This review contains spoilers
The boaters on board the Abigail are increasingly facing tough decisions. They’re trying to hold onto old-world values, but they’re increasingly running into post-apocalyptic problems. An injured man isn’t just an injured man anymore; he’s now a liability, a ticking zombie time-bomb. Two episodes ago, Strand disposed of the ticking time bomb that was Alex (whose name has changed from Charlie during her first appearance, apparently) by cutting her loose, quite literally. As it turns out, turning your back on those in need can either save you or end you, and turning your back on family is just not something to even be considered. When you have someone who you trust to watch your back, you stick with them like glue, even if that means you have to undertake a dangerous mission to steal back your missing loved ones.
After Connor and the gang took off with Alicia and Travis, it’s not surprising that Maddie will risk everything to get back her missing daughter and husband. Plus, the crew has an ace in the hole—a grievously injured Reed (Jesse McCartney), who just so happens to be Connor’s brother. That’s leverage, as Strand proudly announces from his position on the recovery couch, and it gives the team a plan: trade Reed for Travis and Alicia. Of course, that’s assuming Alicia doesn’t break out and make a run for it before they can come to her rescue.
It’s interesting to see this group make these kind of dangerous plays. Maddie might not want her kids to actually carry guns and do anything dangerous, but at the same time, she’s willing to put a bag on a zombie’s head and take him for a dinghy ride, only to hand the zombie over to armed men. It’s the kind of play that Rick and company would try, not so much this group of folks, who can’t decide if they want to be ruthless or if they want to save the world. One of the fun things that Fear is doing in the early part of this season is establishing that whenever this group comes into contact with others, they’re pretty much screwing up. They cut away Alex’s life raft, and she gives all their information to the raiders. They stop on an island and try to help some survivalists, and a whole family basically gets killed right in front of them. It’s no wonder they can’t seem to get unified behind a group mindset.
The script from Carla Ching discusses some of the issues involved, and while I’m typically not a fan of the super villain speech, I like that Alex goes to talk to Travis while he’s trapped in the ship, so that way he understands just what his not standing up for her actually led to. Of course, he counters with the fact that he had to shoot his son’s mother, which kind of trumps a stranger on a plane. It’s interesting to see them talking things out, rather than Alex just going straight for revenge (thought I’m pretty sure she’s still kind of looking for revenge).
Of course, the highlight is the exchange of hostages between Connor’s group and Madison. There’s a pretty nice sweep over the Abigail as Nick and Strand watch from a distance, and the distance shots of the brawl between Maddie, Travis, and the raiders work from every possible angle. The ship angle is a neat perspective, and Alicia’s perspective from the top of the dry dock base also works out really well. The fight itself is pretty well done, with Travis’s fierce headbutt being a highlight in Craig Zisk’s fight. The use of the zombie brother as a weapon is also really fun, with the zombie makeup once again being a highlight of a Walking Dead show. Just when you think you’ve seen every possible way to shoot someone, here comes a new monster with an interesting new mangled face.
Unfortunately, this clash isn’t over. Just because Maddie, Travis, and Alicia get away, there’s still several surviving raiders left, and they know the Abigail’s radar signature well enough to come after them. Just killing the leader won’t be enough; just because he’s dead and the most violent member of the group is dead doesn’t mean that Jack, Vida, and Alex are all going to put down their arms and become fast friends with Strand and the Gang.
Will this result in a boat chase? Boy, I sure hope so. I love a good boat chase, and it only makes sense given just how important boats and the water have been to this season of the show.