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

Frank Dillane as Nick Clark. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)
Frank Dillane as Nick Clark. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)

A hostage situation at sea and a series of character developing flashback combine to deliver one of “Fear the Walking Dead’s” best episodes to date. After last week’s sloppy detour, this episode is a definite step in the right direction for the series. Who can our characters truly trust in the harsh undead world that surrounds them?

An incredibly chilling scene opens the episode as Nick washes ashore at the United States-Mexico border in the middle of the night. On the beach, he looks up as a helicopter flies overhead into Mexico; boats can be seen in the ocean on the Mexico side, presumably a military blockade. Nick wanders into a massive refugee camp that appears to have been abandoned. He kills a lone Infected and uses its blood to cover himself; during last week’s episode, Nick figured out that blood and guts from the Infected can be used as camouflage. This opening scene showcases the interesting effects of society collapsing and serves to expand the viewer’s knowledge of the world; the government of Mexico was able to lock down the border and possibly better contain the outbreak.

This episode uses flashbacks to give the audience further insight into Strand’s history. Soon after Hurricane Katrina, Strand meets a man named Thomas Abigail (Dougray Scott) in a Baton Rouge bar. The two men discuss buying property in the devastated state of Louisiana; Strand mentions that he is bankrupt. Later, Strand takes a drunken Thomas to a hotel room where he steals Thomas’ credit cards. Sometime later, Thomas and an associate named Luis Flores (Arturo del Puerto) locate and confront Strand. Rather than alerting the authorities, Thomas offers to negotiate repayment with Strand and from this, a romantic relationship takes shape. Another flashback shows Strand preparing to leave for a business trip in Los Angeles. Thomas attempts to stop Strand from leaving after hearing reports of an outbreak and riots. This final flashback partially explains why Strand was at the military hospital in Los Angeles back in “Cobalt.” While Strand’s true intentions still remain a mystery, this episode gives much needed backstory to one of the most interesting characters in the series.

In the present time, Chris and Ofelia take watch on the deck of the Abigail. They discuss their lives before the apocalypse and Chris wonders if he will ever be able to be a normal teenager again. This scene is a touching moment of levity between two characters who have already suffered losses. The calm moment is interrupted as a small group on a raft approaches the Abigail. Two men and a bleeding pregnant woman board the yacht pleading for help. Chris frantically questions if he should shoot them or allow them to board. Travis, Madison and Daniel rush to the scene as Strand sneaks away to collect his rifle. Madison leads the pregnant woman, named Vida (Veronica Diaz-Carranza), below deck to the bathroom. Alicia emerges from her room to investigate and quickly recognizes the voice of one of the men. It’s Jack (Daniel Zovatto), the mysterious stranger that Alicia communicated with over radio in “Monster.” The situation escalates as the other man, Reed (Jesse McCartney), attacks Travis and holds the rest of the group at gunpoint. Vida slams Madison’s head into the bathroom mirror before tying her up. Jack forces a stunned Alicia to tie Daniel and the others up as well. The sudden assault by the group of strangers represents the learning curve that this group of survivors is currently undergoing. Helping a seemingly innocent pregnant woman proved to be the wrong move as Vida essentially played the role of a Trojan Horse to gain access to the Abigail.

Reed notices Strand fleeing the yacht on a raft and shoots several times. Reed then returns to his group of hostages and demands the keys to the ship. He holds Chris at gunpoint, prompting Travis to offer to hot-wire the boat as Strand had the keys. Vida brings Madison to the rest of the group as Reed leads Travis away. Jack takes Alicia outside and explains that he needs to contact a man named Connor (Mark Kelly), who is the leader of his group. Alicia stands by as Jack contacts Connor over the radio. Connor eerily shares that he is on his way to the Abigail. Jack promises to protect Alicia and her family, but explains that not everyone will be able to join Connor’s group. Alicia embraces Jack, but there seems to be more going on in her head. After being tricked by Jack into giving up her group’s location, Alicia may turn the tables and betray the trust of Jack. Alicia is definitely more intelligent than people give her credit for.

Meanwhile, Nick locates a gated neighborhood that contains a home, whose address was given to him by Strand; this is somewhat confusing as viewers never actually saw Strand give Nick the location of this home. In the neighborhood, Nick uses his disguise to pass a single Infected. It’s worth noting that Nick discovered this camouflage trick faster than the characters of “The Walking Dead” as Rick is still in a coma at this point in the timeline. Nick arrives at the home and is met by an armed Luis from Strand’s flashback. Nick explains that he was sent by Strand, which prompts Luis to lower his gun. Luis sends Nick into the house to get cleaned up before the two drive down to the beach. Luis explains that he only managed to secure passage across the border for two people, but Nick holds out hope that Strand will not abandon the group. Luis and Nick board a Zodiac raft and head toward the Abigail. The scenes on land showcase the devastation that came with the outbreak. There is an interesting juxtaposition of the widespread damage caused by the outbreak and by Hurricane Katrina, which was mentioned in Strand’s flashbacks.

Madison rescues Strand from the ocean. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)
Madison rescues Strand from the ocean. (Photo courtesy of Richard Foreman/AMC.)

Back on the Abigail, Daniel tries to loosen his bonds as Madison cleverly heckles Vida by asking questions about her pregnancy. Madison brings up the possibility of a stillborn baby turning and devouring the mother from inside the womb; this theory was originally brought up by Lori during her pregnancy in the original series. Ofelia joins in and taunts Vida, prompting her to lash out and point her gun at her hostages. Reed and Travis return from the ship’s engine room and Travis slides a crowbar behind a couch cushion. Connor arrives and boards the boat with two other members of his group. He mentions Alicia and Travis as being useful and decides to blindfold them and take them away. Reed and the two other members of Connor’s group stay behind. Luis steers the Zodiac raft toward the yacht as Nick notices the armed intruders; Luis pulls out a rifle and shoots two of the intruders. A shocked Reed walks over to investigate, giving Madison and the group the opportunity to fight back. Daniel grabs Reed’s gun, then Ofelia pushes him against a wall and Madison impales him with the hidden crowbar. Chris takes over and pushes the crowbar further through Reed’s abdomen. This scene represents a shift in the group’s survival mentality. After several episodes of mistrust and arguing, the survivors finally teamed up to subdue an active threat. Nick and Luis board the yacht and a slight conflict erupts, but Nick manages to calm the situation. Madison panics after realizing Alicia and Travis have been taken away. She heads out on the Zodiac raft to rescue Strand from drowning in the ocean. After heavy tension between the two characters, Madison saving Strand demonstrates her caring nature. Will Strand abandon Madison and the rest of the group or will he figure out a way to get everyone across the border?

“Blood in the Streets” is by far the best episode of the season so far. After originally introducing Jack in the first episode of the season, the threat of his group is perfectly reincorporated into the storyline. Will Alicia and Travis be able to escape their captors and reunite with their group back on the Abigail? My prediction is that one of the two will not make it out alive. Strand’s backstory was also nicely tied into the main story, with Luis and Thomas being intriguing new characters. Will Strand be able to make his way to Thomas and the house in Baja? 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."