I’ve grown so disinterested in ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ that I put off watching the two-episode season finale for more than a week after it aired. Frankly, I dreaded sitting for almost two more hours with the show when I had better things to watch. However, because I had committed to finishing off this season, the time came to finally get it out of the way.
For the purposes of this recap, I’m treating the last two episodes as a single finale. I’ll break down the events by character groups.
Still driving towards the border and away from her friends, Ofelia’s truck overheats. She’s attacked by zombies while trying to repair a hose but fights them off with a hammer. With another horde of zombies heading toward her, she has to hoof it along the border fence.
Eventually, Ofelia finds a hole in the fence and begins a long trek across the desert. In seemingly the middle of nowhere, she’s shot at by an unseen attacker and ducks behind a tree. The shooter, a man with a rifle, stops firing and reveals himself. He orders her to come out and says. “Welcome to America.” Whether he says that with sarcasm or not isn’t clear just yet.
That’s the last we see of Ofelia this season. I expected that we might learn that her father didn’t die in the plantation fire after all, but that storyline never came around again. This makes me wonder why Ofelia is even still on the show at all. Why not just kill her off?
Maddie, Travis, Alicia & Strand
At the hotel, Maddie tries to reassure Travis that he did all he could for his son, and that Chris is probably better off with his friends. Travis doesn’t feel much better.
As it turns out, the Douchebros, Brandon and Derek, have joined the huddled masses of refugees in the parking garage, and Chris isn’t with them. (Incidentally, I only just realized that Derek is played by Kenny Wormald, star of the ‘Footloose’ remake. I don’t think he’s had more than three lines of dialogue this whole season.) The dicks are super racist and obnoxious about having to camp out with a bunch of Mexicans. Brandon dislocated his shoulder and keeps begging to be prioritized for medical attention.
When the Douchebros mention a third traveling companion who died in a car crash, Maddie realizes who they are and that they’re talking about Chris. In order to spare Travis the pain of learning that his son is dead, she tries to rush the Douchebros out of the hotel and evict them. However, this stirs up a commotion among the refugees, who misunderstand what’s happening and assume that the white boys are getting favorable treatment. Travis notices this and runs to the gate before Maddie can get them out. He demands that they be brought back inside so he can question them about Chris.
They bring the boys to a private room. Brandon and Derek explain that they let Chris drive their truck because they were both tired, and that he crashed it. (This makes Travis feel culpable, because he’d given Chris his first and only driving lesson just recently.) At first, they claim that Chris was killed instantly when he was thrown through the windshield, but their story doesn’t add up. Travis presses for more details, until they finally admit that Chris survived the wreck with a broken leg, and that they put him down just like their buddy James. In flashback, we see Brandon shoot Chris in the head with a shotgun.
Travis is overcome with fury. He locks Maddie and the others out of the room and proceeds to beat the hell out of both Douchebros. Oscar tries to force his way into the room to break up the fight, and Travis slams the door on his head, knocking him unconscious. The first episode ends with Travis savagely beating both Brandon and Derek to death.
This has major repercussions in the second episode. Elena locks Travis up and insists that he must be evicted from the hotel, per the rules that Maddie herself established. Maddie says that she’ll leave with him in the morning if they’ll release him in the meantime. Elena agrees. Alicia then insists that she go with them as well, because they should all stick together. Strand is less committed to his friends and opts to stay at the hotel.
Even that plan goes to shit when Oscar dies of his head injury. His brother Andrés is enraged. He storms into Travis’ room and gives him a beating, then pulls a gun. Maddie pleads that they be allowed to leave right then, in the middle of the night, but Andrés demands blood. Alicia stabs him in the back (literally, with a knife), killing him instantly.
Realizing that their lives are in jeopardy, Maddie, Alicia and Travis scramble to steal a car and get out of the hotel as quickly as possible. Strand, who had no part in the deaths of either Oscar or Andrés, would rather take his chances at the hotel. He gives them a gun and says goodbye. At the wheel of the car, Travis smashes through the gate on their way out, leaving a big entry point that Strand and the rest of the hotel guests will have to deal with to keep zombies and bad people out.
Maddie has a plan. She directs Travis to gangster Marco’s store, where she heard the outcasts from Alejandro’s colony talk about Nick. She wants to find her son.
