Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven’t seen the season two premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead.”
The first season of “Fear the Walking Dead” was often criticized for being too slow for its short six-episode season. The show opted to focus on the terrifying rigors of suburban life under military occupation over the zombie apocalypse surrounding them. The second season finally seems to be putting the whole idea of “zombies are a part of our everyday lives now” concept into full effect.
The second season begins with the survivors of the first season running for the sanctuary that is a yacht. The survivors include: Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), her kids Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), her boyfriend Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), his son Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades) — a quiet man with a predilection for torture — his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) and the mysterious and rich Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) who has kindly offered his yacht Abigail as a way of escape.
The opening episode brings the undead right out of the gate. With the military bombing Los Angeles thanks to the Cobalt protocol the zombies seem to be pushed to the ocean just like the survivors. Nick runs Strand and the Salazars out to the yacht in a smaller boat while Madison, Travis and the rest of their kids wait on the beach. Thankfully the two adults don’t fall into the troupe of thinking the zombies can be saved and promptly bash in the skulls of any that come near them while Chris mourns the death of his mother (who was bitten and killed by Travis at the end of last season). Nick returns and after a fancy kill involving the small boat’s propeller, the whole family (including the dead mom) leaves the burning city behind them.
If anyone was worried that life on the high sea would be void of much conflict they needn’t have worried much. The survivors are aboard the Abigail for all of a couple hours before they find a large number of refugees floating on what could charitably be described as a raft. Madison wants to get them on the boat but both Strand and Travis disagree.
“If I stop this boat it will be to let people off,” Strand tells Madison from the captain’s chair.
Below deck, Alicia has been relegated the duty of listening to the radio for any information. With Chris sitting on a bed with the corpse of his mother, the two listen to the horror stories people are reporting and that the Coast Guard won’t be helping anyone.
Madison and Travis argue about leaving those people behind. Having quickly moved from pacifist to survivalist, Travis points out it would have been unsafe and unwise to bring anyone else onto the ship. He tells her they need to focus on keeping their family safe rather than trying to save everyone.
Alicia finds someone on the radio playing music and asks if anyone is out there, hoping the “nostalgia of the past” will make people talkative. After a bit more one-sided conversation, Alicia lets the voice know she is there.
Chris is still struggling with the death of his mom and turns to Salazar, whose wife died during season one, over his dad as someone to talk to. The two bond over their loses while Salazar catches an eel for them to eat. Travis watches from another part of the ship, perhaps a tad jealous.
Nick bumps into Ofelia, who is nursing a gunshot wound, and offers his assistance in changing the bandage. Ofelia declines but Nick passes on a few tips, most importantly that vodka helps, which makes Ofelia smile. Potentially blossoming love is at its best when it is born out of the apocalypse.
Strand is the man with the plan and that plan is San Diego. He seems confident they’ll find something there. Madison hears him talking to himself while driving the boat and learns he still hasn’t slept, possibly because he’s worried he’ll be thrown overboard. Strand isn’t the only one with trust issues, though. Salazar also has a few questions about their rich savior. He asks Madison if she thinks he may have hidden motives. She tells Salazar they should watch Strand, which Salazar says he’s already been doing.
The passengers of the Abigail hold a small ceremony for Liza, Travis’ ex-wife and Chris’ mom. Travis gives a speech but Chris tires of it. After spending all day hanging out with his dead mom in a room he’s pretty quick to just walk up and toss her overboard. Travis follows Chris below deck begging for them to talk. Chris says he could have done something for her rather than just shoot her, then he punches Travis in the face.
Alicia has been learning about the voice on the other end of the radio, whose name is apparently Jack. After awhile she learns that Jack’s boat is taking on water, eerily soon after she tells him they are on a yacht, and Alicia is convinced they can save them. She takes it to the group and Strand eloquently gives everyone a rundown on the rules of the boat.
1. It’s his boat.
2. It’s his boat.
3. It’s his goddamn boat.
Basically, they aren’t going for Jack.
Nick confronts Strand and asks the question on everyone’s mind: why Strand chose to save him. Strand connects a few dots about how being an addict and on the verge of death numerous times has made him fearless, which is a hot commodity in today’s time.
The residents of the Abigail gather for a delicious meal of eel. Everyone except Chris, who decides now is the best time for a quick dip in the ocean. Nick dives in after him as everyone else rushes outside. Turns out Chris really did want to go for a swim and wasn’t offering himself to the briny depths, though he certainly gave everyone reason to believe it was the latter.
It would have been reasonable to assume moving the central location of the show’s second season to a boat in the middle of the ocean was an attempt by the producers to try their damnedest to avoid including zombies at all. Luckily that’s not the case. The Abigail ended up being parked next to the smoking remains of a sinking ship. The occupants of the ship are now zombies bobbing their way toward Nick and Chris. How they didn’t notice the smoking boat next to them while they were eating is a great question but no matter. Travis hops in the dingy to rescue the boys while Strand notices that someone is coming their way faster than they can get away.
It’s refreshing to learn that it took all of a couple weeks for piracy to make a roaring comeback on the ocean. Whether it is Jack or someone else, the residents of the Abigail are about to have company.