We’ve seen numerous ways people have lost their grip on reality in The Walking Dead, but now we get to see it play out in the characters of Fear the Walking Dead’s “Shiva”. From the already crazy Celia to the once solid-minded Daniel, a good half of those on the show seem to tip into insanity this episode.
Things start to unravel immediately as Celia discovers that Strand put his love, Thomas Abigail, down with a bullet to the brain rather than let the man turn so she could stuff him in the wine cellar with other Infected. She goes about slapping and insulting Strand before telling the group that they all have until sundown the next day to leave. The only way to get her to reconsider her banishment is for Nick to go cover himself in guts and bring her undead son, Luis, back to her. (Was he just growling on the boat the whole time? How did no one ever kill him? How did he not just wander off the boat onto land or into the water??) With her child back in her care Celia tells Nick that he and his family can stay, but still not Strand. Her reign doesn’t last long though as, afraid for what the woman’s doing to her son’s mental state, Madison lures her to the wine cellar and locks her in with the Infected…Celia seems fine with it.
Sadly, it’s too late. Nick’s already swimming in the “Infected are people too” madness hole. Between his past addiction, understanding that sort of unstoppable hunger, and having the out he was looking for concerning killing, Nick now clings to the idea that Infected are people. Throughout the episode Nick ratchets up his mother’s worries, proclaiming that he can walk among the Infected, nothing can touch him, and that he knows deep down he will never die by Infected hands. All statements that make me wonder if he truly understands that he’s safe only because he’s covered in Infected guts. (And, if he does, why he won’t just tell his mom that?) Either way Nick again covers himself in guts to go find Travis, who ran after Chris after the kid bolted from Madison and Alicia’s room.
Chris cuts a bloody swath through the town, killing Infected, taking their guns, and eventually holding up in some poor local’s backroom with the guy’s kid. Seriously Chris, this does not help us believe your previous “I don’t wanna hurt anyone” statements. Travis only finds him because, after getting some shoes and having a short chat with the local, he sees movement from under a door and the local confesses Chris is there with a gun to his son’s head. There’s some talk, then a fight between father and son that spills out of the house and onto the road with son nearly stabbing father a few times before the dust settles. Shortly after Nick shows up explaining he’s there to bring them back, but Travis refuses to go. He states his son needs him and that Nick should say he never found them. Probably the best move for all — the ladies are not about to trust Chris, but Travis clearly can’t just leave fast-unravelling him on his own in apocalyptic Baja.
Speaking of fast-unravelling, Daniel Salazar completely loses it this episode. It starts with mutters to Strand about how he shouldn’t bury Thomas on the property because it’s unholy and only goes downhill from there. Daniel, who’d been working hard to sharpen something (I have no idea what) into a weapon, suddenly decides he and Ofelia have to flee, scaring the hell out of her. As Celia’s people try to stop Daniel from taking Ofelia (seemingly against her will) a fight breaks out and Daniel slashes a man’s eye with his makeshift weapon. This gives Celia the perfect excuse to tie him up and tuck him away. From there it’s a dizzying journey into Daniel’s haunted past, which includes hallucinations of his wife and flashbacks to his first kill as a small boy. Impressively he still has the mental wherewithal to escape, complete with a barrel-roll across one of his captor’s backs that breaks the chair he’s tied to. After he grabs the man’s weapons and keys he heads towards the wine cellar, picking up some gasoline along the way. At first it’s pretty much exactly what you want him to do – set fire to all the Infected – but things quickly escalate. Daniel’s too busy imaging his dead wife praising him to run even as the flames spiral out of control and swallow up the entire estate.
Strand – who’d been walked out and had the gates shut on him – appears with Thomas’ truck just in time to pick up Madison, Alicia, and a distraught Ofelia. While he insists they go, Madison insists they wait just a little longer for Travis and Nick. Nick shows up and tells Madison he couldn’t find Travis or Chris. She’s upset, but accepting as she tells him to get in the truck. Nick looks over the burning wreckage and Infected now wandering about before turning to her and asking if it was her/their fault. Madison simply continues to request he get in so they can leave. Nick refuses, stating Celia was right, that they destroy everything, and then heading off in the direction of the Infected, slipping through them without trouble due to his camouflage.
I’m gonna presume the episode title, “Shiva”, refers to the Hindu deity. Shiva is known as the “god of death”, but more appropriately he’s the god responsible for destruction so that rebirth can occur. Given the massive amount of literal and metaphorical destruction and the potential for “rebirth” of the characters that may come from it in this episode it’s an appropriate title.
Strand wins the sass-prize with his: “Don’t worry about me, I can hail a cab” retort after being cast out of the estate. I love Strand, I’m so glad he’s still around and hope he and Madison continue to be badass together.
Dear Travis, how did you not put on shoes before chasing after your son? Even just flip-flops. If you die due to infected foot wounds you will officially have the most ridiculously stupid and preventable death ever in The Walking Dead universe.
I’m just going to presume Celia’s dead. We didn’t see a body/Infected version of her, but she was trapped with the Infected for a while before Daniel showed up. Unless she had some secret way out…but what’s the point of that? The estate’s gone and her story is pretty much over from what I can tell. I’ll give Celia credit though, she was a true-believer until the end. Her crazy wan’t a ploy to get the estate or build a cult so people can follow and do her bidding. Nope, Celia is 100% genuine in her belief that the Infected are simply the newest stage in people’s lives…which is another reason it’s good she’s dead.
Daniel, on the other hand, has a 50/50 shot. It wasn’t looking good for him as he stood all glassy-eyed in the flames, but nothing had bit him yet and maybe he could still snap out of his detached state and make a run for it. There was no body or Infected version shown and it’s possible there’s more to his story, so there’s always hope. If he is dead though it’ll be fascinating to see what happens to Ofelia, who’d now be without any family and the one other person she felt a connection with, Nick.
Overall I think splitting up the group was a wise move on the part of the show. Characters tend to grow a lot when cut off from others and there’s far more ways in which various, interesting, storylines can be played out. …There’s great potential for the second half of the season as we follow these characters, now split up and scattered by the winds of the apocalypse.