Fear the Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 12 “Pillar of Salt”
Directed by Gerardo Naranjo
Written by Carla Ching
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Mercedes Mason, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia AMC
Air Date: Sunday, September 18, 2016, 9pm
Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead…
On last week’s Fear the Walking Dead, Nick bonded with Luciana, and helped out the Colonia by creating more pills for them to trade with local gang leader Marco. Meanwhile, Madison, Alicia, and Strand along with hotel workers Elena and Hector formed an alliance with the hotel guest survivors to rid the place of its walkers, so they can make a real home. But, Travis and Chris did not make an appearance, and Ofelia is still missing!
On the latest episode, 2.12 “Pillar of Salt,” Ofelia finally returns!!! Still no Chris and Travis storyline, but there’s plenty of Nick and Luciana at the Colonia; more escapades at the Mexican Gang Costco; Strand suffers an injury from an act of revenge; and Madison once again turns her attention to her quest for her son Nick.
Ok, so Ofelia: We finally see her in the pick-up truck she drove off in a few episodes ago, leaving Alicia behind at the hotel without so much as a note. She’s got a map and a quest. I think we can all guess where she’s going. But, before it’s all revealed, we get a few flashbacks. Ofelia had told Alicia that her boyfriend Will had wanted her to move with him from California to New Mexico, where he had just gotten a job. But she was hesitant to leave her parents, as she viewed them as helpless without her. In the flashback, we see Will propose to her and ask that she go with him to New Mexico. She’s thrilled, she says her mother is sick and his father is a shut-in, and that they need help with their business, but she eventually agrees to speak to her mother about it.
Continuing the flashback, we see Ofelia back at her house. She kisses her crucifix and places it on an altar. She then meekly speaks with her mother, who says that whether the business is busy or empty, the father is unhappy about it. Ofelia then asks her mother how she knew her father was “the one.” She says God whispered to her that he was the one. She goes on to say that her husband is a hard man and she’s a hard woman who came from a hard place. They’ve seen horrible things. “You cannot imagine what we saw, nor would you want to,” she tells her daughter, adding that her husband has woken with nightmares and that the “horrors of the world infect your dreams.” She says they did what they could to get away to give their daughter a better life. “I would have done anything for you just as I would for your father,” the mother says. “This is love.” Back in the present, Ofelia kisses her crucifix and says “I understand now,” and then drives off away from Mexico towards the USA. It seems like she’s off to find her love Will, who she gave up to stay with her parents. It’s about time, Ofelia! Especially since your parents’ helplessness was really an act of sorts — they were survivors, but her father was actually the bad guy who tortured people.
Back at the Colonia, Francisco takes his wife, Ana, and their young daughter through the zombie school bus route. The child doesn’t want to go, but they say that it’s not safe to stay there anymore. (What’s that about?) As soon as they get out, guys from Marco’s gang accost them, demanding to know where they just came from, but they don’t betray the Colonia. The men then take them back to the Warehouse. When Luciana finds out that Francisco took his family and left, she’s upset. She expected him to stay and follow Alejandro as usual. Also, he’s supposed to go later that day with Reynaldo on a run to the Warehouse to make the trade (Oyx for water) with Marco’s gang.
Damage control time! Alejandro gathers his flock to tell them the news and try to get them to keep the faith, and warn them that what lies beyond their walls is worse. “It is a wasteland,” he tells them, assuring them that death will not take them as long as they stand together, stand strong, and of course, stand with him. Then the edict comes down: No one is to leave the Colonia. But for how long? Indefinitely. (That’s a plan that’s going to show up again in this episode.) This doesn’t sit well with Nick, who thinks they should still go make the trade at the warehouse. Alejandro then gives Luciana a guilt trip, accusing her of losing faith, which is untrue. Luciana believes in Alejandro and trusts his judgment and even meets with others in the group to reassure them. She then has a small argument with Nick about the situation and curses him in both Spanish and English, but ends the bickering by biting then kissing his lip. “I’m the boss,” she tells him, and she says they are staying put.
But Nick still wants to go make the trade. He feels that if they don’t show up, then Marco’s gang will come looking for them. Nick tells Alejandro that waiting for faith to work or for the dead to wash the world clean isn’t the way to go, because the danger is now. But Alejandro believes that they are secure there and that they won’t be discovered. He tells Nick that he didn’t asked to be given the responsibility of leadership, but he has it and he’ll decide what’s best for them to survive. “So you want me to follow you blindly?,” Nick asks. It’s clear that, yes, Alejandro expects Nick to trust him, and in turn, he will trust Nick, he says.
Again, Nick cannot just sit idly by, so he goes to Reynaldo and convinces him that the two of them should still go to make the trade later that night. In the end, we see Nick overlooking the zombie school bus area, and he notices something far off in the distance. Turns out, it’s Marco’s men looking through binoculars at the Colonia! They are so screwed! How naive of Alejandro to think that they could keep their camp a secret from nefarious gang members with machine guns.
And guess who else conveniently visits Marco’s Costco that day? The hotel crew!
Ok, so here’s what happened. When we first see the Hotel again, it’s quite idyllic. The residents are cleaning up the place, planting and watering crops, and Madison and her crew have gotten the generator to work. They even have ice now! (We’ll find out later that ice is a hot commodity in the zombie apocalypse.) Way to go, hotel crew, you’re gonna make it! Maybe.
