Well, this was the episode that was all set up to finally make Alicia a relevant character and not the whiny, pouty little girl we have all come to know and love. People locked in a pantry/bunker, air running out, zombie hoard outside…everything was set for her to be the leader and make the tough decisions and guess what? To my utter astonishment, the show pulled it off.
When we left off last week all was not good at what used to be the safe confines of the ranch. The zombie hoard had arrived and plowed through their defenses, chasing Alicia and the survivors into the bunker where they thought they’d be safe for a while at least with weapons and food. However, air becomes an issue and Alicia has to make a few tough decisions for the survival of this little group and it was something to see.
It was one thing to put Alicia in that position but quite another to have her pull it off, and pull it off she did. Alycia Debnam-Carey gives probably her best performance as Alicia, making viewers feel her pain of being forced into the position of making life and death decisions. Not everyone can do it and not everyone can do it and mentally live with it and in this case, Alicia was at least partially successful. As the end of the episode showed us, we all have our breaking points and I think Alicia has finally reached hers.
It was interesting to watch Nick and Troy try to work together to save everyone, with Troy now on the fast track to completely losing his mind and not caring if he lives or dies. Nick had never been the most emotional sort so it is interesting to watch him observe Troy as he slowly slips into a place mentally where he will never truly come back. It’s too bad, they make quite a bizarre but effective team but if Troy survives the next few episodes the truth about the death of Jake will eventually come out and that will be a good time to be as far away from Troy as possible.
With the death of Jake there was some great tension already in the air with Troy and Nick and add to that what was going on in the bunker it made for a wonderful episode that was chock full of dread. Watching what humans are capable of when their backs are against the wall, both good and bad, is what makes shows like Fear the Walking Dead fun to watch. The zombie hoard is just a nice added bonus.
Madison and company did make an appearance at the end, not surprisingly, but what was surprising is how it sucked the fun and tension right out of the episode. I like Madison, but her cold-hearted, almost robotic way of dealing with things did not fit well in this week’s episode. It made Alicia’s decision pretty damn sweet, although I’m not sure things are really going to stay the way things were left.
Still, it was a great hour of TV and showed me that yes, Fear the Walking Dead can cut through the usual drama and make a wonderful episode full of dread, fear, and tension. Here’s hoping this trend continues for the remaining episodes this season.
Four and a half stars out of five
- Alicia finally becomes a strong and relevant character
- Great tension and feeling of dread from start to finish
- Soundtrack was subtle but eerie
- Madison and her emotionless, robotic way of doing things kind of killed the mood