RECAP: Fear The Walking Dead “Monster” [Season 2, Episode 1]

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I am hoping that the writers will be able to make us forget that part of the reason the city of L.A. will become overrun is that our “heroes” set free an entire stadium of walkers, and cost living beings their lives — including the truly heroic Liza. Somehow, I doubt they can. It will be harder to do since we open to Chris mourning over his mother’s body as  Strand, Nick, Alicia, Ofelia, and Daniel are on a raft heading for Strand’s  fully stocked yacht: The Abigail.  They plan to return for the others as the city burns behind them – thanks,  most likely,  to the Army’s annihilation plan. No doubt the  tens of thousands of walkers they set free were already  leaving death and destruction in their wake. So is this a “no harm, no foul” situation? L.A. was already doomed?  Strand sends Nick to recover the others as he prepares to defend the yacht against other survivors looking for a place to dock. Chris, Maddie and Travis are in immediate danger as walkers invade the beach  Chris refuses to leave Liza, leaving Maddie and Travis to defend themselves as he protects his mother’s body.

Nick shows up just in time. The brutality of the new world order is made clear when Nick has to feed a walker to the boat’s propeller in order to free the group.  Strand is impressed with Nick.  With Liza in tow, all watched as the city burns against the night sky. No one utters a word.  Is the silence an unspoken apology or are they simply relieved that they are no longer on land?  


By morning the desperate pleas begin. Boaters are begging for help. Maddie wants to help them. Strand feels that he has saved his quota of the living..  Travis and Maddie have traded places. He wants to keep going, ignoring the cries of the boaters, telling Alicia to listen to the radio to find news about safe places to dock.  During the scuffle with Maddie,  Strand makes it clear that he is only stopping to drop passengers OFF the boat, not take new passengers on. At the radio, Alicia is hearing horror stories and learns that even the Coast Guard is unable to help.  Nick chastises an unremorseful Strand, as well.  Strand couldn’t care less. He is a survivor.  Daniel is Daniel, so he just holds a gun out as they pass the survivors by, making sure no one tries to board the yacht.  Maddie and Travis continue arguing over what the right thing to do is in their situation when Alicia, who is left unattended at sea just as she was on land, makes contact with a young male voice on the radio.  The entire time, poor Chris is also left alone, watching over Liza’s body, as if watching her will change what has happened. By the time he kisses her face and wraps her up again, it feels as if he has finally accepted the fact that nothing will change. She is gone. He goes to join Daniel, who is fishing. They exchange condolences with one another, Chris realizing that neither of them got to say goodbye to their loved ones.


Below deck, Nick offers to help Ofelia with her wound. If this is headed where this seems to be heading, Daniel is going to miss Andy, the soldier he tortured, who was genuinely in love with his daughter. Alicia’s voice over the radio is also traveling on a boat. He is reluctant to give up his safe location when Alicia asks.  Travis catches Daniel on the deck later, hoping to get information about how Chris is doing. Daniel thinks that Chris will one day understand that his father did what he had to do and wishes he could have traded places with him. He feels that he failed his wife instead of being able to give her mercy. Inside, Maddie finds the boat on autopilot although she was following Strand’s voice.  She finds him on an upper deck, talking to himself.   She thinks she heard music out on the water. He assures her that she hasn’t, the water carries strange sounds. He refers to his behavior as a characteristic of the gifted, he’s trying to keep himself awake. She reminds him that the crazy do the same thing.  She tells him that he can sleep, they won’t throw him over. I don’t think he believes her. Wise man. As Alicia continues her conversation with the young man on the radio, she is beginning to sound like a teenager again.  She is laughing and seems happy.  They must have been talking all day.  It is striking that she is giving up far more information about the group than the man on the radio has given up.  After hearing about the “big boat” with a desalinization system, he asks her if they could make their way to Hawaii.


On deck, Maddie and Daniel are discussing Strand. She trusts him. Daniel does not and reports that he is keeping an eye on him. She thinks that is wise and seems less trusting.  He wonders why Strand was already prepared and why he didn’t make plans to stay at his house with the tall gates (uh, the one that was overrun?). The voice on the radio claims that he is alone with his brother and brother’s wife. He could be telling the truth, but if he isn’t, Alicia is buying his story hook, line, and sinker. At least she makes it in time for Liza’s burial at sea. Chris seems unmoved by his father’s eulogy and dumps his mother’s body before anything else can be said. Travis tries to force his son to deal with his anger at him but Chris wants no part of his father. The poor kid is angry about being left alone with “strangers”, though Travis tries to convince him that these people are not strangers and were not strangers to his mother. He believes that given a chance, he could have fixed everything  and even punches his father in the face for shooting his mother.

The voice on the radio, Jack, is claiming that their boat is sinking and they are trying to make land.  He gets Alicia to tell them where they are in relationship to his boat, which he now claims is near Catalina. She doesn’t stop to ask why he is no longer in Hawaii or near it as he seemed to indicate earlier. Strand is furious when he hears Alicia’s story and plea to go help them. He even confronts Travis when Travis stands up to him for yelling at her.  Strand reminds everyone that the boat is HIS, and his alone they would all now be burned to death if it weren’t for him. Back at the wheelhouse, Nick calms him down and offers to help. Strand tells Nick that he is fearless given how many times he faced death while using. Nick says that it was just about being an addict. When Strand tells “Nicholas” to think about what that fearlessness means in this new world, Nick tells him not to use that name, it is the name is father gave him and called him. It is clear that he is still hurting over his father’s death.

Maddie tries to console Chris by telling her how she was furious when she  hit her father, for the first time, at age 13 – but that it didn’t end well.  It appears that the writers will try to soften Maddie’s  incredibly hard edges with a backstory about a tough childhood. She wants him to come back to them, telling him that it had to happen and she would have shot his mother if his father couldn’t because she would never let that  (turning) happen to someone she loved. Chris joins the group for dinner, briefly.  On the table?  The eel Daniel caught earlier that day. You would never know that they were in the midst of the apocalypse, given the jovial dinner scene.  It is interrupted when they realize that Chris is gone and that he has jumped overboard. Nick dives in to help him.  They decide to swim, the water is fine. Alone, again, Alicia tells Jack that they can’t come to get him, it is too dangerous. He tells her not to worry, he will see her soon.  D’OH!  Why is this child allowed so much free time, even in the apocalypse????  Just then Strand catches something on his radar. The man may never sleep again. Neither will I!  


Just as the others are thinking the water is safe, a floating walker ends up in Nick’s face! There is an entire herd of ocean walkers, bodies from a burned boat, nearby, Chris makes it back. Nick takes refuge under a capsized boat, nearly devoured by a walker until he breaks free and is rescued by Travis. Strand runs out to tells them to hurry. They have to leave. There is a boat chasing them and it could be the one that killed the passengers-turned-walkers floating by. Alicia’s boyfriend?


I guess we will be lucky enough to find out, next week.

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