Spoiler Warning for this week’s episode of “Fear the Walking Dead”

Daniel, Chris, Alex, Alicia and Nick flee from Infected. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)
Daniel, Chris, Alex, Alicia and Nick flee from Infected. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)

After an impressive start to the season, “Fear the Walking Dead” takes several steps back. Sloppy writing and plot holes plague this underwhelming episode. However, several positives do exist in regards to the character and story development. With the world collapsing around them, who can our characters truly trust?

“Ouroboros” features the continuation of AMC’s webisode series, “Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462.” The sixteen-part series tells the story of a group of passengers and crew aboard an airplane during the early days of the outbreak. After a passenger dies and turns, a chain of events follows that eventually leads to the plane crashing. This episode begins with one of the passengers, Alex (Michelle Ang), swimming through the plane’s wreckage in the ocean. She locates Jake (Brendan Meyer), a young man that Alex protected during the webisode; Jake’s face was severely burned during the crash. Some of the crash’s other survivors pull Alex and Jake onto a life raft, however, these other survivors don’t last long as Alex kills them after they threaten Jake. This opening scene is a definite highlight of the episode and perfectly establishes a feeling of intensity.

On the Abigail, Travis, Madison and Strand notice odd noises coming from the engine; Travis is able to deduce that something is blocking the water intake. Travis volunteers to scuba dive under the ship to investigate the blockage. While under the ship, he discovers the problem to be stemming from a trapped Infected; this Infected is a survivor of Flight 462. This scene features one of many cheap jump scares that seem to plague the horror genre. In the engine room, Travis tells Strand that repairing the engine will likely take several hours. Strand, worried about the yacht’s vulnerability against attackers, begins lashing out at Travis. This is one of many interesting developments from this episode; I’m really interested to see where the relationship between Travis and Strand goes. Meanwhile, Daniel inspects Ofelia’s gunshot wound and realizes that it is infected. Ofelia is out of antibiotics, but Daniel refuses to ask Madison for additional medicine. This scene demonstrates the clear rift that exists between the Clark-Manawa family and the Salazars. Daniel has always been reluctant to ask for help from others, fearing the problems that may stem from being in someone’s debt.

Up on deck, Alicia alerts the group of nearby sand dunes on the coast that are littered with luggage. Daniel agrees to take Alicia, Nick and Chris to the shore to collect supplies. Madison and Travis voice their concerns, but Alicia declares that the teenagers can’t be kept at the children’s table. Before boarding the Zodiac raft, Daniel alerts Madison of Strand’s plans to head to Mexico; he also encourages her to speak with Strand, mentioning her diplomacy. As Daniel’s group go to the shore, Travis focuses on repairing the ship’s engines, while Madison confronts Strand. With San Diego off the table, Strand explains that a town named Rosarito, in Baja, Mexico (This town also happens to be the filming location for this season), may be a safe haven with food, supplies and walls. Madison and Strand agree to trust each other moving forward, but not before a painfully cringe-worthy line of dialogue is uttered from Madison about throwing Strand overboard if he betrays her trust. Many questions still remain about Strand’s motives, but this is a notable development in the story that establishes a destination for the group. Is Strand’s secret location in Mexico legitimate?

Meanwhile, Daniel’s group arrives on the beach and quickly begin exploring the wreckage of Flight 462. Daniel orders the teenagers to stay within his line of sight. Everyone spreads out and rummages through suitcases for medicine and clothes. These scenes are incredibly reminiscent of the highway scenes from “The Walking Dead’s” second season. Chris separates from the group and locates part of the plane’s fuselage. He enters and finds two Infected, still strapped in their seats; he kills one of the Infected with a piece of metal. Clearly Chris is on an excursion to release some of his anger, however, his decision to split from the group is incredibly careless and lacks common sense. A surviving passenger wakes up and hoarsely begs Chris for help. Chris helps the man out of his seat and quickly notices a fatal spinal injury. Realizing that there is nothing he can do to save the man, Chris bashes his head in repeatedly. This is a major turning point for the character of Chris as this is the first human he has killed. I predict that the combination of Chris’ anger and his eagerness to kill Infected will lead him down a truly dark path.

