‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Recap; “Eye of the Beholder” and “The New Frontier”

Well, our zombie hiatus I officially over.  It feels like recently, we were all bummed out after Rick and company were saved from Negan’s clutches by a giant tiger and we would have to wait until October to see more of the awesome zombie action we love from the world of The Walking Dead.  Lest we forget, Robert Kirkman has a companion show, Fear The Walking Dead, that is equally just as insane and awesome.

This week marked the return of the zombie spin-off.  Last we remembered, almost everyone was split up.  Nick had spent most of his time at the Mexican colony La Colonia away from the rest of his family.  Travis and everyone else spent most of the season at the Mexican Hotel, but after his son’s death, Travis took a dark turn that ended with the murder of the people responsible for his death, therefore getting them all banished.  Strand opted to remain behind at the hotel.  Realizing that Mexico was a bust, all parties (except Strand) decided to head back north of the border and head back into the United States.  They thought they saw an army base that could be a good refugee camp to head to.  However, as soon as the border was crossed, US soldiers started opening fire on them.

The episode begins with Travis, Alicia, and Madison being taken forcefully into custody at the military base.  These soldiers right off the bat mean trouble for our heroes.  It wouldn’t be The Walking Dead without showing the ugly side of humanity.  While The Walking Dead has had the awful police folks who kidnapped Beth a while ago, having US servicemen being the mustache-twirling villains in the beginning of the season further shows how society has collapsed as those who we revere so much in our current political climate can be dirtbags when it all hits the fan just like anyone else.  The soldiers are nice to Madison and Alicia (because they are Americans), other people are not so lucky.  Most of the Mexicans are subject to torture and murder (for “scientific” purposes”).  Travis gets the 10th degree about his citizenship status as he’s of New Zealand heritage.  While Travis I waiting in a holding room, he sees Nick and Luciana, who was shot by the soldiers in the season 2 finale.  It looks like the gang’s all here, they just wish it was under better circumstances.

Madison and Alicia are getting the royal treatment by Troy.  Troy come across as charming, but it’s quite clear that there a sadistic side to him, and it won’t be long before we get to see him.  Despite throwing a charm offensive on Alicia and Madison, they are naturally untrustworthy in this new world.  Alicia fresh off her murder from last season still holds onto the knife she previously used.  If worst comes to worst, they will defend themselves against Troy.

Just as Madison and Alicia aren’t going to take this lying down, neither is Travis.  With the help of another captive, they manage to subdue the soldiers who were joyfully executing them to gauge how quick one turns into a zombie.  After overpowering them and trying to make their escape, Travis stays behind so that Nick and Luciana can escape.  Once again in the soldiers’ custody, they decide not to execute Travis but instead, they have another idea.  Throwing him in a pit of zombies, Travis now has to fight for his life against the hordes for their amusement.  Travis has come a long way as he now has no problem dismembering them.  The death of his ex-wife and son have hardened him.

After taking smack to Travis, Troy goes to check in on Alicia and Madison, where Madison gets the drop on him.  Both she and her daughter brawl all over the room with Troy until Madison grabs a spoon and jams it in hi eye.  The makeup was particularly good as it really looked like she was about to pop his eye out in real time.  There’s nothing like the possibility of losing your eye to humble your real quickly.  Madison and Alicia take Troy hostage and go searching for Travis and Nick.  As she is surrounded by soldiers, one comes up to be the voice of reason.  Troy has a brother, Jake, who is the good cop to his bad cop and helps de-escalate the situation.  Turns out, most of the soldiers don’t know about Troy’s little science experiments.  All gets resolved just in time for a large herd of zombie to storm the base.  Alicia and Travis get into a helicopter with Jake and another soldier while Madison and Nick get in a Humvee with Troy as the herd split them apart from each other.  The plan is for them to go to a compound run by Troy and Jake’s father Jeremiah out in the middle of nowhere.

But the “best-laid plans…”

As Travis and Alicia are on the helicopter, gunshots rain out and strike the helicopter.  Before they even have a chance at evading the fire Travis is struck in the neck.  He knows he a goner and opens the door so that he can jump out and die before he turns into a zombie.  Alicia tries to stop him, but then he shows her that the bullets didn’t just damage his neck as he had a giant gash in his stomach as well.  He and Alicia share a tender moment before he jumps out the helicopter.  Now, this is a big deal.  For us the audience, Travis was pretty much out “Rick,” the lead of the show who the audience identified with and followed.  In a way, Fear the Walking Dead went where The Walking Dead wouldn’t and killed their lead character.  This now makes Madison the defector lead of the show.  Much like The Walking Dead is really Carl’s story, Fear The Walking Dead is going to be Madison’s (or even Alicia’s) story.  

The plane crashes and the only survivors are Alicia, Jake, and his friend (let’s just call her zombie food).   It’s clear that Alicia and Jake will grow close as these two groups merge together this season.  Alicia however, it a little more battle hardened than Jake and his ilk is.  Jake is forced to confront zombies that murdered his friend and he’s clearly a novice.  Alicia steps up and gives them all headshots.  I have a feeling that the two of them will feed off each other.  She will be his strength and he will be her means to feel again, after all, she has been eerily calm after murdering someone last season.

Madison and Nick meet up at the settlement.  Turns out Jake and Troy’s father has been preparing for the end of the world for quite some time.  His community is solar powered, they grow their own food and have their own livestock, and keep an inventory of their guns within their militia.  Nick wants nothing to do with it because of Troy’s sadistic tendencies.  Madison tells her son that he has to play the game strategically.  They need to survive and if that means making a devil’s bargain, then so be it.  Jeremiah is pragmatic.  He knows that Madison and Nick might be trouble, but he gives them a chance as well.  They all wait for Alicia, and Jake to return (they don’t know about the crash yet).

Strand is still at the hotel.  More and more refugees are trying to tear down the gates.  Strand opts to let them in.  Telling a lie that he is a doctor, he helps alleviate the hopeless people.  He even does halfway decent triage work helping them with their wounds.  Of course, someone needs a baby delivered and he knows he can’t keep the lie up forever.  But he still does.  After successfully delivering the baby, he is asked to leave by Elena and the other hotel workers so that his lie doesn’t get exposed.  They do ask him to help one more person though, the mother of the woman who was to be married the day the zombie outbreak happened.  As he and the woman make peace with each other in this world, he tries to cheer up her spirits.  It doesn’t go so well as the woman decided she’s had it with living and comfortably walks out of the balcony of her hotel room to her death.  With that, Strand leaves the hotel in her car.  He’s most surely going to link up with his newfound family at Jeremiah’s compound,

Alicia and Jake make it to the compound with Luciana.  However, it’s camp policy to put someone down if they are about to turn, and Luciana spends the whole premiere knocking on death’s door.  Ever wanting to kill, Troy opts to put her down.  Nick says he will do it himself, before turning the gun on Troy.  Jeremiah opts to help Luciana to defuse the situation.  It looks like they will be staying at the camp grounds for quite some time.  It will take Madison some time to get over Travis’ death either way, and he’ll need to recuperate.