TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 3 – Ouroboros
By Megan Wilde
This week, we find out the fate of some of the survivors of Flight 462, the series of shorts on AMC that dealt with one of the last flights out of LA before everything shut down, and the group aboard the Abigail does some learning about survival essentials.
“Ourboros” opens with some survivors from the flight being tossed about in the water and coming up for air. Some have found a life raft, and Alex, the only one aboard the plane who seemed to expect the turn things took and was prepared for it, finds it and climbs aboard. She has found the teenager Jake, whom she befriended on the flight (and whose mother’s spot she took, prompting her protection of him); his face is half burned from the crash, and he may be dying. After floating around for a while, the other guys on the raft start to make noise about Jake and how she should end it before he turns, but she will hear none of it. She actually eliminates the other two who suggest getting rid of Jake, and one ends up in the intake valve of the Abigail, which shuts it down, just as Maddy and Travis are about to get romantic.
I was unsure why we were seeing this, but between the shorts and this, Alex is set up as someone who (1) knows a lot about what is going on with this infection (how and why does she know?), (2) knows a lot more than most about what to do about the infected, (3) is loyal, smart, strong and (4) can be ruthless if she or someone she’s loyal to is threatened. By the end of the episode, we’re not sure if that’s the last we’ll see of her, but my feeling is that it’s not. I don’t know why they would set all this up for her to disappear now. And she brings an interesting element to the show and could provide some guidance and information for the group.
The main story of the episode deals with the effects of Travis fixing the boat after he goes scuba diving to figure out why the boat has stopped. The intake valves are clogged — with the dead — so they are unable to go anywhere for most of the episode, but Alicia sees suitcases and all sorts of things strewn across the coast from the plane crash, so a group of them decide to go ashore while Travis is working to see if they can find anything useful. If only swords were allowed on planes, because these people need some swords. Or a machete. Something.
They find some medicines, which Nick takes for Ofelia, as her wound is getting worse and is infected, and Nick trades in his old man’s shirt for a bloody or dirty pilot’s shirt (which … is not really an upgrade, though it is funny). Chris wanders off on his own (oh, CHRIS) and finds part of the plane’s fuselage (did anyone else have Lost flashbacks? Just me?) and goes inside. There are a few infected in there, and he also discovers an injured man, who desperately begs Chris for help. He has a tough time figuring out what he can do to help, but then the realization sinks in that there’s no hope for this man. So Chris takes a second to work up the courage, and then hits him on the head with a hunk of metal. But apparently he doesn’t hit hard enough, because the poor guy is still alive. Chris does take care of him eventually, but it isn’t easy or quick — but that’s a nice touch of realism. This scene shows that he now understands a little of what his dad had to go through when he agreed to kill Liza. In the past few days, he has learned how to kill walkers, and also he’s learned that sometimes maybe killing one of the living IS a mercy, if there’s no other way. Maybe now he can stop being such a whiny teenager and will grow up some.
After Chris wanders off, Daniel searches for him, and sees Alex, whom he mistakes for Chris, running. Coming after her is a horde of walkers. I would say that Daniel stands there too long, just looking and not running, but these characters haven’t been living in this world for years like certain other ones we know, and there’s probably a certain amount of shock and wonder and forgetting yourself involved in seeing a group of undead coming over the hill toward you. So now they have Alex, and they all fight off the horde as they try to get back to their boat and raft.
Meanwhile, Nick has fallen into a pit where there is a walker — who is half buried and is being eaten by crabs, and at the same time is trying to eat the crabs, and it’s all a very different visual from what we’ve seen before, and a little funny — and another falls on him while he’s down there. He ends up covered in walker blood, and when he comes to help the group when they are fighting off the walkers, he notices that the dead don’t come after him. He quickly puts two and two together and gets up close to one to test his guess, and he’s right — he just discovered one of Rick’s tricks. So the group may be sorely lacking in useful weapons, but they are learning that they need something more than sticks and blunt metal objects — and even guns: Daniel has a gun and starts to shoot at the group of walkers coming at them, but with a group that large, a gun isn’t the best choice.
These scenes have the group growing in certain ways: They learn how to better deal with the way things are now, and also it is the first time Alicia has had to deal with any of this up close. She’s never had to dispatch any walkers, but now she has, and hopefully has grown up a little. Every crisis like this is a learning opportunity, and they all definitely are a little wiser after this.
Back at the boat, Strand has been acting squirrely, and it’s obvious he’s hiding something. Maddy confronts him, and they come to a reluctant agreement that he will take them with him to Mexico, where he says he has a house with gardens and a wall, and it’s the only secure place. She and Travis agree to follow his rules in return. But this is tested when the group comes back from shore with Alex and Jake in tow. Strand says they are not coming aboard, and Alex can’t believe they’re debating it. Travis says they can tow their raft behind, and they do for a bit, but then Strand comes down and wordlessly cuts the rope, leaving Maddy to glare in his general direction. So the questions we’re left with are what will happen to Alex and Jake, and will we see either of them again? Where is Strand really headed, and who is he really? Does he actually have a secure place like he says he does? Is he going to deliver them to someone for nefarious purposes? He seems to be sweating a little that he didn’t make the rendezvous like he said he would and that he can’t get in touch with whoever he was supposed to meet.
FBI SCORE: 8 out of 10. “Ouroboros” has some pretty good action with the zombie horde toward the end, and also gives us some interesting character developments — and a compelling new character. It is a little slow at times, and sometimes it seems the group are not in enough of a hurry to get back out to the safety of the boat, but in this world, that probably is pretty realistic. All in all, it’s a good episode, and hopefully they will keep these characters moving on these paths.