Chris inspects the wreckage of Flight 462. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)
Chris inspects the wreckage of Flight 462. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)

Daniel realizes that Chris has disappeared and wanders calling his name. Alicia also wanders off in search of Chris, while Nick manages to locate painkillers. Rather than sticking together like Daniel demanded in the first place, everyone separates. Nick finds a small ravine that has an Infected buried half-way in the sand at the bottom. Nick slips and lands near the Infected; Nick has a close call, but he quickly stabs the Infected in the head. Another Infected stumbles into the ravine, covering Nick in blood. Alex runs into Daniel as a herd of Infected come stumbling over the sand dunes. Daniel uses his gun to shoot several, but there are far too many to handle. Alicia and Chris join up with Alex and Daniel as the Infected close in on the group, trapping them on a cliff. Using pieces from the plane wreckage, the group fight back against the Infected. It’s worth noting that this is the first time that Alicia has had to kill the Infected. Nick arrives, covered in the Infected’s blood, just in time to save Alicia. The group is able to escape the cliff, but Nick takes a moment to learn the famous “guts” trick (most recently seen in the original series’ episode, “No Way Out.“) of camouflage. A bloodied Nick standing face to face with the Infected is a truly chilling scene that highlights the expert cinematography of this series.

After a tense battle with a herd of Infected, the group makes their way back to the Zodiac raft. Alex alerts Daniel that they need to make a quick stop; this stop is to pick up Jake, who unexpectedly appears out of nowhere on the yellow safety raft from earlier. Daniel’s group returns to the Abigail; Strand angrily refuses to allow Alex and Jake aboard. Fearing Jake may die and turn, the group decides to tow Alex and Jake on their raft. Madison announces to everyone that Strand is leading the Abigail to Baja; many members of the group object, but Travis subdues the worries. The episode ends as the Abigail speeds away to the next destination. Strand makes his way to the rear of the yacht and sternly cuts Alex and Jake’s raft loose. Madison voices her objection, but Strand ignores and the Abigail continues, leaving Alex and Jake behind. After so much build up with the Flight 462 storyline, these characters better return sometime in the future.

The major problem of this episode deals with the established timeline. Flight 462 took off from LAX during the earliest days of the outbreak. After being unable to land in Phoenix, the flight was forced to return to Los Angeles, but abruptly crashed; the entirety of the flight took place over the course of a few hours. The current events of “Fear the Walking Dead” take place approximately twenty days into the outbreak. Jake received a seemingly fatal injury during the crash, however, this episode seems to suggest that he survived for weeks with this injury. Also, the survivor that Chris found in the fuselage suffered a fatal injury, however, he also somehow managed to survive for weeks without medical treatment. This discrepancy in the timeline is incredibly distracting and lessens the impact and believably of the story. The story of “Flight 462” could have been tied into the main story in a far better way, but instead, viewers were treated to a sloppy plot hole.

“Ouroboros” is not a terrible episode, but definitely showcases the many problems that “Fear the Walking Dead” still has. Inconsistencies in the timeline may seem like a minor problem, but I found myself unable to suspend disbelief for this, mostly because I was really looking forward to the “Flight 462” tie in. While the characters are still learning the rules of life in a zombie apocalypse, there are several cases of complete lack of common sense. Amidst the problems, this episode does feature some very tense action sequences and strong character development. Hopefully this is a simple bump in the road for the series as I still have very high hopes. Will the group make it to Mexico? Be sure to tune in to “Fear the Walking Dead” next Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Jeffrey Kopp is the Community Editor of the Niner Times. He is a senior double majoring in Communication and Political Science. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead."