Due to the fact I had to play catch-up after a personal vacation and the last two episodes of Fear the Walking Dead were so closely connected I’m writing a review for both “Blood in the Streets” and “Captive” together.  Now, onto the story of the pirates of the apocalypse…

The tale starts simply enough as Chris and Ofelia hang out on the deck.  Chris makes the typically awkward teen boy attempts to chat up an attractive older lady by talking about how he totally had a serious girlfriend before the apocalypse, but it didn’t work out because he had to move (and, you know, the apocalypse happened).  Ofelia is very nice about it in stating there are probably still plenty of post-apocalyptic ladies in the sea for him.  Chris is put out of his rejected misery by the sudden arrival of a small raft with two young men and a noticeably pregnant woman.  Before Chris can decide whether or not to shoot they’re aboard and causing a ruckus of panic as Madison, Travis, and Daniel rush to figure out what’s going on.  Madison quickly takes the seemingly distressed pregnant woman deeper into the ship while Daniel and Travis try to figure out who they are and what their story is.

Only Strand seems to sense the danger as he goes first to his assault rifle, which is sadly useless since Daniel removed the clip, and then abandons ship lest he become a victim of the rest of the Abigail’s too-trusting crew.  He’s the brightest of the bunch as things quickly turn when Alicia steps out on the deck and identifies her beloved radio-Romeo, Jack, before his people attack.  The pregnant woman smashes Madison’s head into a mirror before dragging her out to the others to be disarmed and tied up.  Chris immediately regrets his decision not to shoot first and ask later and continues to do so throughout the entirety of the story arch…that one of the pirates, Reed, continues to needle at him, of course, doesn’t help either.

Jack explains that this is what they do under the instruction and guidance of a man named Connor; pick out a ship, take it over, pluck out both people and supplies of value, and then take the ship itself.  Assuming the overly aggressive Reed doesn’t kill and destroy everything, of course…still no word on whether or not they destroyed the boat from before, but it wouldn’t be a great leap to presume it.  So who does Jack’s people want?  Alicia and Travis.  Given Travis’s ability to hotwire boats and other machinery skills would prove valuable taking him makes sense, but Alicia seems picked only because Jack’s interest in her is genuine.  The rest of the crew is left in the hands of Reed and two other’s, Red and Ben.  …Except for Strand who, after being shot at, is clinging to a deflating raft desperate for the radio-phone he dropped in the ocean and Nick who’s M.I.A.

Where is Nick?  He’s on dry land in search of the connection Strand has that will get them into Mexico.  After killing an Infected he again dons his gruesome invisibility blood-paint and wanders an abandoned town in search for the man.  …There’s something about recovering addict Nick’s seeming obsession with the Infected that’s both unnerving and totally understandable as he again goes face-to-face with them as well as starts to impersonate them when they’re around.  It’s a key survival skill as The Walking Dead has proven, but also gets a little dangerous when Nick comes across a living person.  Thankfully the person doesn’t shoot him outright (given he looks either Infected or crazy) and is exactly who Nick was sent to find – Luis Flores.  Things get awkward though as Nick mentions his gratefulness for Luis helping them all and Luis clearly grows confused at the “all” part.  Still, after Luis insists on Nick showering up and changing before getting into his car (priorities and all), the two make their way back to Abigail.  As they close in Luis takes out Red and Ben with a single shot each – very impressive given Nick was driving the small Zodiac-style boat at high speeds and both Red and Ben were prepared to fire.  With that the others take back control of the boat; Maddison running Reed through with a large metal rod Travis managed to leave hidden nearby before he was taken.  Everyone freed Madison goes out into the ocean to collect a now hypothermic Strand who remains pretty much out of commission aside from helping Madison deal with Connor and insisting to a very skeptical Luis they can all get to Mexico.

Meanwhile Reed is taken into a back room for Daniel to care for/question.  Daniel sticks to caring for his wound, only causing a bit of pain now and then when Reed’s verbal attacks grow personal towards himself or Chris.  Otherwise Daniel takes it all in stride while Chris glares in boiling rage.  In the end Daniel gets some important information out of his captive – like that Reed is Connor’s baby brother.  Daniel and Madison decide to set up a trade: they’ll return Reed if they get Alicia and Travis back.  Connor agrees.  It’s a locked and loaded deal…until Chris shoots Reed in the head claiming the guy was turning.  He wasn’t, but he is now as Chris forgot the golden rule of undead apocalypse murder: destroy the brain!  Not all is lost though as Daniel tacks Infected!Reed to the wall on his own metal rod and Maddison develops a plan B.

