TV REVIEW: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 5 – Captive
By Megan Wilde
“Captive” is an odd episode; in some ways, it’s frustrating, and in others it’s satisfying. Some things don’t make sense, but it’s good to see Alicia and Daniel being fairly competent. If only that extended to Chris! Alas, that most definitely is not the case.
Early on, Jack is talking to Alicia; she is playing him, since she can sense that he is attracted to her. I was pleased to see that it’s more obvious in this episode than in the last that she is, in fact, playing him and not getting played BY him. She pushes to find her family, and he tries to tell her that that’s not how Connor does things, that he has “procedures” and holds to them. And here’s the first thing that doesn’t make sense to me: According to the timeline, it’s been only 20 days since all this went down, and that seems awfully quick for this group of pirates to have formed and set up “procedures.” I thought people were still generally feeling out the new way of the world and what exactly is happening and the scope of it all, but this makes it seem like they’ve been out there for years. It’s a little early for someone to have a system, a la Rick Grimes.
The group on the Abigail has Reed tied up, with a nasty pole sticking out his middle, and Daniel learns that Connor is his brother and that Connor is “the nice one.” It’s pretty obvious he must be telling the truth on that one, since he is a gigantic douche. Daniel plays this well, not letting himself be triggered and digging in a little where he needs to in order to get information. Obviously, this is a callback to his history as an agent of torture in El Salvador; he knows how to get information out of people. As Daniel tells Chris, though, Reed is just scared and so is talking big. Once Daniel learns that they have the pirate leader’s brother, they come up with a plan to trade him for their people, Alicia and Travis. So they turn the boat around, pissing off Luis, who wants to get to Mexico, but Strand takes Maddie’s side, since she went back for him when she could have left him. He buys her only half a day, though.
So Daniel is established as being pretty competent with the prisoner – but then he leaves Chris as guard, which contradicts his seeming shrewdness. Chris wants to do something to help and keep busy in order to keep his mind off his dad’s abduction, which I get, but … this is Chris, who has not been shown to be the smartest decision-maker, and has been shown to be totally impulsive. So Chris is feeling bad because he should have shot them when they came on board, since if he had, he would have saved them from their current predicament. This alone should have been enough of a red flag to Daniel that no way would he want to leave Chris alone with Reed, but apparently Daniel has a momentary lapse or something, and instead of Chris letting Reed’s words and manipulation roll over him, he’s triggered enough to shoot the guy in the chin, putting their best hope for a reunion in jeopardy. OH, CHRIS.
Maddie is desperately trying to let the kids be kids, and not let them grow up and face the new reality. I sort of understand, because they are still new in this world and she doesn’t know that things won’t return to normal, but on the other hand, if she wants them to survive, she has to let them grow up. Nick is actually really capable – he knew exactly what to do when he was going to meet Luis, and he took care of himself with no problem. He practically begs her to let him help and tells her he can handle himself, and she shuts him down at every turn. I just don’t really get why she would be SO completely in denial in this situation; I’d think she’d want him to be able to handle himself and survive. She says he has that look again — of the addict searching for a fix, I’m assuming — but where is he going to find what he wants, these days? I would interpret any “hungry” look as him just wanting to be able to DO something, to know that he can manage in this world and he just wants the chance to step up. But Maddie seems to be in denial about the state of things.
Travis also seems to be a bit in denial. He is being held in a cage enclosure in the boat they are on that’s in dry dock, and Alex — surprise! — comes to him and is SUPER mad at him. She blames him (not Strand? That part didn’t really ring true) for not saving her and Jake. She has a lot of anger toward him, and it seems like she might be about to torture him, but then nothing really comes of it. Travis says that he had to do to Chris’ mother what she had to do to Jake, and he wonders if they (humanity) can ever come back from this, and they look sad together. Again, it seems a little early in the timeline for such heaviness, even if they DID have to kill people they love to keep them from turning. And her anger seems so misplaced, since Strand was the one who cut the rope, and Travis fought for the compromise of towing them instead of letting them loose from the get-go. This whole interaction just felt a little off.
What didn’t feel off was Alicia’s reaction when her mom showed up to get her and Travis, and Jack asks her to stay with him – he wants it to be just the two of them. He asks her, “You’re not going to go with them, are you?” And she just turns to look at him, like, “Um, YES. Duh.” But she thinks better of actually saying it like that, and makes it seem like she’s sorry but she has to. And earlier, when she is cornered by the pregnant woman, she fights her and locks HER in the cage where Travis had been held, and I was glad to see that Alicia didn’t display any hesitation because of the woman’s condition. After all, she had played the trick on them before and didn’t seem to be protective of herself, really, so it was good to see Alicia not being stupid. But what was all the talk about Alicia “having something” and “being special” earlier? Unless they think she sounded young and hot, I don’t really get what they were talking about; she doesn’t seem particularly special to me. Lonely, yes, and naïve, but I wouldn’t say particularly magnetic.
Anyway, Daniel ends up saving the day, because he decides they can still use Reed to get their people back, even though by this point he has turned. Daniel seems to know it might not work, but they do their best to make Reed look like a person with a bag over his head and not a walker, and it does the trick: Connor makes the exchange of Travis (Alicia is hiding and trying to get away, not realizing her mom is there to get her) for Reed, and when he pulls the sack off Reed’s head, he is bitten. Maddie and Travis make a run for the launch to get them back to the boat, and Alicia sees them and jumps into the water to join them.
So is that it for Connor and his merry band of pirates? My Superior Speculation is that Alex will step up as their leader, and I would say she would come after Strand, but she may have laid that grudge to rest after her talk with Travis and his apology. And I would think she’d have a more level head and would be less inclined to stick her nose in others’ business, but then again, she has been shown to be ruthless when necessary, killing the other people on the raft when she and Jake were threatened by them. Whatever they end up doing, I don’t think it will happen in the next episode, so that probably will be developed next season.
FBI SCORE: 8 out of 10. “Captive” is well-paced and moves things along pretty well. And in some ways, it’s a satisfying and entertaining episode with a few surprises, but there are too many things that don’t make sense to be able to give it a very high score.