Midseason finales. They are the things of nightmares. They leave you with a cliffhanger and a hankering for more. Unfortunately, this void within you cannot be filled until weeks later, and your mind relentlessly craves the answers to the questions left unanswered. All of this and more goes for Fear The Walking Dead’s midseason finale “Shiva.”
The episode opens in a jungle. It is raining and there are bodies in a river. A little boy is standing at the river’s edge, and we soon find out that this boy is Daniel. It is a flashback, and a man is telling him to take a gun. Before it precedes any further, a gunshot is heard, and Daniel wakes. He grabs Ofelia and begins to lead her outside. But Ofelia isn’t okay. She looks at Daniel and begins to peel the skin from her face. Another gunshot and Daniel wakes again. It was all a dream. And the episode picks back up right where “Sicut Cervus” left off.
Having just shot Thomas Abigail to prevent him from turning into one of the infected, Strand has brought a newfound wave of anger upon them. Celia viewed Thomas as a son, and she feels as if Strand has betrayed her. Their punishment? She wants them all to leave. They have exactly one day to pack their things and get out.
Their forced departure is only the beginning of their problems, however, and the least of Travis’s concerns. He cannot find Chris, and so he goes off into the night to look for him. By daybreak, he still hasn’t found his son, and his feet are paying the price for his journey. He comes upon a house and unexpectedly finds a man inside. This man does not speak English, but he is kind enough to offer Travis water and a pair of shoes. As the man tries to hurriedly rush him out of the house, Travis notices a book lying on the couch that is in English and movement behind another the door. It turns out that Chris has threatened to kill the man’s son if he doesn’t make Travis leave. Acting quickly, Travis knocks the gun from Chris’s hand and chases his son out of the house. After a brief scuffle, Travis apologizes for not realizing that Chris needed help. Chris believes that he is a monster and there is nothing that can be done to save him.
Back at the villa, both Madison and Daniel are untrusting of Celia, both for their own reasons. Daniel sharpens a blade and attacks workers, which leads him to being led away. Madison, meanwhile, warns her children from going near Celia. Nick has his own dangerous mission, though, and he returns a little while later covered in the infected’s blood with a bound zombified Luis. He has brought Celia her son back, and it is enough for Celia to agree to let Nick and his family stay. But Strand must go. While they are there, Nick will be responsible for his family’s actions. They do not view the infected as Celia and Nick do, and Celia views them as the monsters for wanting to kill them.
Daniel’s actions have forced him into a not so bright situation. He is now bound to a chair, and his past continues to haunt him. Celia recognizes that his dead haunt him and asks him to confess his sins, but Daniel refuses. All the while, he is hearing a distinct voice, and when Celia leaves he sees his wife, Griselda. She pries into his past and asks him about the story that haunts him, and we once again return to the flashback in the beginning of the episode. He takes the gun from the man and shoots a man in the river. It is the first of many victims, but as Griselda notes, Daniel’s first victim was himself.
Elsewhere on the villa, free to roam because she isn’t bound to a chair like Daniel, Madison goes to talk to Celia about Strand. She believes that Celia is making a mistake by kicking Strand out. Strand saved her and her family by taking them aboard the Abigail. She owes her life to Strand. But Strand killed Abigail, and that is unforgivable in the eyes of Celia. The conversation turns to Nick. Celia tells Madison that the only reason she is allowing her family to stay is because of Nick. He has a good soul, and if Madison wishes to stay, she will have to learn to accept the infected just as Nick has. Madison tells Celia that she wants to understand, and when Celia leads her to the cellar, she locks Celia inside with the infected. Madison will do anything to protect her son, and she views Celia as a threat.
As Strand is led out of the villa, Daniel makes his big escape. He headbutts a guy, breaks the chair, and unties himself. He has a mission, and it takes him to the cellar. He has to set Griselda free. And so he opens the cellar doors and pours gasoline. The infected being held there begin to morph into humans in the eyes of Daniel, and as Griselda comes into view, he drops a lighter, setting the place on fire.
Madison rushes to find Alicia, who is holding Ofelia back from running inside to find her father. The fire is drawing the attention of the infected, and they need to flee. Strand pulls up in a truck and they get inside, but not before Madison sees Nick. He had gone to find Travis, who told Nick to tell Madison that he never saw him. Seeing what has happened, Nick realizes that Griselda was right; they destroy everything, and he doesn’t want to be a part of that, so he walks away and back into the horde of the undead.
“Shiva” was everything that a midseason finale should be. There was suspense, heartache, action, and, of course, lingering questions that aren’t yet answered. With the group being separated (Nick by himself, Strand, Alicia, Ofelia and Madison in the truck, and Chris and Travis out somewhere) everything has been set up for the second half of the season. These characters have been forced to survive together, they were stuck on a boat with little room to be alone for days, but now they are separated. How will they react to that, and will they all find their way back to each other?
- First thing’s first. Please tell me that I’m not the only one who thought of Shiva the tiger from the comics when I read the title of this episode?
- There were a lot of beautiful shots this episode. A lot of beautiful scenery. Very calming and beautiful in contrast to the content of the episode.
- So Daniel was the boy in the flashback last episode, and we finally learned more about his past this episode. Like I said last week, the characters are all beginning to realize their fears, and Daniel’s is his past.
- Nick, really?! How many times are you going to cover yourself in blood? I’m starting to think that this is a Nicktatorship.
- Chris threatening a little boy is taking this “spiraling out of control” thing to an entirely new level. He has gone completely insane, and you never want to go completely insane. Hopefully, Travis is able to help him deal with his grief and what he has done. Or is Chris already too far gone?
- I have to say something about the moment shared between Alicia and Strand. The moment when Strand is being led out of the villa and Alicia is the only one there from the group. And that subtle wave goodbye. In every other episode of the season, there has been so much tension between these two characters, but that moment, that little wave, was so bittersweet. This moment was so raw and human. Alicia is watching as he’s being forced to leave, and they both know that he’ll likely die. That subtle wave was this little moment of human connection between two characters that have never connected before.
- Blood vs. bond was once again heavily felt in this episode. Travis chose blood when he decided to stay with Chris instead of return to Madison. Nick, on the other hand, chose neither. Nick chose the dead, he chose himself.
- We never saw Daniel die, and, well, you should never believe a character dead unless you see a body. Is it possible that he escaped?
- Will the group meet up again? And if they do, will everyone make it back alive?
This is normally where I would remind you not to miss next week’s all-new episode, but this was the midseason finale, so we have a few weeks…Fear The Walking Dead returns August 21st.