Fear The Walking Dead S02E14 “Wrath” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on AMC Global, Mondays
Writer: Kate Barnow
Director: Stefan Schwartz
Essential Plot Points:
- Previously on HOW ARE YOU PEOPLE STILL ALIVE?! HOW?!!!!
- Nick! Gangsters! Possible zombie immunity! Chris being awful! Bros! TERRIBLE parenting! Ofelia getting the Hell out of Dodge!
- And we’re back. With Ofelia’s car breaking down. The good news is it isn’t in the middle of nowhere. The bad news is, well, the car’s pretty much toast.
- Oh and two Walkers creep up on her despite good sight lines and no ambient noise. Still, she traps one with a car bonnet and kills one with a hammer so there’s that.
- Seeing more coming, Ofelia heads out on foot, confident she can outpace them as she tries to work out how to cross the border wall.
- Meanwhile at the Colonia, Nick wakes up in the middle of the night. Luciana is sleeping next to him but he’s troubled. And when Nick’s troubled, he does something stupid. In this case, sneaking out with the Scout he recruited last week to make the drug run.
- Back at Hotel Bad Choices, Travis wakes up on the sofa and finds Madison in a chair watching him. They pick up right where they left off, with Madison trying to reassure Travis that he did protect Chris. Travis doesn’t believe her, but she promises she’ll remind him he did the right thing until he believes it.
- At the market, Nick and his little buddy show up to make the drop.
- Back at the hotel, Alicia brings Travis breakfast and they talk about Chris. Travis apologises for being a terrible step-dad and Alicia, because she remains the smartest person in the show, accepts his apology.
- Back at the supermarket, the gang is planning how to storm the Colonia when Nick and his partner are shown in. Nick lays it all on the line: regular drug deliveries, on time, in return for the gang leaving them alone. Marco explains that he likes Nick’s style but they have a new connection with the man who runs all the drugs left in the country. He tells Nick he’s going to take the Colonia and anyone who wants to live should leave. He shows Nick the dead bodies of the family who he took last week and gives him the ultimatum for the Colonia: leave now or die.
- Back at the Hotel, Alicia and Madison are helping the new arrivals. The bro’s are being stereotypically racist and Madison goes to see them. They explain they were in an accident and their buddy, who was driving, didn’t make it.
- As they bicker, Madison puts it together…
- And for the first time in a couple of weeks, immediately does something sensible and goes to see Strand. She explains her dilemma; get rid of them and they’ll never know the truth, keep them and Travis will find out something terrible.
- Strand walks her through it. Strand explains that he has no hope without Thomas and asks if Travis can survive losing hope when he finds out about Chris. She replies, “He’s already broken.”
- Back at the Colonia, Luciana confronts Nick. He tells her they’ve been discovered and must tell Alejandro. She agrees, Nick apologises and tells her he’ll never lie to her.
- Alejandro cooks off but they start planning for the attack. One of Alejandro’s patients turns and he’s bitten. In the ensuing fight, Nick and the Walker are catapulted over the balcony and down into the infirmary. In a just blistering horrid sequence the Walker bites one person’s nose, someone else’s finger and Nick kills it by pushing his thumbs into its brain.
- Alejandro’s bitten. Nick knows. Alejandro knows.
- Back at the fence, Ofelia finds a hole. Her joy is short lived as she walks through and the camera pans around to reveal… even more nothing.
- At the Colonia, the victims are seen off to, “join the wall”. Nick, who it seems was the only one who saw Alejandro get bitten, is NOT cool with it but Luciana is convinced the wall will protect them.
- At the Hotel, the bro’s are taken elsewhere for medical care. This does not go down well with the Mexican refugees and a near riot ensues. Upstairs, Travis hears the commotion and sees the bros being led away showing, once again, just how bad Madison is at planning basically everything ever.
- Travis flips out and let’s be honest who can blame him. As Madison tries to throw the two idiots out, Travis confronts them and demands to know where Chris is.
- At the Colonia Nick is getting the hell out of there. Luciana finds him and he explains he’s leaving. Alejandro arrives and Nick calls him on his “faith” nonsense. Alejandro confesses: he’s not immune. He’s burning up.
- He’s dying.
- Alejandro was bitten by the boy he was trying to save, not a Walker. He tries to persuade them that he knew faith would help build the Colonia. Nick’s having none of it and wants out. Luciana retorts that she’s lost so many and when someone is dead to her she lets them go.
- Alejandro leaves. Nick embraces Luciana as she breaks down and tells her they have to go. Luciana refuses to leave. Luciana clings to her faith, even though she knows it’s a lie. She believes it’s worked better than anything else. She wants to stay.
- Ofelia is shot at and hides. An older man in camouflage fatigues shoots at her and then, apparently, takes her in.
