Fear The Walking Dead S02E05 “Captive” REVIEW

Fear The Walking Dead S02E05 “Captive” REVIEW

0 comments 📅09 May 2016, 20:58

Fear The Walking Dead S02E05 “Captive” REVIEW


stars 4

Airing in the UK on AMC Global, Mondays 9pm
Writer: Carla Ching
Director: Craig Zisk


Essential Plot Points:

  • Connor cooks Alicia a steak dinner to try and ease her into life in ConnorTown. The fact she’s locked in takes the edge off. The fact Vida steals her dinner doesn’t help. The fact she’s being held prisoner on a drydocked ship pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of Team Connor for her.
  • Meanwhile, back on the Love Boat, Jerkface Reed is somehow still alive and being treated by Daniel. It’s interesting that this treatment involve  a certain amount of pain that may or may not be deliberately inflicted. Daniel gets the information he needs, stabilises Reed and leaves Chris to guard the door.
  • Two of these things are smart.
  • On the bridge, Daniel reports in to Maddy and they plan how to get their people back. Luis arrives and is super unhappy that they’re not heading south. He talks to Strand, who is feeling better, and reminds him that they have a window they’re in severe danger of missing. Strand reassures him and gives Maddy a half day to get the family back together.
  • Back at Connor’s HQ, Jack walks Maddy through her new job; identifying mid-size vessels and reaching out to them to get the details they need. She’s reluctant but agrees, and lifts a switchblade from him as she does so. They identify one boat and prepare to approach it on the radio. Then Alicia realises it’s the Abigail and if it’s here, they can’t possibly have dropped her family off. She pounds on Jack, magnificently, using a file and actually draws blood. He calms her down by tackling her.
  • Downstairs, Travis wakes up in a cell and, because he’s great, immediately begins trying to Macgyver together an escape plan. It’s scuppered by the arrival of Alex.
  • Flight 462 Alex.
  • The word Travis is looking for is “awkward”.
  • Strand and Maddy
  • Back on the Love Boat, Maddy tears a strip off Strand for sending Nick to retrieve Luis. He argues that he’s given Nick a fairer shake than his mother ever has. Maddy… can’t really argue with that.
  • So she goes to see Nick and tries the same fight with him. Nick, with his slicked back hair, new shirt and fondness for the outside world is not the son she knew and she’s honestly not sure how she feels about that.
  • Back at Travis and Alex Process Their Feelings… they process their feelings. Alex explains that she had to murder Jake when his condition worsened. She’s furious at Travis for putting her in that position. But when Travis apologises and explains he had to do the exact same thing, the pair share a moment of curious understanding. Alex explains that Connor said he could use her, but no one uses her and leaves.
  • Back on the Love Boat, Reed draws Chris in and tells him that his family will abandon him. Chris buys into this until Nick reassures him. Chris admits he feels terrible for letting Reed and his team aboard and is terrified of freezing up again. Nick reassures him. For a brief, shining moment, Chris is not awful.
  • Elsewhere, Alicia and Jack visit Travis and Alicia explains that the Abigail is inbound. Travis reassures her that Maddy’s fine and they leave before they’re discovered.
  • The Abigail arrives and Maddy reveals that Reed is not in control. She negotiates an exchange for her husband and Alicia. Connor agrees, conditional on Reed being alive and well. Nick volunteers but Maddy shoots him down, saying she’ll go.
  • And…
  • Chris…
  • Reaches…
  • Peak…
  • AWFUL!

Chris is AWFUL

  • He shoots Reed, claiming he was turning. Maddy reassures him and holds the boy as he breaks down. Next door, Nick and Ofelia are cleaning up after Chris. Ofelia, and Nick, are both pretty clear that Chris’ story is either a lie or a delusion.
  • Then Reed wakes up.
  • Because that’s right, Chris is so incompetent he can’t even stop someone becoming a Walker.
  • Reed breaks free but Daniel pins him to the wall using the crowbar he was impaled on last week. Then he gets an idea…
  • The big plan is this: tie Reed’s hands, put a bag over what’s left of his head and hope for the best. This is complicated by Daniel starting to hear aural hallucinations from his previous career as a torturer. He powers through them like a pro. For now.
  • It’s complicated further when Connor only brings Travis for the exchange. This is because Alicia is hiding from Jack. She later gets into a brief fight with Vida and escapes to the top of the drydocked ship just in time to see Maddy and Travis handle their business. They do this by deploying their tethered zombie and basically hitting Connor’s two guys very hard, then running away. Alicia, confronted by Jack, slides into the water and escapes with them.



“In my time I’ve known men who inspire fear. Know what they have in common? They never say how frightening they are.”

This is an episode about becoming. It’s set in that moment after the world ends but just before when people realise. Everyone here is struggling to work out who they are now. And the most dangerous ones have already figured it out.
Connnor, Reed and their dysfunctional family are the best example of this. Connor is simultaneously clinging on to who he was and adapting to who he is. He’s a curdled caregiver, a man who cooks for the people he keeps as indentured pirates and slaves. He’s a hero in his own mind. Nowhere else.

