the season one finale. She accidentally runs into Nick, who offers to help her change the bandage, but when she refuses, Nick doesn’t let her go without offering some advice. Apply the ointment to the bandage first so it hurts less. Ice for the pain. “And vodka. Lots of vodka.”
Also dealing with a loss are Travis and Chris. Chris has resorted to solitude, staying in the room with his mother’s body, and this worries Travis. As the Abigail passes a smaller boat full of people, all begging for help, Travis realizes that he isn’t willing to help them. He is drawing the line of who to save and who not to, and that line stops with his family. Attempting to save anyone else is putting his family at risk, and he’s not willing to do that. After seeing Chris finally out of the room and fishing with Daniel Salazar, Travis talks to Daniel. Daniel assures Travis that one day Chris will realize that what he did for Liza was an act of mercy.
Chris is still angry and struggling, however, and when the crew has a small funeral service for Liza, he’s present, but not happy. Travis gives a short speech, stating that Liza was selfless and willing to help anyone. He also mentions that the best thing they ever did was Chris. Chris steps forward, but instead of saying something about his mother, he tips the table and sends Liza’s body into the ocean. Later when Travis confronts him about this, Chris tells his father how he believes that maybe he could have stopped his mother from leaving them and going to help Dr. Bethany Exner.
Meanwhile, Madison is struggling with her own issues. Whereas Travis didn’t want to save the people on the boat, Madison had wanted to. She has yet to figure out where she’s drawing her line of who to save and who not to save. She had allowed her neighbors to die, Matt to die, and she isn’t sure if she is willing to just stand by and let other people die. On top of this, she is beginning to wonder just how trustworthy Strand is, just as Daniel Salazar is.
Interlaced throughout the episode are Alicia Clark and a radio. Travis has told Alicia to listen to the radio in the hopes of finding someplace to go that’s safe. Alicia is very much on her own at the moment. Yes, she has her mother and her brother, but she is very much separate from them, distant, almost. The world as she had known it has suddenly collapsed around her. “It was all over before I knew it started. It was all over.” She has lost everything that she had been striving for, and she has to learn to deal with that. And now she is trying to find a connection…seeking a human connection, something that she doesn’t feel she has with anyone aboard the Abigail. She is alone, but she desperately wants to feel some sort of connection to someone else, and that is why when she hears the voice on the radio, she replies.
Alicia begins communicating with a man named Jacob. They talk and reveal things to each other. He tells Alicia that he’s found a cove that seems to be safe, but when Alicia asks where it is, he won’t tell her. It’s not safe to tell. When asked where he’s going to go, Jacob jokingly tells her Hawaii. It’s paradise, and nobody dies in paradise. Alicia reveals that she is on a larger boat that has a desalinization system: they won’t be running out of water anytime soon. Later in the episode, the boat that Jacob is on is taking on water and he tells her that they are going to try to make it to land. This worries Alicia, because land isn’t safe. “You die in water. You die on land. It’s gotta happen somewhere.” In a spur of the moment decision, Alicia tells Jacob that they can save them, and he asks where the Abigail is in relation to the smoke plume.
Unfortunately, Alicia’s quest to save the one person that she may have formed some sort of bond with turns out to be fruitless. Strand refuses to go and help. It’s too risky. He is not saving any more people; he has filled his mercy quota. On their final radio communication, Alicia tells Jacob that they can’t come and help. “It’s okay, Alicia. I got you. We’ll see you soon.” What does that mean? Is it possible that Jacob manipulated Alicia and she inadvertently gave away their location?
Strand. He is the captain of the ship, and he wants things to go the exact way that he wants them to go. It’s quite simple, really. He only has three rules:
- This is my ship.
- This is my ship
- This is my goddamn ship
In case you didn’t know, the Abigail is his ship. He has plans. They’re going to go to San Diego. It’s their best option and the most likely place that is safe. While the Abigail can take them 3,000 miles, they can’t stay on the water forever. When Strand discovers that Alicia was talking to someone on the radio, he becomes angry, wondering just how much information she gave away, and when Nick goes to talk to Strand about Alicia, Strand tells him that in her attempt at trying to help, Alicia made a mistake that they can’t afford. They all either have to pull their weight on the ship or at least stay out of the way. Strand tells Nick he’s on the boat because he’s fearless. His drug addiction has given him value in this new world.
While everyone else seems to be stressed about their current situation, Nick appears to be the only one who remains calm. For once in his life, everyone around him is trying to catch up to him. His entire life has been crazy and he has always felt lost with no direction; he’s prepared for this. This isn’t new to him; it’s just under different circumstances. Throughout the episode, he is seen trying to help the others. He offers to help Ofelia care for her wound. He talks to Strand about Alicia. And when Chris jumps off of the boat and into the ocean, he doesn’t hesitate to jump in after him. According to Chris, he just wanted to swim, so Nick stays in the water with him and does just that. Enter wading walkers…waders?
There is a shipwreck, and Nick believes that he hears a noise. Thinking that it could be someone, he goes to investigate. As he enters the overturned ship, it becomes apparent that the ship was attacked. Just as Nick finds a logbook, he is attacked by a wader/walker, but he is thankfully able to escape and get back to the Abigail just in time, because Strand is prepared to leave. Strand has been carefully watching the radar since boarding the Abigail, and an alarm has gone off. Another boat, much larger than the Abigail and faster, is heading their way. It could be no one, or it could be whoever sunk the ship that Nick had just been investigating.
Best Zombie Kill: Propeller to the face zombie by Nick.
- I absolutely love them being at sea. The scenery is so beautiful, a perfect juxtaposition of the ugly world that they are now living in.
- They caught an eel! Yay! But, ew…they have to eat the eel. Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.
- Who was Strand talking to? Do you think he was really just talking to himself? Could he have been talking to someone else?
- The unofficial official name of walkers in the water is wader. They are waders.
- Could the boat that is approaching the Abigail be whoever Alicia was talking to?
Don’t miss an all-new episode of Fear The Walking Dead Sunday at 9 EST on AMC…trust me, you’re not going to want to miss it!