Nick and his buddy steal some oxycontin from Alejandro’s supply and sneak out to deliver it to Marco. When they get to the store, Nick tells Marco that he knows he found their colony. Nick promises to always deliver oxy on time from now on if Marco will simply leave their colony alone, but Marco has no interest in making deals. He has a new alliance with another gang that can supply him with drugs. He doesn’t need oxy from the colony anymore. What he does need is a fortress. He tells Nick that he’s going to take the colony by force and he doesn’t care what happens to the colonists. They need to leave immediately or die.
Nick returns to the colony and tells Luciana and Alejandro what happened. Both are determined to stay and fight for their home even as Nick warns them that they stand no chance against Marco’s men. Just then, a patient in the infirmary dies, turns into a zombie, and attacks. The zombie bites Alejandro and two others before Nick can pull it off and kill it by jamming his thumbs through its eye sockets into its brain. (Eww…)
Alejandro, who is allegedly immune to the zombie virus, insists that he’s OK. The other two victims are made to sacrifice themselves to the zombie horde outside the fence per the colony’s rituals.
Nick wants to run and tries to convince Luciana to come with him. He makes Alejandro admit that he’s not really immune. The scar on his shoulder was from a crazed drug addict who was still alive, not a zombie. He has already started to develop a fever and will die soon. Luciana is pissed and disillusioned but still refuses to leave her home.
As Alejandro gets noticeably sicker, Luciana puts some makeup on his face to conceal the illness and insists that he lie to the rest of the colonists one last time so they won’t lose faith. Alejandro manages to pull himself together enough to give a rousing speech.
Nick doesn’t want to wait around for Marco to come kill everybody. He exits the colony but turns right around again when he spots a helicopter landing in the distance across the border. Nick returns to the colony and convinces Alejandro that the only way to save his people is to let them go to where that helicopter landed. Alejandro himself is too sick to travel and will stay behind.
When Marco and a bunch of armed goons arrive at the colony, they find it evacuated. They enter through the zombie field and think they have total run of the place with no resistance. What they don’t realize is that Alejandro is hiding just out of sight. As the goons move deeper into the colony, he sneaks into the bus blocking the gate, starts it up, and drives it forward just enough to leave a big gap. Amidst much running and shooting, a flood of zombies come pouring through the gate, driving Marco and his men deeper into the colony where there’s no escape.
Maddie, Travis and Alicia arrive at Marco’s store, but nobody’s there because he already left to raid the colony. They find the murdered corpses of the three colonists he captured (even the little child). Using an ID card found in the wallet of one body, Maddie determines where the colony is. (If it was that easy, why did Marco need to torture them? What makes Maddie think that the colony happens to be where this family lived prior to the apocalypse?)
By the time the trio make it to the colony, everybody’s dead. As they investigate the scene, they pick up a bunch of guns off the ground. (If the guns still had ammo, why would the goons drop them?) Eventually, they spot a zombified Marco. Alicia finds Alejandro still barely alive in the bus. Maddie asks him about Nick. Alejandro is just able to blurt out that he headed for the border, then dies.
Meanwhile, Nick and the colonists, all covered in blood, hike through the city toward the border. They see miles of abandoned cars lined up at the crossing. As they begin to pass through, gunfire rings out and picks off members of their crowd. The colonists scatter in a panic. Luciana is hit. Nick stays with her as they’re both overtaken by armed men who bash Nick in the head and knock him out.
Honestly, the most frustrating thing about the finale is that it’s not outright terrible. In fact, it’s a pretty strong conclusion with only a few flagrant lapses into stupidity. Chris’ death (assuming it doesn’t get ret-conned away as a lie later) is even a stand-up-and-cheer moment. That may not have been the intent of the scene (we’re probably supposed to feel that it’s a tragedy), but I’ll take whatever viewer satisfaction I can get – and the most annoying character in the show getting his brains blown out with a shotgun brought me quite a bit of satisfaction.
If the finale had been truly awful, I was prepared to write the show off and quit watching here. Now I’m not sure. I need to debate whether to give it another shot next season. I haven’t made that decision yet. This might be a good time to cut and run, especially if the way Strand’s storyline is left off here suggests that he won’t be back next season. He’s still the only halfway tolerable character in the group.