I guess Fear the Walking Dead wasn’t done with Rubén Blades yet after all. The actor returns for a second appearance this week. Another thing the show apparently isn’t done with: ridiculous action set-pieces.
After Salazar refused to let him borrow the plane he asked for, Strand returns to the warehouse compound to steal it. He brings Sarah, Wendell, and Charlie. The young girl sneaks around to scope the place out, but has to hide inside one of Salazar’s cars when he comes outside. Wouldn’t you just know it, he picks that car to drive off to do an errand. He also brings his cat, Skidmark.
Charlie insists that she’s safe and can handle herself, so Strand and the other two break into the compound. They find the plane, only to discover that Salazar removed the instrument panel and left a note indicating a radio channel. When Strand tunes in, Salazar gloats that not only did he expect such treachery, he also knows about the girl in the back of his car. He promises not to hurt her. In his mind, he’s actually saving her from Strand, who will inevitably betray her.
Charlie rides with Salazar on a supply run to an old store. Inside, a large group of zombies are milling around near a booby trap with a machine gun. A resourceful girl, Charlie helps Salazar figure a way inside, guilt-tripping him the whole time about how he shouldn’t turn his back on people in need. As they move to the back of the building, Skidmark stays in front. The zombies spot the cat and become agitated. One sets off the booby trap, causing the machine gun to fire and blow out the store’s front windows, thus releasing all the zombies. Their plan shot, Salazar and Charlie (and Skidmark) return to the car and drive away – but not very quickly.
Salazar drives slowly so as to lure the herd to follow him. His plan is to bring them to his compound, where he can pick them off from behind his fence. He feels responsible for setting them free and doesn’t want other people to be harmed because of his actions. Complicating matters, as he soon learns on the radio, is that Sarah knocked down a big chunk of his fence to get the plane out. The compound isn’t safe anymore.
Successfully guilted, Salazar leaves Charlie with the plane’s instrument panel and instructs her to drive to the compound. He gets out of the car to lead the zombies in a different direction by foot, drawing them toward him with music from a small boombox. This seems like a suicide mission.
On the radio, Salazar forces Strand to confess to his new friends about how he screwed him over and prevented him from seeing his daughter before she died. Determined to prove that he’s a changed man, Strand rallies Sarah and Wendell to head out and save Salazar.
After walking for a long time, Salazar grows tired. The zombies nearly catch up with him when Sarah and Wendell race in driving the S.W.A.T. van. They try to use the machine guns to mow down the zombies, but the guns jam. Salazar rolls under the van and gets stuck there when zombies swarm around him.
A moment later, Strand drives up in Sarah’s big rig, towing the plane on a trailer behind him. He stops the truck, then gets into the plane and fires up its engines. The noise draws the zombies away from the S.W.A.T. van. One by one, they walk directly into the propellers and splatter in a big, bloody mess. Just as the last zombie gets diced up, the plane’s engines burn out and stop.
The whole group return to the warehouse. Salazar thanks Strand for sacrificing his own needs to save him. Now convinced that Strand has really changed his ways, Salazar announces that he has to leave to take care of personal business. The warehouse and all the contents in it are theirs, including Skidmark. He says goodbye to the cat and makes an exit.
Those Darn Meddling Kids
We’re told that John and June are off helping Dwight search for his wife. None of them appear in this episode.
At the truck stop, the kid Dylan feeds Alicia, Morgan, and Luciana a story about knowing where the people who kidnapped Althea are camped out. Alicia and Morgan go, leaving the still-recuperating Luciana to take care of Dylan.
When he finds a moment alone, Dylan radios his friends Max and Annie. The conversation is cut short when the other kids spot an armed adult in riot gear clearing one of their roadblocks. They duck under some bushes to hide. After the person leaves, they come out, but Annie injures her leg while evading a zombie and loses her gun.
After Alicia and Morgan radio back to say that Dylan’s info led to nothing, the boy confesses that he made the story up to keep them occupied. He tells them about Max and Annie. Without even thinking about it, Morgan and Alicia rush off to help the kids.
Sure enough, just as Annie and Max are about to be overtaken by zombies, Morgan and Alicia arrive to rescue them. As thanks, Max and Annie betray them. A larger group of armed kids encircle the adults and order them to turn over their weapons. (Where were they a few minutes earlier?) However, Dylan radios his friends and tells them that Alicia and Morgan are good people and can be trusted. All the kids lower their weapons. Alicia offers to let them join the group, but they say they won’t leave. The zombies that John and June discovered at the summer camp a couple episodes ago were their parents.
Luciana and Dylan repair the long-range radio antenna that got knocked over in a storm. They reach Strand, who tells them the bad news about the plane.
Max and Annie admit to setting up all the zombie roadblocks, but say they were trying to deter other people, the ones who kidnapped Althea. They don’t know much about whoever that is, except that they’re very bad.
Suddenly, a helicopter buzzes the area and flies off into the distance. Markings on the side of the chopper match the symbol Althea discovered on the zombie corpse when she got kidnapped. Could this be the same group that stole Rick Grimes away on the parent Walking Dead show? It sure feels like it.
The suggestion that the helicopter at the end could be an attempt to link a storyline across both Walking Dead series (and the upcoming movies featuring Andrew Lincoln) is honestly the only interesting thing about this episode. In other respects, it’s kind of dull. The airplane chop-o-matic scene tops last week’s bullet-splitting trick for eye-rolling silliness. I expect to see something like that on Syfy’s Z Nation, not on the more serious-minded zombie dramas.
I’m also disappointed that the show has quickly walked back last week’s twist that the kids appeared to be evil. Now we’re told that they’re totally innocent and were just working against some other mysterious villain. That feels like a cop-out to me.