Time to break up the party. Knock knock, there’s someone at the door where Strand and others are talking strategy. Please, don’t look before you open the door, Strand. You want to make it as easy as possible for crazy Bride Mom, Ilene, to stab you when you open the door. And she does. “You took my daughter from me,” she accuses him, referring to how he put her infected daughter, “the bride,” down at the end of the last episode. Ok, great, now we need medical supplies to save Strand. Thankfully, there’s the Mexican Gang Costco only 15 miles away where they can trade fresh fish and ice for medical supplies.
But, what to do about Ilene? Madison says they cannot tolerate violence in their new community. They are to keep Ilene locked up, yes, as a prisoner. But for how long? You guessed it, indefinitely! And anyone else who acts out will be put outside of the community. They all agree to these terms.
Madison, Elena, and one of the men drive off to the Warehouse, but Hector refuses to go, much to his Tia Elena’s dismay. We learn that when the shit hit the fan, Hector’s brother Antonio decided to go off with Marco’s gang instead of staying with his aunt and brother. This is something that Hector cannot forgive. Elena was hoping that Hector would go and convince his brother to come back with them. (Fat chance!)
Back at the hotel, Andres and Alicia care for Strand, who’s lost a lot of blood. Strand tells Alicia she has a great bedside manner. Then Alicia blows it by telling him she’s not going to tell him that it’s going to be all right, because “It might not be.” Strand jokes that he takes it back, her bedside manner is actually abysmal. He then asks her why a while back she had said that she raised herself. She explains that she was always helping with her brother’s detox withdrawals, and the issues with her dad (we have been led to believe that he suffered from depression). But what about Madison?, he asks. She had her hands full, Alicia says. Well, now she has her mother all to herself, Strand points out, but Alicia says it not the way she wanted it. Also, “I’m still not sure she actually sees me,” she says of her mother. “Then make her,” Strand tells the young girl. (Good luck with that Alicia; your mom is totally obsessed with her baby boy, as we’ll see next…)
Madison, Elena, the guy (didn’t catch his name), and their cooler of fish and ice make it to Mexican Costco. Elena asks for Antonio and they let her in, but her nephew doesn’t think they should have come, and criticizes his aunt for bringing along an Americana. She says his brother asks about him, but he doesn’t buy it. “Then why didn’t he come?,” he asks. Silence. While Antonio goes off to get the supplies, Madison pulls a Madison and nearly gets them all killed. She and Elena overhear Marco’s people interrogating Francisco and Ana about where they came from. It’s in Spanish, so Elena has to translate for Madison. It turns out, they are talking about a young American man with ratty hair who had been there with drugs. Madison immediately thinks it’s Nick (and of course we know it is), and without any thought to her own safety or to anyone else’s, she barges into the interrogation room and interrupts to ask if it’s her son Nick they are referring to. The interrogator miraculously doesn’t kill her, but warns her to leave. Elena tries to get Madison to go, saying that they won’t get the medical supplies if she doesn’t stop. As they leave, the man says in Spanish, “Next time I see him I’m gonna cut his balls off.” Looks like Madison really screwed things up for Nick, who we know is planning on showing up there later that night! As they leave, Antonio warns his aunt not to come back, and says they won’t be there much longer anyway. Sounds like he is confident that they’ll uncover the Colonia soon and be able to relocate there.
When they return from the trade, Elena tells Alicia that Madison caused a scene and nearly blew the trade because she heard them say there was a gringo with ratty hair, who she believes is her son, Nick. Upset, Alicia knows what this means — her mother is still obsessed with Nick, the child who chose to leave them, unlike her, the child who stayed. Next, we see the sign at the top of the hotel tower flicker on in huge, bright red lights. The sun has already gone down, so this beacon can be seen by many from miles away. Alicia tries to get her mother to shut the sign off, and reprimands her for nearly blowing things at the warehouse all because of Nick. “Your child is always your child,” Madison tries to explain. “I am your child,” Alicia replies, saying that her brother chose to be out there away from them. But Madison is hopeful that perhaps he’s changed his mind, and if he sees the sign, he’ll come back to them. “I didn’t change my mind,” Alicia says, “I’m here, why isn’t that enough?” It seems like Madison is willing to repeatedly put her daughter’s life at risk if it means saving or reuniting with her son, and that’s a hard pill for Alicia to swallow.
Far off in the distance, we see a man looking at the hotel with its lit up red sign. As the camera gets close, we see it’s Madison’s fiance Travis on his own. As he watching with a hopeful look, the sign shuts off.
Does this mean that Travis will make his way there and finally be reunited with Madison, who seems to have forgotten about him completely? Will Madison even let him in if he shows up with his son, Chris, who she’s afraid of. Also, we know now that the Colonia is under imminent threat of invasion, but can they bring up their defenses in time? And will Ofelia actually make it to New Mexico and reunite with Will?
Fear the Walking Dead: Next on: ‘Pillar of Salt’ Episode 212
Next on Fear The Walking Dead on AMC.
[Photo Credit: Richard Foreman Jr/AMC. Used with permission.]