- At the Hotel, chief bro’ Brandon agrees to tell Travis what happened in return for his shoulder being fixed. It is and Brandon continues to try and bargain. Travis attempts to rip his arm off. Brandon lays it out for him.
- Things went bad very fast. Constantly moving to avoid bandits, the two bro’s were exhausted. Chris volunteered to help and we see him drive, fall asleep and spin the truck. Brandon claims Chris was dead when they found him. The two bro’s claim they buried him and suddenly there’s a hole in their story. One says Chris was thrown, the other says he was pulled out.
- Travis thinks for a second and locks Maddy out of the room. He turns back to Trevor and Brandon and his eyes are dead.
- He begins to beat them to death. Brandon, terrified, tells him the truth: they killed Chris. They had to.
- We see Chris, his leg shattered, drag himself out of the truck.
- We see the bros walk up on him.
- We see Brandon shoot Chris in the face.
- And then Travis rips Brandon’s shoulder back out of his socket. Trevor hits him with a chair and Travis beats him half to death.
- Trevor crawls along the floor. Travis puts him through a door.
- Brandon, weeping and barely conscious, pleads for his life.
- Travis stamps his skull, killing him.
- End of part one
This is a very weird episode because it serves one plot, mostly, very well the other two pretty badly. Shall we talk about the one it does mostly well first? Yeah okay then.
So, Chris is dead. And that’s necessary because as we’ve said before he was far and away the worst character on a show that doesn’t go wanting for bad characters. He was a terrible human, his descent into psychopathy was pretty majorly bungled and Fear The Walking Dead’s loss is also it’s gain. And Agents Of SHIELD’s too.
But this was one of the first characters we ever met on this show. He was a viewpoint character even and he gets killed off screen? In a flashback?
What did Chris’ plot actually do? He was driven mad by the murder of his mother, decided that violence was the way to go and… then he died in a car crash because he was an idiot. On the one hand it’s a refreshingly realistic way for a character to die. On the other, it’s a waste of 1.9 seasons of our time. We may not have liked the kid, and we really, really did not, but going out this way leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Not to mention shards of skull in Brandon’s.
That’s the single thing about this plot that works; Travis losing it. He has a real moment of clarity here when he realises just how staggeringly badly he let his son down. The rage and guilt he feels translates into the best, and nastiest, fight the show has ever done.
But here’s the problem; it also completely destroys the hotel plotline. The family can’t stay there and as a result, again, our time’s been wasted. This entire half season was about the hotel and getting it back on its feet. Now Travis is back, and has killed people, that’s done. And our characters leave with nothing. Again. Even in death it seems Chris can screw stuff up.
Meanwhile over at the Colonia we get what looks a lot like stuff happening. Nick tries to keep the peace, then tries to warn the Colonia that the gangsters are coming for them and then decides to leave. There are some nice moments here and an incredibly nasty Walker attack but this just seems like marking time. The gangsters should be a ticking clock but instead of sprinting the plot meanders. Still at least it’s not poor Ofelia whose sum contribution this episode is to lose the car, almost die, cross the border and meet a man who may as well have a sign round his neck saying I’LL BE IMPORTANT NEXT SEASON.
Regardless, this is the strongest episode in a while and serves as a pretty damn solid first half of the season finale. The one slight problem being there’s an episode to go…
- “Don’t worry ma’am, these people are docile.”
“Yeah? I’M NOT.” Madison is out of damns.
- The fight between Travis and the bro’s is excellent. It’s untidy and brutal and desperate. You can actually see the moment too where Trevor realises that he’s going to kill them and stops holding back. Not that it does him any good.
- That’s an excellent sweeping shot of Ofelia stepping through the fence into more wilderness.
- Chris’s death is technically really well executed.
- Cliff Curtis is chilling. The moment he closes the door and we realise what’s about to happen is incredible.
- The Bro’s are so racist this episode it feels absurd. They weren’t this bad before but here they’re one second away from making KKK jokes or watching Fox News.
- So… Ofelia’s sole purpose in the entire back half of the season was to run away and meet the old survivalist guy who we’ll see more of in season three? That’s not… y’know… efficient. Or especially interesting.
- Also just how did she miss those Walkers?
- Yes Chris’ death is smartly done but it also happens in an offhand manner that robs the character of the small amount of interest and agency he had. We can see what they’re doing here; the three bro’s go and try and out macho the world and fail epically. But, even for Chris, being killed by a disposable character off-screen is a pretty lousy way to die. And given that they had no reason whatsoever to lie, it’s not even like there’s any ambiguity.
- Nose removal! Finger removal! THUMBS IN BRAIN! WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?! Did they realise they had a gore deficit or something?!!!