Wow. I have to say, the season finale delivered on every level. I do have one very minor pet peeve. Before we get to that,
***** Spoiler Alert *****
I have to give some credit to my buddy Jeff (the other Jeff–with hair) for calling a major point of strategy. He correctly predicted the arena would be used as a diversion for our group to escape/get Liza and Nick back. Kudos to him!
The opening shot of LA in the darkness was surreal and very cool. We see the familiar sight of the arena in a prelude to what will follow. The group is hastily preparing to leave, citing that the guards have all took off. There is a short debate about whether to leave Adams alive, Travis wins out, but this story is not finished. Reminds me a little of Rick vs Shane.
We then see Daniel strolling casually as he walks up to the medical center and talks to the guard. Suddenly, the first of about 2000 walkers makes their presence known. I had flashbacks of Carol and the first episode of season 5. Only he didn’t dress up like a walker, he was the bait. It was genius. He is so far ahead of the curve.
The group makes their way to a parking garage somewhere near the medical center where they leave Chris and Alicia. Daniel finds out that Adams has been released and is not very happy. The rest of the group heads in to rescue Nick and Liza (and Griselda but we know her fate).
Strand and Nick decide the time is right and exit their holding cage. Many questions popped in my head on my 2nd viewing, but I will save those for my “questions” section. The action is intense. They achieved the same level of intensity we had in the season premiere of season 5, in my opinion. Quite remarkable really for such a young series.
Many walkers started invading the compound. Strand runs into a familiar associate and gets back his cuff links. We see how cool and callous he can be. There is a certain amount of pragmatism in his actions though. He’s been ready for this for a long time. A “doomsday prepper”, perhaps? The pair are united with the group in very dramatic fashion. Almost cheesy. Good thing I love cheese.
There is a brief scene where some soldiers preparing to go AWOL come upon Alicia and Chris in the SUV. One ends up smashing the window and pulling them out. They want the ride but one of them voices his desire for Alicia to come with them. Which ends up with Chris hitting him and the soldier knocking Chris out. This whole scene puzzles me. Why not leave with the others who are leaving via transport? There also seemed like plenty of spare vehicles. It almost seemed like they were setting something up for later with the soldiers.
The group makes their way out and it is suddenly daylight. Like not dawn, mid to late morning. It made me feel like they were in the compound for hours. Not sure they were in there that long. When they first come out there are piles of ash and bones. Obviously they piled the dead and burned them. Daniel and Ofelia realize this is what happened to Griselda. They finally make their way to the parking garage and find Chris and Alicia who explain what happened to the SUV. Out pops Adams with a gun. He wants revenge. First he points the gun at Daniel, then he shoots Ofelia. This seems pointless to me. I’ve never been tortured though.
Travis tackles Adams and in a very Rick-like fury, pummels the man into unconsciousness. This brings me back to the episode where Chris thinks his nose is broken and Travis says, “You know how many times my nose was broken”. Makes me think he used to be a fighter of some kind. Maybe he supported his family through some kind of illegal fighting? Or perhaps he was a gang member who cleaned up his act and got educated. A lot to be learned in season 2.
As the group makes their way down the freeway, Strand tells them they should go west to the coast where he has a house. Turns out to be a very, very nice house on a cliff, overlooking the Pacific ocean. He offers his hospitality to the group. It’s kind of a nice moment. The serenity and calmness. They appear to be far from the walkers and chaos, which brings up some questions. Nick walks into Strand’s bedroom and asks about “Abigail” who was mentioned earlier. Strand shows him Abigail is a luxury yacht. His plan is to keep in constant movement and “embrace the madness”. Which is some interesting foreshadowing.
The serenity is breached with a gunshot. Liza revealed she was bitten in the struggle to get out. She didn’t realize until after. She asked Madison to take care of her, but Travis was following both of them and ended up finding out. I expected one or two of them not to make it. I did not expect one of them to be Liza since she has the medical knowledge. The season ends with a pretty shot of the cliff side then a shot of the camera flying over the open water of the Pacific.
