Alex Garland's adaptation of ANNIHILATION by Jeff VanderMeer is a science-fiction horror mashup about evolution, self-destruction, and humans as aberrations of nature.
What happens when a dark piece of horror all the way through ends with a tunnel of light?
AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 3: “Ouroboros
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Alan Page
* For a review of the previous episode, “We All Fall Down” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Blood in the Streets” – click here
Moving along in Fear the Walking Dead‘s second season, the group are trying to figure out where to go next, how to proceed. But it isn’t so easy.
We start out on a group of people whose boat has gone under. They’re in rough shape, including one man with a bite that takes an oar to the head and goes overboard, as well as a badly burned young man. The paranoia of people turning is already evident. Another man has to be killed after he tries to eagerly kill the young man before the burns do and he becomes a walker. The others left on a small rubber dingy are left to figure out what to do for themselves. Finally, the kid says “It‘s okay” and gives his consent, leaving the other two to do all that’s left to be done. Creepy opener.
Strand (Colman Domingo) is on the phone, seeming desperate. Still on his way to meet whoever’s on the other end. Such a mysterious dude. I’m still curious as to who he is, really. Meanwhile, Madison (Kim Dickens) and Travis (Cliff Curtis) lay in bed trying, if only for a moment, to forget about what life is now. Only there’s engine trouble. Daniel (Rubén Blades), Madison, Travis and Strand try and talk out how to try fixing it. Someone needs to get down in the water and fix it, though. Travis valiantly offers, to Madison’s chagrin. This is a super intense, subtly eerie few moments.
Topside, they start to clear things out. Big job. A guy’s arm got sucked up the intake and jammed the filters, the whole thing up. Strand is edgy, which doesn’t go over well with Travis. But they go along to get along. For now, everyone is stuck on the water until the box is up and running again. In other areas of the boat, Daniel finds his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) in rough shape, too. Her wound is a bit infected. He doesn’t want to rely on Madison, or anyone else, so for now they keep it to themselves.
On a nearby shore, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) has spotted a ton of luggage washed up. Her, Nick (Frank Dillane) and Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) want to go over and get supplies. Of course that goes over like a fart in church. Until Daniel offers to go. At the same time, Daniel brings up Mexico, teasing to Madison that Strand has other things in mind than just his passengers.
Over onshore, Daniel and the younger crew search. At the boat, Travis goes under quickly to get some more work done. Everybody’s doing their part; a good sign for early zombie apocalypse group behaviour. A little note so far – love the music in this episode, really great. Very beautiful, as well as very ominous. Lots of nice piano.
Chris, as could’ve been predicted, decides to head off away from Daniel and the others. Dummy. Why do you insist on doing dangerous shit? All the while his father is doing dangerous things. Necessary danger, to get the boat moving. So out by his lonesome Chris finds remnants of a plane, inside there are zombies strapped into their seats, one still with an oxygen mask. He’s surprised to find one man still alive.
On the boat, Madison confronts Strand about what’s going on with his plans for Mexico and such. He tells her about a house with reinforced walls, proper water, et cetera, and there’s a window of time closing to get there. She wants them all to be a part of it. He doesn’t seem opposed, though their trust needs work.
Madison: “And Victor, you even look wrong at anyone in my family I will throw you overboard.”
Victor: “You‘re not a killer”
All of a sudden, Daniel realizes he can’t see Chris. The kid is busy trying to help save the man in the plane. But the guy is seriously injured. This puts Chris in a terrible position. There’s literally nothing they can do for him. Except kill him. So he does. A harsh, vicious thing to have to do, yet he got it done.
Travis is busy trying to fix the boat. Madison tells him about the situation with Strand, saying they ought to trust him and head for Mexico. He’s not sure about believing in Victor, though Madison seems to be sold on the whole idea. Either way, the married couple are having problems.
Daniel comes across a woman running on the island. Because a bunch of walkers are headed over the horizon towards them. Simultaneously, Nick slips and falls into a small pit where a zombie, stuck in a hole being eaten by crabs, nearly kills him. Then up above another walker tumbles down. “Oh shit,” screams Nick – oh shit is right.
But Daniel is the one most in trouble. While Chris and Alicia meet up with him on the beach, they still can’t find Nick. And the place is overrun. Travis gets the boat running in time. Only the walkers are outnumbering the survivors on the beach outrageously. Alicia, Daniel, they all fight hard.
Until Nick shows up, covered in walker blood looking fucking zombie Braveheart. Bad. Ass. He’s found out, after coming literally face to face with one walker and mirroring him, that the zombies can’t tell a person from them if they’re covered in guts. This whole sequence is incredible. The music kicks it up a whole other notch, continually from one scene to the next in this episode.
Except once they’re back at the boat, Strand isn’t happy about the new additions from the island – the woman and the kid from the beginning of the episode. Then Madison breaks the news of Mexico to the rest of the group. Even Travis agrees with her: “We made a decision. We have our destination.” The deal is, for now, the woman and the boy will get towed in their raft behind them. Strand won’t have it any other way. Sad, but a microcosm of how life needs to be now that the world is collapsing, quicker by the second.
Aboard the raft, the woman – Charlie (Michelle Ang) – assures the boy this is “the worst” their situation will get. Things are looking up.
Then Victor comes down and chops the raft loose of the boat, setting the woman and the boy back into the ocean. Whoa. That is a cold way to do it. And now it’s made clear to Madison who watches him: nobody fucks with Strand.
Next episode is titled “Blood in the Streets” and I’m excited. This season gets better with each chapter. Look forward to more new developments, some revelations, and more zombie action!