On Connor’s boat – which is on a dock – Alicia is given the five star treatment of the apocalypse with a home-cooked Omaha steak by Connor and relative freedom to move about the boat under Jack’s hopeful eye.  Travis, meanwhile, gets the prisoner treatment complete with being stuffed in a cage in the bowels of the ship.  The only person he sees is Alex, the young woman Strand cut loose an episode or two prior.  In the short time since they last saw each other she seems to have turned wild – hair all over, aggressive eyes, biting words – as she explains that she ended up having to strangle the badly burnt Jake before throwing him overboard.  Close to her own demise she was found by Connor and, when he asked what she had to offer, she told them about the Abigail.  (At least it wasn’t all Alicia’s fault, I guess.)  She also states she asked for Travis, specifically, to be brought back…which strikes me as odd given it was Strand that cut her loose and, if she was aiming for revenge, she didn’t really exact any directly.  Outside spitting venom Alex doesn’t attack Travis in any way.  Before going, Alex states that Connor thinks he has a use for her, but she isn’t one to be used…I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of her and so hope she continues to appear throughout the season; she’s fascinating every time she shows up and her development thus far has been compelling.

As Alicia manipulates Jack onto her side and into escaping Connor’s group I got the sense maybe, finally, she’s starting to get it.  This is not a world to be open and trusting, at least not all the time.  Whether you care for the person or not, and she does seem to care for Jack to an extent, sometimes you need to use and manipulate them in order to survive and get what you want.  As the pair try to figure out an escape plan Maddison heads towards the ship with Infected!Reed under a hood on the Zodiac to make the prisoner exchange.  Alicia watches Connor return Travis and then Maddison shove Infected!Reed at Connor before he pulls the hood and his baby brothers bites a hunk out of his arm.  Infected!Reed also takes out another of Connor’s people before it’s a melee, which includes a badass head-butt by Travis to one of the men that he should totally do more often in the future.  (Travis seems to pack one hell of a punch when he fights, I hope he catches on that that’s required more frequently than he assumes.)  When forced to pick between Jack – who wants to run off with Alicia regardless – and her family, Alicia picks her family by jumping and sliding down the back of the boat into the water in what’s probably the coolest thing she’s done so far.

Interesting Asides:

Over these two episodes the ladies on the Abigail show their more vicious side.  Madison and Ofelia both work to get under the skin of the pregnant pirate by inferring that her baby is dead inside her and just waiting to turn and eat its way out of her.  Madison and (I think) Ofelia are also the two who jump Reed the moment they get the chance, Maddison herself running him through with a metal rod.  Alicia works to manipulate Jack throughout and when pregnant pirate catches her sneaking around Alicia is able to win the fight and lock the woman in the cell Travis had previously been in.  It probably would’ve been better if Alicia killed the woman, but Alicia always seems a little behind apocalypse-wise from the rest – she was the last to kill an Infected, after all.

So…Is Chris actually going to become a serial killer?  Because that’s seriously the way this kid’s headed.  He’s fond of killing Infected and while he was deeply disturbed at putting down the man from the plane wreck he had no trouble this time.  A seething rage can be see in his eyes every time he’s shown and questions Nick about if he should’ve just shot the pirates when they first approached.  Nick comments that neither he nor Chris (nor, presumably anyone else with a sense of decency) would shoot a pregnant woman, but as of now I’m not sure.  I think, next time, Chris would totally shoot a pregnant woman…and anyone else he came across.

Daniel’s begun hearing voices.  That’s never good.  It is interesting though that the voice isn’t of his late wife – like Rick heard Lori – but some Spanish-speaking guy telling him to get a gun or something to that effect.  At the moment it’s safe to assume it’s a voice from his past in El Salvador, but whether it’s family (his father?), friend (one of those he tortured for?), or foe (a victim of his?) is impossible to tell just now.  I just hope Daniel doesn’t spiral into insanity, because that would be really unpleasant and potentially violent for everyone.

As I already mentioned, I hope Alex returns in future episodes, but I also hope to see Jack and Connor.  Alex and Jack were left fine, at least physically.  Connor was only bit in the arm, so it’s not necessarily a death sentence…if anyone around him is aware that cutting off the limb can prevent the disease from spreading, he could survive this to pirate another day.  It’s an intriguing possibility to be able to watch another group form that’s already set up to be adversaries to those on the Abigail.  (Like if you got to see Rick and Negan’s group develop simultaneously.)

One of the most interesting aspects of these two episodes is the backstory given on Strand in “Blood in the Streets”.  In the days and weeks after Hurricane Katrina it would seem Strand was a con artist, or at least desperate enough to become one.  After sharing copious drinks with another man they return to the man’s hotel where Strand tucks him in and then snatches all his credit cards.  The man seems fully aware and to allow it as Strand plucks the cards from his wallet.  He doesn’t cancel the cards or report the theft, instead he tracks down Strand some time later – with Luis Flores – and introduces himself as Thomas Abigail.  While it’s never stated outright the two obviously develop a relationship complete with kisses, “I love you’s” (at least on Thomas’ part), and living together at that nice little villa in Mexico Strand is now desperate to return to.  …There’s so much about this backstory that I enjoyed, not in the least being that now Strand becomes more human to the audience.  Beyond surviving, Strand wants to return to someone he cares deeply for.  It goes beyond that though; Strand is still himself, he’s still a schemer with a tendency to keep things close to his chest.  His development from Katrina to being on Thomas’s Abigail makes perfect sense.  Also I’m rather pleased to see a major character in a same-sex, multi-racial, relationship given how rare it happens on television…and that it’s simply a matter-of-fact situation is a bonus.

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