AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 2: “We All Fall Down”
Directed by Adam Davidson
Written by Kate Barnow
* For a review of the previous episode, “Monster” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Ouroboros” – click here
After the premiere sets us out on the ocean, Fear the Walking Dead‘s Season 2 continues on as this episode begins with a couple children on the beach. In the water nearby a zombie washes up. It spies kid meat; oh boy. All of a sudden, more zombies appear from out of the water. But luckily, there’s a fence separating them from the children now that we can see it from a better perspective. Whew. So is this a preparation? Was this fence put up specifically for this purpose? We’ll see.
Back to Strand (Colman Domingo) and the others. Madison (Kim Dickens) isn’t impressed with Nick (Frank Dillane) jumping right into the ocean. However, the logbook he found on the downed boat gives them a better idea of what’s going on. So Madison and Travis (Cliff Curtis) bring it to everyone’s attention. Daniel (Rubén Blades) and the rest of them try to figure out their next way forward. Strand suggests they hide.
Travis and Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) still aren’t on the same page. The son isn’t so sure of his father anymore, simply because he’s now seen his mother die. The hopelessness is already there. But everyone else tries their best to forge on. Later at night, the group sees a light flashing on a nearby shore. A signal?
While the others go ashore, Daniel keeps a watchful eye on Strand. He isn’t fully sold on the guy yet, and I don’t blame him. Meanwhile, Travis and Madison go to where they saw the flashing light. Everything is dark, quiet. A kid runs outside and then Travis finds a family in one of the houses. They introduce themselves, the father of the family does the same. For now things feel all right.
George (David Warshofsky) invites them in. He and Travis actually have a beer together. They bond over books and reading. Travis talks about the bombing of Los Angeles, and George explains the same’s been happening all over, even up into Canada, as well as further down south; the border is shut, everything sealed. Things are looking damn bleak. Upstairs, Madison and George’s wife Melissa (Catherine Dent) bond, too. They chat of more pleasant things trying to act like things are normal, if only for the time being. The family seems like they’re definitely survivalists; George has a bunch of maps, a radio, all types of things, the son carries a rifle. So maybe these people will be of help, if only for a while.
Travis: “Can‘t imagine havin‘ time for it now.”
George: “You‘ve got nothin‘ but time, man.”
Daniel and his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) also talk. She’s worried, obviously, about where they’ll go next, or if they’ll stay, whatever happens. Her father does what he can to be positive, though, it seems she’s all but given up. Likewise, Nick is a bit of light in the midst of things, whereas Chris is all gloom and doom. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) ends up talking to one of the kids about “Ring A Ring O’ Roses”, which is a perfect parallel to the current situation. Creepier still is one of the younger kids of the survivalist family whose knowledge of things is firm, yet child-like, and that really affects Nick when witnessing this personally – from “power pills” to an action figure doll, it is an unsettling sequence.
On the boat, Strand and Daniel chat a little. The latter is incredibly suspicious. Strand is a smooth talker and as always manages to deflect. Back inside, George and Travis debate the zombie virus, what it is, why it’s happening. Travis is Māori, which George guesses, and he talks a bit about his own family in relation to their people’s practices. A new friendship is budding, as it appears George is more than willing to extend his books and his land to Travis and his group. But this is only the beginning of the outbreak. We’re not yet to the point where it’s completely dog-eat-dog. Right now there are still soft souls willing to extend themselves to others.
Nick: “Hey you wanna know what the most underrated perk of the apocalypse is?”
Nick: “No planes. No noise pollution, no smog. Just stars.”
Alicia: “Yup. Well, we definitely stopped the climate crisis. Awesome.”
Except, like Nick says, something is off about this little survivalist home George has going on. He has these beautiful notions about family and about life. However, there is an odd, strange aspect to what’s going on.
In the morning, Travis heads out with George’s older son Seth (Jake Austin Walker). They’re down taking care of walkers on the steel fences. Tons of them are lining the sand at its foot, many having already been cleared. Seth takes one out, then offers Chris the chance. It’s a cathartic experience for him. We also get a better look into the survivalist nature of George’s family. They’ve lived like this “for a while“, admittedly from Seth. When Travis finds his son there’s an obvious aggressive tension still thick over their relationship. No telling how long it’ll go on. Travis has a problem with how things are now, how his boy has to live in this post-apocalypse world, and no matter how much George tries that’s not something that’s instantly going to change for Travis. Not quite yet, not fully anyways.
Out on a walk, Alicia makes a mark of a spiral continuing into itself, as if an ominous overall statement on the eternal existence of human beings, coming back even beyond the dead. At the same time, Nick searches around the house, going through the medicine cabinet, everywhere else, before finally coming upon those pills – the ones George will most certainly be using on his family when the time comes. Little yellow and green pills, very poison-looking, cyanide maybe. This is worrisome. Something bad might happen if Travis’ people come in the way of George and his endgame. Furthermore, Strand sees the radar clear up, and wants to get sailing again.
Madison’s busy trying to figure out if Melissa intended to signal somebody with the light in her house, which George called accidental. It was indeed intended as a signal. She knows there’s no hope there in their little compound, with the fences, the vegetables. “We‘re just biding our time,” says Melissa: “Biding our time ‘till it‘s over.” Things are worse than expected, she’s ill, and most of all she wants the little kids to get off their island. Now there’s a situation set off, as Madison tries convincing Travis to save the kids from George and that desolate landscape.
And Daniel, he’s busy, as well. he tries hard to find some evidence of who Strand is really, what he’s up to. He finds a secret compartment with some weaponry, documents, other interesting maps, so on – one of which involves Mexico. Simultaneously, Strand calls someone on his phone, seemingly setting a meeting at sundown. Who’s on the other end of that call? And what does that mean for the other survivors?
The worst of all, Nick believes George is planning on “Jonestown–ing” his family. He found the pills, he knows they’re not some uppers or downers. So where to go from here? Well, they start by trying to get the kids out of there. But George interrupts things, he isn’t happy either. Upstairs, little Willa has already taken her pill. And this begins a terrifying moment, as Melissa finds her daughter, dead, zombified, and it all gets really ugly then. Melissa dies, they get the boy out of there, and George is left behind to deal with the fallout. A nasty, unnerving scene. On board his boat Strand doesn’t like having another passenger. Crazier confrontation ensues when Seth boards with a rifle trying to take his brother back. They reluctantly give the boy over. Spooky moment on the wharf, as Seth and the kid are confronted by their undead mother shuffling towards them.
Everyone watches from the boat, as Seth has to kill his mother. A grim parting, as the survivors head out on the ocean, no more and no less than when they’d arrived. Onward to darker horizons.
Next episode is titled “Ouroboros” and I’m excited – this was a great one. I can only hope the season builds on this disturbing chapter.