Spoiler Warning for this week’s episode of “Fear the Walking Dead”
Following the Nick-centric episode last week, the focus this week is split between two groups. As Nick adjusts to life in La Colonia, Madison’s group discovers a massive beachside resort. Some minor problems do exist within the episode, but this is yet another strong chapter that sets up several different stories and develops the characters.
“Los Muertos” begins with Nick waking up in the infirmary in La Colonia next to several other sickly patients. He wanders out into the community and soon notices that the residents have left their posts and gathered near one of the walls. Nick finds a young girl crying and tries to comfort her, but quickly realizes that something truly dark is happening. In a nearby field, the girl’s father says goodbye to Luciana and Alejandro before stepping into a bus that is connected to a gated area filled with Infected. The man slowly walks into the herd of Infected, allowing himself to be devoured, as the residents look on. Later, Nick is shown helping out with some of the patients at the infirmary. When he goes to fetch water, he discovers that La Colonia’s water supply is running dry. Luciana reaches out to Nick and brings him along on a supply run. Luciana takes Nick to the closed off area with the Infected. She pins an Infected against a wall, slits its throat and covers herself in blood. Nick follows Luciana’s lead as she explains some of her rules. I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems as though the characters are becoming increasingly lazy when it comes to covering themselves in the Infected blood/guts. If you are trying to be completely safe, it would be best to cover yourself as much as possible. However, it is interesting to see the different ways characters approach this technique. On “The Walking Dead,” the characters typically wear a heavy type of clothing to prevent any of the walker guts/blood from touching the skin. This entire concept opens up an thought-provoking comparison of the various viewpoints that characters on both shows have in regards to the virus.
While walking, Nick questions Luciana about the sacrifice that took place earlier. Luciana explains that the man who sacrificed himself was already dying. When someone in La Colonia is close to death, they give themselves to “The Wall,” which is essentially a barrier of Infected that protects the community from outsiders and herds. Luciana also tells Nick that the community’s leader, Alejandro, was previously bitten, but never turned. Nick refuses to believe this claim and explains that everyone that is bitten will die and turn. The two eventually arrive at a local supermarket that is guarded and controlled by a gang. Luciana speaks with the gang leader, Marco (Alejandro Edda). This particular gang has shifted from selling drugs to operating a barter system of supplies. Luciana trades a bag of painkillers for a shopping cart that can be filled with supplies in the supermarket. Inside the store, Luciana gathers jugs of water and other supplies that are needed in La Colonia. Nick grabs a chocolate cake snack, but Luciana orders him to put it back and only take what is necessary. Before they leave, Nick notices a group of people residing in the back of the store. Nick is able to deduce that these people are drug addicts suffering from the effects of withdrawal. He spots Marco tending to a young girl, who happens to be his sister. As Nick and Luciana are walking away from the supermarket with their supplies, Marco and some of the gang members attack Nick; he had slipped the cake snack into his pocket even after Luciana warned him not to. Marco threatens to cut off Nick’s hand with a machete, but Nick turns the tables and threatens to cut off the gang’s supply of painkillers, which are given to the addicts. Luciana translates Nick’s demands, which also include a second shopping cart filled with water. This tense scene demonstrates Nick’s skills at negotiating and bargaining, which may be traced back to his life before the apocalypse where he possibly found himself in similar situations while trying to score drugs. Nick’s quick thinking and adaptability are both skills that will definitely come in handy and help to assure his place as a long-term survivor.
As they walk away, Luciana lashes out at Nick for potentially compromising the safety of La Colonia. She explains that the gang members aren’t aware of the community’s location yet and she wishes to keep it that way. After they return to La Colonia, Nick greets the young girl whose father sacrificed himself to the Infected earlier. He gives the girl the cake snack and tries to comfort her as Luciana watches on. This demonstrates Nick’s deep care toward children; this was also shown in “We All Fall Down,” where Nick plays with the Geary children and discusses the difficulties of growing up in a post-apocalyptic world. Nick meets with Alejandro, who scolds him for acting so foolishly around the gang members. Alejandro explains the almost cult-like belief of himself and those in the community that the Infected are just passing through and that the world will soon return to normal. This belief system is incredibly reminiscent to that of Celia, however, Alejandro seems far more willing to accept and adapt to the new world. By using the Infected as a deterrent against outside threats, Alejandro shows that he realizes the world is incredibly dangerous now. Nick briefly spots a mark on Alejandro’s shoulder; could this be the “bite” that Luciana told Nick about? If Alejandro was actually bit by an Infected and survived, this revelation will change “The Walking Dead” universe forever. Is it possible that there are survivors out there that are immune to the virus? This would definitely be an interesting development, but I am incredibly hesitant to believe Alejandro was actually bitten. A final scene in La Colonia shows the residents in a church as Alejandro preaches. The congregation chants the phrase “from death we come and to death we deliver ourselves” as Nick joins in.
