AMC‘s Fear The Walking Dead Captive TV Show Review. Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 5: ‘Captive,’ had some momentum behind it, after last ep’s escalations; but may have relied on it a bit too much. Getting Travis & Alicia (Cliff Curtis, Alycia Debnam-Carey) back from Pirate King Connor (Mark Kelly) was necessary, sure, but maybe a little too much focus on the kid’s table took away from what the new heavies had brought to the festivities. It was an Alicia episode – which was fine, since she needed the exercise; but her stint at playing captive was still a premature gear shift from the previous episode.
Usually, when characters manages to slip their confines too easily, they ultimately find themselves isolated on a relatively large, self-contained, and remote vessel/ facility. Well, FTWD one-upped that trope a little, when Alicia made her first break for it. Connor didn’t just have a cove, a rig, or some kind of super tanker, he had an active port – complete with a small fleet of vessels. I may have had to refer to him as Commodore Connor, if not for… well….
As I mentioned before, Connor was no Negan; but he was measured, calculating, and not without charm. In fact, he was downright pleasant – which can often be an even more unsettling quality to have in a villain. While we’ve seen that his enterprise does, in fact, make him a villain, he was still a nice guy. Easy to see, considering that Reed (Jesse McCartney) was his brother. Reed being Reed suggested his own fate; but that fate may change the nature of Connor’s villainy, going forward. Well, it would, if not for….
After a well seasoned carrot, from Connor, and a little prison yard posturing, from Vida (Veronica Diaz-Carranza), Alicia went about being a bad influence on Jack (Daniel Zovatto). Being a bad influence was, of course, a good thing, in this case. Somehow, playing along forced Alicia to admit to a truth she had, until now, shown no signs of even being aware of – the illusion of civil concerns, and to the rules of modern living. Better late than never, I guess, and whatever it takes to get her to a post-civilization state of usefulness.
Unfortunately, Maddie (Kim Dickens) remained highly selective, in how she read that same memo. Despite numerous demonstrations of talent (still mostly chasing after one fix, or another, though), Nick (Frank Dillane) was still on her no-on-the-job-training list. On-the-job-training has been pretty much what the Strand & Nick relationship stood for; so more conflict between Strand & Maddie. Viewers would likely prefer a Rick certified Nick, over a coddled Nick-up; but a doting mother’s POV has to be made allowance for.
Since he managed to survive his skewering, Reed was put to work as the captive mouth that rattles nerves. Of course, Reed forgot the part about knowing your audience. It didn’t take too much for Daniel (Rubén Blades) to convey that he was the wrong guy to try intimidating; but I really just appreciate watching guys like Reed choke on their own bluster. That bluster babble did prove useful to Maddie, however; but Reed had other nerves to poke at.
Alicia on point, working her feminine wiles on Jack (at least I hope that’s what she was doing), meant that Travis had little to do, during his captivity; but as the designated middle-of-the-roadster, he was selected to be the point of a previous character’s point of reentry.
Alex’s (Michelle Ang) comeback was presented as a spirit of vengeance – out to force Travis into facing a recent sin; but, somehow, his owning up to it, and the fact that they were both members of the Kevorkian Club, turned the confrontation into a bonding moment. Well, that de-escalated quickly.
Of course Alex didn’t go from being the rogue star of a web-series just to be an evil henchwoman; so almost as quickly as she declared herself back, she was out & at large. Clearly we were just in need of being informed that she’ll have a place on the show.
I sort of made peace with the idea of Reed having a place on the show – if only for a season of viewer taunting. At the very least, he was useful in tapping into Daniel’s background experience & skill-set, which, in turn, was applied to concerns over developments with Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie). Daniel was the first to spot the danger (harboring some of it, himself); but hope springs eternal.
So does Chris-cost. See, Chris isn’t just a character, he’s an occurrence; and this time around, Chris cost Maddie her master plan. Is there a category to determine whether Chris had turned, in another sense of the word? Maybe fans should set up a sliding Shane scale….
There were more what-were-they-thinking moments than I would’ve liked (always check the content of the bagged hostage before the trade – with as much screw-you-for-trying-to-screw-me space as possible); but ‘Captive’ kept things interesting, regarding the pirate arc as a redeemer of dead weight.
Sadly, part of this was watching characters like Alicia use her hex powers on a group that deserved hexing – like watching a swarm of bees turn on the guy that threw the hive at you (‘cause he forgot he was covered in honey, or something – I dunno – these analogies make themselves up!)
As much as the pirates brought some life (ironically) to the series, the quick wrap up threatens to leave something of a vacuum. Unless a certain someone makes a surprise reappearance – minus an arm (and maybe sporting a hook) – we’ve been left with Jack Sparrowless, you-wouldn’t-hit-a-pregnant-chick Vida, and Alex as a wildcard. While I can do with seeing much more of Alex, Jack was an empty suit, and as annoying as Vida was, hating on her would not be enough.
Let’s face it: as much as some of us watch shows like TWD to root for certain characters, some watch for the satisfaction of good comeuppance. What’s a Z apocalypse, if not a weed-out process? FTWD may still have a character likeability problem; but by giving viewers characters to openly root against – and more importantly, characters who pay for their no-good-nicks – it gives viewers a reason to keep watching.
Even if the show holds on to some of the character advances made (while doing something useful with the notable degrade), it will still need an outlet for them to do things viewers can root for, or a new source of baddies to root against. Strand’s rendezvous in Mexico should let us know if the season is on the right course, or just coming off one of its better pit stops.
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