Fear-TWD

Do you like Nick at Nite?  How about Nick during the day, walking with a zombie horde, getting chased by dogs, irate survivors and men with guns? If that’s your thing, then the opening of this second half of Fear the Walking Dead’s second season was made for you. It was all Nick, all the time, as we pick up on his strange walkabout after the fire at the hacienda separated the family.

Nick’s journey has no real purpose. He wants to find a place where the dead aren’t treated like monsters. Yet he knows that he has to rub himself with their decaying guts to avoid being devoured, as he observes the fate that befalls two dogs and two banditos.

Is there logic to his madness?  We learn during this episode that he always wished his bookish father would show him how to be a real man. Maybe that’s what he’s really looking for in his desert wandering.

This week’s recap:

*** We open with Nick bidding farewell to the servants who survived the devastating fire at Celia’s ranch. They are leaving to find their families, but Nick, having abandoned his in order to fulfill a nebulous spiritual quest, is told to head North. Some people in Tijuana feel the same way about the dead as Celia did, he’s told. So North he heads, a long, hot slog through the desert. Along the way, Nick loses his meager supplies of food and water, making his journey tougher.

***  Nick comes across a set of abandoned cars, then flashes back to a moment when he was in rehab. There, a blond girlfriend rehearses with him in anticipation of a parental visit. Nick talks of an emotionally absent father, lamenting that dear ol’ Dad dropped out of the world at some point, no doubt over being worked to death to support his lazy sod of a son. That makes the reunion with his mother even more painful, as she reveals Dad has died in a car accident while Nick was in rehab. Now, there will be no reconciliation.

*** Back at the abandoned cars, Nick finds a radio and turns it on, only to hear static. The world has collapsed, and now there’s not even a good Top 40 station to be found. Suddenly, though, Nick has larger concerns. A truck load of banditos arrives and starts picking off the walkers in the area, clearly for sport. Nick’s radio suddenly gives off a burst of static, and the men open fire on him. But Nick is too quick, and manages to spring away into the bush. It’s a good tactic to get away from the shooters, but he soon finds himself stumbling through the desert, forced to drink his own urine to survive. But he finds some abandoned cars (why they’re in the desert is not revealed) and collapses against them.

*** When he wakes in the morning, two snarling and starving dogs confront him. He scrambles to get atop the cars, but not before the dogs bite into his leg. Compounding his problem, a horde of walkers is shuffling toward him. The dogs attack the walkers, but are quickly swarmed and devoured. They then turn to Nick. However, gunfire and car horns in the distance distract them, causing them to shuffle away. A desperate Nick climbs down, and goes over to the dog corpses for a quick snack. Drinking urine, eating dead raw dog meat. He’s really living it up!

*** Nick steals a belt from a nearby walker and uses it as a tourniquet. He decides to join the walker pack as it shuffles away, and begins hallucinating that they’re talking to him, telling him that they’ll take him home. Eventually, the horde gets back to the highway, but they again encounter the banditos in the Jeep. Shots are fired and several walkers are hit, but Nick keeps moving forward. He seems to be recognized by one of the banditos, but the man fumbles his gun, leaving just enough time for the walkers to reach him. A nearby friend suffers a similar fate.

*** All of this is too much for Nick, whose extreme thirst and lack of food finally causes him to collapse. But luck is with him – he’s spied by some nearby commandos who are out looking for someone. Because Nick had the ability to walk with the dead, they decide that he’s worth saving. So they bring him in to their village, where he receives medical attention and some water.

*** There is one final flashback, one that harkens back to the beginning of the series. Nick awakens next to his blonde girlfriend in the abandoned church in Los Angeles that now serves as a shooting gallery for junkies. In the flashback, he’s reading a book his dad gave him. The book’s point: “When you hold onto something for too long, you corrupt it.”

*** Our final moments with Nick finds him discovering a wonderful, idyllic encampment that seemingly is safe from the walking dead plague. Located on a plateau high above Tijuana, the encampment features laughing children, street vendors (although what’s the point of commerce when money is worthless?) and a sense of shelter. Nick seems pleased, but is this the place where his idealistic notions find succor?  Or is it just a way station on the way to further adventures?

Next week: There will be more to Nick’s story, apparently. And we may learn what happened to the other family members forced out of Celia’s ranch.