Love makes even dystopian worlds go ‘round, according to this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead.

In just 40 minutes, we saw a man’s love for his spouse (actually, two men’s loves); a mother’s love of her child; A sister’s love for her brother; a man’s love for a woman; and yes, even a junkie’s love of scams. It was just one big love fest, and if there wasn’t a lot of biting, there was a fair amount of drama, as we saw our crew running away from trouble the entire episode.

This week’s recap:

*** We open on a flashback to last week, wherein drunk Maddie and Victor Strand are marooned behind the hotel bar, a horde of clutching walkers inches away. They try dispatching a few with the tried-and-true sharp object to the head method (every bartender’s fantasy), but soon realize that there are too many. Maddie finds an escape hatch behind the bar, where she discovers a crawling walker. She eliminates it and then she and Victor smear its guts on them, disguising their uninfected smell. This allows them to walk out of the room untouched by the horde.

*** Once outside – and with the ballroom doors locked – they discover the truck that brought them to the hotel is missing. Someone (Ofelia?) drove off in it, and Victor suspects Alicia and Ofelia made an escape. But Maddie insists her daughter would not abandon her, and so they begin searching the hotel. Suddenly, a clamoring noise attracts their attention, and when they open a locked door, it’s Alicia, along with Elena and Hector, the hotel staffers. Reunited, and it feels so good!

*** We cut to Nick, back at the colony and feeling guilty for his problems with the gangsters who control the food chain. He approaches Alejandro and tells him he wants to make up for his prior gaffe. He will make new Oxycodone pills, cutting them with powdered milk and extending their limited supply. It will buy the colony time to devise a better way of procuring food, and Alejandro admires Nick’s pharmaceutical skills in cutting the pills. But Nick still has questions – he isn’t sure about the rumor that Alejandro survived a walker bite, as he doesn’t believe in miracles. Alejandro smiles knowingly. Nothing delights a true believer as much as a skeptic, and he’s found someone he can lead on the road to Damascus, er, Tijuana.

*** Nick and Luciana are playing soccer with some of the colony kids when news arrives – they’ve found Pablo!  Hooray!  Wait, who’s Pablo?  It’s later revealed that he’s the brother of Luciana, not her boyfriend, as Nick mistakenly believed. After she reveals their relationship, Nick comforts her, and she reluctantly relaxes onto his shoulder. Later, we find out Nick successfully traded the altered drugs off-camera, remarking to Alejandro that his obsequious behavior sickened him. But Alejandro notes that it’s all part of the game, and rewards Nick with his own hacienda, which Nick reluctantly accepts. Alejandro also tells Nick that yes, he was bitten, but recovered. No one draws the obvious conclusion that he may have some immunity that can make him the salvation of mankind.

*** Back at the hotel, Maddie has seized control, and tells Victor that they have to convince the other guests to cooperate in clearing the walkers and locking down the hotel. When they speak to the others, they warn them that there are bad people in the world, and they all need to row in the same direction. The mother of the bride isn’t receptive, but one of her sons understands. The beginning of a bridge is being built. Only the mother is adamant that Elena, who locked her family in the ballroom as everyone began to turn, has to leave the hotel. Maddie defends Elena, but it’s clear that she’s not exactly passionate about that. Finally, Oscar, the groom from the ill-fated wedding, says they can at least have the hotel keys back.

*** Maddie devises a plan. They have to clear the hotel of the dead, even though they’re all locked in rooms. The recent barroom incident proves that they’re not really secured, since they can jump off the balconies with no ill effects. They realize that cleaning out three 17-floor towers will take weeks, and time is of the essence. So they devise a plan. They will open the hotel doors, funnel them out onto the pier, and then lead them into the ocean, whereby they presumably will be sucked out to sea (I guess they haven’t read “World War Z” and don’t realize that the undead can’t drown, but can walk along the ocean bottom).

*** The plan works. The shuffling horde of walkers follows Maddie down the pier as Alicia and others man a lifeboat. Maddie jumps off the pier into the water, and the walker horde mindlessly shuffles after her into the drink. Maddie makes it to the boat. The dead are in the water and presumably carried out to sea, although we don’t really see that happening.

*** Nick is reading late at night in his shack when there’s a knock. It’s Luciana, who can’t sleep. They talk for a while, but she drifts off to sleep, and Nick continues reading on the floor. When she awakens, she attempts to leave, fearing the gossip that will spread about her spending unattended late nights in a man’s home. But Nick stops her, and remarks that Alejandro told him that Luciana was testing Nick. Her reaction?  She comes over and plants a big one on him, and they tumble into bed. Gossip be damned!

*** After a hard day’s work harvesting walkers, the hotel team sits down for a lavish banquet. But Victor is troubled by the continued absence of the mother and Oscar. Intuitively, he asks for the number of the honeymoon suite. There he finds Oscar, who is standing guard while his turned bride snarls in the honeymoon suite (hey, they paid for it – might as well use it!). Victor knows Oscar’s pain, having himself lost his big love, Thomas. He convinces Oscar to allow him to terminate Jessica with extreme prejudice, thereby freeing him from the guilt and angst of her continued walker existence. He reluctantly agrees, and our final scene is Victor entering the suite to perform his grim reaping.

Next week: We still don’t know where Ofelia went. Now that the hotel is walker-free, can everyone join hands and begin planting crops?  Will they be able to fortify their defenses against marauding bandits?  Will Nick and Luciana move in together?  When will people realize that Alejandro is key to perhaps halting the plague?  And what about the gang that controls the food and water supply?  How much longer will they allow the colony to live in peace?  Will next week see Chris and his bros visit the hotel?  Lots of plot lines are cast in the water, and there are a lot of walkers bobbing about….