This was almost an awesome episode of FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. The content was there but the episodes construction held it back ever so slightly. Things happened this week, things happened and things developed but things were also kind of clunky. This was a big Strand episode, and via the magic of flashback we learned a thing or two about him. Mainly that he’s open to a ‘close’ male relationship and that when Nick met him in the army prison back in season 1, he was apprehended during a business dealing he was supposed to be making on behalf of his lover. Nothing revelatory was discovered about Strand during all of this, but we did get some context for his character, and evidence that he was always a no nonsense, straight to the point, kind of guy.
The most pertinent piece of information that we discovered from ‘Blood in the Streets’ was that the man who Strand was seeing, is in fact still alive, and that he’s the person who is supposed help Strand (and now the group) get to Mexico. Nick was the one to discover this aspect of Strand’s plan, via an odd excursion to the main land while the boat was hijacked by Alicia’s mystery radio friends. What first started out as a very peculiar but equally intriguing teaser, saw Nick crawl out of the ocean and onto the beach, making his way inland covered in walker blood. No context was really provided until much further into the episode, giving proceedings a mysterious vibe that was pretty cool but that also felt kind of messy and unclear of exactly when this was happening. It turned out that this little adventure for Nick was actually a mission given to him by Strand, a mission that was completed when he met up with the assistant of Strand’s old pal.
While all of this was happening, the rest of the group was dealing with being boarded by the group that had been following them. Alicia’s radio boyfriend playing good cop with her, and the rest being pretty mean to our guys, forcing Travis to restart the boat manually as Strand had escaped with the key in the dingy before things got worse (They shot at his boat as he tried to ride away, leaving him to assumingly drown). He was fine however, as the guys saved him after Nick and his new friend arrived just in time to take out the attackers, but also just too late to stop Travis and Alicia being taken away by Conor, the pirates’ leader
So things really changed for the ladies and gents of FTWD this week. They are now split, with Travis — the group’s reluctant leader — taken hostage. Surely the plan will be to get them back, Madison isn’t going to be happy with her husband and daughter removed from her life at this most harrowing of times. Strand will obviously not want to intervene, it’s a good bet that he will vote in favour of leaving for Mexico as soon as humanly possible. Could we see a further split of the group? We will have to wait and see. But things will undoubtedly be different now, for how long, we do not know. But this will definitely disrupt the cosy boat ride adventure the show had been pursuing. I like this direction though, a threat has been introduced, giving the guys a very real problem outside of walkers to deal with.
My complaints are few but they are there. The episode could have been structured a little better. The back and forth between Nick and the boat, between present and past, was a little off. It was supposed to be clever but turned out kind of messy, not enough to ruin the episode however. There was some clunky dialogue I could have done without and the writers didn’t really seem to remember how long the apocalypse had been going on for, but these were minor gripes with an otherwise sterling episode. I’m still waiting for the breakout jaw to the floor instalment, the moment that will elevate the show to new heights, but there are plenty of episodes left, and this one wasn’t bad at all.