Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus. As the deer longs for running water, so longs my soul for you, O God. – Psalm 42:1
Fear The Walking Dead’s “Sicut Cervus” opens with what appears to be a fairly peaceful scene. A children’s choir is singing, a priest is performing mass, and parishioners are gathered in the pews. Only, it quickly becomes evident that this is anything but peaceful; this is a service taking place during the apocalypse. According to the priest, this world is testing them and they must fight back against the evil, but it’s not the infected that he’s speaking of. This priest is speaking of fighting against other people, and his congregation is eager to follow, all rushing outside and grabbing weapons. Just as Thomas Abigail shows up and pleads with them to stop, stating that you cannot fight death with death, the congregation begins to die, all bleeding from their eyes. They have been poisoned.
After a troubled attempt to get into Mexico, Luis being shot, the motley group of the Abigail stumbles upon the church, and likewise stumbles upon the infected congregation. One by one they begin to put them down. Nick kills an infected little girl, something that appears to haunt him. Ofelia takes down an infected child who has attacked her father, who is having some sort of weird flashback. And after putting an infected person down, Alicia sees Chris standing and watching as her mother is being attacked by one, doing nothing to help her.
Once they reach the villa that Strand has promised, a walled and gated area with farm fields, servants, and animals, it seems like they have finally struck it lucky. They have hope, hope for a sense of normalcy, but everything isn’t as it seems, and as the episode continues, more problems arise.
For starters, Strand’s partner, Thomas Abigail, has been bit and only has hours of life left. Strand stays by his lover’s side throughout the episode, telling Thomas that it’s all right for him to go, but Thomas isn’t willing to leave him. Strand suggests that he go with him; he is willing to commit suicide to be with Thomas. Celia will take care of them when it’s done, after all, and she even brings in Eucharist for Strand to consume. Celia had been the one to poison the congregation.
Daniel Salazar, the ever-cautious and alert member of the group, isn’t taking easily to the villa and Celia. He was reluctant to give up his weapons, and on a night-stroll, it appears as if he should have fought to hold onto them. He sees a child tossing a dog down a chute, and when he goes to investigate he discovers that Celia is keeping a horde of the undead locked away. When he confronts her about this, she tells him that they are her family. As she later tells Nick, the infected aren’t really dead; it is simply what comes next.
Meanwhile, Alicia, Chris, Madison, and Travis are dealing with an entirely different danger; Chris. Having witnessed Chris standing by and watching as her mother was attacked, Alicia isn’t taking too kindly to her “step-brother.” Despite Chris’s reassurances that it was an accident and he froze, Alicia says that it’s something that she’s not going to forget, and this is when Chris crosses the line of troubled teenager to creepy. He grabs her shoulders and prevents her from leaving the room, telling her that she can’t tell anyone, and when she asks what will happen if she does, he threatens her. “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Madison soon learns of this incident, and it doesn’t take her long to confront Travis about it. She believes that Chris is sick and needs help. He has threatened her daughter, and Madison has proven time and time again that she will do anything to protect her children. This newfound problem causes trouble in Travis and Madison’s relationship, and they both end up sleeping in separate rooms with their children.
But Chris just keeps on getting creepier, and he wakes up in the middle of the night and sneaks into Alicia’s room. Seeing that Madison is also there, he goes over to the nightstand and picks up a knife, but before we can find out what his true intentions are, a gunshot rings out and everyone wakes, Chris running out of the room. It turns out that Strand has shot Thomas Abigail, preventing him from turning into one of the infected. This doesn’t sit well with Celia.
What are you afraid of? It was a recurring theme in “Sicut Cervus,” each of the characters recognizing their fears and realizing that it’s not the infected. Nick is afraid of what he’s done, of the blood that now coats his hands in the form of the infected. He is questioning what they really are, if there is still a semblance of their former selves in them. Daniel is haunted by his past, something that we have yet to learn about. And Alicia is afraid of Chris. The characters are realizing that the infected may not be their biggest threat, that their biggest threat may even reside within their group.
Best Zombie Kill: Alicia. If she hadn’t killed that zombie, her mother would have died. Meanwhile, Chris was just watching.
- Nick, did you really have to change back into that old man’s jacket from season 1?
- What’s with Daniel’s weird flashback? Was that something that he had done before, or was that him as a boy?
- Is Chris Lizzie 2.0? Has Chris gone insane?
- Can we change the name to “Everybody Hates Chris”
- Is Celia Hershel 2.0? She’s keeping her zombified family trapped.
- We were blessed with more Nick and Ofelia scenes, and I absolutely loved it. I adore them and the relationship that is forming between them, whether it is platonic or romantic.
- Madison has officially drawn her line. She chose blood over bond. She chose to stay by Alicia’s side despite the strain it puts on her relationship with Travis.
- In all seriousness, I am so intrigued by Chris’s character now. He’s coming undone, but we aren’t yet sure how far he will take things. Was he really going to kill Madison?
- I am also absolutely loving how the threat in Fear The Walking Dead isn’t really the infected, it’s people, but it’s not even strangers that are the biggest threat. There are threats that reside within in their group and within themselves. Will we see the group start to unravel?
- What happens now? Celia isn’t happy with Strand. He killed Thomas Abigail and broke his promise to go with Abigail into this next form of life. Where will the group find themselves next?
- And with a room full of the infected, I think it’s safe to assume that they’ll be fighting some zombies in the midseason finale.
Don’t miss an all-new episode of Fear The Walking Dead Sunday at 9 EST on AMC.