It’s the season finale. Perhaps a big premature season finale, but the season finale nonetheless. And season finales in the Walking Dead universe mean people are going to die. Who? It says a lot about the failure of Fear the Walking Dead that I don’t really care. But I’ll bite: I predict Travis’ ex Liza and Ofelia die.
The episode opens with a long shot of a dark Los Angeles, ending at the zombie-filled arena we closed on last week. Salazar has evidently walked (the several miles) back, because he’s downstairs with the captured soldier when Travis and Madison walk downstairs. He wants to kill him, but Travis argues they need him and the soldier claims they won’t know where to go without him (they still want to grab their people).
While they load up, back at the hospital they’re expecting transport in two and a half hours. Liza is arguing to bring in Chris and Travis but no one else.
The soldier is still taped up as Travis takes him to the truck and pleads for Travis to cut him loose. “You’re not like that.” I’m not sure if he means tough or intelligent. Lack of either with get Travis killed (but not tonight, I stand by my prediction).
They head out. Their neighbors are still in the dark. The gate isn’t even guarded anymore. They leave the gate wide open, but obviously they really hate their neighbors. Worst mayor ever.
Salazar walks up to another (this time manned) gate. The guards debate whether he’s a zombie instead of, you know, saying “hey, are you a zombie?” One points out zombies don’t use tools, but they threaten to shoot Salazar anyway. He encourages them to save their ammunition because he brought all the zombies from the arena. We don’t know how the soldiers learned that zombies don’t use tools, or how Salazar learned to do something it took the characters in the main series several seasons to figure out.
It was a planned distraction. They’re going to sneak in now the soldiers are distracted. Because a military that can’t even defeat zombies can’t be smart enough to keep all the gates manned when there is an attack. Oh, and Salazar learns Travis let the soldier go. He takes it surprisingly well.
Finally! We’re back in the prison with Strand. And Nick too, I guess. They’re chatting about gentrification when things get interesting. Lots of gunfire in the background.
Travis et al. are sneaking in as the medical team waits for extraction. Liza asks again about her son, but the doctor replies that “If they haven’t gone for him now, they never will.” The chopper (suck it, modern man) has turned around and started flying away.
Meanwhile, Travis left Alicia and Chris with the vehicles. They get out. Oh good Lord, they’re going to pull a Carl and wander off. They hear something. Carl would go investigate. They make the smarter choice.
Strand is walking out of the prison with Chris in tow. He notes to the other prisoners that his key isn’t one size fits all, but he doesn’t have to be suck a dick about it. They key is Abigail.
Alicia and Chris hunker because they know two season’s worth of zombie lore. Unfortunately for them, the sound they heard came from a group of soldiers. My first thought is that Travis kindness was mistaken for weakness, but they just want the hell out of dodge. They want the keys to the Dodge. Chris and Alicia aren’t keen on giving them to them, which doesn’t seem so smart when they have three vehicles. They get roughed up for their troubles.
Liza is heading to a ground evac right behind the thick of the fighting. She has a hand up into the truck waiting on her, but she demurs. Things hit the fan as zombies start breaking through. A zombie-bit soldier takes a header into a chopper (suck it, modern man) side propeller. I don’t know if it was intentional, but it looked awesome.
Travis et al. have reached the makeshift prison. The two people they’re looking for aren’t there, but luckily everyone there knows exactly who they’re talking about. They booked, but hey, let us go, alright? Which I thought they were doing, but I don’t see any of those people again so I guess they care about them about as much as their neighbors. Strand and Nick are trapped, but Travis et al. walk right up behind him, because it’s not fair to expect writers to work too hard. But Strand and [junkie] are trapped. The door is locked from both sides. Madison sort of ineffectually waves a hammer at the handle. I would say she’s never going to drop a zombie like that, but in the world of the Walking Dead a stiff breeze would puncture a zombie’s skull. But Liza runs up with a key card, because again, writers.