The other focus of this episode is on the group containing Madison, Alicia, Strand and Ofelia following their evacuation from the Baja mansion in “Shiva.” The group drive around in search of Nick, but both Alicia and Strand call the search hopeless and explain that they must return to the Abigail. They make their way to the spot where they docked the Abigail, but it is now nowhere to be found. Strand explains that the Mexican military likely stole it sometime after they docked. This is a shocking discovery as the Abigail seemed as though it would be a long-lasting home base for the characters that would allow them to travel more quickly. Now it appears that the survivors will be trapped in Mexico for the foreseeable future. Alicia decides to use driftwood to leave a message for Nick, Travis and Chris should they return to that location; “Abigail Lost Head North” the message reads. Strand drives the group down to the beach in front of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, where they stand and watch to see if they hotel is safe. They eventually decide to approach and enter the hotel in search of shelter and supplies.
The group enters the hotel through the lobby, although the doors are barricaded leaving them to agree that other people may be inside. Strand rings the bell at the front desk in an attempt to draw out any Infected or other survivors. Madison and the others stumble upon the hotel ballroom that has the remains of a wedding that likely took place right as the world was beginning to fall apart. Ofelia mentions to Strand that she came close to getting married, but broke things off when she realized that she would have to take care of her parents. This is an interesting development for Ofelia’s character; will we possibly learn more about her backstory through flashbacks? Alicia and Ofelia decide to make their way to the upper levels of the hotel to search for supplies, but Madison wishes to stay down at the bar. Alicia presents a strong plan of searching the hotel, room by room, for supplies in luggage and the mini-bars. Madison objects, but Strand makes it clear that Alicia can take care of herself and offers to make Madison a drink. Ofelia and Alicia begin making their way through a hallway, but notice several rooms with “Do Not Disturb” signs on the doors; these rooms clearly have Infected inside of them. They find a room without Infected and begin collecting food and supplies, but locate an Infected hanging in the shower after committing suicide. Ofelia stares longingly at the Infected man; after everything she has lost, this prospect of suicide appears to be a real possibility for Ofelia.
In another hotel room, Alicia wonders why the man would quit fighting and give up. Ofelia explains that he was likely tired of living and simply couldn’t go on any longer; she also tells Alicia that she doesn’t believe that the group will survive much longer. Alicia passionately disagrees and states that survival is human nature. Down at the bar, Madison and Strand make the idiotic decision to get drunk. They begin opening up to one another about their lives before the apocalypse and Madison explains the circumstances of her husband’s death. Madison’s husband, Stephen, died in a head-on collision while driving home from work one night. Madison tells Strand that it was suicide, even though she had told Nick and Alicia that it was just an accident. This ties back to the flashbacks in last week’s episode and helps to further develop Madison’s character and her relationship with Strand. Madison continues to pour tequila for herself and Strand, while pitching shot glasses at the wall to let out anger. Strand bangs on a piano, which attracts the attention of some trapped Infected in a nearby store. Upstairs, Alicia showers before checking in on Ofelia, who has mysteriously disappeared. She walks out onto the balcony and is startled by several Infected falling from above. Drawn by the noise in the bar, the Infected stumble and fall off the hotel balconies before smashing into the ground. Alicia rushes out of the room and makes her way to a stairwell to get down to the ground floor. However, the stairwell is filled with Infected, leaving Alicia seemingly trapped. Down in the bar, Strand and Madison notice the Infected falling from above before flooding into the hotel. They use whatever they can to fight off the Infected, but they eventually find themselves trapped behind the bar in an epic shot that leaves their fates a mystery.
“Los Muertos” is an exciting episode that is packed full with revelations and character development. Nick’s story in La Colonia takes several interesting turns as he comes to realize that Alejandro and the other residents are darker than he expected. Luciana proves herself to be both a strong and interesting character that will hopefully receive more development as the season progresses. There will likely be conflict between the residents of La Colonia and the gang led by Marco; how long will this community stay standing? The storyline with Madison’s group showcases a compelling setting that hasn’t been seen in “The Walking Dead” franchise yet. This hotel has the potential to be a long lasting safe haven for the characters if they can refrain from getting drunk and making foolish decisions. Therein lies my problem with this episode. Madison and Strand’s decision to get drunk and goof off in an unsecured location while there are pressing matters at hand is incredibly annoying. Characters choosing to get drunk is a small problem that I occasionally have with “The Walking Dead.” One would think that you would want to be in prime condition at all times in case you are forced to fight Infected or other humans. It is unclear yet what consequences, if any, this momentary lapse of judgement will have. Could the safety of the hotel be compromised? What happened to Ofelia? With the apparent loss of Daniel, Ofelia’s outlook on life is incredibly bleak. Is it possible that she left to commit or attempt suicide? The standout character of this episode is by far Alicia, who called many of the shots and rallied to keep the group’s morale high. Alicia is a character that I can definitely see evolving into a hardened survivor as the series progresses. Be sure to tune in to “Fear the Walking Dead” next Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.