‘Fear the Walking Dead’ S2: E11 ‘Pablo and Jessica’ Review

Photo Credit: AMC
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After being reunited in the final moments of last week’s episode, Madison (Kim Dickens) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) try to unite the others in the hotel. Meanwhile, in his new community, Nick (Frank Dillane) uses skills from his past to help him succeed.

 

**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S2E11 of Fear the Walking Dead. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.

 

The Good

How Madison and Strand survived. Considering how confused I was at their surviving being surrounded by zombies last week, I’m glad the show had the chance to backtrack and allow us to see that Madison finds the strength to keep fighting because of her kids. She’s motivated to find Alicia because she heard her daughter calling for her. She’s inspired to find a way to get through the zombies by remembering how Nick walked among them. It’s she and Strand that barricade the bar after covering themselves in blood and walking right out. It’s a nice way to catch up that takes less than ten minutes.

Blood is camouflage. Even though The Walking Dead introduced the idea of zombie blood as a method of hiding a living person’s scent way back in the first season of the show, the mothership series hasn’t used the idea nearly as effectively as the new series has. Nearly every character we’ve been introduced to has already been willing to paint themselves in blood

Nick has an interesting skill set. Who knew that a junkie who learned how to stretch pills by mixing them with powdered milk would need all the things he learned about being an addict in the zombie apocalypse? It’s kind of refreshing to see skills we wouldn’t normally find useful in a show like this getting the spotlight. Usually, shows that spotlight what happens after society falls need farmers, doctors, teachers, hunters, etc. Seeing someone like Nick being able to take things that have a bad history and use them to help this group of people is genius.

Alicia gets a deserved apology from Madison. Alicia has held a lot of resentment towards her mother because she was left to raise herself while Madison was preoccupied with the death of her husband and Nick’s addiction issues. Despite calling Madison out on it in the past, she’s stuck with her mother and she’s been building herself into a survivor. Madison, after seeing Alicia in action and after realizing that Alicia could have left her behind, finally apologizes for the mistakes she’s made, and it’s a sweet moment, even if it takes a zombie apocalypse to make her realize she practically let Alicia fall through the cracks to focus on her son.

AMC

Herding the zombies down the boardwalk. Alicia comes up with a plan that echoes something The Walking Dead fans will have seen in season six of the mothership series - she plans to clear the hotel of zombies by herding them all down the boardwalk and into the rip currents of the ocean. It’s an intense sequence where you just can feel that something horrible is about to happen, but you don’t know to whom. The camera work, the music, the tension of the sequence all comes together perfectly to create a great act for the episode. In fact, I’d even say this was better done than what the mothership series did because it was so much faster paced than watching cars crawling down the street with a herd of zombies behind them. There’s more tension as a result of this group banging pots and pans and spoons as they run down hallways, making it feel like the stakes are even higher.

Strand gets to show some emotion. For the most part, what we’ve seen of Strand since losing his boyfriend is that he’s been very calm, almost too calm, and maybe a little angry. Anger has always seemed to be easy for Strand though since he and Madison rarely see eye to eye on anything. It was good to see in the final moments of the episode that he’s still grieving his loss, and he’s willing to help someone else with theirs as well.

 

The Bad

No Ofelia. We’ve been alternating points of view around the other three groups of cast members in the last few episodes, but since Ofelia left, we haven’t even been given an inkling of where she went. What is she up to? At this point, it’s less suspense building and more annoying.

No one died. Look, the show hasn’t killed anyone important in a while, and on a series like this, that starts to require a larger suspension of disbelief. I’m surprised the boardwalk-herd incident didn’t see us lose someone. It makes me think a bloodbath is coming by the end of the season.

AMC

 

The Questions

Is Alejandro really immune? He tells Nick the story of how he got his bite: a junkie high on something was mistaken for a zombie and put with the others, but Alejandro went in to save him. In the struggle, Alejandro and the boy were both hit by members of the living, and he says he was bit by the dead. I’m wondering if he was bit by the boy who was high and didn’t entirely know what was happening. There have been real world cases of teenagers on bath salts exhibiting zombie-like behavior after all. It would certainly be a shock if he discovers he’s not immune to the bite down the line.

Did Ofelia take the truck? As Madison and Strand try to leave the hotel, they find their truck is missing. If Ofelia took the truck, where would she be going with it?

Are Nick and Luciana now an item? There were hints last season that something might happen between Nick and Ofelia, but with Ofelia currently M.I.A. and Nick not with the rest of the family, that seems to be out the window. I don’t know if I buy Luciana’s interest in him just yet though.

 

Grading the episode: Fast paced with plenty of world building and one intense sequence on the boardwalk means this episode might just be my favorite of the season. B+