Reed, if anything is even more dangerous because he knows who he is and what he’s becoming and wants to rush the process along. He’s still colossally annoying this episode but that annoyance comes with context at the very least. He’s a survivor, a man so terrified and angry that he’s turned into a monster to defend the shrinking circle of influence he has. Both of them are interesting characters, not so much proto-Negans as proto-Ricks and it would have been nice to see both of them given a little more to do.

Maddy and Reed

Alex, who it’s nice to see back this week, is another example. She seems to have some pretty serious backstory given her competence in Flight 462 and how successful a survivor she is. However where Connor and Reed cling to the wreckage of the past, Alex is largely free. Only the murder of Jake ties her to who she was and her rage at Travis over putting her in that position is tangible.

Except, nothing interesting in this show is simple. Cliff Curtis impresses yet again this week and his absolutely artifice-free apology is one of the best moments the show’s had so far. He feels awful for what he forced Alex to do. He’s done the same thing. He defines his moral compass by his kids and tries to do better. He’s a complex, troubled, moral guy and his endless compassion is a welcome rudder for the show.

Now. We need to talk about Chris.

The show – and I don’t think we’ve used this metaphor yet – is heading into deep water with him. The implication is that Chris is starting to enjoy killing, and that he’s decided to cling to the absolute certainty of that the same way Connor and Reed cling to the organisational structure of their past.

This is a good thing because Chris is one of the show’s dead spots and they need to give him something to do. Plus, if this is what they’re doing with him then it’s interesting to see that plot play out in a supporting character.

Maddy and Chris

This is a very very bad thing because Chris is awful.

We’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Lorenzo James Henrie is not awful. He’s a solid to frequently very good actor who may well do great things with this material. But Chris at this point is a broken character and this is only going to break him further.

Think about it; he was useless in season one. His arc so far in season two has been to understandably buckle under the trauma of losing his mom and decide he quite likes killing people. That’s an almost impossible road to come back down and it honestly feels like he’s being set up to be the season’s big fatality.

That in itself is a problem because the other characters aren’t stupid. Nick, Ofelia, Daniel and hopefully Maddy all seem pretty clear on Chris murdering Reed. That’s bad. The fact he does so incompetently is so, so much worse. Chris is officially dead weight right now, a liability on a boat and show intended to travel light. The thought of multiple episodes of him apologising for accidentally killing yet another person may fill you with dread and we really hope this plot gets addressed and addressed soon. Because those waters are only going to get deeper, darker and harder to navigate once Chris becomes what he thinks he wants to be.


The Good:

  • Yet more beautiful photography. Craig Zisk excels at using the camera to help tell the story as well as frame it. Look at the Alex/Travis scene where they’re both caged by their decisions and that just beautiful final shot of Alicia hitting the water. Also the nicely laid out geography of the Alicia/dock fight/Abigail in the distance scenes.


  • Yay, Alex came back! And did some really good stuff! Thanks, show! Sorry we didn’t believe in you!
  • There’s a really subtle use of wardrobe as character note this episode. Chris is still dressed like a kid and Nick, with similar build and hair, has had a very definite wardrobe upgrade. The contrast between the sharp, black shirted Nick and the scrappy, increasingly frantic Chris is really nicely handled.
  • “Everything is a negotiation. I’ll get us across.”
    “You’ll get us killed.” Much more Luis soon please.
  • “You did what you had to do.”
    “I did what you MADE me do.” I really hope Alex comes back again. If nothing else because her relationship with Travis is so complex.
  • “He knows how to move through this world.”
    “Yeah just because he does, doesn’t mean he should.” And that’s the complex, nuanced conflict between Maddy and Strand perfectly summed up. There’s some great writing this episode and I hope there’s more Carla Ching episodes coming up.
  • “Be prepared. Because when the time comes, these people you call your family will put you down like you’re a stray.” Reed, dreadful human being but surprisingly gifted at psychological warfare.
  • “Did I just screw everything up?” YES YOU AMAZING HUMAN FAILURE!
  • “It’s what we do now. Spill blood, clean it up, spill it again.” Pretty much the mission statement for the Abigail’s crew, right there.


The Bad:

  • What the hell was that stuff with the search chopper and boat last week? The stuff that Nick, the Recovering Addict From Milk Tray, had to get past?! Nothing?! No context at all?! COME ON!


  • The “Oh my God, Chris are you SERIOUS?” Moment of the Week: He straight up murders a dude! Incompetently! And then cries about it! He is The WORST.
  • Boo! Alex is presumably either Walker bait or going to resurface again, with Jack, further down the line. I hope it’s the second.
  • We’re sincerely terrified the Chris plot is going to become some dreadful Lady Macbeth nonsense with Maddy defending the droopy psychopath.
  • The plan involving Reed’s Walker, “Operation Shove and Run” as we call it, is so, so close to stupid that it almost breaks the episode. They just, barely, get away with it.
  • Connor was weirdly flat as a villain and dispatched super quickly despite the large amount of time we spent with him this episode.


The Random:

  • Mark Kelly, whose Connor really deserved a bit more room, has got a nice chunky CV. Odds are you’ve seen him on CSI and CSI: New York, as Dale in Mad Men and as a voice cast member for LA Noire. He’s also appeared in 2 Lava 2 Lantula! Which is the best movie title you will hear, possibly, all year.
  • Shot of the week has to be this. Just incredible work from Craig Zisk.

Shot of the week

Review by Alasdair Stuart


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