It looks like they’re scot free, but zombies are sneaky little devils. We get a genuinely strong action sequence with a lot of impromptu weapon. Zombie kill of the week has to go to a set of loppers. For once it takes a few whacks to bust the zombies skull so maybe the skulls are harder this early on. But it would have helped not to use the flat of the blade.
They don’t know where to go after looking for Ofelia’s mom. (Did they ever find her? Who knows?) Luckily, the doctor is sitting there like one of those wizard-merchant guys in Zelda, just waiting to dispense advice. She doesn’t want to go with them thought, because the fellowship is too large and the budget is running a bit thin. They come across the burnt remains of everyone who died at the hospital. Somber moment.
We get a small scare when they get back to the cars and the kids are nowhere to be found, but they were just hiding. The soldiers really did just take the SUV. We get a bigger scare when the tortured soldier walks out with a gun. He’s got eyes only for Salazar. Well, he should, but inexplicably shoots Ofelia instead. It’s a win for my predictions and for putting short-term plot needs and actor over sound writing. The writers breathe a sigh of relief because now they can take the rest of the day off. Travis beats the guy somewhere between halfway to fullway to death.
When we get back from the commercial break it’s daylight, much of LA is burning, and they’re headed out of town. They take the (dry) river out of town to avoid traffic—because even after the zombie apocalypse LA remains clogged with traffic—to Strand’s place on the water. They get there and—damnit, Ofelia is alive. Uh, I guess I should be happy. It’s huge, modern, and has power from generators. Strand isn’t worried about what he’s going to do when the generators run out of gas. He’s probably got the air conditioner running. Nick gives a monologue that being a junkie was really great preparation for the zombie apocalypse. I would think being a soldier would be a better preparation, but we saw how it went for those guys.
But they won’t be staying long. Strand wants to stay in constant motion and doesn’t want anyone staying. Not sure how he’s going to enforce that if he isn’t going to be there, but whatever. It turns out Abigail is a yacht.
Meanwhile, Liza has a scratch. Yeah! I mean, that sucks. She did the time in the hospital, she knows the score. Of course anyone else would too, because that’s how Fear the Walking Dead works. Everyone is on a steep learning curve. She wants Madison to shoot her. You would think that’s every new girlfriend’s dream, to shoot her lover’s ex, but she’s not keen on it. Travis shows up to stretch out an already over long episode. He’s all, you got the antibodies right? And everyone is all, what is this, the original series? We all already know there’s no helping it. So Travis shoots her. I hope nobody needs medical help in the time it would have taken her to succumb. This will probably be a little awkward for Chris too.
Ok, let’s start with the good. I was almost 2 for 2 on my predictions. Well, I guess that’s not that good a thing, since I based my prediction on the writers taking the easy way out and killing off the least important characters. But something actually good! The action set pieces in the finale was superb. That’s the Walking Dead wheelhouse and if it ain’t broke. The finale also made my wife cry, so there’s that (she’s quite the modern man, in that respect). It’s finally been able to do what every single episode of the original series pulls off.
Overall, it was a very uneven season. The finale in particular featured a lot of lazy writing. The promise, the whole allure (to me, at least) of the satellite series was that we would get to see civilization fall. We’re always only going to get a little slice of it, but we missed so much. Characters gained knowledge of zombie canon seemingly by magic. Strand has way too many plans for a week or two into the zombie apocalypse. The military too, for all the good it did them. There’s no explanation how we got from a few isolated incidences to army-destroying hordes of zombies.
I guess they’re going on the water, because I guess they’re tired of everyone saying “why don’t they just find an island.” And we’ll get to see why that would be so stupid. A ship’s not a great place to find food and water. And it’s going to be hard to keep the yacht gassed up. Even if they do find an island, it takes a pretty good sized island to support that many people. And an island will probably be already settled.
I’m ready for the new season of the original series to start, but I’ll be back. I think Travis and Salazar are going to be really strong characters, and the only character that really annoys me right now is Nick.