The latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead is “Los Muertos” – Spanish for “The Dead” – and it kicks off with just that…the dead. Specifically, a man feeding himself to a pack of them guarding La Colonia while the rest of the community chants and Nick looks on with the man’s daughter. It’s pretty clear, just from that alone, that Nick’s found himself in yet another undead-loving cult. This one may be more dangerous than Cecilia and her fellow house-staff, however, because this one is an entire, functioning, town of filled with the devoted.
While out on a run for supplies Luciana explains to Nick that those at La Colonia believe the undead returning is the world hitting the reset button, wiping itself clean of its troubles, and that when all is said and done only the faithful will remain. They believe under their leader/pharmacist, Alejandro, that all they need is faith in the dead to be saved from death…or something like that. It’s a little fuzzy on the logic, but Luciana says they believe because Alejandro does and he’s been bitten by an Infected, but survived. Nick promptly calls bullshit on the concept, but she insists she’s seen the bite for herself.
Nick and Luciana reach their destination in the form of a grocery store taken over by a local cartel — something I found rather clever, because of course people would take over grocery stores and charge others for the privilege of using them in this sort of world. Despite Luciana’s simple instructions to only get what they medically need (water, bandages, etc) and not look at anyone Nick manages to get them in serious trouble. He examines those around them and gets caught stealing a small cake. He nearly loses his hand, but manages to talk his way out of trouble and into a second shopping cart full of supplies for the community…a real win until Luciana points out that, since he mentioned how much drugs they have at La Colonia, the cartel could potentially find and attack them all. (Foreshadowing??)
Back at La Colonia Nick gives his pilfered cake to the daughter of man from the beginning and has a chat with Alejandro. Not only does Nick glimpse that Infected bite of Alejandro’s, he gets a glimpse into the man’s true nature. Alejandro explains that while he believes in keeping his people’s spirits up – to the point of pretending saline solution is medicine for the sick – he also believes they must accept death as he sees it – so Nick can’t keep giving out cakes to traumatized little girls. Like Cecilia, he is a true believer in what he preaches and, also like Cecilia, he takes a hard line on being followed. Nick follows or Nick is not welcome because, for Alejandro, having a disbeliever in the community is not safe for anyone. …By the end Nick’s chanting along with everyone else as Alejandro preaches.
Meanwhile Madison, Strand, Alicia, and Ofelia drive the streets of Mexico in search of Nick before Alicia finally convinces her mom that he’s a lost cause – at least for the day. Defeated they try to get back to The Abigail only to discover border patrol found and confiscated it, leaving them stranded. As the day draws to a close they leave Nick a message where the boat was and find shelter in a nearby hotel. Shut up tight and without obvious activity even after making a racket to get inside, the hotel seems pretty secure. Sure, there are Infected behind nearly every other hotel room door, but there’s also mini-bars to plunder and a large bar for Madison and Strand to get super drunk at.
Madison and Strand get tipsy on martinis and tequila shots, then reveal aspects of their past in one of the more interesting character scenes. We find out Madison is from Alabama, that she always wanted to be a mother (but maybe regrets that now?), and, yes, her husband’s fatal car accident was intentional (called it!). We also discover that Strand would’ve totally hit on her in another life. …Hard to tell if that’s because he would’ve been trying to scam her, he’s just a flirt, or is bisexual, but whichever it is, it’s a cute exchange. Once good and drunk they start making the terrible decisions of throwing shot glasses at a wall and playing a woefully out of tune piano.
While the adults play, the “children” – Alicia and Ofelia – work their way through the hotel rooms and discuss reasons for ending it all now. Alicia’s still determined to fight while Ofelia doesn’t see much point given they won’t survive anyway…an understandable point of view given both her parents are now dead though. Upon discovering there’s still running hot water Alicia decides to take a shower – because leaving the woman promoting suicide seemed like a wise move? – and comes out to a now empty hotel suite. She searches for Ofelia, looks out from the balcony, and sees the masses of once-trapped Infected flinging themselves off their own balconies in search of the racket and sweet, sweet, tunes being made at the bar.
Pretty soon Alicia’s trapped by the Infected now filling the stairwells in search of Strand The Piano Man, calling for her mother and the still missing Ofelia, while Madison and Strand realize their mistake too late to do anything except jump behind the bar and try to fend off the horde of Infected they’ve accidentally called to them.
It seems pretty hard to fake an Infected bite on the level that Alejandro would’ve had to and little reason to unless he’s a con man (which doesn’t appear to be the case) or completely insane (which also doesn’t seem too likely). That leaves us with, yes, he was bitten and survived. The question is…how? The most probable option is he managed to cut out the infected area in time just as those in The Walking Dead sometimes survive after cutting off bitten limbs. Outside that we’re left with Alejandro being a wild anomaly or having a medicine that disinfects a bite without realizing it.
In searching the hotel Alicia and Ofelia realize someone’s marked the hotel rooms with Infected in them. First of all, smart move! Second…Who is this person? Are they still alive somewhere? Still around the hotel? Will they save our now surrounded Abigail crew?
What’s with Nick and cults? Is it the search for the next high or for a sense of belonging? Is it simply that Cecilia and Alejandro share a sense of connection to the undead, like Nick does? …I’m intrigued, but also hope Nick’s storyline for this show isn’t just hopping from cult to cult.
Ofelia was once engaged, but chose her parents over her love…interesting.
Notice how Madison barely mentioned Travis and didn’t look for him? I did.
Scenes from the next show both Travis and Chris, they seem potentially under threat from others (hard to tell who), so I suspect Chris will kill someone and Travis will be horrified. Those at the hotel will escape somehow, I’m sure, but haven’t the faintest how at the moment. Nick and La Colonia? Hard to say, but he best pray that the cartel doesn’t find them or all hell’s going to break loose!