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by Thom Yee

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Fear the Walking Dead images courtesy of AMC

2×05: “Captive”

Well… I guess that’s one way from getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.

For a while through watching “Captive”, I kept saying to myself, “This isn’t so bad, it’s okay, it’s okay.” “Oh, this is the part where Alicia stabs Jack, it’s making sense, it’s making sense.”  “Oh, cool, Alex is back? Maybe they did have a plan for her. They’re doing stuff, they’re telling a story.” And then the show ended and the whole thing kind of didn’t go anywhere. Kind of really didn’t go anywhere.

So by the end of last week’s “Blood in the Streets”, the fear team was split up as the new big bad, Connor, took Alicia and Travis away and left Reed, who we’ve now learned is (was) his younger brother, in charge of the rest of the family back on the Abigail. It feels like if this were the parent show, the split would have lasted for at least a few more episodes, but here on Fear, well, pretty much the most straightforward thing happened instead. Madison and co., with newcomer Luis’ help, overcame their captors and brokered a deal with Connor to exchange Reed for their family, Alicia continued scheming for her and Travis’ escape with the sympathetic Jack, and Travis realized he may have made a very big mistake when Alex (the Asian girl they stranded in the middle of the ocean a couple episodes back) came back, now part of Connor’s crew, seeking dark vengeance. And they make the trade, and Alicia gets away from Jack by sliding down a thing, and Travis gains Alex’s sympathy when she realizes the toll this world has taken on him, and that’s kind of it.

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Jack:  “Please stop hitting me with your papers, I can’t take it!”

Everything above works in the direct sense of going from one point to the next and then the next after that, but “Captive” doesn’t really tell us a whole story in the sense of fiction writing, and the whole show’s starting to feel like it’s not trying to say anything (or like it’s trying to not say anything). I mean, classical storytelling tells us that if we see Alicia stealing a knife out of Jack’s back pocket, that knife is going to come back for some reason later, but here it never comes up again. Especially after last episode’s seeming indication that Alicia was at least trying to manipulate Jack to save her family, I really thought this episode would see her toughen up and maybe learn a valuable lesson when she has to stab Jack or [a b*tch like] that pregnant girl, but once again she has no tough choices to make and no major growth to experience. The only thing she really learned was that she’s hot enough to get some random guy to like her pretty quickly, and y’know what? She probably already knew that (or would have learned that soon enough even without the zombie apocalypse).

It’s the same when Travis is first confronted by the vengeful Alex, bitter from her experiences with the fear team, but all we learn from their interactions is that Travis has been through some tough sh*t (shooting his ex-wife before she turns [which actually seems like it’d be a fantasy for some ex-husbands; did I already make that joke?]) and isn’t taking it very well, but we already knew that. That was the point of the last season’s finale episode (and arguably the point of the whole season [and this entire Walking Dead concept]).

Of course, the family exchange turned out to be a double cross when Madison fed the zombified Reed on Connor, Connor got bit, and seemingly their entire pirate network was destroyed by this small family of survivors, and the big question is, “Did Chris shoot Reed before or after he’d turned?” And I can’t imagine anyone cares all that much.

I think when (or if) I look back at “Captive” in the grand Walking Dead scheme of things, about the only thing I’ll probably remember about it is the lovesick look on Jack’s face as Alicia slid away from him and out of his life, mostly because it reminded me of the look on Ross’s face when he’d worked up the courage to take Rachel to her prom when her date was a no show only for that date to show up mere moments before Ross was ready to go. That was a really touching episode that told you a lot about their relationship. Wasn’t Friends a great show?

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Fear the Walking Dead:  The One where Thom sites an Episode of an Entirely Different Show.

Fear the Walking Dead — “Captive” final score

2.5


Items of Note

  • That steak did actually look pretty good, even without a grill.
  • Luis’s beard game is way off point. So patchy and uneven.
  • So, did Alex get, like, a perm or something?

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