Questions: What will the impact be of Liza dying? I didn’t see that coming. She was the only one who had any medical knowledge. Madison and Liza both thought that if he had to kill them it would “break him”. We saw Travis snap once when Adams shot Ofelia. It was quite a Rick-esque pummeling. How will Chris take it? Chris already seemed to be a higher testosterone filled version of Carl.
How is this boat thing going to work? It’s very exciting. Not sure how far they can get without running out of gas or being hijacked by pirates. It’s still early in the game so there could be military boats/planes and a luxury yacht will be quite the target.
Why was Strand in the medical center in the first place? We know he has money and the power to barter/talk. He wasn’t sick. He didn’t appear to anywhere near a safe zone. He was also obviously prepared for this whole thing. Why not put his plans into motion at the first signs of trouble? He could have easily been on his boat and watched what was going down. It’s seems improbable for him to have been there. He his easily the most interesting character for me at this point. Where will he fall in terms of what role he will play? We see him pick up a small picture frame, near the end of the episode. Was this his wife? Family member? Child? That was a subtle yet important clue.
Dr Exner is a ray of hope. The group finds her while trying to get out. She was in the process of “taking care” of her patients. They tell her to come with and they are headed east. She says, “why? There is nowhere you can go”. Madison quickly assesses that she is “lost”. Exner was a “company woman”. She had all her faith sucked out of her when the EVAC unit turned around. Her one goal was to shut down her operation. Was her motivation “programmed” into her or was she acting with cold compassion, figuring her patients could not escape, so better off dead? I only bring up Exner because we don’t see her die. On Talking Dead, which followed, Dave Erickson (Fear The Walking Dead writer and producer) explicitly states that if you don’t see a character die on screen, they are alive. This brings up a couple more questions.
Tobias came to mind. As I mentioned last week, he could be the “Morgan” of this series. Someone we see early on who later comes back into play. I really hope so.
They also discuss something they talked about “off screen”. The idea that there might be a “Governor” among the current cast, and who might it be? This was a pretty cool idea for me. I can see a few people. There are a couple ways to go about this. If you watch the original series, you probably know the Governor’s story. He lost his wife and daughter. He was clinging to the belief that he could someday cure her. Michonne ended that possibility when she had an encounter with him. He then ramped up his callousness to 11.
Daniel just found out Griselda was dead. His daughter has a gunshot wound to her arm. Unless Strand has a doctor on board his yacht, this could be a serious issue. They did grab some meds before they left the compound. Strand could also be a “Governor” candidate. We don’t know a lot about him. He has a plan though and we will see it play out in season two. My ‘darkhorse’ would be Exner. She seems to have nothing left, but she is not dead. If she somehow makes it out, her survival instincts might kick in and she could go back to wanting to help others, even if she might have to force it on you.
Getting back to not seeing people die on screen–we didn’t see Moyers die on screen. I think I brought this up at the time. He could definitely be a “Governor” candidate as well. I think I also compared him to “Merle” a little. He could team up with Exner and start a “Woodbury”. This actually is a fantastic idea.
Zombie kill of the week: The kills came fast and furious. It was hard to keep track of. Lots of hammering and of course shooting. Those are routine. When someone uses an object like say, bolt cutters. That grabs your attention. I think it was Ofelia who was wielding those. It’s really a nice weapon to be honest. It has a nice reach. You can swing or jab with it, and if your father needs to torture someone–well, you can easily see how it would assist that.
Zombie kill of the season: For me it’s a close call between Madison using the fire extinguisher and Moyers’ head shot of Kimberly. A good head shot is hard to beat, but Madison extinguished Art without much hesitation. I have to award it to her for her quick thinking and resourcefulness. Kudos to Maddie!
Overall, I am really glad I did this for Fear The Walking Dead. It took watching episodes multiple times to really appreciate the earlier ones. I love the final product–almost as much as the original. I can’t wait to start talking about season 2. Stay tuned for a recap and preview of season 2, and of course tune in for Walking Dead Weekly next week!