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Fear the Walking Dead: Season two, episode 11 recap Pablo & Jessica

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Madison and Strand make some unlikely allies while Nick makes a very interesting allegiance of his ownSpoiler alert: this blog is published after Fear the Walking Dead airs on AMC in the US on Sundays. Do not read on unless you have watched season two, episode 11 (which airs in the UK on Monday)

At least for one episode, Fear the Walking Dead has taken on the qualities of its zombie subjects: boring, poorly organized and slow. Its characters are hard to care about, its plot twists ripped from the original series and there dont seem to be any psychological insights that this show can find in the apocalypse. Now more than ever, Fear the Walking Dead needs to make a case for its existence.

At least Nick has an interesting journey: that of a former addict whos turned his life around after the infected take over. Weve seen him again and again repurpose the skills of a junkie into those of a successful survivor. The arc gets literal now, as he trades Oxycontin for water and goods and cuts the drugs with powdered milk to make more pills. Nick doubles their supply overnight, and suddenly becomes one of the colonys most valuable members.

Youre desperate for it

But of course Nick has become a different sort of addict now, craving the danger of desperate situations. Hes still looking for a reason to live, and though he feels fulfilled helping the colony, he wants to feel the rush of being a hero.

He also wants a reason to believe Alejandro, who tells Nick about how he once tried to save a young addict who had become zombie-like because of the drugs. He says he was bitten, it healed and that Nick has to take a leap of faith. Its hard not to suspect hes faking.

Nicks big moment is a visit from Luci, who once despised him and now pops by for a little candlelit Spanish and a make-out session. This scene seemed designed to make viewers feel a romantic tingle, but came off entirely cold. The relationship felt predetermined from their first meeting in the desert, and its consummation didnt feel earned. It felt like an inevitable yawn.

We can make this place a home

The episode began with an even duller sequence: Madison and Strand, drunk in a bar, hacking through zombies and smearing a bit of blood to disguise themselves among the undead. Weve seen this trick about five times on the original Walking Dead, and it seems to be the way out of danger every week here. Is this really all they can think of?

The shows goal seemed to be to gin up some suspense, leaving us in the dark about the fate of various characters. We didnt know how Madison survived, where Ofelia went, or what happens to Travis and Chris for weeks at time. But unlike The Walking Dead, when it pulls these stunts with likable characters weve known for years, its sister show makes it hard to care.

Out of the bar intact, Madison approaches Oscar, the leader of the hotel guests, and convinces them they need to clear the building and fortify it before some jerk comes along. The dialogue seems a clear case of foreshadowing: theyll create a stampede, drive the zombies off the pier, and let the current wash them out to sea.

But weve seen this trick before: Rick used the exact same tactic on The Walking Dead. Not to mention theres no reason that this would be a good plan. Weve seen that the undead can live, so to speak, underwater, and the stampede would unnecessarily infect part of the ocean that they need for food and transportation. And whats the point of being at a Mexican resort if you cant even go swimming in the ocean?

Death pardoned you

Other than Nick and Lucis seven minutes in heaven, the emotional center of the episode was supposed the title characters, Pablo and Jessica. Pablo was Lucis brother, whose body they finally found long after his relevance to the story had drifted off out of memory.

Fear the Walking Dead did manage to create some emotion with Jessica, though, in the scene where Strand convinces Oscar to let him kill her, Oscars recently turned bride. It was two men who have lost everything, and who found themselves re-evaluating their lives together an actual moment about the universality of loss, and how people might alleviate that pain in each other. Fear the Walking Dead found something to redeem its dull hour in this scene, about finding human connections in a monstrous world, and hopefully it can find more scenes like it.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/sep/11/fear-the-walking-dead-season-two-episode-11-recap-pablo-jessica

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