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TV Review: Fear The Walking Dead 2.11 “Pablo & Jessica”
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Fear the Walking Dead review

Fear the Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 11 “Pablo & Jessica”
Directed by Uta Briesewitz
Written by Kate Erickson
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Mercedes Mason, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia
AMC
Air Date: Sunday, September 11, 2016, 9pm

Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead…

It took three episodes starting with the mid-season 2 premiere of Fear the Walking Dead to catch us up with all the characters, who had been separated and left without shelter during the mid-season finale. We saw Nick on his own journey searching for a place where the dead are not considered “monsters,” and he’s seemingly found it at the Colonia. After their yacht was seized, Madison, Strand, Ofelia, and Alicia were forced to abandon their plans to regroup with the others and instead took shelter at a hotel, which turned out to actually be occupied with both the living and the dead; and Travis was trying to lead his unstable son Chris away from others, but unfortunately came upon some U.S. spring breaker bros who were enticing the unstable boy away.

That brings us to the next installment, 2.11 “Pablo & Jessica,” which shows many of our primary cast members in one episode, except for Ofelia, who disappeared without a trace from the hotel a while back, and Chris and Travis, who were last seen with the bros standing over a murdered farmer and his chickens.

Episode 2.11 opens by showing us what happened when Madison and Strand were surrounded by walkers in the hotel bar after they got stupid drunk and made all kinds of noise. It seems at first that they won’t escape (though we know they do). That’s when Madison decides on trying the “blend in” trick. She and Strand dig into some downed zombie guts and smear it all over themselves so they can walk right through the crowd of their undead attackers. And, of course, it works! They make it out of the building back to where they parked their car, which is now gone. Strand assumes that Alicia drove off in it, but Madison doesn’t think her daughter is the type to leave. So, they make their way back into the hotel through another entrance and that’s when they hear Alicia’s screams for help that we saw at the end of the previous episode. Madison gets the doors open and reunites with her daughter, who has two new people — Elena and Hector — in tow.

Back at the Colonia, Nick feels bad about how he nearly ruined everything during the trade of goods with gang leader Marco, so he has a plan to help out. He tells Alejandro, a pharmacist serving the community as its doctor, that they can take their drugs and cut them with milk powder to create new pills that they could trade with Marco. He says it will buy them more time and more hope. It’s a dangerous thing to do, but even Alejandro realizes that they have to have something to bring to the trade so they can get water and other necessities. So, the two men get to work perfecting their doctored pills. High five!

During Nick’s private time with Alejandro, he asks the man about his supposed bite. Luciana had previously told Nick that Alejandro had been bitten by an infected, but did not die, and this is what led to their group having their belief that they are the “chosen ones.” Nick says he doesn’t believe in miracles and doesn’t have faith in leaps of faith either. Alejandro doesn’t give a straight answer, but instead puts the idea in Nick’s head that Luciana tests people she meets and that she was testing Nick. Later, Alejandro tells former junkie Nick to be careful during the next trade, and tells the story of how he got bit. There was a boy conveniently around Nick’s age who also had a problem with drugs who took something and went wild, and the people thought he was one of the infected and killed him. While Alejandro was trying to save the boy, he was bitten by an infected; Luciana brought him back there and as they waited for him to die, he never did! Nick then takes a closer look at the bite mark on Alejandro’s neck. Sounds plausible!

Soon after, Nick and Luciana bond while playing soccer with the children. After Nick scores a goal, we see a man, Francisco, covered in blood coming to Alejandro to report that “Pablo” is gone, and that he was “in pieces.” Luciana appears devastated, and Nick assumes that that was her boyfriend. It turns out Pablo was her brother, which makes Nick exponentially more sympathetic to Luciana. Not too obvious that you’re into her, right Nick? Here, Luciana tells Nick a bit about her family. Later on, Nick tells Alejandro that survival feels like “eating shit” after the man talks about how Nick had been wondering. That’s when Alejandro moves Nick from the infirmary to his own little home. Nick feels like his new abode is too much, but Alejandro says he deserves it for all he’s done so far. Later that night as Nick practices his Spanish, he gets a knock at the door – it’s Luciana. She comes into his candlelit bedroom and she teases then gives him props for his attempts at learning a new language. He laments that he didn’t take Spanish in high school; when she asks what he did take, he said, “myself too seriously.” He goes on to talk about his sister, Alicia, who did take Spanish. He says she was the “golden child” who had a future, and that she was with his mother when he left them. Luciana was surprised to hear that Nick had a family, as she couldn’t picture it. He says he thinks and hopes that they’re still alive. Luciana eventually falls asleep on Nick’s bed, and he gentlemanly takes the floor. When she awakes, she goes to leave, but he tells her to stay, that he can sleep on the floor. But she says no, because “people will talk shit.” He then brings up that Alejandro had said that she tests people and that she was testing him. To that, she leans in close to him and kisses him. He kisses her back. (Finally – who didn’t see this coming?)

