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‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Season 2 Episode 5 Review: ‘Captive’ Brings Gravest Threat Yet

Recap and review of Fear the Walking Dead – Season 2 Episode 5 – Captive:

Fear the Walking Dead has been playing a game of misdirection for an entire month now, and it’s worked out pretty well, I think. Each episode appears to set up a new Big Bad for the season, offering a force for the Abigail to confront and defeat by season’s end. Yet every episode has subverted those expectations by dispatching with these villains within an episode or two. Sure, some characters recur, but others aren’t so lucky, what with the whole being dead thing. “Captive” is another episode that ramps up the tension through uncertainty. Is Connor’s group the big threat for the season, or do even larger forces loom ahead? By the end of the episode, we have our answer.

'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 2 Episode 5 Review 'Captive' Brings Gravest Threat Yet

Credit: AMC

Interestingly, I found this to be a really solid episode, because it was anchored around a central mission. For Maddie (Kim Dickens) and Nick (Frank Dillane), it was all about rescuing Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam Carey). For Travis and Alicia, it was about escaping Connor’s boat and making it back to their family. Mutual goals approached in different ways can occasionally make for exciting television, and I felt that was the case here. It certainly helped that a guy like Connor (Mark Kelly) makes such a striking villain. He’s as interested in self-preservation as anyone else, but he seems to recognize that there’s a bigger picture in all of this, a need for community in order to survive. In a way, the episode makes the case that the Abigail crew are the worst kinds of people to achieve this end, as Alex (Michelle Ang) reappears to warn Alicia about the treachery within her own group. Sadly, she had to strangle poor Jake, who was already on death’s door long before Strand (Colman Domingo) cut the tether and set them adrift two episodes ago. Alex is scarred by the things she’s had to do to survive, and it appears she carries a certain amount of survivors remorse with her, considering she speaks of Jake as though he was someone who definitely deserved to live more than herself. At least, that was the impression that I got from the dialogue. Either way, the message — which is further emphasized by Jack (Daniel Zovatto) to Alicia later — seems fairly clear: the Abigail group can’t be trusted, much less depended upon. But what Alex, Jack and all the others fail to realize is something that drives Maddie, Nick, Travis and Alicia throughout the episode: they’re family. If this had been a group of unconnected strangers with no familial bonds between them, then sure, maybe Alicia would have considered running away with Jack. But we know better, and he ought to as well (I’m guessing his obvious crush on Alicia is blinding him, in this regard). Alicia seems downright touched upon realizing her family came back for her, while Maddie and the others treat it as a matter of fact that they would come back to save one of their own. Because, really, what do you have in a zombie apocalypse if not each other?

Fear the Walking Dead - Recap and Review - Season 2 Episode 5 - Captive

Credit: AMC

The rescue hinges on a fairly bold play, as Maddie suggests a prisoner exchange: Travis and Alicia for Connor’s brother, Reed (Jesse McCartney). Of course, what Connor doesn’t know is that Reed is already dead, having been shot by an impulsive, guilt-ridden Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), who was simply looking to make amends by putting down a prisoner who was obviously about to turn. Except, was he? I guess we’ll never know. But, luckily, Reed’s death doesn’t imperil the group’s prisoner exchange plan. If anything, it actually helps. By placing a bag over Reed’s head, Connor and his crew won’t know Reed has turned until he’s too close to fight back against. It’s a pretty gruesome scene, actually, but allows the plan to go off without a hitch. When Connor removes the bag, he’s so shocked at Reed having turned that he’s unable to fight back when Walker Reed starts tearing him apart. This provides an opening for Travis to fight back against the captors with Maddie’s help. Even Alicia gets in on the action, taking out the pregnant Vida (Veronica Diaz-Carranza) in a fairly exhilarating sequence. By episode’s end, the status quo has been restored, but with one major catch: although Travis and Alicia are back with the group, Daniel (Ruben Blades) was able to overhear Luis (Arturo Del Puerto) telling Strand that only two people were approved passage to Mexico, and that the people running the operation charge by the head. So whatever plan Strand has, it clearly doesn’t include everyone on the Abigail. At least not the part of the plan that ends with everyone riding out the zombie apocalypse in an oasis of food, provisions and safe harbor. The mystery of Strand has to come to a head soon, but I don’t mind getting it piece-by-piece, like we have been. If anything, it ramps up the anticipation. And on a series where the characters can occasionally be difficult to really care about, suspense is a huge asset in this show’s favor.

But what did you think of Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 5, “Captive”?

And for more on Fear the Walking Dead, read up on the debut of Outcast from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman!

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