It’s probably too soon to tell for sure, and I wouldn’t put it past the show’s writers to ret-con a BS explanation later to get out of it, but Fear the Walking Dead appears to have done something pretty shocking this week.
Treehouse of Horror
Picking up where the last episode ended, Alicia fights through a huge barricade of tied-up zombies on her way to the summer camp. She gets lost in the maze and winds up circling back to where she started, but young Dylan finds her and leads her across a rope bridge to a treehouse where Annie and the other kids are hiding. As much as Alicia pleads with her that they all need to get out of the area as quickly as possible, Annie still refuses to leave. She believes that the catastrophe will blow over and staying put is the best strategy to keep the kids safe. Annie also demands that Alicia must stay to fix the barricade she hacked through, so that no one else can follow her path.
While they’re working on that, the barricade breaks down further. A herd of zombies get loose and follow them back to the treehouse. A wooden gate at the entrance to the bridge isn’t strong enough to hold them off for long. Alicia grabs her weapon and single-handedly kills zombies while the kids climb down the tree to escape. Watching Alicia risk her own life to protect them finally convinces Annie that these adults can be trusted. She gathers the kids into the camp van and drives to the truck stop.
Alicia stays behind to hold off the zombies. During her fight, she gets a zombie’s blood splattered all over her face. That’s gross, but nothing that hasn’t happened before, except that this zombie was wearing a dosimeter around its neck. Alicia knows what that means. The zombie was contaminated, and now she is too. This is bad news.
I Melt Down with You
Warned not to kill any or come in contact with their contaminated blood, Strand and Charlie try to lead irradiated zombies away from their crashed balloon. Because the airplane propellers they were hauling are too heavy to lift (which makes me question how effective the hot air balloon really could have been as a transport for them), they can’t simply be carried out. Strand drags the propellers back to the balloon, and he and Charlie encircle themselves with the balloon fabric as a barrier to keep the zombies out. It’s a temporary solution at best while they wait for Morgan to come rescue them.
Morgan radios Grace to ask for her truck, but Grace is busy getting the nuclear plant’s cooling system back online and can’t leave. She directs Morgan to a housing development where the plant’s workers lived, at which he finds a working truck and a hazmat suit. He also snoops around the house where Grace herself lived to get some insight into her. This leaves Morgan more determined than ever to save everyone, including Grace.
Wearing the hazmat suit, Morgan arrives at the balloon crash site and kills all the zombies, saving Strand and Charlie. They load the propellers into the truck. Morgan then breaks off from them to go find Grace while Strand and Charlie drive to the truck stop.
Grace has no luck fixing the cooling system. The generator from the truck stop isn’t powerful enough and overloads. By the time Morgan gets to her, Grace’s desperate efforts to repair the generator look like a losing battle. She says that this only leaves them with between twelve hours to a day before the plant melts down.
Morgan convinces Grace to come with him to the truck stop. Even though she’s been contaminated, whatever time she has left is worth living.
Such a Gas
Aside from the missing propellers, Althea and June are able to fix up the plane. Unfortunately, they discover another problem. The fuel tank leaked and it’s out of gas. Of course, regular automobile gas won’t work; they specifically need aircraft fuel. Luckily, Al just happens to know where to find some. Without giving June too many details, Al leads them to the mountain with the helicopter fuel drop and collects just enough gas to get their plane out of the area.
Before they return home, Al opens up to June and admits that she met someone she has feelings for. The two girls have a heart-to-heart. June promises to keep her secret until she’s willing to share more.
A Red Letter Day
June radios John and tells him to get back to the truck stop, but they immediately lose radio contact afterwards. Dwight wants to keep looking for Sherry. John humors him for a while, but when their truck runs out of gas, he gets antsy about wanting to return back to June.
John confesses about the letter he found. Dwight reads the note from his wife telling him to stop looking for her. He’s distraught for a minute, but decides that he’s not going to give up on Sherry, even if that means going on alone without John.
The Siren Call
Strand and Charlie arrive at the truck stop, followed shortly by the kids from the camp. Alicia leads zombies through the woods in the opposite direction, despondent about her situation. However, when Charlie reaches her on the radio, Alicia lies about being OK and says she’s on her way back.
As the episode draws to a close, the power plant’s alarm sirens start blaring to signal that the meltdown has begun. In all their different locations, everyone hears it and recognizes that they have little time left.
Are we really to take it that Alicia is a goner? I still have issues with the way the show erroneously depicts radiation as acting like a virus transmitted by physical contact, but given the rules that have been laid out, Alicia should be doomed. If this is really the end for her, that will leave Strand as the only Season 1 character to still have a regular role on the series. (Salazar is still alive as well, but only appears infrequently.) Although I’ve never been a huge fan of Alicia, she’s a central character and losing her will be a big shakeup for the narrative.
Killing off Alicia is a ballsy and risky move for the show, perhaps even more so than killing off Nick and Madison was last season. Alycia Debnam-Carey is pretty big ratings draw for young male viewers. Is the actress hoping to get more work in movies?
I am generally in favor of Fear the Walking Dead phasing out its old characters and transitioning to The Morgan and John Show. If the writers cop out now and find a magical cure for Alicia’s radiation exposure, I’ll be pretty disappointed.