Fear The Walking Dead SN2 EP11- ‘Pablo And Jessica’

Factions unite as the fight for survival suddenly seems hopeful.
alycia-episode-11

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 2, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Richard Foreman Jr/AMC

Well that was unusual. It’s not often you finish watching an episode of ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ and actual feel happy, or hopeful that these characters might just make it after all. Somehow though, ‘Pablo and Jessica’ succeeded in doing just that.

That’s not to say things were rosy all the way through. The hotel storyline continues to be one of the most engaging and tense the show’s ever done. It truly is a brilliant setting, and unique to anything done before in ‘The Walking Dead’ series. The narrow hallways and darkened staircases create a real sense of claustrophobia, whilst the openness of the lower levels evokes the sense of ever present danger. So much of that space could very easily be broken into, so throughout the episode you’re tense, waiting for the inevitable moment a Walker breaks through to catch a character off guard.

This is helped by the fact that truly any character could be the next to go. Sure the hotel newcomers are the most likely candidates, but at this point in time there are no characters the show really couldn’t go without. There were moments scattered throughout the episode where I was genuinely concerned that Maddison, Strand or Alicia could die. Out of the three I’m afraid Maddison would be my first pick to go, however she showed real growth this episode.

The opening few minutes were unfortunately largely redundant. Having seen Maddison and Strand safe at the end of last episode, all tension was removed from the scene. That’s not to say it wasn’t exciting though. Seeing Maddison and Strand fighting the horde before adapting to Nick’s way of thinking to escape was a treat to watch, as there hasn’t been too much in the way of Walker killings so far. This episode carried on the tradition of ‘The Walking Dead’s’ inability to properly portray the passage of time. Last week we saw an entire night had passed before Alycia was able to reach her mother, whereas this episode made it seem like a matter of minutes.

Time gripes aside, this episode did a brilliant job of uniting various characters who were initially at odds. Seeing the remaining hotel guests put aside their differences to secure their new home was thrilling to watch, and portrayed the sense of hope that has been lacking thus far. I struggle to believe that people would turn on one another so quickly at the end of the world as has been portrayed through ‘The Walking Dead’ series. Sure people are the worst, but I imagine more people would draw together than apart during such a horrible time. Maybe that’s just me being hopelessly optimistic, but it was refreshing to see from the show.

Not to mention that the entire sequence of the group drawing the walkers away from the hotel was thrilling. So often on this show you see characters making stupid decisions, so to see such a meticulously well thought out plan that incorporated everyone was again a refreshing change, and displayed just how much these characters are evolving.

If there was one place the episode did fall short, it was with Nick’s storyline. I was hoping to see more from Chris and Travis given the shock ending to last week’s episode, as well as the sheer amount of Nick we’ve seen from this half season. They’re leaning heavily on his arc at the moment, but there’s nothing necessarily interesting happening there. The smaller moments are great. The burgeoning romance between him and Luciana. Seeing him put his skills developed as an addict to good use. However, there’s a distinct lack of a threat there that makes it all fall a bit flat. Yes, Alejandro explained how much danger they’re in from the gangs due to Nick’s actions. We certainly saw how dangerous they were a couple weeks back. But at the moment the threat seems pretty non-existent.

It doesn’t help that the big emotional moment of that storyline this week rested on the fate of a character we had never even met. Luciana’s brother Pablo was found dead, but given we never knew him, and that we barely know Luciana, there was no emotion to be felt when we learnt of his death or from Luciana’s subsequent breakdown. This is in stark contrast to the conclusion of the Hotel storyline this week. The newly allied group all sit down to eat, minus the groom, and Strand easily deduces that he’s kept his Walker bride trapped in the honeymoon suite, unable to let her go.

Strand has been such as strong character from the beginning so it was hard to see him so emotional here. He was clearly emotional when Tom died back in episode seven, however it seems he was bottling most of it up. To see him let his guard down for once, allowing himself to grieve alongside someone who was going through the exact same thing, was a touching moment. That he then took it upon himself to finish off the bride himself spoke to the man Strand has evolved into over his limited time on the show. When we first met him there is no way any of us would have believed he was capable of doing something like that. Now however, the layers have been peeled away to reveal a more relatable and compassionate man. All this was aided by that one scene we had showing the bride and groom deliriously happy last week. It shows that just giving us a reason to feel for these characters, however small, makes the show an ultimately more rewarding experience.

There were more things to see this week than there were walkers walked off that pier, so other highlights include:

  • The Colonia continues to be such a great place to visit. People smile. People laugh. People aren’t trapped in a spiralling world of depression. It just helps lift the show a bit. I know the show can’t be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but the little things go a long way.
  • Such as Nick and Luciana playing football with the kids. Sure we’re all waiting for the inevitable moment they become Walker chow, but for the moment it’s nice to enjoy.
  • Seriously what has happened to Ofelia? I know she didn’t have much to do before, but this is a bit ridiculous.
  • Did anyone else think for a moment that the Hotel guests were gonna betray the group and lock them out? I was convinced.
  • Maddison finally seems to understand that it’s just her and Alycia now. Hopefully this leads to an improved relationship.
  • Nick’s drug making montage was a really fun moment, made better by a really fun soundtrack.
  • Walker Kill of the Week:

               Alycia- Do Not Disturb Walker (I’m still thinking of a better way to do this)

So another episode of ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ has come and gone, and once again the quality was raised. The hotel plotline continues to engage with its unique setting and ideas, whilst Alycia, Maddison and Strand continue to show significant growth. Things petered out a bit when it shifted to Nick’s storyline, but the smaller moments shone through, so hopefully we’ll see things pick up there soon. It’s crazy to think there are only two episodes left this season. The Chris and Travis storyline is the only one that appears to be heading to some sort of climax, so we’ll see what next week has to bring.

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