So, what’s happening back at the hotel now that the gang minus Ofelia plus Elena and her nephew Hector — the two hotel workers who opted to save themselves and lock up the wedding guests once the infection broke out — are regrouped? Madison has a plan for her and Strand to go see Oscar — that was the bridegroom, and current leader of the Vengeful Wedding Guest Gang. She tells the justifiable angry Oscar that they need to put the past aside and work together to make the hotel a home. At first he seems open to it, but not if Elena and Hector stay. While the VWGG has never been behind the hotel walls post-outbreak, Madison’s group has, so she warns them that they have to get rid of the Infected within the hotel, so they can start planting food and making water and creating a safe environment. She also says they need to fortify the hotel, because others will likely come and they won’t be nice, so they have to be ready to defend their new home. They must let bygones be bygones, as Elena and Hector did what they thought they had to do at the time. Miraculously, Oscar concedes and gives them the hotel keys. Madison shows that she is a natural leader and negotiator. She’s definitely gained back my respect after her irresponsible tequila-fueled actions in the bar with Strand that led to the walker attack.

Ok, what’s the plan? Initially, it was to go room-to-room and kill the infected one at a time — make a clean sweep! After much effort, they clear one floor of one tower. With 3 hotel towers with 17 floors each, it’s going to take a LONG time, says Alicia, who then hatches a new and improved plan! Fortunately for them, there’s a broken pier leading out to a dangerous portion of sea prone to riptides. They can just lead all the walkers out onto the pier and into the water. Alicia says they don’t have to go floor-by-floor, door-by-door anymore. Ok, but don’t they still have to do that? They still have to open ALL the locked doors on every floor throughout the hotel and then lead the walkers out onto the beach onto the pier. Of course, they do it with about 6 people, which is so insanely ridiculously, but it made for good dramatic effect. Madison with a pan and spoon like the Pied Piper leads the infected onto the pier and then makes a daring leap into the water, where Alicia and Hector await on a boat to pick her up. While that happens, all the infected fall into the water. Problem solved!!!!! (Gee, that was easy.)

Later that night, the hotel residents gather together for a lovely dinner party, all but Oscar and his mother-in-law, who obviously don’t want to break bread with Elena and Hector. Strand asks where the honeymoon suite is so he can go talk to Oscar and hopefully bring him back for dinner. Strand mets Oscar in front of the honeymoon suite, and talks about how he met his wife Jessica and how much he loved her. Strand tries to sympathize with the man, who doesn’t think Strand can possible understand (we know he can!). “I won’t let you,” Oscar says, “I won’t let you touch her,” referring to his undead wife who he keeps in their suite. He still loves her and does not want to let her go, even in her current state. Strand says Oscar needs to move on and let Jessica go. With tears in his eye, he’s pleads to Oscar, “Let me help Jessica.” In the end, Oscar hands over the room key, and we see Strand walking into the suite, then the door shuts behind him.

Episode 2.11 “Pablo & Jessica” was infinitely better than last week’s episode. While the hotel zombie corral was all too easy, it did make for good dramatics, as did Madison’s death-defying plunge off the pier. It good to see the group have a place to settle in, and Madison is likely right in her assessment that more people will come for shelter and there will be some with bad intentions. They must build a fort against the outside, while learning to live together under dire consequences. Meanwhile, Nick seems to land on his feet with whatever he does — maybe he’s really the chosen one! While he started the series as a drug addict who did nothing but put his family through stress and grief, he has turned into someone who cope in a dystopian society without drugs and has emerged as a hero of sorts. This is the Nick we want to see. The fact that he recognizes that he used to take himself too seriously (EMO!) says a lot about how much he’s grown. And, now he has a real love interest, but we don’t know much about Luciana or the people of the Colonia. What does it mean that Alejandro survived a bit from an infected? How will the Colonia progress? As we know from Nick, he’s not good at putting down roots and doesn’t like to be stagnant. There are no utopias in this post-apocalyptic world, and seeing squabbles amongst the survivors can only go so far. Something major needs to happen at the end of Season 2, and hopefully it’s something more substantial than the spring break bros.

Photos

Video

Fear the Walking Dead: Next on: ‘Pablo & Jessica’ Episode 211


Next on Fear The Walking Dead on AMC.

[Photo Credit: Richard Foreman Jr/AMC. Used with permission.]

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